Camping in Cle Elum | Cle Elum, WA

The weather is warming up which means it is time to unpack your tents, wash off your trailers and RVs, and buy some s'mores ingredients because it is camping season. Whether you like to hike out into the woods and camp, rough it in a tent, or relax in an RV, there are plenty of options for you in Cle Elum.


If you are you looking to step-up your camping game and bring out your inner Bear Grylls, then check out these backpacking adventures. Backpacking is more of a challenge since you have to completely fend for yourself. That's right, everything from food to toilet paper must bring with you and there are no outlets for your devices so you will be off the grid.

Rachel Lake

The beautiful Rachel Lake trail will provide a new challenge to experienced backpackers but if you are new to backpacking you might want to find another hike. This trail is not for the feint of heart (or people who are scared of heights) because the elevation for this hike is 1,200 feet. You are going to want your walking sticks for this hike since the trail is steep and covered with roots and rocks. But the views from the hike will make the hard work worth it. The trail looks out over Box Canyon and when you get up to the top the camping spots are right next to the lake. However, the hike doesn't stop at Rachel Lake there are even more trails to even more scenic lakes if you haven't quite tired yourself out. Just make sure that you pay attention to your trail map because there are lots of dead ends along the way. Hikers are provided with a vault toilet but you should still bring your own toilet paper because there is a chance it will be out and you don't want that kind of stress in your life. Parking is available at the trailhead and the passes are $5.

Primitive Camping

This is camping in the traditional sense. There are no modern hookups (electricity, sewage or water) for RVs and trailers, but there is usually a water pump for cooking and general use. So pack your blue tarps and firewood because you will be roughing it on this trip.

Taneum Campground

This site will open Memorial Day weekend so there is plenty of time to prepare for your camping vacation. There are only 13 sites available at Taneum campground and they sell like hot cakes, for the best chance to get a spot try to go during the week or other less busy times. Single sites are $18 and doubles are $36. Taneum has two vault toilets so you don't have to worry about doing your business in the woods and there is a water spigot (not for drinking). There is lots to do at this campground so there's no chance of being bored on this trip. With spots for fishing and hunting it's a great spot for outdoorsmen, but if you just want to walk and enjoy nature there is a series of trails in the area that are open for horseback riding and hiking. Campers who have visited this site love the peaceful and secluded nature of the campground. Taneum campground is also open for motorcyclists who want to spend some time in the woods and if you have a bike built for trail riding, they have trails for you too. As a public service announcement to people who want to camp here, one reviewer said that there is large number of bees in the area. So, if you have little ones or are allergic you may want to choose a different campground to stay at.

Salmon La Sac Campground

For people who want to go even deeper into the mountains, check out Salmon la Sac campground. The campground is located at 2,300 feet and trail elevation ranges from 1,000 to 9,000 feet which gives hikers and snowshoers plenty of views over the rivers and forests in the area. Because this campground is so far into the woods, campers are sure to catch a glimpse of local wildlife. Hikers can even enjoy some wild blueberries along one of the trails (but make sure to use common sense and don't eat anything that you aren't sure of). This is also a great spot for horseback riding, fishing, swimming and mountain biking so whatever you like to do while camping there are options for you. Salmon La Sac Campground opens Memorial Day weekend depending on the snow melt conditions. There are 69 spots available in the campground for RVs and tent camping. Single sites are $21 and doubles are $42. The campground has vault toilets, running water, grills and campfire pits but there are no other hookups for the sites. You are going to be off the grid at this campground since cell service is spotty but that just means more time for nature. Visitors to this campground love how well maintained it is, how friendly the hosts are and the amount of privacy for the sites.

RV Parks

Sleeping on the ground in a tent and roughing it is not for everybody, some people prefer to travel with a few more luxuries. Luckily, Cle Elum has options for those who like to camp in style.

Whispering Pines RV Park

Located just across I-90 from downtown Cle Elum, Whispering Pines RV Park provides travelers with an outdoor experience as well as a chance to explore the city. Even though the park is near the freeway, guests will soon forget about that. With the surrounding trees and nearby Yakima River, this is a perfect natural getaway. The river is open for catch-and-release fishing and fishing licenses are available in town. The park features trails, horseshoes, a cabin (that is available for stays) a public fishing pond, a club house, a parts shop in case you forgot to pack something. And there's no need to leave Fido at home for this trip because Whispering Pines RV Park allows dogs! They must be kept on a leash at your site but there is an off-leash dog run so they can have fun too. Campfires aren't allowed in the sites but if you are really craving some fire roasted s'mores (or just that campfire smell) there are fire pits on the edge of the campground. Visitors to this site love the friendly staff, the well-maintained grounds, the cleanliness of everything and the fact that they show outdoor movies. The park is open right now and reservations for spring and summer have already started coming in so if you want to stay here better jump on it. Whispering Pines provides the usual hookups for visitors as well as a dump station for grey and black water, a laundry facility, showers and restrooms, basic cable and Wi-Fi. Prices for the sites are $40-45 depending on the site.

Posted: April 1st, 2018

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