Camp Every County, Washington

and see Washington State from the ground up

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    This key-shaped, southeastern county is the least populated in Washington, coverered two-thirds by farms and one-third by forested wilderness in the Umatilla National Forest. If you want nature, you'll find it here.

    Snake River/Lake Bryan
    Lake Bryan is the reservoir behind the Little Goose Dam on a remote section of the lower Snake River. Here you'll be met with wide-open vistas, steep canyon walls, but few trees. Fish here, swim here, water ski here, camp here, or take a stab at fish viewing at Little Goose or Lower Granite Dams.

    Illia Landing Campground and Illia Dunes Recreational Area (Garfield Co.'s MOST UNIQUELY WA CG)
    With only two arid campsites, this deceptive little campground has a connection to water recreation that can stand up to the biggest and best.
    Overview: This smallest and most unique of campgrounds is located 25 miles north of Pomeroy and 4.2 miles northwest of the Lower Granite Dam, operated by the US Army COE on 16 acres at 640' elevation, open year round; GPS 46.7018261, -117.4710193 (more directions below).
    Facilities are limited but include a vault toilet, picnic tables, fire grates, drinking water, a separate drinking fountain, and a boat launch.
    Recreation: This otherwise stark campground has access to boating, fishing, and excellent swimming and sun bathing at the nearby Illia Dunes Recreation Area (1 mile west).
    Campsites (2 tent sites, no hookups or reservations, FREE of charge): Sites are in full sun with privacy guaranteed as you'll probably be alone. Many campers spend the majority of their time fishing or swimming at the Illia Dunes (see below). 
    Trip Notes: Stark, yes, but also intriguing. The trees provide no shade, but catch the sun in such a way that they appear to have veins running deep into the ground to collect water. Perhaps that is how this primitive campground provides water for the large, stand-alone drinking fountain. Nah, but let your imagination run wild.
    Directions: Just east of Pomeroy on SR 12 turn north onto Gould City-Mayview Rd and follow it for 25 miles toward the Lower Granite Dam. The campground is on the right just 3 miles from the Dam. Of note, it may be easier to find this campground from the north by driving to Almota and Boyer Park/Marina (see Whitman Co.), then driving across the Lower Granite Dam (accessible during business hours only, so check before planning to cross).  

    Ilia Landing and Ilia Dunes show different faces of Eastern Washington camping
    For more photos of Illia Landing and Illia Dunes Rec. Area click HERE

    Lambi Creek Campground (Garfield Co.'s BEST FREE CG)
    This shady oasis in the arid lower Snake River Valley provides a cool alternative to the better-known, full-sun campgrounds in the area.
    Overview: This cozy campground is located 22 miles north of Pomeroy at the confluence of little Lambi Creek and Lake Bryan, operated by the US Army COE at 640' elevation, open year round; GPS 46.67944444, -117.50277780.
    Facilities are limited to a vault toilet, picnic tables, and fire rings.
    Recreation: Fishing is possible from the shore of Lake Bryan. The campground is just 2 miles west of the Illia Dunes Rec. Area for sun bathing and great swimming.
    Campsites (6 sites for tents or small RVs, no hookups or reservations, FREE of charge): Most sites are tucked back into the vegetation or beneath tall trees. None are perfectly flat, but privacy is always likely due to underbrush and light use.
    Trip Notes: After traveling the arid countryside of northern Garfield Co., pulling into this campground is much like finding a very old, overgrown apple orchard on the banks of Lake Bryan. Granted, there are no apple trees, only aspen, maple, locust, and lodgepole pine, but the cool shade provides a welcome respite to campers looking to cool their camping heals for a day or two.
    Directions: This campground lies just 3 miles west of Illia Landing (see above).

    Lambi Creek Campground feels much like an old apple orchard
    on the shores of Lake Bryan

    For more photos of Lambi Creek Recreation Area and CG click HERE

    Pomeroy Area  
    This quaint, well-preserved town comprises two-thirds of the population of the County, with its historic courthouse, quaint homes, and Main Street shops. This is Americana at its best, with friendly people who live very closely to the land, with an unmatched devotion to their community.

    Pomeroy Area  
    This quaint, well-preserved town comprises two-thirds of the population of the County, with its historic courthouse, quaint homes, and Main Street shops. This is Americana at its best, with friendly people who live very closely to the land, with an unmatched devotion to their community.

    • Garfield County Fairgrounds (Garfield Co.'s BEST CG FOR FAMILIES, BEST EQUIPPED/BEST C.G. for RVs, and BEST BIKE-IN CG)
      Nothing represents a rural farming community like its County Fair. You won't find roller coasters or shooting galleries (two sure deal breakers for most campers), but you'll find the Eastern Washington Agricultural Museum, and rolling stretches of green grass between farm buildings giving campers a rare opportunity to see rural Eastern Washington and Garfield County "from the ground up." Just one hint: visit when the Fair is not in session in mid-September.
      Overview: These meticulously maintained County Fairgrounds are located 2 miles east of Pomeroy at 1991' elevation, open year round; GPS: 46.471071, -117.551583.
      Facilities: The Fairground facilities are open to campers, including bathrooms with showers and drinking water. There are no picnic tables or firegrills.
      Recreation: The flat, grassy stretches between the well-maintained farm buildings provides unique opportunities for children to explore and play in a safe area all surrounded by chain link fences. It encompasses the Eastern Washington Agricultural Museum with tours available by appointment. For others, it provides close proximity to hiking in the Umatilla National Forest  and boating opportunies along the Snake River.
      Campsites (10 sites w/water & electric 30-amp, 3 sites have sewer, reservable):  This camping area falls off the radar of most conventional campgrounds and RV parks. Sites are flat, back-in, grassy, side-by-side, and back into a steep hillside. The nearby town of Pomeroy can provide all services. 
      Trip Notes: There is an intimacy to this campground that most lack. At least one towns person camps here at all times to act as campground host. This is the town's showcase, and they open it up to visitors with open arms.
      Local Alternatives: For those campers in RVs requiring more complete RV hookups and services, we recommend Pataha RV Park just east of the Fairgrounds on Highway 12. It is a full-service RV Park, but does not allow tent camping.

    The Garfield County Fairgrounds are a prime opportunity to explore Southeastern Washington "from the ground up"
    For more photos of the Garfield County Fairgrounds click HERE

    Umatilla National Forest/Mountain Highway
    The Mountain Highway, as it is commonly called, is actually three roads. It leaves Pomeroy as Highway 128, veers to the right becoming Highway 107, then switches to Forest Service Road with its the cattle grate marking the boundary to the Umatilla National Forest. It then continues perfectly south along the length of the "key" to remarkable wilderness country, where people are outnumbered by mountain goats and coyotes.

    • Teal Spring Campground (Garfield Co.'s MOST APPEALING CG TO THE SENSES)
      This is the third campground on the Mountain Road, and the most picturesque of all with its spectacular view of the Tucannon Drainage and the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness. Fortunately for all of us, spring and summer have few cloudy days to hide these endless vistas.
      Overview: This most beautiful of campgrounds is located 23 miles south of Pomeroy in the Umatilla National Forest at 5600’ elevation, open year round; GPS: 46.1886, -117.572.        ,
      Facilities: Adequately-appointed but rustic, this campground comes with the familiar combination of vault toilet, picnic tables, and fire grates, plus a parking area. There is no water or other services available.
      Recreation: Hiking is popular, with the Bear Creek Trailhead just south of the campground. There are some ORV trails in the vicinity, but the remoteness of this area means it gets minimal use. The Clearwater Lookout provides views of the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness (just north off the spur Forest Road 42), which is a delight to both photographers and gawkers alike.
      Campsites (7 quaint campsites for tents and RVs up to 35 feet long, no hookups or reservations, FREE with NW Forest Pass, except during hunting season): Most of this area allows camping outside of developed campgrounds up to 300 feet from an open road at no charge. As you progress south on the Mountain Road, the elevation increases with increased chance of snow late in the season, so this will be the last and best stop for most campers.
      Trip Notes: The forest here is a remarkable transformation from the rolling farmlands to the north. It is cooler here, with vistas well beyond the next hillside.
      Local Alternative: Misery Spring is the southernmost of the four campgrounds on the Mountain Road. RV camping is not advised due to road conditions for the last 2.5 miles. Trails lead to Mt. Misery and the Wenaha Wilderness, which extends into NE Oregon. The best alternative for most is Big Springs C.G. To get here, veer left at the Clearwater Lookout Tower onto Hwy 42 (you would veer right following Hwy 40 to get to Teal Spring), and drive 5 miles to the campground. A map of the Pomeroy Ranger District by USFS is invaluable, and recommended for all these campgrounds.

    Clearwater Lookout, just north of Teal Spring Campground, gives unparalleled views of the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness
    For more photos of Teal Spring CG click HERE

    • Pataha Campground (Garfield Co.'s BEST RUSTIC CG)
      Pronounced Pa-TAA-Ha, this beautiful spot on the edge of the Umatilla National Forest has a small pond surrounded by meadow, with Pataha Creek running right through the middle. The surrounding pristine pine forest makes for a great getaway without delving into the wilderness.
      Overview: This rustic little campground is located 17.3 miles south of Pomeroy, operated by the USFS at 3922' elevation, open year round, weather permitting; GPS: 46.29224, -117.51387.
      Facilities:  Limited facilities include a vault toilet, picnic tables, fire grates, and a small day use area; no water or other services.
      Recreation:  Hiking and fishing are popular. Fish are stocked each spring in Pataha Creek, including rainbow trout and eastern brook trout. Hiking is popular from the Stevens Ridge Trailhead tro the south. 
      Campsites (6 sites for tents or small RVs, no hookups or reservations, fees only during hunting season):  The campground is at the National Forest's edge. Once there, the campsites are relatively open on a beautiful meadow near the pond and Pataha Creek.
      Trip Notes:  This place has a very Appalachian look, first driving on narrow, winding roads along creeks before finding yourself driving to the end of a narrow "holler" along Pataha Creek. You'll be isolated, but you'll also feel tucked in for the night.
      Directions: Note that the campground is not on the main north-south Mountain Road/Hwy 128. After driving 7 miles, turn left onto Peola Rd (maps show this as the continuation of Hwy128). Continue for 1.5 miles until you come to the farmhouse, turn left, cross a small bridge, then veer right onto Pataha Creek Road to the campground.

    Pataha Campground sits at the end of a "holler"
    on the edge of the Umatilla National Forest

    For more photos of Pataha CG click HERE

    OTHER CAMPGROUNDS: There are no Group CGs, Hike-In Only CGs, or Boat-In Only CGs in Garfield Co. that we can recommend at this time.

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