Q: I recently moved to tri cities and love to camp and fish. Are there any forest areas that have good camping within 100 miles?
First, only because some readers may not know this, the Tri-Cities (Kennewick, Richland and Pasco) are in Washington’s desert country in the south central part of the state. The Yakima and Snake Rivers meet the Columbia here, and while surrounding slopes are carpeted in vineyards and dotted with sage, forestland is scarce.
There are camping opportunities with fishing just outside of the Tri-Cities (check out one of the handful of nearby campgrounds run by the Army Corps of Engineers, like Charbonneau Park or Fishhook Park). Either of these may suit you fine, or they may be too close to home to feel like a real getaway. If you prefer feeling like you’ve actually taken a trip for a nice camping and fishing getaway, here are my suggestions in every direction.
Oh, and don’t forget to obtain a state fishing license before you cast your rod.
NORTH: Potholes State Park
66 miles from the Tri-Cities | camping info | 509-346-2759
This green oasis flanked by desert slopes is hub of fishing in the Columbia basin. Potholes reservoir is a huge lake and is ringed by dozens of small ponds and marshy areas. The park has four boat ramps and docks, and the water is perfect for canoeing. Freshwater fishing here is good for rainbow trout, walleye, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass and yellow perch. The campground has about 120 camp sites (half with RV hookups), plus a handful of cute furnished cabins that book out well in advance.
EAST: Palouse Falls State Park
67 miles from the Tri-Cities | camping info | 509-646-9218
Folks flock here to see and photograph Washington state’s official waterfall, a beautiful cascade that plunges through the channeled scablands. You’ll find 11 campsites here, too, all of them first-come, first-served. Summer fishing in this region is great for walleye, bass, catfish and more.
SOUTH: Cutsforth Park
100 miles from the Tri-Cities | camping info | 541-989-8214
Finally, some forest! Head south into Oregon for this forested county park near Heppner where you’ll find secluded campsites in the woods and ponds stocked with trout. There are 35 campsites, some with hookups. The park borders national forest land, so there are hiking trails just up the road (check out oregonhikers.org for trail ideas).
WEST: Hause Creek
66 miles from the Tri-Cities | camping info | fishing info | 509-653-1401
NOTE: This campground is CLOSED for summer 2016 due to water and sewer system issues.
To the northwest looms Mt. Rainier, and both the Chinook Pass and White Pass corridors on the mountain’s east side are full of great campgrounds in the woods along scenic rivers with primo fishing opportunities. The downside is, these are just a bit further than 100 miles, but if forests and fishing is what you want, they’re well worth the extra drive.
My favorite campground along the White Pass corridor is Hause Creek Campground, set on the beautiful Tieton River near Rimrock Lake. Gorgeous scenery, nearby wilderness trails and fabulous fishing converge to make this a spectacular place to spend a summer weekend. There are 42 campsites, none with hookups.
Hope this helps!
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