Free Camping at Government Camp, Oregon
White River West Sno-Park doubles as a parking lot in the Winter for snow activities, and a parking lot in the Summer for hikers and bicyclists. It’s also a popular area for RVers wanting spectacular views of Mt. Hood, while enjoying the touristy amenities of nearby Government Camp. It’s otherwise all black-top camping but still very much boondocking.
White River West Sno-Park, Government Camp, Oregon
Located right along the headwaters of White River, right at the base of Mt. Hood, White River West Sno-Park is a popular area for hikers, photographers, and campers wanting what is perhaps the BEST viewing of Mt. Hood.
This is otherwise a large, paved parking lot that sees only light traffic during the warmer months. There are usually a handful of RVers camped here everyday. Most of them are full-timers looking for a place to spend a few days to a week, while polishing their skills at photographing Mt. Hood and enjoying the dining and gift shops that await them in Government Camp.
While White River West Sno-Park was never intended to be used by RVers, the local ranger district doesn’t seem to mind.
It’s certainly not Instagram-worthy camping, nor even Facebook-selfie-worthy. But if you enjoy hiking, photography, and evenings dining in Government Camp, this place is tough to beat for its free accommodations.
For more about this place, the U.S. Forest Service has a webpage… https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/mthood/recarea/?recid=53332
Pros and Cons
Pros: Amazing views of Mt. Hood, free to camp, close to Government Camp, very quiet at night, super easy access, plenty of room for large RVs.
Cons: Weak Verizon signal, sloped parking surface requiring leveling blocks
White River West Sno-Park offers only a few pit toilets, otherwise, no other amenities.
The town of Government Camp is located about 7 miles away along Route 35, and offers a grocery store, hardware store, fuel stations, and dining.
Cellphone Signal Strength
Verizon 4G comes in weak here. The best we got was 2/5 bars, but it was still usable.
Insects, Pests, & Wildlife
No flying insects nor other creepy-crawlies noted while we camped there. We did not have problems with vermin, and we never saw any bear, nor heard any coyotes.
White River West Sno-Park remains pretty quiet at night, even during the day. You will see tourists stopping by to get photos of Mt. Hood, but these people all seem respectful.
Safe or Sketchy?
Camping here seems very safe. We never noticed any sketchy people. We camped for five nights, and once we went into town for dining and groceries, and left our trailer unattended without problem.
How Crowded Is It?
It’s not crowded at all. We camped there in September of 2018, and there were only as many as two to four other RVs camped there. However, it is definitely not a secluded camping area being a very large parking lot.
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