The State of Washington allows camping on its state trust lands, but only on areas that they have designated specifically for such use. The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) manages these lands, and are in charge of operating these specific areas.
Camping on Washington State Trust Lands
The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) manages nearly 3.3 million acres of state trust lands. While most of it is open for various forms of recreation like hiking, picnicking, bird watching, fishing, etc., only a smaller portion of these lands are open for camping.
Specifically, camping is limited to areas designated as “recreation areas”. The DNR manages 160 total recreation areas across the State.
Where to Find Recreation Areas and Campgrounds
- The DNR publishes an online guide of recreation areas and campgrounds on its website (click here).
- The DNR also has an interactive map of recreation areas and campgrounds (click here).
How Much Does it Cost to Camp on Washington State Trust Lands?
The DNR states that camping is always free on its recreation areas and campgrounds.
However, the DNR requires you to purchase a “Discover Pass” to enter these areas. Fees for a Discover Pass are…
- $35.00 for an annual Discover Pass, applies to both Washington residents and out-of-state residents
- $11.50 for a single day pass
- Discover Pass is good for one vehicle at a time, however it can be transferred to another vehicle in your household
- You can purchase a Discover Pass online (https://www.discoverpass.wa.gov), then print it out. Or, you can visit one of hundreds of participating stores and shops across the State and buy one in person. Visit the Discover Pass website for a list of retail locations.
Rules for Camping on Washington State Trust Lands
The DNR establishes unique sets of rules for each recreation area and campground. However, many of these campgrounds tend to have similar rules…
- Maximum length of stay at a campground is often 7 days in a 30 day period.
- Maximum length of stay while dispersed camping is often 10 days in a 30 day period.
- Some recreation areas and campgrounds may permit longer lengths of stay.
- Dispersed camping is permitted only in specific recreation areas where the DNR has permitted dispersed camping.
- Campfires are only permitted in recreation areas where the DNR has specifically permitted campfires.