At the base of the magnificent Cascade Mountains, just a few miles from the quaint and unincorporated community of Liberty, Washington, lies the BLM managed Liberty Recreation Site. The site is the epitome of perfection in regards to both location and natural beauty and also holds significant historical value.
Liberty Recreation Site is a scenic spot where one has a front-row seat to view the majestic snow-capped Cascade Mountains. Relax and enjoy the babbling waters of the nearby Williams Creek or venture into the historic town of Liberty, which is walking distance from the campsite.
Camping at a spot like this is one of the best decisions you will make when visiting Washington. Liberty Recreation Site is a popular camping spot for those visiting the nearby U.S Forest Service (USFS). Another point of attraction at Liberty Recreation Site is the extensive network of the trail systems that lures hikers, horseback riders, trail runners, and cyclists to venture out to Liberty to enjoy camping and other recreational activities.
The busiest time at Liberty Recreation Site is during summers, particularly the weekends when most of the campsites are likely to be occupied. In winters, snow tends to cover the access road to the site but many visitors still brave the conditions to enjoy snowmobiling at a nearby winter trail.
Most campers that visit Liberty Recreation Site are tourists and historians who came to enjoy the history behind Liberty - the oldest mining community in Washington State.
Liberty Recreation Site is located 20 minutes from Teanaway Community Forest. To reach your destination in Kittitas County, drive south of Swauk Pass for 12-miles on Highway 97. Take the exit and head east on to Liberty Road and drive another mile onto Pine Gulch Road. You’ll spot Liberty Recreation Site on your right.
Finding the location is a bit tricky but BLM has placed several signs pointing towards the recreation site, so keep an eye out for those. The last bit of the Pine Gulch Road is gravel which leads to the entrance of Liberty Recreation Site.
Once you enter the recreation site, take the next right and you will reach the north part of the campground and the north side of Williams Creek. The sign for the campground can easily be missed and hard to see until you reach it, so keep an eye out!
The Bureau of Land Management maintains a campground at Liberty Recreation Site that boasts a total of 15 grassy campsites. The campground is open year-round; however, snow makes it impossible to access the sites during the winter months. The campground is dispersed and lies right next to the creek amongst the groove of cottonwoods and at the base of forested mountains.
The campground offers great access to the USFS trails that are the most popular attraction of this area. Campers are to adhere to the seven standard leave-no-trace principles at all times.
The campground facilitates campers with vault toilets. Pets are allowed. Every campsite comes with a picnic table and a fire grill. The entire drive-in towards the campsites is paved, making it easier to access.
All the campsites are surrounded by plenty of trees, providing privacy from other campers. All the sites are located on the creek. There aren’t any cell-phone services here so come prepared.
The popular USFS network of trails are all accessible from Liberty Recreation Site and is one of the many reasons why people decide to camp at this BLM managed campground. Iron Bear to Miller Loop and the Devil’s Gulch trail are particularly preferred by visitors.
Devil’s Gulch is a single-track multi-use trail that slopes upwards, before dropping into what becomes a challenging downhill hike. Iron Bear to Miller Loop is an 18-mile trail loop that gives an awesome view of the east of the Teanaway and leads to the summit of Iron Bear Peak and Miller Peak.
Devil’s Gulch, Stairway to Heaven, and Apricot Crisp are three trails that allow for an enjoyable and challenging mountain biking experience. Devil’s Gulch is a 24-mile loop trail that is considered to be an intermediate to advanced level biking trail.
The Stairway to Heaven is about four miles from point to point and recommended for bikers who are at an intermediate level. Apricot Crisp is also a point to point single-track trail for intermediate level mountain bikers.
Rock climbing enthusiasts will also enjoy visiting this part of Washington as it allows them to test their skills on relatively challenging climbs to the summits of Miller Peak and Iron Bear Peak. The trails to reaching the summits of these peaks begin from Liberty Recreation Site. From the summit of Miller Peak, one can look as far out as the Enchantments Peak, Stuart Range, Navaho, and even Earl.
Trail running is a fun activity where you can get some much-needed cardio amidst the beautiful nature surrounding you. Staying at Liberty Recreation Site, you can definitely enjoy this sport at the Miller Peak trail that has a length of about five miles. It is suitable for all levels and is 66% runnable, whereas the rest of the landscape requires hiking.
Your leashed dog can accompany you on this balsamroot and wildflower-covered track. As you run the trail and make the 3,200 ft. climb, you’ll find yourself on Miller Peak with magnificent views of the Stuart Range greeting you.
Liberty is the oldest mining town in Washington, which was established in 1850 and initially called Williams Creek. This town is a few minutes from the Liberty Recreation Site and this where the old bearing channel was founded. The town has the reputation of being a Ghost Town and lures many visitors annually.
The town was once renowned for its stable community life. The miners were locals and lived here for three generations, running the family business amidst this mountain wilderness.
Every surrounding and every moment offered by the Liberty Recreation Site is worth capturing in a timeless photo. The views of Stuart Range, the haunting abandoned equipment of its mining legacy, old townhouses of the original miners and numerous more sights allow photographers to seize some amazing snaps and enjoy the historic and natural value of this remote and scenic place.