Yacolt Burn State Forest
Guide

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Introduction

Yacolt Burn State Forest is located amid the Cascade Mountains in southern Washington. With over 90,000 acres of pristine forest, RV campers will have hundreds of miles of hiking trails to explore. The Grouse Vista Trail will take you to the top of Silver Star Mountain, where you’ll have a panoramic view of the whole area. Many of the trails in the area are multi-use, allowing you to mountain bike, ATV, and horseback ride. The forest is packed with dozens of bird species, making it a great destination for RV campers interested in birdwatching.

You’ll also have plenty to do once you get off the trail. There are a number of creeks located throughout the forest, giving anglers a wide range of opportunities. You can also boat along many of the creeks, perfect for spring and fall kayak rides through the forest. There are multiple areas throughout the forests that are reserved for target shooting, both for bow and arrows and firearms. There are three main RV campgrounds to choose from in the forest, all of which will offer you a secluded, private environment. The campgrounds are pet-friendly, so you can camp with your dog.

RV Rentals in Yacolt Burn State Forest

Transportation in Yacolt Burn State Forest

Driving

Located right on Washington’s border with Oregon, Yacolt Burn State Forest is a quick drive from Portland, and just a few hours from Seattle. The main campgrounds are located on the western edge of the forest. There are a few windy roads you’ll have to take before getting there, so drive slowly if you have a large RV.

If you are coming from Portland, take I-205 north out of the city and then NE 139 St to reach the forest in around an hour. Driving from Seattle, take I-5 south from the city and you’ll get to the forest in around three and a half hours.

The three main campgrounds (Rock Creek Campground, Cold Creek Campground, and Dougan Creek Campground) are all located on the western edge of the forest. All of them will require you to drive on back roads, so drive with caution if you have a large rig.

Parking

Public Transport

Campgrounds and parking in Yacolt Burn State Forest

Campsites in Yacolt Burn State Forest

Reservations camping

First-come first-served

Rock Creek Campground

This large campground sits on 20 acres of land, and is a favorite of equestrian campers. There are picnic tables, vault toilets, and a shelter. It has the largest sites of the campgrounds featured here, fitting RVs up to 27 feet long.

All of the sites at the campgrounds are first-come, first-served. You should try to get there early in the day, especially if visiting during the summer, as there are only a few sites at each campground. The campgrounds are open from May through October.

Cold Creek Campground

This campground features eight RV sites in a secluded setting. There are picnic tables, vault toilets, and a shelter. You’ll have access to 35 miles of hiking trails directly from the campground, making it one of the best areas for RV campers interested in hiking.

Dougan Creek Campground

There are three main RV campgrounds located in Yacolt Burn State Forest. None of the sites at any of the campgrounds have hookups of any kind.

This campground features seven RV sites, as well as five picnic tables and a vault toilet. The main attraction around the campground is Dougan Creek, where you’ll find several 100 foot waterfalls. Dogs are allowed in the campground, but they must be kept on a leash.

Alternate camping

Seasonal activities in Yacolt Burn State Forest

In-Season

Berry and Mushroom Gathering

If you come to the park during late summer, you can comb the forest for wild berries and mushrooms. The area is known for its wild blackberries and huckleberries, as well as a wide variety of mushrooms, including chanterelle in the fall. Just be careful when identifying berries, as some varieties are not edible. The best time of the year for berry gathering is late summer running through early fall, and the ideal time for mushrooms is in the fall.

Off-roading

If you want to explore the 90,000 acres of forest at a faster pace, there are a number of trails open to off-roading. The Jones Creek Trailhead is one of the most popular options, giving riders miles of forest to explore, as well as scenic views from mountain lookouts. You can also connect to the Mountain View Trail and the Hagen Creek Trail System.

Off-road riding is not allowed in the campground. Vehicles are permitted on any of the forest’s open gravel roads, as well as many other trails. Check with the park office for an up to date trail map showing all trails open to off-roading.

Hiking

The Grouse Vista Trailhead will take you up Silver Star Mountain, giving you beautiful panoramic views of the forest. It’s rated as difficult, with 6.3 miles of hiking along steep paths. The trail is excellent year-round, although you’ll find hundreds of species of blooming wildflowers if you visit during the spring. Dogs are allowed on most of the trails in the forest, although you’ll have to keep them on a leash.

Off-Season

Birdwatching

With dozens of species visiting the area throughout the year, Yacolt Burn State Forest is an excellent location for birdwatching. You’ll find a wide range of wrens, warblers, finches, and hummingbirds, as well as a variety of waterfowl species. You can find more information on the birds in the park by consulting one of the birdwatching societies in the area, many of which have field guides and checklists. Birdwatching is great year-round, although you’ll find the greatest variety in spring and in the fall, when birds are migrating.

Target Shooting

There are also a number of areas throughout the forest where target shooting is allowed. Both firearms and bow and arrows are allowed. Shooting is not allowed within 100 feet of any of the trails, as well as near the campground. Also take caution, as there are a number of private residences in the forest. Check with the park office for a map of any restricted areas throughout the forest.

Fishing

Anglers will also find plenty of opportunities in the forest, with a number of creeks and lakes open to fishing. Hagen Creek is the most popular destination, with a large population of trout starting in June and running through October. Rock Creek is also an excellent fishing area, and is right next to one of the forest’s main RV campgrounds. There are no rentals directly from the park office, although you’ll find a number of bait shops nearby.

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