Trek to the Stars: The Best Celestial Camping in Washington

Outdoor Adventures Monday, September 12, 2016 Written by

The annual Perseid meteor shower might be over, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy the night sky while camping in Washington state.

Whether it’s a car campground at Steamboat Rock State Park, a stroll through the Mary E. Theler Wetlands or a deep hike into the backcountry of the North Cascades, there’s no shortage of hiking and camping in Washington under the stars. Pack your pillow and sleeping pad, load up your phone with an app like Star Walk and head out to any of these choice destinations for incredible stargazing across the Evergreen State.

Cascade Pass

Distance: 7 miles round-trip

The remote nature of North Cascades National Park makes it a prime option for stargazing far from the light pollution of major metropolitan areas. This hike up to beautiful Cascade Pass is a popular one for good reason — glaciers, mountains and meadows for starters — but it’s also a choice spot to take in the night sky while camping in Washington’s backcountry.

camping in washington

Mary E. Theler Wetlands Nature Preserve

Distance: Varies

Accessible trails wind through this quiet little pocket of wetlands and woods on the Kitsap Peninsula, making it a pleasant option for an evening starry stroll. There’s not much light around here, so the more than two miles of trails within the 139 acres of protected salt marsh and estuary wetlands are a great way to see the stars above.

Steamboat Rock State Park

Distance: NA

The desert is great for clear nighttime skies, and those above Steamboat Rock State Park don’t disappoint. Located on the shores of Banks Lake, Steamboat Rock is an ideal destination for a long weekend of camping in Washington to explore and observe celestial beauty from any of the park’s three camping areas.

Cape Alava

Distance: 6.2 miles roundtrip or about 3 miles to beach campsites

It can be hard to count on clear skies on the Olympic Peninsula, but when the clouds part, the stars out here are immaculate. The easy walk along a boardwalk trail takes you through dark forests to the wild and rugged coastline, which will add the sounds of crashing surf and screeching seagulls to your celestial adventure.

camping in washington

Green Lake and Paramount Park

Distance: NA

Seattle has an astronomical society? Indeed it does. And while you won’t go camping, you can enjoy the stars every month as it hosts star parties at Green Lake and Paramount Park that are free and open to the public. Members of the Seattle Astronomical Society bring their telescopes and share their knowledge of constellations and deep space objects with anyone who wants to partake.

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