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Posted on Aug 12, 2013 | 4 comments

A Weekend Camping at Canyon Creek Campground

A Weekend Camping at Canyon Creek Campground

Canyon Creek Campground can be found in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Washington state. It is a small campground made up of only 9 campsites, pretty much in the middle of nowhere. We headed up there after work on a Friday night for a quick weekend camping trip. In the dark. Real dark with no street lights of any kind. Did I mention it’s in the middle of nowhere?

Canyon Creek Campground

Sunset on the way to Canyon Creek Campground.

Finding Canyon Creek Campground

Since we had to wait until Drew was home from work and load up the vehicle, we didn’t get on the road until sunset. We hadn’t been to this campsite before and really didn’t have a clue where we were going. Once you get within about 5 miles of the campsite, there isn’t any cell reception. So, if we were to get lost, we wouldn’t be able to call our friends we were meeting to let them know anything or to help us find our way.

Luckily, we found Canyon Creek Campground. And without too much difficulty. Mostly we just second guessed where we were going since it was so far out. There was twice we had to turn around, but it was right after we made a wrong turn. At least, we didn’t drive for miles before realizing our mistake.

Once we were at the campsite, we drove around in circles. Again and again. With there not being any lights and not being able to call our friends, it took a few tries around Canyon Creek Campground before we found them.

Setting Up Camp

We set up camp, and by we, I mean Drew. He made us a deluxe bed since he knew it would make me happy and keep us both comfortable. It also made our dog, ChiChi, happy since she sleeps with us at night. Then we settled in for a fun night around the campfire with our friends, laughing and sharing stories.

Canyon Creek Campground

Drew fixing the door to our tent.

There was one problem with the super comfy bed that Drew made. It was a little too big for the tent and prevented us from zipping it up. Good thing Drew use to be a Boy Scout and came prepared with duct tape and a tarp. He quickly made us another door that kept out all of the bugs from our tent and didn’t let ChiChi think she could come and go as she pleased.

When we awoke the next day, we prepared the first of many camping meals that I prepared in advance. Then we had a look around the Canyon Creek Campground to discover there wasn’t much to it. There weren’t hiking trails to walk to and you couldn’t easily get down to the creek. It took us a whole 15 minutes to make it back around to our site.

Canyon Creek Campground

Pretty snail at our campsite.

Canyon Creek Campground

Old fallen tree at Canyon Creek Campground.

Canyon Creek Campground

Purple wildflower at Canyon Creek Campground.

Canyon Creek Campground

Yellow wildflower at Canyon Creek Campground.

Canyon Creek Campground

Pink wildflower at Canyon Creek Campground.

Normally, we would have gone hiking during the day. With there not being much to do in the area and the only places to hike you had to drive to, we took it easy for the day while spending more time with our friends. No one used any electronics and without any cell service, no one was on their phones. It was all about being present and living in the moment.

Canyon Creek Campground

ChiChi was happy to find a spot in the sun.

Swimming Hole Near Canyon Creek Campground

The next day we did take our car to a beautiful swimming hole and waterfall nearby before we left Canyon Creek Campground. The weather wasn’t hot enough to swim with the water being so cold, but it still felt good to soak our feet and splash some water on ourselves after not having access to showers for a couple days.

Canyon Creek Campground

Waterfall and swimming hole near Canyon Creek Campground.

Canyon Creek Campground

Refreshing, but cold swimming hole.

Canyon Creek Campground

Washing up at the top of a waterfall.

Canyon Creek Campground

ChiChi finds another spot in the sun.

After feeling refreshed and a bit cleaner, we headed out to another part of Gifford Pinchot National Forest to investigate and finally get to hike. We may not have had the kind of camping experience we were hoping for at Canyon Creek Campground, but we didn’t let it stop us from venturing on to find what we were looking for. Some new areas to explore and adventures to be had!

Canyon Creek Campground

Happy to have found a place to explore.

Have you ever gone camping at a site that ended up not being what you were expecting?

All photography by Kimmy Hayes © 2013.

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About Kimmy Hayes

Kimmy Hayes is the founder and editor-in-chief of AfterGlobe; a site on becoming debt free and traveling the world as a married couple. In 2012, she planned and coordinated her own do-it-yourself destination wedding on the beautiful island of Maui while serving as a moderator for the on-line community, The Knot. She is passionate about traveling to experience new cultures, snorkeling the waters of the world and reading with her toes in the sand.


  1. Beautiful pictures! I’m used to camping in the Ontario Provincial Park system, with most parks containing several campsites (each with over a hundred tent sites!) and plenty of common activity areas. It was strange, therefore, to visit Smugglers Notch State Park in Vermont last year, where there was only 25 individual sites. It was a gorgeous park, extremely clean, private and quiet – and just a touch boring! I would still recommend it for those who want to experience nature for a short amount of time.

  2. I officially hate camping, but did enjoy a short glamp at Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, NSW, Australia a few years back. Even though I’d never camp, that camp site looks amazing!! Now, if only they had en suite flushing toilets, and showers…… :)

    Really interesting post!
    Jo recently posted…Beyond Bondi Beach – an insider’s guide to SydneyMy Profile

  3. It looks beautiful! I once went camping in my native UK – to Hampshire in the New Forest. My friend and I pitched our tent in the middle of nowhere, and woke up with a New Forest pony sticking his head through the door.
    Frightened the life out of me!

    Camping in the Grand Canyon was an experience too – but this looks more remote and less touristy. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I am not a happy camper. The only stars I sleep under are 5… I kid! But seriously, camping isn’t for me. This place looked really beautiful. I love that you were able to get away from technology for a while. An area in Korea without phone service would be blasphemous! Even some mountains have wifi.
    Meagan | recently posted…Say WHAT?!My Profile

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