Forlorn Lakes Campground in Washington resides in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and rests along the shores of a chain of mountain lakes. The campground is incredibly unique in that the sites are not bunched together but instead are spread out throughout the shores of the surrounding lakes. This gives most of the sites a good amount of privacy and drastically improves the overall camping experience.
When we first stumbled upon Forlorn Lakes we were pleasantly surprised by the incredible beauty and serenity the area possess. When you arrive, a dirt road escorts you windily through the chain of lakes and past scattered campsites and turnouts. This is a first come, first served campground so you are given the opportunity to scout out the site that suits you best – an activity that is becoming more and more scarce in our new “reserve everything” world of camping. Choose wisely, friend, because if you do you will be rewarded with some of the best lakeside mountain camping the state has to offer.
Each site comes equipped with picnic tables, fire rings, nearby outhouses and lake views. During the warmer months swimming is an option and small row boats and paddle boards can be found out on the water. In total there are 25 campsites to choose from and overnight fees are a refreshing $10. There is no potable water at Forlorn Lakes and no garbage services so please pack out what you pack in.
Due to its stunning beauty this area is very popular during the peak summer months and the campground will fill up early in the week. If you are headed here during the busy months it would be a good idea to have a “plan B” in the event the campground is full. Dispersed camping around the lake is not allowed.
Forlorn Lakes is roughly a two hour drive from Portland, Oregon. Head east to the town of Carson, Washington. From Carson take the Wind River Highway north until you see signs for Panther Creek Campground. Follow signs to Panther Creek Campground which will be off of National Forest Road 65. Follow NF-65 until you pass Panther Creek Campground and then take a right onto Carson Guler Road. Follow this road east until you pass Goose Lake and Goose Lake Campground. After Goose Lake you will want to take a left at NF-6035 or Forlorn Lakes Road. Follow this road for less than 5 minutes until you arrive at the campground.
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