Public campsites can be found south of Randle in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, along the east side of Mount St. Helens. Nearest is Iron Creek Campground (12 miles south on Forest Rd. 25, 518/885-3639 or 877/444-6777, www.recreation.gov, open mid-May to late October, $18–20 for tents, $36 for RVs). Campfire programs are given at Iron Creek Friday and Saturday evenings in the summer.
Tower Rock Campground is six miles east of Iron Creek on Road 76 (open mid-May to late September, $18–20). A good place for primitive camping in the national forest is along paved Forest Road 23, leading southeast from Randle toward Trout Lake. Just past North Fork Campground (group-camping site only) are several spots right along the Cispus River, 12 miles from Randle.
RV owners will likely be more comfortable at one of Randle’s RV parks. Families can break out the fishing poles at Tower Rock U-Fish RV Park (137 Cispus Rd., 360/497-7680, www.towerrockrv.com, $22 with full hookups, $20 electric), which allows guests to cast into its waters without a license. You pay for what you catch, $4.25 per pound. Tent sites are also available for $16. This place is recommended.
Shady Firs Campground (107 Young Rd., 360/497-6108, $27 full hookups) also offers a nice respite from the sun. The property has laundry and shower facilities.
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition