Backcountry Camping in National Forests

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The United States Forest Service campgrounds has around 4300 campgrounds across the US for you to check out. Their amenities vary – some only have primitive pit toilets and hand water pumps, some have flush toilets, showers, and running water. Almost all of the campsites have picnic tables, fire pits, and trash bins. These campgrounds are not only beautiful, they are often free to stay at (and if not free, very inexpensive.) Many of the campgrounds have a host and allow up to a 14 day stay (some popular campgrounds allow less).

There is an awesome directory online for you to find USFS campsites – http://www.forestcamping.com/. They sort the campgrounds by each National Forest, so it is very easy to use! Each campground lists the amount of RV sites available and the amenities offered, so no unpleasant surprises when you find out there are no showers or flushing toilets! Many campsites are seasonal, so be sure to check if the campsite is open before you roll up. The website also contains many pictures of all of the campsites, so you can see where you might camp before you decide to go.

Many campgrounds accept reservations. There is a national telephone reservation system for you to make your camping reservations. The number (toll free) is 1-877-444-6777. There is also a website where you can make reservations. – www.recreation.gov. There is a fee charged for making an online reservation. Usually no more than sixty percent of the campground can be reserved, so if those are full up, then it is first-come-first-serve.

The US National Forests permit pets, but they must be leashed and under control at all times! Most of the campsites have hiking trails so make sure to bring your hiking boots and sense of adventure. Many of the campgrounds also have swimming/boating areas, so bringing a swimsuit or a canoe wouldn’t be too terrible of an idea, either.

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