The Best Free Campsites in Mt. Hood, Oregon

What You Need to Know About Free Campsites in Mt. Hood, Oregon

 

Is There Free Camping in Mt. Hood?

Yes! Not only do you have the National Forest camping options but you also have free access to the Sno-Parks out of ski season. This was by far one of our favorite locations to camp because of the vicinity to hiking and the lakes that Mt. Hood offers.

Our Favorite Hiking Shoes

 

The Best Free Campsites in Mt. Hood

In our experience, the best free campsites in Mt. Hood are Trillium Lake Airstrip, Skyline Sno-Park, Little John Sno-Park and Bennet Pass.

You can view all the campsites listed below on the google maps with their exact coordinates. You’ll also be able to see photos taken at the campsites we stayed a night at.

1. Trillium Lake Airstrip Near Government Camp

The Trillium Lake Airstrip was the perfect spot to spend a couple weeks around the 4th of July. It offers a ton of space for all vehicles, though it was very busy during the holiday, and is a short walk to Trillium Lake. Trillium Lake is a very popular day and weekend spot for locals and travelers looking for a day at the beach or on the lake. You also get epic views of Mt. Hood while at the lake and even while going for walks near the campsite. You’ll likely even catch a glimpse of bald eagles in the area. We can’t stress enough that being able to come and go to this area, without a fee, is a huge perk of the campsite.

In addition to the Trillium Lake access you are also right across the street from Government Camp which is the main strip in Mt. Hood. There is even a gas station there for necessities. The location also provides an easy jumping off point for the popular hikes in the area like McNeil Point, Ramona Falls and Tom, Dick and Harry.

As a bonus there is also free spring water in the parking area at Trillium Lake. Keep in mind that there is a fee to get down there during the busy hours of the day. If you head down early or a little later in the day, you’ll be able to fill up without paying the fee.

Coordinates: 45.2811, -121.7353

Cell Service: Yes, we had 3-4 bars of Verizon.

Bathrooms: No

Picnic Tables: No

Fire Pits: Yes

Water: Yes, at Trillium Lake.

Vehicle Access: All. This is perfect for RVs, buses and other large vehicles.

 

2. Sno-Parks

Oregon offers free overnight parking at the various Sno-Parks in the state. Mt. Hood, being a ski destination, has a number of Sno-Parks in the area. We’re going to highlight some of more convenient ones below.  Sno-Parks are basically a big parking lot for in season winter sports. During season they require a Sno-Park pass but during the off season are free to use.

These sites are perfect for overnight campers or for self-contained vehicles that don’t require much of a campsite.

Trillium, Glacier View and Snow Bunny Sno-Parks are all located either right outside of the Trillium Lake Airstrip or within a mile. I’d only recommend using these space if the Trillium Lake Airstrip is too busy, your vehicle is too large, or if you get in late and don’t want to look for a spot.

White River, Teacup, Pocket Creek and Little John Sno-Parks are along route 35 going northeast along Mt. Hood. They provide nice options along a main road but away from the busier Government Camp.

Skyline Sno-Park gives you access to the southern part of Mt. Hood National Forest and is a good stop when traveling to or from the Bend area.

Picnic Tables: No

Fire Pits: No

Water: No

Vehicle Access: This is perfect for all sizes.

Other Community Picks

These are sites you’ll find on the iOverlander’s of the world and have the least sketchiness to them. For us they were a little too far away, not needed or just didn’t give the same access as the Trillium Lake camping.

1. Bennet Pass

This Bennet Pass location is one that we wish we tried. The mountain views and seclusion look like a dream for free camping. The reviews on iOverlander are also very encouraging.

Coordinates: 45.30809, -121.63812

Cell Service: No

Bathrooms: Yes, Pit Toilets

Picnic Tables: No

Fire Pits: Yes

Water: No

Vehicle Access: From the reviews there is space for smaller vehicles like vans or cars.

 

Don't Miss a Workout While Camping or on the Road

What We Would Do

Home Base: Trillium Dispersed Airstrip

This is the no brainer of no brainers. We would stake a claim to a site for a couple weeks at the Trillium Lake Airstrip campsite. We would use this as the home base to spend days down at the lake and then venturing out for hikes all along Mt. Hood. Even the hikes that are “further” away, like Ramona Falls and McNeil Point, are only 25-30 minutes away.

1-2 Night Stay: Sno-Parks When Visiting Other Areas

You can use the Sno-Parks as options heading in and out of Mt. Hood or if the site is that full during the summer. Skyline provides a good overnight on your way to or from Bend and Little John is an easy stop if you are heading north toward Hood River or Mt. Adams.

Supplements for Hikers and Campers

 

More Posts About Free Campsites

Head over to Free Campsites page for an entire list of sites including a map of all the locations we've stayed at.

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