Those that regularly follow my adventures on this blog know that I am all about free places to camp and lesser-known places to explore.
How have I driven past (literally within a half-mile) the free Liberty Campground for all of my life without checking it out is a mystery. The campground is named after the sleepy little former mining hamlet of Liberty, Washington.
A historic mining town
The town was founded in 1873 after the discovery of gold on Williams Creek and prospered for many decades as the yellow metal was extracted from the gravels of Williams and nearby Swauk Creeks.
After a bucket gold dredge removed the balance of the easily obtainable gold, residents moved on and the town became a ghost of its former self with the town being added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.
Today many of the old buildings have been fixed up and are occupied by residents either full-time or as a vacation property and some gold is still being mined in the area. Many people (RVers included) come to photograph the historic buildings and view the interpretive panels and displays of rusting mining equipment from the town’s heyday.
One of the interpretive panels highlights the rare crystalline gold that is found in the area along with photos of some of the larger gold nuggets that were discovered.
Finding the campground
As I mentioned, I have driven US Highway 97 for most of my life and until recently never knew this campground existed, even once I learned of its existence, it took me several more years to actually locate it and camp there.
It has become a bit easier to find the location now that the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) has installed a sign denoting the recreation area, but knowing where to camp is still a bit of a challenge given the unsigned entrances to the camping areas.
To reach the campground: From Highway 97, turn east onto Liberty Road, in less than a mile turn right onto graveled Pine Gulch Road at N47° 14.807 W120° 41.004
In a short distance, you will encounter the BLM’s “Liberty Recreation Area” sign. The next right will take you into the north half of the campground on the north side of Williams Creek.
The access and spaces on this half of the campground are not big rig friendly so continue on Pine Gulch Road crossing over Williams Creek via a culvert to the next right turn at N47° 14.753 W120° 40.848 marked as Forest Service Road 205 (pictured).
While there is no sign indicating that a campground exists down this narrow road, you will encounter the first of many spacious campsites in approximately 250 feet. As of this writing, there are no overnight fees associated with this campground or the number of RVs permitted in one camping space.
You will find the Liberty interpretive site just as you enter the west side of town on Liberty Road. There is a large designated turn around (for RVs and other large vehicles) just across from the interpretive site at N47° 15.028 W120° 41.553
If you choose not to drive your RV into the town of Liberty, it can be reached via a mile walk from the campground.
Discovering a free campground near a historic point of interest, my kind of adventure in RVing!
See also: Explore Old Relics At This Historic Mining Camp
Dave Helgeson’s many roles in the RV industry started before he even had a driver’s license. His grandparents and father owned an RV dealership before the term “RV” had been coined, and Dave played a pivotal role in nearly every position of an RV dealership. He and his wife Cheri launched their own RV dealership in the Pacific Northwest. The duo also spent 29 years overseeing regional RV shows. Dave has also served as President of a local chapter of the Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), worked on the board of advisors for the RV Technician Program of a local technical college, and served as a board member of the Manufactured Home and RV Association. Dave’s reputation earned him the title of “The foremost expert on boondocking,” bestowed by RV industry icon, the late Gary Bunzer (The RV Doctor). When he’s not out boondocking, you’ll find Dave in the spotlight at RV shows across the country, giving seminars about all things RVing. He and Cheri currently roam in their fifth travel trailer, with Dave doing all the service, repair and modifications to his own unit.
The problem with showing everyone the neat places on the internet is that they become over crowded.
Nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded. – Yogi Berra
Joe Jeanes says
Enjoyed the article
The Bohemian Sojourner says
You sound like me…. the more secluded the better, and free makes it even better, right up my flagpole. Thanks for directions.
CAUTION!!!! The area noted can become a party hole on numerous weekends during the summer season. BLM does patrol there but often the noise is at night and the party campsites are empty during the day. Many of the users there are Motorcyclers, Jeepers and Side by Side users. Riding in camp is often observed.