RV Adventure – 5 Best National Parks for Winter Camping

In winter, the drop in temperatures and some snowy landscapes will mean different preparations for national park trekking but is cabin fever getting to you? Well while it may take a bit of extra effort the adventure is well worth it.

We highlight just five of our most scenic winter national park picks here. Some take you to a warmer climate like Arizona or Nevada and others take you up north to enjoy the snow.

Opinions vary about what constitutes “comfortable weather,” so check the current forecast before you hit the road for the following parks.

That said here’s a sampling of several parks where winter is prime time for outdoor activity.

The park website has details about each campground, including the number of sites, elevation, and perhaps most important in a desert park, locations where water is available. You’ll also find information about which campgrounds accept advance reservations, and which are first come, first served.

  • Lake Mead National Recreation Area, on the Arizona-Nevada border south of Las Vegas, includes two large lakes and seven developed campgrounds: five on Lake Mead and two on Lake Mohave.

Although campgrounds in the park are open all year, the climate is much more pleasant in the fall and spring. NPS campgrounds offer restrooms, running water, dump stations, grills, picnic tables and shade; RV’s, trailers and tents are welcome. Concessioner-operated campgrounds with recreational vehicle hook-ups are also available within the park.

  • Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is located in southern Arizona, right on the border with Mexico. The Twin Peaks Campgroundhas 208 sites, can accommodate RVs up to 40 feet in length, and reserves some sites for tent camping only. It’s a clean, comfortable campground, with water spigots every few campsites. There are solar showers in the restrooms, but be cautious, as the water can get searing hot on hot days.
  • Mount Rainier National Park, WA – At Mount Rainier you will find all the snow one could ever ask for in winter. One area known as Paradise averages 54 feet of snow each year and held the world record for most annual snowfall in the 1970s at 93.5 feet. Mount Rainier also has all the winter recreation you could wish for with sledding, skiing, sliding, snowboarding, snowshoeing, climbing and camping. Just be certain you prepare well for the weather and definitely check local conditions before your trip. Note: All vehicles, including 4WD and AWD vehicles, must carry tire chains in the park during the winter season (November 1 – May 1) and be prepared to use them when tire chain requirements are posted.
  • Crater Lake National Park, OR – Winter is the reason that Crater Lake exists. The high elevation and proximity to the Pacific make climatic conditions that cause Crater Lake to receive more than 44 feet of snow on average each year. Without all that precipitation the lake would not exist. If you would like to explore this snowy wilderness, it’s recommended that you try skiing or snowshoeing, plus there are ranger-led interpretive hikes each weekend.

Crater Lake was formed when a violent eruption of a volcano triggered the collapse of a tall peak. Native Americans witnessed this formation 7700 years ago. Scientists still marvel at its purity: fed by rain and snow, it’s the deepest lake in the US and probably the most pristine on earth. Artists, photographers, and sightseers gaze in wonder at its blue water and stunning setting atop the Cascade Mountain Range.

Winter camping in the National Parks will be far less crowded than summertime, but check with each park before you go to see what’s available. There are also other RV Campgrounds nearby.


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This entry was posted in California RV Camping Vacation, National Parks, Oregon RV Camping Vacation, RV Vacation Ideas, Washington RV Camping Vacation. Bookmark the permalink.

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