The Colville (call-ville) National Forest is located in the northeast corner
of Washington and is comprised of 952,651 acres. Of the 26
developed campgrounds, 18 meet the selection criteria.
The Colville National Forest is located in an area of Washington
nicknamed the "Forgotten corner of Washington." In some ways,
the Colville National Forest appears to be Washington's
"Forgotten" forest. But that isn't such a bad thing for it means
the Colville is a forest with plenty of room for all for
exploring, enjoying and discovering what make this an
Looking at Colville National Forest from high above you see three
mountain ranges rolling eastward like massive sea waves of green.
These mountain ranges, called the Okanogan, Kettle River, and
Selkirk, give the forest its character. Between the mountain
ranges are troughs where spring's snow-melt and summer's rain
flow into the Columbia River system. The Forest's health and
richness are directly related to these troughs. Not only is there
a wide range of trees and plants but also a diversity and
abundance of wildlife are found here. Visitors to the Forest may
see slick furred black bears, tall and majestic elk, soft-eyed
deer, funny-looking moose, sly pine martens, herds of wild
turkey, flocks of tiny frogs, eagles, osprey, and hawks soaring
above - all without leaving camp.
Perhaps the only thing more abundant and diverse than the animals
that live in the Colville National Forest, are the things to do
while visiting this little forest. During the summer, visitors
can enjoy one of several rodeos or a county fair. There are
Bull-O-Rama, Poker Paddle, various "Nature Watch" activities, the
enormously popular "Washington Governor's Cup Walleye
Tournament," the Swan Lake Bike Festival, a Lavender Festival,
and a great 4th of July fireworks display. (Contact a local
Ranger District Office for what is going on.)
Of course, the Colville National Forest also has great hiking,
canoeing, fishing, scenic drives, and biking opportunities for
those who prefer such activities. The Pend Oreille (pond-o-ray)
River stretches through the eastern-most part of the Forest where
all these activities are available plus some very nice
campgrounds. Maybe not as well known as some of Colville's other
campgrounds, Edgewater and Panhandle campgrounds hug the Pend
Oreille River's east bank and, with only light traffic on this
side of the river, they have a pleasant isolated feel. Good for
bicyclists and canoeists, the campground's long, level parking
aprons welcome recreational vehicle (RV) enthusiasts.
East of the little community called Metaline and near Canada,
West and East Sullivan and Noisy Creek campgrounds circle the
scenic Sullivan Lake in the rugged Selkirk Mountain Range. These
three campgrounds offer campers a nice variety of camping
opportunities. From the more RV-friendly Noisy Creek to the
tent-friendly West Sullivan campgrounds, and East Sullivan
campground which is good for all types of campers, the Sullivan
Lake area is a pleasant experience.
Stretching across the state of Washington is State Route 20. The
western stretch of this road is known as the "North Cascade
Scenic Highway" but here in the Colville National Forest, Route
20 crosses the three mountain ranges, above, and links the east
and west parts of the Forest. Convenient to this east-to-west
route are the RV-friendly Lake Gillette, Gillette, and Lake Thomas
(tent-only) campgrounds and just west of Franklin Roosevelt
Lake/Columbia River, is the rustic but attractive Canyon Creek
campground. An additional feature at the latter campground is
an interpretive trail describing the area's logging history. The
Colville National Forest has several campgrounds off main routes
that offer a more wilderness forest feel without the inconveniences.
A few are Big Meadow Lake, Long Lake, and Swan Lake campgrounds.
Big Meadow Lake campground, west of Ione, WA, hugs a stretch of
Big Meadow Lake and would be a great place for a small or large family
group. South of Republic are Swan Lake and Long Lake campgrounds.
Long Lake campground is the more rustic of the two while Swan Lake
campground could be considered more scenic and more family-friendly.
(Note: During late September, the Forest holds a Bicycle Festival at
Swan Lake. It is reported everyone has a good time at this event,
including Smokey Bear.)
If the Colville National Forest has a heavily used, "urban"
campground it would be Pioneer Park campground. Just outside of
the bustling community of Newport, WA, Pioneer Park campground is
a good base camp for experiencing the area and enjoying the many
While this part of the state may be referred to by some as
"Forgotten," the Colville National Forest is "Unforgettable."
With a robust and diverse wildlife population, a dense and
healthy forest, clear and clean rivers, creeks, and lakes full of
fish, miles-upon-miles of trails for hikers, bikers, equestrians,
and off-road-vehicle enthusiasts, and so much more for its
visitors to enjoy, this Forest will be a place you will never
forget and want to come back to explore again and again.
765 South Main
Colville, Washington 99114
RANGER DISTRICT ADDRESSES
315 North Warren
Newport, Washington 99156
650 East Delaware Ave.
Republic, Washington 99166
12641 Sullivan Lake Rd.
Metaline Falls, Washington 99153
Three Rivers - Kettle Falls
255 West 11th
Kettle Falls, Washington 99141