Camping in designated areas

Why Are There Designated Campsites?
Wilderness managers are asking people to camp in designated campsites for several reasons: 

  • To reduce resource damage in high elevation/high use areas.
  • To concentrate visitor use impact in a few often-used campsites rather than many rarely used campsites.
  • To improve the social and physical conditions of these high use areas while providing for more enjoyable experiences at popular destinations.

How Do I Find A Campsite?

Image of a designated campsite marker, wooden post with marking.

  • Each designated campsite is marked with a three-foot post engraved with a tent symbol. It does not matter how attractive a site may be -- if it does not have a post, it is not a designated campsite. (See drawing at left. )
  • Finding a campsite is much easier in the daylight. Plan ahead so you arrive at your destination before dark.
  • Signs have been posted along the trail to inform you when you are entering a designated campsite zone. If you cannot find a site you must camp outside these boundaries.
  • Take time to study the aerial photo maps in the (pdf file) brochure and adjust your sense of scale to the landscape. Look for landmarks such as trails, the shape of a lake, or other forest openings as points of reference.

How Should I Camp In A Designated Campsite?
Once you have located a suitable site for your camp, the following suggestions will enhance yours and other’s wilderness experience:

  • Your tent(s) must be within 20 feet of the campsite post.
  • Keep a clean camp, pack out all your food, trash and toilet paper. Protect wild animals by keeping your food safely stowed off the ground, not in your tent.
  • Remember you are in a popular area, try to minimize your level of noise and activity in consideration of other campers

Is Camping In Designated Campsites Enforced?

  • Camping within designated sites is strongly encouraged at this time. While perhaps an inconvenience, this measure is intended to improve the quality of your visit at these Wilderness sites. A list of Wilderness regulations for actions punishable by fine is posted at all trailhead bulletin boards.
  • As a general rule always use Leave No Trace techniques and be considerate of other people and wildlife in Wilderness areas.

Can I Have A Campfire?
In general, campfires cause impacts to the soil, trees and to the site itself. Campfire scars are unsightly.

  • You may have a campfire within Indian Heaven Wilderness, but it is discouraged.
  • Use existing firerings, burn only downed wood and keep your fire small.
  • Make sure your fire is cold before leaving.

How Do I Manage Sanitation?
Properly managing all of your wastes is very important.

  • Use a pan or other container to carry water away from a lake or stream to wash your hands, face and body. This helps prevent the water source from becoming contaminated with bug repellant, sunscreen, or soap.
  • Never use soap in lakes, even biodegradable soap. All surface water and its inhabitants are very sensitive to any foreign substance. Wash all dishes, pans and utensils at least 100 feet away from any water source.
  • Personal waste must be as far away from any campsite and water source as possible. Dig a hole 6 inches deep, bury your personal waste and pack out all of your toilet paper.