When you start looking for a boondocking campsite in the national forests–especially if you haven’t camped there before–it can seem a daunting task. When you turn your rig down an unknown dirt road, it is impossible to tell not only if there are boondocking campsites but also how far they might be.
You can increase your odds of finding a site if you first look on your forest map for a lake within the forest with what appears to be a short, not too windy, access road. You have a much greater chance of finding a campsite at a lake because anglers have been there before you looking for better fishing holes.
Decades of forest anglers have created campsites along the shoreline that have been there for years and that don’t require a lot of searching. You can also find campsites along the streams that feed the lake or empty them.
And what could be nicer after having wandered down a dusty dirt road on a summer day with the temperature in the nineties than finding a lakeside campsite in a grove of tall shady pines and jumping into the clear water for a cooling swim.
Sometimes on busy weekends lakes can be busy. As you are driving in, watch for flat grassy meadows where you might find a few sites on the edge of the treeline away from the lake. You might even be treated to grazing deer or elk in the much quieter meadow at dawn and dusk.