4 Top Western National Forest Camping Spots

Information about the best National Forest Camping in the West can be found right here on our awesome blog! This area is home to some of the most beautiful forests on earth. They offer great options for camping and any outdoor activity your heart desires.  Plus with three Lost Campers campervan rental depots located in Salt Lake city, San Francisco and Los Angeles, these amazing and often free best National Forest Camping in the West, are quick and easy to get to.

Best National Forest Camping

Stream in Ashley Natl. Forest courtesy of Happy Camper and LC crew member Launi Haygood

Top Western National Forest Camping: Utah 

Here are fun facts about Utah: Every county in the state has National Forrest in it. “Utes” means “Mountain People”, we don’t mess around when it comes to outdoor fun in Utah!


Top Western National Forest Camping #1: Fish Lake National Forest

Once you have collected your awesome camper van in SLC, drive South for some of the best National Forest camping around! Fish Lake National Forest is a beautiful area in central Utah where the mountains meet the desert.  It is close to National Parks such as Capitol Reef and the Grand Staircase National Monument which can definitely fill out a great road trip itinerary. National Forest campgrounds are a great alternative to the busier National Park campsites. Single Tree Campground is one of the largest campgrounds in Fish Lake. It offers spacious sites and views of an open vista of Capitol Reef. 

Top Western National Forest Camping #2: Ashley National Forest

Pick up your van in Salt Lake City and head Northeast to the Ashley National Forest on the Utah-Wyoming border where you will find beautiful places such as Flaming Gorge National Rec. Area! There are 43 campgrounds in Flaming Gorge alone, not to mention various others throughout Ashley, so you won’t have to worry about struggling to find a spot. We recommend rafting the Green River while you are in the area- it is a blast!


Toes In The Sand. Courtesy of Happy Camper, Shana Miller

Top Western National Forest Camping: California 

Here is an interesting fact about California: Wilderness areas cover 15% of the state! 

Top Western National Forest Camping #3: Inyo National Forest

Pick up a van from San Francisco and head for the Sierras. Inyo National Forest is home to Mount Whitney, the highest Peak in the contiguous United States. Here you will also find gorgeous mountain lakes and enough outdoor fun to wear out even the most energetic outdoor junkie. Be prepared for some amazing high elevation camping. The campgrounds around Mt. Whitney average 10,000 feet and above, so pack layers even in summer. Don’t miss out on a visit to the beautiful Mammoth Lakes! This area is easily added to an itinerary that includes Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks.

Top Western National Forest Camping #4: Los Padres National Forrest

Pick up your camper van in LA and head North toward Santa Barbara for the best National Forest camping along the Pacific Ocean. Los Padres National Forest offers the best of both worlds: gorgeous mountains and coastal beauty! There are over 12,000 miles of maintained trails for day hikes or backpacking getaways. You can find everything from dense forest and streams to ocean beaches. There are loads of great campgrounds throughout Los Padres to enjoy. This is a great area to explore while traveling the Pacific Coast Highway.

 5 Friends on a Los Padres National Forest & Big Sur Lost Camper Campervan Adventure



How to Plan Your Top Western National Forest Camping Vacations

*Quick Camping Vacation Planning Tip:

Book a one way trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco and save money on your van relocation fee (it is usually at least $50 cheaper than traveling the other direction!)

Ready to plan your top Western National Forest camping holiday ever? Between May – September, our budget campervan rentals are often booked up 2 – 3 months in advance. So Book your camper van now and let the fun begin!

Top Western National Forest Camping

“P.J.” the van under a blanket of Stars- Courtesy of customer Ignacio Rodrigez


Submitted by camper van guru Launi Haygood in Salt Lake City, Utah