Seaquest State Park

Discussion in 'Washington' started by Unstable_Tripod, Jul 26, 2014.

  1. Unstable_Tripod

    Unstable_Tripod Well, there's your problem!

    14,371
    7
    May 20, 2008
    Seattle, Washington
    This 475-acre park is located on WA504 about six miles east of I-5 and Castle Rock, WA. Its elevation is about 500 feet and it is open year-around. Unlike many other Washington state parks that have mowed lawns with underground sprinklers, closely-spaced sites and zero privacy, this park actually has campsites in the woods. The forest is largely Doug Fir and Oak with a lot of underbrush. Sites are large and well-spaced. Overall privacy is fairly good but we could see into adjoining sites on both sides and across the road. Even with several other campers nearby the place was pretty quiet.

    Three loops contain a total of 102 sites. There is one loop for big RVs (16 sites with hookups) and two loops for tents or trailers. Seventeen of the 54 tent/trailer sites in the A (North) Loop have hookups (since there are 33 hookup sites overall). None of the 22 sites in the B (South) Loop have hookups. There is a mixture of back-in and pull-through sites in the North while the South is almost all back-in. Pads are of various lengths so not all can handle a trailer/TV combo. The longest is 50 feet. Some parts of the roads are paved but there is a lot of dirt/gravel combo. The pads are also unpaved. Ours was not level -- I had to lift one wheel about four inches. There are also five "yurt cabins," a group area and a day use area. The campground has flush toilets (cleaned daily) with showers (need tokens), trash collection and a dump station. The gatehouse sells wood and ice. The park takes reservations. Unreserved sites are FCFS night by night.

    We had Site 73 in the South loop -- no hookups. Since the area is hilly our site, like many, had two levels with the parking pad higher and the rest of the site lower down a hill. Ours had a steep 4-5 foot drop and I really disliked having to climb up and down every time I wanted to go to the trailer or truck for something. What I disliked the most, however, was the loud and constant highway noise. It started early in the morning and ran late into the night. Highway 504 is only about 100 yards from the loop. All sites have a table and fire ring. The cost is $20 per night for a dry site -- too much IMO. Electric and water sites are $39 per night!

    Check in time is 2:30 PM, while check out time is 1:00 PM. A site can be occupied earlier if it is vacant. We arrived about 1:00 PM and occupied ours right away. Quiet time is 10:00 PM- 6:30 AM. Generators are permitted 8:00 AM - 9:00 PM. The maximum stay is ten consecutive days in summer.

    The park has a mile of beach on Silver Lake and seven miles of hiking/bicycle trails. There are also children's play areas, volleyball and horseshoe areas. There is a Visitor Center but they charge $5 admission. The Visitor Centers offered by the feds at Johnston Ridge and Weyerhaeuser (along WA504) are free. The Johnston Ridge Observatory and Visitor Center in Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument is about 50 miles east on WA504. The trip brings you to 4,000 feet of elevation and you get a spectacular, close-up view of the mountain. There are great views of the Toutle River Valley along the road too.

    I liked this park in some ways but the high cost and horrible highway noise were overwhelmingly negative. I probably won't go back. Here is our campsite seen from the trailer parking pad.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Born2recrea8

    Born2recrea8 New Member

    46
    0
    Jan 18, 2013
    We did a drive thru of Seaquest late last year and came away a bit disappointed. Much as you described, and the hookup sites as I recall were essentially a parking lot with electric service (no privacy).

    Most people I know who have stayed here have done so for the convenience of checking out things in the area, not for the camping experience. To us it looked like an OK "stop-over" if a person were on the way to somewhere else on interstate 5 going between Portland and Seattle, since it's not too many miles off of the interstate.
     
  3. Unstable_Tripod

    Unstable_Tripod Well, there's your problem!

    14,371
    7
    May 20, 2008
    Seattle, Washington
    I think that's the primary way it is used. We were the only people in the loop who stayed more than one night. There were a lot of folks coming and going but just over-nighting. The only reason we went there was to spend some time at Mt. St. Helens and the various visitor's centers. Seaquest was the only campground in the area.
     
  4. Douggro

    Douggro Active Member

    246
    50
    Jul 26, 2017
    Seattle, WA
    The DW and I surveyed Seaquest today and have booked a slot (spot #28) for next month. It's been a long, long time since we just camped at a state park to just, well, camp. We're very used to being camped at an event with 200-500 people with zero privacy. This should be a nice change. We'll report our observations after our stay.
     
  5. Douggro

    Douggro Active Member

    246
    50
    Jul 26, 2017
    Seattle, WA
    As promised, our observations following a weekend stay:
    First off, the wife and I had a nice weekend alone together camping for the first time that we can remember since BK (Before Kids):
    IMG_0448.JPG
    You can see that the wife approves - either for being camping, or for the beer she's holding. Or both. :D

    We walked around the loop of the upper area several times, making mental notes of the general site allocations. The northern A Loop forms a rough "8" figure, and the sites on the west side of the cut-through road are more open and much less private. All the sites on this loop are relatively equidistant from the bathroom facilities and none require walking through campsites for access. There are trails either from the sites or the road to them. The sites at the north (farthest from the entrance) are more dispersed and secluded, including a few that have the pad set back well off the road. But none of those sites have hookups. The descriptions of the site sizes, pad areas and suitability for your rig on the Parks reservation website are fairly accurate though the pictures don't do some of the sites credit - positive and/or negative.

    Not noted on the map, there are water spigots around the loops, some of which also are marked for dumping gray water. Electrical service is 30 Amp main with a 15 Amp sub for two standard outlets except on the T Loop where the bigger rigs set up. Our water spigot had a Y on it, though I think that was left by a previous occupant.

    We had no cell signal (AT&T) at our campsite. Walking down to the park entrance got us signal. We never checked for WiFi signal.

    Unstable_Tripod is correct regarding the highway noise: it's noticeable, but not so much so as you move away from the lower loop. We heard it from our spot which was somewhat centrally located in the park, but is wasn't loud or obnoxious. The lower loop, being closer to the highway, is going to be subjected to the road noise. Frankly, given the highway noise and the access to the sites on the B Loop, I wouldn't want to camp in there either.
    On the A Loop we got more vehicle noise from people entering and exiting the A and T Loops than the highway. The most constant noise came from the wildlife: crows, Stellar Jays, squirrels sounding the alarm, and hawks. With few (not annoying, just noticeable) exceptions, the other campers were quiet and respectful neighbors.

    If camping around people in a park setting is OK on your list, this isn't a bad place to visit. We're planning on going back in the future for another weekend getaway.
     

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