Where can i find parks that allow primitive camping?

I am looking for national, state, or other parks that allow tent camping without set “campsites”. I want to be able to go in, hike and find a place to set up camp wherever I want. I would prefer lakes and rivers, but this is not crucial. Solitude and relaxation is what I am seeking. Does anyone know of any such parks? Does anyone know of a place online to search for this kind of camping? Thanks.

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7 thoughts on “Where can i find parks that allow primitive camping?

  1. Most places say “leave only your footprints”. If everyone camped where ever they wanted, the parks would soon be destroyed. BUT>>>I know where you are coming from. Camping is tents & gas lanterns, not huge trailers with air conditioning and christmas lights strung around the campsite. Nothing like a quiet evening in the woods with a loud TV at the next site.

  2. Most state parks do not allow fires like that, because a fire pit can last for more than ten years. But when I was in scouts we use to use state forests which are less formal. You should try to clean up your site as best as possible of course.

    I like the Adirondacks in NY, which is over a 100 miles in diameter. They have a bunch of adirondack lean-tos with fire pits that are nice since you don’t need a tent at all then, and they are VERY isolated and on streams and small lakes.

  3. What you’re referring to is what’s commonly known in the US as “backpacking” and it is permitted in all sorts of areas in the US, from National Forests to State Parks and especially in National Parks and designated Wilderness Areas inside National Forests. Backpackers load up everything they’ll need to survive on their own, leave their cars and hopefully other people behind, and either follow a trail or follow a compass or GPS cross country to their goal, usually a secluded lake, with often a secondary goal to fish, take photos, or summit a nearby mountain peak.

    The primary method of locating such areas is to utilize the internet to locate parks in your state, and to visit the government websites for those parks to determine if they allow backcountry camping. The next step is to purchase a trail map and/or guide book for the area, in which you’ll find direction to the trail heads where one parks one’s vehicle and enters the wilderness on foot, and directions for the trail, which often include recommendations for lakes, mountains and campsites. Many wilderness areas require permits, either to stay overnight or to have a fire, which must be obtained from the nearest ranger station.

    Purchasing gear for your backpacking adventures is probably the most important step and backpackers spend a lot of time perfecting their gear lists, with an emphasis balancing between lightness and comfort. Out in the woods, miles from any road you’ll be at the mercy of the elements, and without the proper gear, you could die, so it’s important to take it slow, learn as much as you can, read as much as you can, and find your own path.

    Here are some sites to get your started: http://www.fs.fed.us/recreation/map/finder.shtml

    And I recommend this book: http://www.amazon.com/Lighten-Up-Complete-Ultralight-Backpacking/dp/0762737344/sr=8-1/qid=1168796878/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/102-0601339-3354515?ie=UTF8&s=books

    It looks like you might live in Missouri and if so here’s a site for that state: http://www.motrails.com/trails.html

  4. most of the national/ state park campsites are very primitive and very remote— i camped at “box canyon” campsite in rocky mountain national park a couple years ago–it was at 10,000 feet elevation and i watched bighorn sheep further up the mountain from me and elk grazing in a meadow about 100 yards from me…the adirondacks in new york state allow camping as long as your something like a 1/4 mile from a trail or water source as long as your on state land…but again, those backcountry campsites are still primitive and most of the time there’s no o ne around you, maine also has good backcountry sites where its just you and the moose…i too am a stickler for avoiding crowds and i never had problems in any of these places…

  5. They are all over the country. The national trails all over the country have all of what you seek. In Alabama there are thousands of such trails, Tennessee has em too, I have even been to Wyoming and Colorado and had a blast. Best online sites are as follows:
    Backpacker online has destinations on the front page, and trails.com is the bomb also

  6. National Forests allow camping most anywhere in them. Get out the map and find the area where there are the least number of roads. Then study the topo maps of the area. http://www.topozone.com When you go be sure you leave instructions and a time schedule for others back home for safety. State parks are usually too small or too paranoid to allow you to camp where you want, however sometimes they will have a primative area. Go in the mid week for more quietness. Don’t make a fire and no one will know you are there. Just be sure you leave NO traces that you were ever there when you leave. It’s the best way to experience the forest if you have the courage and confidence to do it.

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