SP Campground Review – Washoe Lake State Park, Carson City, NV

The gorgeous beach at Washoe Lake

A primitive, but simply gorgeous state park off Hwy 395 between Reno and Carson City in W.Nevada.

NOTE/ Review updated as of last stay April, 2015

Link to campground here: Washoe Lake State Park, NV
Link to map location here: Washoe Lake State Park, NV

  1. Site Quality = 4/5
    Although this is a primitive (non-hookup) campground it gets absolute tops marks for sites. All are paved, large very flat sites with good separation and lovely sitting areas. Mostly back-ins with a few pull-throughs. Most have shelters with picnic table, grill and fire-pit. Lovely views of surrounding hills from every site. Both loops are very similar although the front (sites 1-24, nearest the beach) loop seems to have the best selection of pristine sites.
  2.  Facilities = 3.5/5
    Facilities are decent. Flush toilets and individual (very large) shower stalls. Only main ding is the showers are a tad older and have timer-buttons and those annoying spray heads. Lots of surrounding space incl. day-use area, boat ramp, hiking trails and beach/lake access. On-site dual dump station and potable water.
  3. Location = 5/5
    This is a great location in my opinion. You are conveniently close to Hwy 395 and to two major cities (Reno & Carson City), yet far enough off-road to have a sense of complete nature and quiet. The campground is wonderfully natural and seems  way “out there”.
  4. Pet Friendliness = 5/5
    Another great park for pooch. Many miles of hiking trails on-site including a wonderful trail to the lake right from the front campground loop to walk & play by the water.

Overall Rating = 4.4
 Camp with sweeping 360-degree views and quiet right near Hwy395!

Summary: Many years ago we chose this spot primarily as a convenient stop-over on Hwy 395 south, but we’ve ended up absolutely delighted by the campground and have come back over 6 times. Although it’s only a few miles off the highway and close to two major cities (Reno and Carson City) it feels incredibly remote, quiet and natural. The sites are simply pristine. Huge, flat paved surfaces with lots of separation (lots and lots), beautiful “sitting areas” and lovely 360-degree views of the surrounding hills. A cute 1/2 mile trail takes you to the lake-side, plus there are several miles of other trails in the area. Overall a really lovely & relaxing campground. We stay here every time we come down 395 and will most definitely be back!

Extra Info:  Full 4 bars of 4G LTE Verizon & ATT LTE signal. Sites cost $17/night no hookups. 49 sites, all first-come-first-serve. On-site dump station and potable water.

Pull-through site view (#16 shown)
Typical back-in site (#12 shown)
Another back-in site view (#9 shown)
View of our rig (site #14)
Typical “sitting area”
View of facilities
The “pack” walking on the shoreline
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We LOooVE Comments, So Please Do

  1. says

    Nina, I have a question for you about Orilla Verde recreation Area in New Mexico. I’m thinking about staying there on my way to Colorado next spring. I don’t care for the campgrounds in Santa Fe, but wish to be in the area. Are the rv campgrounds walk-in only? Would it be difficult to get a spot in mid-April, do you think?

    • libertatemamo says

      Hi Karen,

      There are actually several options around that area which are really nice.

      1/ If you’re looking to be close to Santa Fe and want something “green” I’d actually recommend the COE campground west of the city called Cochiti Lake. It’s also near the Tent Rocks National Monument which I’ve heard is really cool! They have reservations on-line for this campground. We didn’t stay here, but have heard it’s nice and it’s on our list for when we come back to the area.

      2/ If you want to be closer to Taos then I’d definitely recommend one of the the two BLM areas around there.
      a) Orilla Verde BLM -> This is inside the gorge and very small (only ~7 RV sites), but very pretty. It’s all first-come-first-serve. We stayed there the week-end of Labor Day and didn’t have trouble getting a site, so I think you’ll be fine in April
      b) Wild Rivers BLM -> This is a bit further north and the campground is on the RIM of the gorge. Many more sites here, all first-come-first-serve and many big-rig friendly. We went to have a look and no-one was there when we went by so again I think you’ll be fine in April. Seems v.little used. This is where we’ll stay when we come back to Taos. Lovely views!


  2. says

    We have passed by Washoe Lake so many times! One daughter, one granddaughter, their husbands and their sons (one each) live in or near Carson City. (Yes, it is CARSON rather than CARLSON)./ All the time we spent up there this summer, we thought about driving around the lake, never did. Now we have a better reason to go there next trip! Thanks for the review/

    • libertatemamo says

      Thanks Suzy! Just updated the review w/ the correct spelling! This is a great place to stay in the area. So happy we discovered it.

  3. says

    Love, Love, Love all of your rv parking reviews…but I think you meant Carson City (no L) on this one…just for others looking for this awesome spot! Thanks and keep ’em coming!

  4. Steve says

    Great area, we lived just 2 miles from the park for 13 years. Excellent mountain views and close to Lake Tahoe.

  5. says

    Love your website as we have been following for a while. We are behind you some distance as we just got to Florence. Enough “snow” talk. We are just now getting tired of the rain. Our daughter called from Vegas to report she, and a couple girlfriends, are having lunch at the Mt. Charleston Lodge as the snow is starting to fall there. Regards.

  6. Dorothy Cibula says

    Camp at Washoe Lake 3 or 4 times a year. I wish the maintenance people could try and make the handicapped bathroom a littler easier for us all. A garbage basket to throw our used shampoo and conditioner bottles. It’s hard to try and carry the empty containers out of the shower when you have a cane. A large shelf to set the items on next to the shower. You have a soap dish but women use body gel, shampoo, conditioner etc. Shower head needs to be higher, not every handicapped person is in a wheelchair. Thank-you

  7. Rattlesnake Joe says

    Love the Hwy 395 route too. Used it two years ago going south from Oregon and nearly went bankrupt the gas prices were so high in California. Of course it sure beat I5 all to heck and for all those reading this, never take Hwy 99 in California it will kill you and your RV.

    • MoHobyDick says

      February 2015, we learned the hard way about 99 on our trip north to Sacramento. The highway roadbed was rough and motorists were not safe drivers. After a visit in Silicon Valley, we took I5 home, dry camping 1 night at lovely Harris Ranch in Coalinga.

  8. Karen Brunskill says

    I was wondering if Washoe Lake Campground has any sites for tents? if so let me know or anywhere close too it. Me and my husband would like to camp under the stars!

    • libertatemamo says

      There are no dedicated tent sites (that I recall) at Washoe, but the regular sites are very well separated and can certainly be used by tenters. We’ve seen many folks tenting out there.



  1. […] I can’t deny that almost every spot we stayed at this year was special. My top 5 could easily have been top 18! But there are a few extra notables I’ve got to mention. I can’t forget our fabulous trip down the Eastern Side of the Sierra Nevada mountains (Hwy 395) where we had a full lake-view at Oh Ridge! National Forest Campground and discovered stunning 360-degree views at $5/night Horton Creek BLM Campground. And I have to mention our staples that we’ve come to love (and stayed at multiple times) the always-lovely Armitage County Park in Eugene, OR, the quirky but oh-so-relaxing Sam’s Family Spa in Desert Hot Springs, CA (our only private park in the line-up) and the ever-gorgeous  & spacious Washoe Lake State Park, NV. […]

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