William C. Dearinger State Forest Campground is a mouthful to say, so most just call it Dearinger Campground. William was an employee with the Washington State Department of Natural Resources with a passion for preserving the natural state of the area.
In 1981, after his death, the land along the Suiattle River was dedicated in his honor to become a Campground. Mr. Dearinger was said to have “loved people and always put them first.” His wife, Betty, cut the ribbon signifying the new beginning of his beloved woodland.
It took 8 months of construction and $44k in grant funds to accomplish the goal. The Campground had 12 campsites, 4 picnic areas, bathrooms, 3.5 miles of trails and handicap access. Not to mention the great river access with Mountain View’s to enjoy while surrounded by magnificent old Growth forest.
Unfortunately, somewhere within the last decade the Campground was decommissioned and the road to Dearinger was closed off to vehicle access. Knowing this, curiosity got the best of us, so my husband and I took off for an adventure to see what kind of shape the abandoned Campground was in.
We parked where the road was blocked years ago and set off on foot down the old road. You quickly reach the Suiattle River and swing a right to follow it the rest of the way. There were quite a few washouts along the way, but none too difficult to navigate through. The further we went along the more beautiful the surroundings became. At just over a mile we reached Dearinger.
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Nature had taken over in such an intense way. Huge ferns crowded the space between multiple century old trees filling the forest floor with the most luscious green. The only evidence of once used campsites were a few deteriorating benches and several partially buried fire rings made from river rock.
Hours flew by as we explored the trails and rocky beaches. Being out there felt so remote and wild. It would make for an awesome backpack trip to experience a night or two in an abandoned recreational paradise. We have our own plans to return. Nature’s resilience is so inspiring to witness.
22069 Forest Rd, Darrington, Washington 98241