youtubeThose of us that enjoy riding an ATV or UTV and call Washington State home know that finding a legal place to “just ride forest roads” within the state is difficult. Sure, you can go to a designated ORV area where boundaries limit your travels and the trails are better suited for experienced riders. If you are like me, lack of friendly areas to ride an ATV has sent you to other northwest states such as Oregon, Idaho or Montana where regulations aren’t as strict and your RVing / ATV tourist dollars are welcome.

Given soaring fuel prices this summer, traveling out of state with the RV was an expensive proposition. Luckily, I discovered Conconully, Washington conveniently located in the heart of ATV/UTV riding opportunities in friendly Okanogan County.


Riding the Historic Ruby Grade

Conconully is Washington's answer to ATV enthusiasts.” Per the Conconully Chamber of Commerce.

Conconully and surrounding communities like Loomis, Omak, Oroville, Okanogan, Nighthawk, Tonasket and others allow plated street legal ATVs / UTVs (aka WATV) to drive in their towns and on designated roads in between. These roads also connect with two state forests and BLM land where you are welcome to ride. In addition, the adjoining Colville National Forest provides many roads open to ATV/UTV use. You can ride to fire lookouts where you can enjoy stunning views, historic mines, high mountain passes, trailheads where you can hike to alpine lakes or summit mountain peaks, ride past fields of wildflowers, waterfalls, historic cabins and much more. There are even some designated ATV trails for those looking for something more challenging than forest roads.  Those that enjoy fishing can ride to / from a wide selection of lakes to partake in their passion. Most of these lakes also offer overnight camping in the form of developed campgrounds or dispersed camping. Speaking of camping options in the area where you can ride to/from, include: full-service RV parks, state parks, DNR campgrounds, forest service campgrounds, BLM campgrounds, and nearly limitless dispersed camping (boondocking) opportunities in the Loup Loup or Loomis State Forest, BLM land and national forest land. The area really is the promised land for those in Washington State that like to combine their love of riding and camping in one place.


Tiffany Lake

Where to Ride:

Unfortunately, there is not an all-inclusive map that shows where you are allowed to ride across all the land agencies, but here are some links / guidelines to get you started.


Wildflowers are Beautiful

Click here to view the ATV guide published by the North Central ATV Club. While far from complete, it provides the most comprehensive overview that encompasses all the land agencies listed above. Note: Per correspondence with Washington (DNR) Department of Natural Resources concerning the Loup Loup and Loomis State Forests, “ATV’s are allowed on DNR roads that are not gated or blocked with berms, rock, and or logs.” Note: There is no available “Green Dot” map like you will find for other state forests in Washington State.


Enjoying the View

Click here, to view maps of roads that are open to ATV/UTV use in Okanogan County along with detailed maps of where you can ride in towns.

Click here to download a map of officially open routes in the Colville National Forest. Note: When riding you will find many of the designated ATV/UTV routes are marked with a green dot on a Carsonite post along the road.


Another Great View from the Mountains

Click here to download an overview map of Okanogan County roads open to ATVs / UTVs.

If in doubt on where you can ride, inquire locally with the Conconully Chamber of Commerce or area businesses who carry maps and are happy to point out ATV/UTV destinations.


View from Funk Mountain

Helmets are required on all ATVs and UTVs without a roll cage.

Camping:

As mentioned above, camping opportunities are plentiful with the ability to ride straight from camp eliminating the need to trailer your machines to the trailhead. Here are some suggestions to get you started.

Conconully State Park bordering the shore of Conconully Reservoir.

Loup Loup and Loomis State Forests. Click here to view the recreation page including a list of campgrounds. Note: There is no charge to camp, but you will need to display a current Discover Pass. Per correspondence with Washington DNR, “The Loomis, Loup Loup, and Little Pend Oreille State Forests allow day use and dispersed camping.”

WDFW (Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife) permits overnight camping at many bodies of water between Conconully and Loomis. Fish Lake, Blue Lake, Conner Lake are just a few examples. To verify which lakes in the area permit overnight camping, click here and search by area name or county. Camping is free when displaying a valid Discover Pass or WDFW Vehicle Access Pass.

Salmon Meadows Campground is located at the end of a paved road about 9 miles northwest of Conconully at an elevation of 4,400 feet . The lower portion of the campground is in the forest, the sites in the upper campground are set on the perimeter of a beautiful meadow.   


Salmon Meadows

Snow Dog Trailhead this free campground is a great launching point for ATV/UTV rides. It even features a loading ramp.

USFS Boondocking – There are numerous places to disperse camp in the Colville National Forest along roads open to ATV/UTV use. Click here to learn more about dispersed camping in the Colville National Forest.


Boondocking in the Colville National Forest

Sugarloaf Campground is located at the head of Conconully Lake.

Chopaka Lake Recreation Area operated by the BLM features 8 campsites on the lake. There is no fee to camp. Note: The road to the campground is not paved and steep.

BLM Boondocking – You are allowed to disperse camp for up to two weeks on BLM land. Click here for guidelines.

The Bureau of Reclamation owns the Conconully Lake Campground which is operated by Washington State Parks.

Private RV parks in Conconully include Shady Pines Resort and Liars Cove.

Yes, Conconully is Washington’s answer to ATV enthusiasts. Pay them a visit next time you want to enjoy an ATV/UTV RV vacation rather than head to other states in the Pacific Northwest.

Questions, Comments? Please leave your thoughts below.

Dave Helgeson
Author: Dave HelgesonEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Dave Helgeson is the MHRV Show Director. He and his wife love to travel across the west in their RV. Dave writes about all things RVing but loves to share destinations and boondocking advice.

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