Mossyrock Park sits at the west end of Riffe Lake, the 20 mile long lake formed by the Mossyrock Dam on the Cowlitz River. The park is one of four Tacoma Power Parks in the area which are all run in cooperation with Washington State Parks. Open year round, this park is a popular place for outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds. Offering 152 campsites(76 water/electric), and 2 big group camp areas, this park has a little bit of something for everyone.
While this park has easy access just a short distance off Hwy 12 our GPS was a little confused. To get to the park you go through the town of Mossyrock. The signs are easy to miss so look out for them. There isn’t much to do outside the park in the surrounding area but if you take a day trip you can’t see two of Washington’s biggest destinations, Mt. Rainier, and Mt. St. Helens. Mt. Rainer is about an hour drive away, and Mt. St. Helens an hour and a half so if you want to see both this is the perfect park for a home base. The little town of Mossyrock is 5 minutes away with a few restaurants and a small grocery store. In addition to that the bigger town of Morton, which hosts the Annual Logger’s Jubilee in August, is about 20 minutes away.
Things to see in the area:
This park is a perfect example of all sites are not created equal. There are certainly a handful of amazing sites in this park but the majority are crowded, oddly shaped, and not level. The main campground loop, sites 1-60, provide the best spots in the park. We were in the Bird’s Eye View loop which has a few amazing spots(ours was one of them), but the policy of cram everyone and everything into one spot made it almost unbearable staying here. The pull through loops were placed too close together so for bigger rigs it was hard to maneuver into them, especially when the pull through next to you was occupied. They were also close to the road so every morning we had kids riding their bikes inches from our trailer. There seemed to be no rules whatsoever about where to put your tent or your vehicles. Almost every campsite in this loop the weekend we were there was a group camp with multiple tents, vehicles and boats parked wherever you can fit them on the grass. There were even tents, vehicles and boats parked by the horseshoe pits making them unusable for other guests. I was very disappointed in this policy. Because of this policy it is doubtful we would return unless it was off-season.
You can see photos of each campsite when making reservations.
The one thing that can be said about Tacoma Power Parks is they are well maintained, and offer a lot of amenities at all four of their parks. This park is no exception to that other than the lack of full hook-up sites. Without a sewer hook up we had to use the public pay showers. The bathrooms were immaculate but the overcrowding of the loop made it near impossible to get a shower without waiting in line. The day use area of the park is fantastic however. There is a small store at the beach area as well as a deli that will deliver to your campsite. You can find menus on the restroom doors. You can also purchase firewood that they will deliver to your campsite which was fantastic. The swim area is great although keep an eye out as there are a lot of geese that leave their mark around here. There are really nice picnic shelters you can reserve for your group activities as well as fish cleaning stations scattered around the park to enjoy your catch of the day. We did not get any TV here but our cell phone signal was full, and we had solid 3G.
This park is very popular with families as there is a lot for kids to do here. There are plenty of places to ride bikes, scooters and play catch. Each loop has a small playground and horseshoe pits. There is a BMX bike course along the lake open from 8am to 8pm. You can access the trail in the main campground loop. The swim beach is big so it doesn’t feel too crowded. There are a lot of picnic tables with grills at the beach so you can have a picnic and don’t have to drag the kids out of the water to go back to camp for lunch.
This park is very pet friendly, almost too pet friendly. Our dogs enjoyed it here as they had plenty of room to scamper around at our campsite. The problem again with this park is the lack of rules or the lack of enforcing of rules. There were several times I had to quickly pick up our dogs by their harnesses due to the amount of people leaving their much bigger dogs off leashes. There is an on leash rule here but it is not enforced. The park does have doggie bags scattered around the park for your use.
We’d love to hear from you. Let us know what you think of Mossyrock Park in the comments below.
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