Nestled along the Tucannon River and under shade, enjoy ample access to fishing, hiking, and even mountain biking. With just a handful of sites available, its size preserves the sense of remoteness. Overall, Ladybug Campground is great place to spend a few days in the forest tossing the football around or dangling your feet in the river. The roar of the river makes up for the lack of privacy between sites. There is plenty of room to wander through the forest. This is a great spot to gather a few families together and share an adventure.
1.5 - 2.5 Hours
Day Tripper, Adventurer
Spring, Summer, Fall
- Your Public Lands
Umatilla National Forest (Pomeroy Ranger District)
- What To Do
There are a number of hiking trails in the area: Tucannon Trail (#3135), Rattlesnake Trail (#3129), Panjab Trail (#3127), Meadow Creek Trail (#3123).
There are seven tent or trailer campsites along the Tucannon River. Sites are well spaced although lack of dense undergrowth means there is not much privacy between sites.
The Tucannon Lakes are just down the road. Ladybug Campground is a great central location to hike, fish, and even mountain bike via the Meadow Creek Trail (#3123). No fishing is currently allowed on the Tucannon River at the campground. Fishing regulations are highly specific and based on location and species. Please always consult the latest information available from the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife.
How To Get There
Please do not solely rely on Google Maps as their route might not always reflect what is maintained. From Walla Walla take HWY 12 east 31 miles to Dayton, WA. Pass through town, and as the road makes a sharp left out of town, turn right onto Patit Road. Patit Road runs roughly 14 miles and ends at Hartsock Grade Road. Take a left at Hartsock Grade Road, which becomes a steep gravel road that is well maintained. Drive another three miles to meet Tucannon Road, and take a right. The pavement ends at the Tucannon Campground but continues as gravel forest road NF-46 for another four miles. At this point, the road splits. Veer left onto NF-4712 and continue uphill for two miles, and the campground is on the right.
If winter comes early or hangs around late, this route may be closed. There is a flashing sign at the Patit Road turn off that lets you know if the road is open or closed. In case this route is closed, continue on HWY 12 for 13 more miles and take a right onto Tucannon Road just after crossing the Tucannon River bridge. Follow for roughly 32 miles and veer left at the fork to take NF-4712 the remaining two miles to the campground on your right.
When To Go
Weather dependent, enjoy Ladybug Campground starting late spring all the way through early fall. Once the road splits, it gains elevation and narrows. If there is still a little snow or a few showers have passed through, it might not be passable without the appropriate vehicle, especially if towing a trailer. Panjab Campground has a few spots and there are multiple places to dispersed camp, so if you don't make it all the way to Ladybug Campground there are plenty of alternative locations to set up camp.
What To Expect
Although this part of the forest burned a number of years ago, the large ponderosa pine trees are still standing and provide ample shade. The river is adjacent to the campground, and many of the spots are along the bank. There is enough room to bring bikes and ride a few laps around the campground or perhaps tackle the longer trek up the road to the Tucannon Trail (although that trail is in the wilderness area, so no bikes) or perhaps venture to the Meadow Creek Trail, which is not in the wilderness area.
April 1 - November 30 the fee is $8 per night night. There is no fee in the offseason.
None other than being good stewards of the land!
There is a vault toilet at the campground. Each site has a picnic table and fire pit.
We are all so fortunate to recreate in the Blue Mountains. So many opportunities exist to play outside whether in a national forest, wilderness area, on a Wild and Scenic River, and more! With these opportunities comes great responsibility to appreciate that we are mere visitors and should all take pride in being good stewards of the wild. Many animals call these protected places home, including moose, elk, bear, cougar, bobcat, and snakes to name a few. Take precautions to respect their home and understand the appropriate response should an encounter occur. Additionally, many plant species thrive in the Blue Mountains, so staying on trail is always good practice. Carry First Aid supplies to better respond to accidents or encounters, and always let others know where the day's adventure is taking you.
Navigation: Consider downloading the Avenza Map app. This app allows users to upload three maps (or unlimited with a subscription) to use offline. It can track your location offline and overlay GPS data from the phone onto the map. The vehicle use maps (for trails allowing motorized vehicles) are the easiest to use. Otherwise, Geo Tracker offers similar tracking capabilities and additional details about your adventure. If no service, Geo Tracker will at least show your location. The Blue Mountains and surrounding area offer a remote recreating experience, and knowing your location is paramount to staying safe. Always make sure to bring paper maps. Tell others where your adventure is taking you and when you expect to return.
Difficulty Level: Here is what we are thinking when we assign a difficulty level: Day Tripper--You don't have much experience in the area but want to get outside! Great for families of all ages. Adventurer--You know your way around the Blue Mountains and love a leisurely day outdoors. Mountaineer--You are ready for a challenge. Wild places excite you and sweat is the goal. Small children beware. Keep in mind some activities may apply to multiple difficulty levels based on usage.
Pets: In general, pets are allowed on a leash and under control throughout jurisdictions. The only restrictions we have encountered are around swimming areas. As a best practice, be mindful of riparian habitat in general. You never know where a precious spawning area might be located. Pack it in and pack it out applies to your furry friend as well.