Best spots for yurt and tipi camping in the Northwest
written by Adam Sawyer | illustrations by Michael Williamson
The Northwest is peppered with alluring places to pitch a tent. If you move to the region from elsewhere, the starter kit comes with all-wheel drive and sleeping bag. What about those who relish the thought of fresh air and star-filled skies, but reject sleeping on the ground with a zipper for a door?
Located in a conceptual space above tents and below cabins are tipis and yurts. If you’ve never really considered a tipi, they’re not what you think. Some come equipped with beds, down comforters, electricity and area rugs. What about a yurt? If a tent and a cabin had a baby, it would be a yurt. Domed tents with structural support, yurts run the gamut from rustic to refined, though they typically include beds, a heat source and a locking door. Is it glamping? Perhaps in some cases. The bigger picture is that this is an outdoor experience out of the ordinary. Here are some of the best.
Tipi Village Retreat
Twenty miles northeast of Eugene, Tipi Village Retreat is exactly what the name would imply. The wooded grounds cozy up to a babbling Mill Creek where a gourmet breakfast is served every morning for guests. This is truly a place to disconnect, relax and recharge. Depending on the time of year, you’ll have ample opportunity to view wildlife. Quail, wild turkey and deer frequent the grounds, as well as elk in the spring and spawning Chinook in fall.
There are seven tipis spaced throughout the Douglas fir forest. They require a two-night minimum and start at $145 a night and go up to $160, with one eight-person tipi that rents for $330 a night. The tipis are decorated with stone floors, wool rugs, remarkably comfortable beds and electricity. There is a set of centrally located indoor restrooms and one official fire pit. Pets are not allowed.
Champoeg State Heritage Area
If you’d like your camping excursion to double as a history lesson, look no further than the Champoeg State Heritage Area. Located on the banks of the Willamette River about 30 miles southwest of Portland, Champoeg is the site of Oregon’s first provisional government. There’s also a visitor center and a number of historic buildings strewn throughout a diverse blend of explorable forests, wetlands and open spaces.
Yurts have wood floors, a locking door, lights and heating. Bunk beds sleep three and a fold-out couch sleeps two. Each yurt has its own fire ring and picnic table, and three are pet-friendly. They run $41 a night, $51 for pet-friendly.
Cape Disappointment State Park
Washington’s Long Beach Peninsula has plenty to be proud of—not least of which would be one of the state’s premier outdoor recreation locations at Cape Disappointment State Park. Don’t let the name fool you. It was only a letdown to Captain John Meares, who got confused and failed to cross the Columbia River bar in 1788. With old-growth hiking, dramatic landscapes, a lighthouse, beach access, tons of interpretive history, and of course, camping, there’s nothing disappointing about it.
Yurts run $59 or $69 a night depending on day and season. Each sleeps up to six people and comes with hardwood floors, skylights, screened windows, a locking door, electricity and heat. They are located within walking distance of the beach and come with a fire pit, picnic table and ADA-accessible deck. Pet-friendly yurts are available.
Kayak Point County Park
Eight miles from Amtrak’s Stanwood Station in Washington, Kayak Point occupies a beautiful swath of shoreline on the banks of Port Susan. The location is idyllic for a number of outdoor pursuits, but primarily beach activities, boating and fishing. The camping options are also top-tier, specifically the Yurt Village at Kayak Point, which is a short walk to the beach, playground and fishing pier.
Yurts come with hardwood floors, skylights, screened windows, a locking door, electricity and heat. The village sports a central picnic shelter with water and electricity. Yurt rates vary based on size, day and season, ranging from $45 to $85 a night. There are no pets allowed.
YD Guest Ranch
Recently relocated to the edge of British Columbia’s Monashee Mountains, the YD Guest Ranch is chock full of adventures as well as alternative camping options. Horseback riding, ATV tours, archery and fishing just scratch the surface of available adventuring. There are plenty of ways to get a good night’s sleep, with tipis, rustic cabins and the yurt’s first cousin, the tent cabin.
The tipis are made by native Canadian craftsmen and are set on elevated decks, guarded by handrails and ponderosa pines. They feature wood stoves, propane fire pits, pillowtop mattresses and card tables. Luxury tipis start at C$229 a night. If you’ve got eyes for one of the swanky tent cabins, those start at C$249 and run up to C$279 for the Presidential Suite or Glamping Tree House. Rates fluctuate with the season.
Wya Point Resort
Tucked away on 600 acres of old-growth forest on the famed west coast of Vancouver Island, the Wya Point Resort is sitting in the catbird seat if you consider location a priority. From the grounds, you can stroll along a private beach, go hiking, surfing or whale watching. The resort also makes a great home base if you plan to explore Pacific Rim National Park. And in keeping with the luxurious lodges, Wya Point offers upscale yurts with one, in particular, that might just be the belle of the ball for yurts in the Northwest.
All yurts are on a deck with direct beach access and include a barbeque, French press coffeemaker and gas stove for heat. The Hummingbirdis a LEED Platinum-certified yurt with a fireplace and a dining area. Yurt rates range from C$115 a night to C$160 depending on size and season and require a two-night minimum. You’ll have to call to get the rate for the Hummingbird. Small pets are welcome with a C$15 fee.