Friday, July 17, 2009

July 17, 2009 - Gold Bar, Washington

Mike had a severe cold last week that prevented us from going for our weekly trip. He has been back at work since Monday, but still feeling a little under the weather. So our trip this week was a short one. We had to go up to Everett, Washington, for a specialty item we needed. Then we headed out to look for a campground fairly close to Mike's work location. Our thought was that if we found something close by, we could go camping on our days off, and stay out over the weekend. If we were close enough to his place of employment, he could just commute from our campsite.

I don't know that we accomplished our goal, but we had a nice (short) drive. We drove up Hwy 2 to Gold Bar, Washington, and visited Wallace Falls State Park. The website for this park says that it rents cabins and has only two walk-in tent sites right off of the parking lot for the nearby trailhead. The location just did not appeal to us as a potential camp site. We are assuming that you can possibly pack in and camp at other locations (not sure). It is beautiful country, but it just wasn't suited to our camping style.

So we took a side road and ran across Gold Bar Nature Trails Camping Club (GBNT). It looked interesting, so we went in and registered for a tour with a salesman. The park is apparently about 35 years old and has about 1,200 sites. The only sites that are for sale now are member resales. There is no lake or stream within the park or on its borders, but the park has amenities such as a adult clubhouse and pool and a youth clubhouse and pool, baseball field and covered pavilion with full kitchen.

The sites all have metered electric hook ups, septic tanks and free water. It is a park with few restrictions on the rigs (which has advantages and disadvantages), and the owners can occupy the site for 9 months (270 days) out of the year. RVs may remain on the campsite year-round. However, they have one rather strange requirement, members themselves must vacate the premises once every thirty days for 24 hours, but their rigs can stay at the site. And you cannot have your mail delivered to the park. You must maintain a mailing address outside of the park, which could easily be accomplished by using a Mail Forwarding Service.

The sites and rigs are not as manicured as those parks we are used to seeing in Arizona, but the prices seemed extremely reasonable to us. One lot was priced at just $4,900. We were told that you do not actually own the land (the dirt) but the space above the ground. We were also told that the property is transferrable, and upon your death becomes part of your estate. You can have your rig, an Arizona Room, a Gazebo, and a shed on your lot. At any rate, it seemed like a very interesting place to us.

We thought this camp/park would be ideal for the typical snowbirds who go to Arizona to escape the northern winters. The main park that we are familiar with in Arizona was called Happy Trails, and I would guess that lots there start at around $60,000. Of course, there you really do own the ground, and there are monthly membership fees. At GBNT there is an annual membership fee of $940, which is invoiced quarterly. The park maintains the septic tanks and electrical lines, not the members. But for the price, what a great way for someone to escape the Arizona heat for several months out of the year.

After our tour, we headed back toward Gold Bar to get some lunch. We split a "Special" cheeseburger at Zeke's, which is located just east of Gold Bar. After lunch, we just decided to head towards home to try to catch up on our rest for the work week, in the hopes of kicking Mike's cold.

We look some pictures of the Camping Club that we will post when we get home. The GBNT website has a listing of the lots that are for sale, the listings include pictures of the lots. Some of the lots come with various improvements (shed, gazebo, park model or RV).

On our way home we also stopped in and checked out Snoqualmie River Campground & RV Park in Fall City, Washington. This is a very nice campground that is right on the river, and there is a beautiful golf course,Twin Rivers Golf Course, adjacent to the campground. We were told by the attendant that the campground closes on October 31st, due to frequent flooding of the river. However, their websites states that the park has has "limited services" from November to March. We are not really sure what that means. It was interesting to see how they elevate the electrical hookups.

Until next time we are out on the road . . . Happy Trails to you!

See pictures from our trip


  1. I just wanted to let you know we have had a membership at GBNT for over two years now. We love it! We have two older boys and live about an hour away from Gold Bar. I agree that there are some lots that could use a tad more care, but on the whole, the park is very well maintained. We find that the relaxed atmosphere keeps the members happy and willing to do more.

    We have enjoyed everyone we have met, the weekend breakfasts are pretty good, and the peaceful atmosphere there can't be beat. We were searching for a spot like this for a long time and looked at several other options. If you like the idea of that there are two others, both are North of Everett, one in Lake Stevens and the other West of Marysville.

    Lake Conner Park and Port Susan Camping Club. Both of those have similar set ups. Happy Trails!


  2. We agree that the park is well maintained. We really liked the fact that the regs were a little more relaxed than some of the other parks that we have seen. We thought it was a great place and a great bargain. We look forward to visiting the other two parks. Thank you for your feedback!