Creek Campground California
Car campers in Southern California dream of the perfect setting: an uncrowded campsite, in a lush forest, with tall trees & flowing stream of crystal clear water. A swimming hole nearby, plus a place for the hammock. They also want it less than a 2 hours drive from their home. Unlikely.
The real California rivers & mountains are in the northern half of the state, while the lower is more like a desert. You will need to drive to reach these kinda spots. The Sierra Nevada mountains are the closest bet for finding a creek side camp – if that is indeed what you are looking for.
Read more on specific California camping techniques:
Developed campgrounds located next to rivers, creeks, or streams can be found on the back roads of California. Below is just a sample of small towns that have creek campgrounds nearby:
- BASS LAKE
- MINERAL KING
- MONTE RIO
- PINE FLAT
- SHAVER LAKE
- THREE RIVERS
- TOMS PLACE
Many of the best creek camp spots are located outside of developed Campgrounds. Most we suggest on this site are located on dirt roads. Some routes may require a 4×4 vehicle, or high clearance 2WD.
NOTE: you will need a good map. Topographic or National Forest maps
thin blue lines – You’ll know a decent road when you see it. But when you are starting out at home, you need to concentrate of what dirt roads are along what water sources. And will these streams be flowing at this time of year? Many are seasonal creeks & can dry up in late summer. The most likely place to find great water flow is to look for the streams flowing directly into a major river or Lake/ Reservoir.
And if you are really not into to roughing it, but wanna find a CABIN on RIVER or CREEK, check out our extensive list of all vacation cabins here, California Cabin Rentals