Go Solo

Traveling Alone
Camping Solo

Sierra Hiking Path

it’s the way to go… slow & solo

enjoying quality time alone is not weird, wrong, or unnatural, no matter how many strange looks you get from friends & envious co-workers

Solo Outdoor Trips

Stop waiting for someone to do things with. Quit thinking that your best friend or partner will one day magically suggest an outdoorsy road trip, or day hike, or mountain bike ride. YOU are the one who craves the wildness of the earth, the unexplored, the secluded. The time is now for you to start living the life you want, outdoors, in California – today!

If you’ve just about had it with the pressures of everyday stresses, the wifi city life and the busy pace of civilized society is starting to get to you. Get a clue fast – before you loose your marbles. It’s time for much needed rest and relaxation. Nature is the best place to relax and reconnect with yourself and mother nature.

A change in scenery. A fresh perspective. A real break from the norm. No shopping, no errands, no phones, no television, no computers, nobody around. No one, except you.

and they might call you anti-social…

Travel Solo

alone, by yourself

away, distant, solely, detached, free, independent, unique, individually

The Call of the Wild


Unplug yourself from the hectic rat race and go exploring. Give yourself time to fully unwind: time to think, time to enjoy the outdoors and really find that special place of peace that comes only from earth. Yes, all by yourself.

VISION QUEST

Call it an annual primal ritual, or a first time experiment, traveling solo can be a blessing in disguise. Learning to be alone outdoors, become more aware of the physical world and enjoying yourself is an important key to a balanced life. Whether you seek a quick refresher course for the weekend or a full blown month long road trip, seeking a new comfortable destination and the art of basic relaxing is the main focus for this trip.

Camping Alone

slow going

When you travel alone, it’s easy to take your own sweet time. Going slow is something we don’t usually do in our busy city lives. Time is so precious, so you may as well stretch that vacation out as long as possible. Savor the moments.

Take as long as you like for – photography, picnicking, hiking, stretching, yoga, cooking and stargazing. Firewood collection becomes the biggest chore of the day, and it could take hours. Walking from camp, every direction will lead to a new adventure. Driving back roads at 20 mph is luxurious. No one to be your back seat driver. Sleep in every day if you want. No pressures, no schedules, no big worries. Sunlight, food, heat, weather, cooking and cleaning. Sit back and learn to really relax. Enjoy a secluded camp site for a full week, and get to know the wildlife on a first name basis.

Boy Camping

Follow the back roads to seclusion, or reserve several days at a unique campground. Imagine night after night of peaceful rest, with the sounds of nature surrounding you & the stars of the heavens dancing across the darkest skies.

Explore new terrain every day & move to a new camp every night. Or make it a “stay put” week-long meditation, in one spot. Whatever fits your needs. Either way, you’ll enjoy the solitude & the healing powers of nature. Answering to no one but yourself, you may feel guilty or kinda selfish the first few days, but this will fade as you learn to embrace the solo journey.

And it doesn’t hafta be all about roughin it either. While backpacking into the almighty wilds of the true wilderness has its good points – along with life threatening dangers possible every day, a simple quick weekend trip to a nearby small inn, fishing lodge,  or a bed & breakfast could work for the pampered types. Choose something different and unique, yet know your own limitations (on comfort & on a physical level). Make sure your destination choice is surrounded by some nature and preferably wilderness. You won’t miss the television one bit!

  • FARM STAYS & GUEST RANCHES
  • BED & BREAKFAST INNS
  • NFS FIRE LOOKOUTS & CABINS
  • TENT CABINS & YURTS
  • CA LAKES & RESERVOIRS
  • WILDERNESS AREAS
  • SMALL TOWNS IN CALIFORNIA
  • Spend One Full Day a Week Outside in Nature

    Good California Maps are a must have! Don’t rely on digital cell service or count on online maps being readily available. The hard-copy versions are always the best back up plan. Old paper maps are the very best, cuz they can often show more hidden waterfalls, trails and old mines than the newer maps.

    National Forest maps are best for getting and staying away from the tourist crowds. Visit Destinations to decide what kinda place you wanna explore this season.

    California has it all – A to Z

    which is why the golden state population always seems to be increasing, right? Helping you get away from your normal routine and the masses is what we do best here at Total Escape. Discover the thousands of pages, photos and links on this site to create your very own unique retreat.

    The mountains, deserts, coastal, rolling oak countryside & even urban escape inside city villages, are perfect starting points for planning your little escape. Desert Retreats California

    Desert camping in autumn, winter and springtime months is perfect timing for any kinda soul searching, catching up on a good book, or just gazing out at the vast vistas. Meteor showers fall within the latter part of the year, so stargazing and camping is excellent with the new moon. Temps start to drop come September, so be warned. Mountain cabins drop to their off season rates after summer, but be prepared for chilly temps and get proper outdoor gear.

    camping destinations
    lakes in calif
    California State Parks
    hiking trails
    BLM camping
    back roads
    usda nfs
    mountains of California
    California National Parks
    stargazer
    desert in cali

    Desert Sunsets in Winter

    SAFETY TIPS: Give your schedule to someone. Any bit of info is helpful. A map or written itinerary given to a neighbor or close friend will help ensure your safety and timely return. Bring your cell phone, plenty maps, bear mace and emergency supplies for additional security.

    Green Creek Road

    Mono County Wildlife Area

    Mono County Wildlife Area, Green Creek Road- off Hwy 395, near Bodie

    Green Creek California

    Eastern Sierra

    S of Bridgeport, CA
    MONO – Road #142NFS

    Toiyabe National Forest
    Bridgeport Ranger District

    If you are thinking about fishing or camping the Eastern Sierra, North of Bishop & you are not up for the crowds at Mammoth or June Lakes, then try the Bridgeport area, north on Hwy 395. Rural ranch lands along main road, Bodie ghost town turn off across the highway and Virginia Creek Settlement are also nearby

    Green Creek is a 11 mile long dirt road in the lush Eastern Sierra the northern portion. The wide, graded dirt road is signed and dead ends at a Toiyabe National Forest campground called Green Creek Campground. The drive up can be washboard bumpy in some parts, but that doesn’t stop the hundreds of adventurous motorhomes that make this trek annually. This place features some of the best prime Sierra back roads camping options for RVs.

    Another dirt route, Dunderberg Meadow Road peels off to the left. Dunderberg departs  off Green Creek a couple of miles from the highway and well maintained. This route leads to meadows, aspens, picture perfect scenery and much more seclusion. Passenger car accessible, wide graded dirt roads to wilderness edges. Two-track one lane trails lead to meadow edges and more creeks. Very impressive views of the Sierra peaks over here on this side. Meadows are sensitive areas, wonderful for picnics and you should always minimize impact.

    State Park California

    Green Creek Wildlife Area
    Mono County, California

    Aspen Grove Camping for RVs

    • alpine lakes
    • backpacking
    • bird watching
    • camping
    • creeks
    • day hikes
    • fishing
    • hiking
    • horseback
    • hunting
    • mountain biking
    • wildlife
    • wilderness

    Plain old passenger cars can easily make this route deep into the Eastern Sierra aspen canyon. Graded dirt and4x4 could be needed winter months. Backpackers can enjoy easy access to the Hoover Wilderness trailheads. There is plenty semi-primitive camping spots along the way, right on the creek, for free…. so no need to sleep in your vehicle upon arrival.

    Autumn Aspen Groves: fall colors peak in October, which is usually when the first snows for the winter season start. November – usually the freeze gets them and lifeless brown leaves dangle, until the Sierra Nevada wind gust blow real good.

    camp

    Green Creek Camping

    DIRT ROAD CAMPING

    • alpine lakes
    • backpacking
    • car camping
    • day hikes
    • fishing camping
    • meadows
    • RV camping
    • tent camping

    Hoover Wilderness

    Dispersed, primitive camp spots along this main dirt road are on a first come basis. You’ll need a fire permit. Many flat camps are set along the creek in aspen groves, some pines, others have  cubby hole privacy. Large granite valley, big creek, bird, scenery and nature everywhere.  Some folks spend weeks camping out here in the warm weather months. Fishing is a big attraction.

    Old Cabin in autumn leaves, up near the top of the dirt road deep in the aspen grovesNFS

    Green Creek Campground USFS
    7500 elevation
    11 camp sites
    fee, open May – October
    trailhead parking nearby

    hiking trails lead to

    hikes

    TOPOGRAPHIC MAPS:

    Aspen Camp

    Mono Lake California

    The Great Basin meets California, at the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains

    Navy Beach, Mono Lake

    Mono Lake


    elevation: 6383′
    Eastern California
    US Hwy 395 @ CA SR 120

    East of Yosemite NP
    Lee Vining, CA

    Mono Lake

    Rumor has it this lake basin could be the ancient super volcano of the region. MonoLake is located on the north end of the Long Valley Caldera, a volcanic ridge which stretches down to Bishop and parallels Mammoth Mountain & US 395.

    Huge shallow lake with a very turbulent history. Signs and plaques throughout the lake shore give info on ancient history of the lake, the wildlife, and regional detail. Majestic views of the Sierra Mountains, with sparse vegetation, lunar type landscape. Eerie with storm clouds; Beware of bad weather. Kayakers love this lake too!

    Sierra Nevada backdrop

    Canoeing
    Hiking
    Hot Springs
    Kayaking
    Picnic
    Primitive Hot Springs
    Stargazing
    Volcanic Landscape

    Mono Lake Camping

    Camping is closeby, but not located on the fragile lakeshore.
    open camping
    Dispersed camping (FREE) is allowed in Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area, the region that surrounds the Tufa State Natural Reserve. Campfire permits are required. Contact the park listed below for all the details on the camping policy.

    campgrounds
    Camps include National Forest Campgrounds in Lee Vining Canyon (8 miles), June Lake Loop (15 mi), Lundy Lake (12 mi). Private RV parks can be found in nearby Lee Vining and further south, at Lake Crowley.

    [PDF download]
    Camping In The Mono Basin
    by LeeVining.com

    Inyo National Forest USDA
    Camping Mono Lake Ranger District

    local links:

    Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve
    California State Park
    760-647-6331

    Mono County Tourism
    MonoCounty.org

    760-924-3699

    Mono Lake Committee
    MonoLake.org

    Bookstore @ 3rd, Lee Vining
    760-647-6595

    Tufa Towers

    nearby interests:

    Yosemite National Park
    Inyo National Forest
    Toiyabe National Forest
    Benton Hot Springs
    Bodie Ghost Town
    Convict Lake
    Mono Craters – Panum Crater & Crater Mountain
    Long Valley Caldera
    Lundy Lake
    California Aspen Groves
    Autumn Colors Camping

    Long Valley Craters Mono Lake

    Long Valley Caldera Craters near Mono Lake

    regional maps:

    Tom Harrison Mono Lake Map

    NatGeo Mammoth Lakes & Mono Map

    Inyo National Forest USDA Map

    Ansel Adams Wilderness Maps

    nearby towns w/ lodging:

    Benton Hot Springs
    Bridgeport, CA
    Lee Vining, CA
    June Lake, CA
    Mammoth Lakes, CA


    View Larger Map

    Walk-In Camp Sites

    MIneral KIng Walkin Camps

    Walk-In Camps

    Below are all developed campgrounds in California that have walk-in camp spots available. Vehicles are parked and you must carry your gear into the camp site (usually a short distance, but can be up to a half mile).

    California Campgrounds with more than a 1-mile trek are not included in this list below. Areas such as – Catalina Island, Crystal Cove SP, Angel Island SP, Point Reyes National Seashore, indeed have many hike-to camps, but most are measured in miles (one way).

    walk in campsites are perfect for –

    • people who wish not to see cars @ camp
    • people who prefer less noise while camping
    • physically fit folks, who want exercise
    • backpackers, who plan to hit the trails soon
    • avid hikers, who may be out day hiking
    • cyclists, just passing through
    • mountain bike campers
    • one nighters, travelers who only stay one night
    • late comers to the campground
      (hint: these are usually the last campsites to fill up)

    NewMelones WalkIn Camps

    Walk in campsites are often located away from car campers & RVs. Some camp sites may have more privacy, tucked away in trees, while others have shared community area with fire pits and/or barbecues. All camp sites will have picnic tables and a some kinda toilet nearby. Bear boxes may be available for storing food properly. Sharing the storage boxes with neighboring campers is common practice.

    Campgrounds with walk-in sites range in elevation from sea level marshlands to high altitude alpine lakes. Most of these camps listed below are located inside developed campgrounds with overnight fees. Many are small campgrounds, while others are large hubs of activity. The most popular places can be reserved online, with the links provided.

    Many parks can also have day use fees, so know where you park and what time span is allowed. Ask the campground host if needing assistance. Some campgrounds lock their gates at sunset and do not permit entry at night. Others may not allow campers to check in anytime after sundown. Know their rules before you make reservations.

    If you plan on not making camp reservations; make sure to have a plan B or C choice camp – in case your desired campground is already full. Many popular destinations can fill up fast (by noon in the summer).

    CAMPGROUND RESERVATIONS

    Walk In Camps in California

    hikes campmtb

    Andrew Molera State Park, North Big Sur Coast
    Anthony Chabot Regional Park, East Bay San Francisco
    Austin Creek SRA, Armstrong Redwoods, Guerneville CA

    Big Basin Redwoods State Park, Santa Cruz Mountains
    Black Rock Campground, Little Grass Valley Reservoir
    Boise Creek Campground, Six River National Forest
    Bottchers Gap Campground, North Big Sur Mountains
    Butana State Park, Pescadero, Santa Cruz Mountains

    Cherry Hill Campground, Butte Creek, Lassen National Forest
    Chilcoot Campground, Frenchman Lake, Plumas NF
    China Camp State Park, SF @ San Pablo Bay, San Rafael
    Chula Vista Campground @ Mount Pinos, Los Padres NF mtb
    Clear Lake State Park, North Wine Country, Kelseyville CA
    Cold Springs Campground
    ,
    Mineral King @ Sequoia NP
    Cool Springs CampgroundPG&E Camp, Butt Valley Reservoirhike
    Cottonwood Pass / Cottonwood Lakes on Horseshoe Meadow Rd, PCT Eastern Sierra @ Lone Pine

    coolsprings

    Dark Day Campground, New Bullards Bar Reservoir, N Sierra
    Donner Memorial State Park, Interstate 80 @ Truckee CA
    Dry Lagoon Walk-In, Humboldt Lagoons State Park

    El Capitan State Beach, North Santa Barbara Coast

    Gaviota State Park Campground, North Santa Barbara Coast
    Glory Hole Campground @ New Melones Reservoir, Gold Co
    Granite Flat Campground, Truckee River @ Lake Tahoe
    Gualala Point Park, Gualala River, Sonoma County Park

    Half Moon Bay State Beach Campground, Half Moon Bay
    Headquarters Campground, Salton Sea SRA, Mecca CA
    Henry W Coe State Park, Santa Cruz Mountains
    (wilderness permits required)

    Intake Campground, Bishop Creek, Eastern Sierra

    Jackson Flat Walk-In Camp PCT @ Angeles NF
    Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park Campground, NorCal
    Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Big Sur Coast

    Klamath National Forest –
    small campsite on river

    • East Fork (Salmon River @ Cecilville)
    • Lover’s Camp (Marble Mountain Wilderness)hike
    • Kangaroo Lake (NorCal PCT access)
    • Matthews Creek (South Fork Salmon River)
    • Shadow Creek (East Fork of Salmon River)
    • Sulphur Springs (Marble Mountain Wilderness)
    • Trail Creek (Upper Salmon River)

    Liberty Glen Campground @ Lake Sonoma Recreation Area
    Limekiln State Park Campground, Hwy 1 Big Sur Coastline

    MacKerricher State Park Campground, Mendocino Coast
    Macumber Reservoir,
    PG&E Camp, West of Lassen NPfishing
    Manresa State Beach Campground
    , Monterey Bay
    Marmot Rock Walk-In Camp, Courtright Reservoir
    Mary Smith Campground
    @ Lewiston Lake, Trinity River
    Merced Recreation Area, Merced River, Mariposa CA
    Mesa Campground, Silverwood Lake SRA, Cajon Pass
    Mill Creek Campground @ Bucks Lake, Plumas NF
    Mill Creek Campground, Del Norte Coast Redwoods SP
    Montana de Oro State Park, Morro Bay, San Luis Obispo mtb

    Niagra Creek Campground, OHV 4×4 trails, Stanislaus NF
    North Battle Creek Reservoir
    PG&E Camp, West of Lassen
    North Grove Campground, Calaveras Big Trees State Park

    Oak Bottom Campground

    Oak Bottom Campground @ Whiskeytown Reservoir SRA

    Onion Valley CA

    Onion Valley Campground, Eastern Sierra @ Independence, CAhike

    Pantoll Campground, Mount Tamalpais State Park, Marin
    Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park Campground, Big Sur Coast
    Pigeon Flat Campground, Stanislaus River, Dardanelle CA
    Pomo Canyon Walk-In Camp, Sonoma Coast State Beach
    Portola Redwoods State Park, Santa Cruz Mountains
    hikePrather Meadows Camp, Bunny Flat @ Mount Shasta
    Providence Mountains SRA @ Mitchell Cavern, Mojave

    Redwood National Park, NorCal Coast
    (no reservations, no fees. open all year)

    • Flint Ridge Walk-In
    • Nickel Creek Walk-In
    chulavistacamp

    CHULA VISTA CAMP – Wild Iris Meadow at Mount Pinos

    Refugio State Beach, North Santa Barbara Coast
    Rock Creek Campground
    , Eel River @ Standish-Hickey SRA
    Roxie Peconom Campground, Bizz Johnson Trail, W Susanville mtb
    Russian Gulch State Park Campground, Mendocino Coast

    San Clemente State Beach, Orange County Coast
    Sanborn Campground, Skyline County Park, Saratoga CA
    Sand Flat Campground, Clark Fork, Carson Icerberg Wild
    Silver Creek Campground, Truckee River @ Tahoe
    Southwest Walk-In Camp
    , Lassen Volcanic National Park
    Squaw Leap Campground, San Joaquin River, Auberry CA
    Stillwater Cove Regional Park, N of Fort Ross, Sonoma Coast

    Tahoe National Forest
    Donner Area Camping Lakes

    NFS 530-265-4531

    • Carr Lake Campground
      10 miles north of Highway 20
      6,700′ elev
      5 walk-in campsites
    • Rucker Lake Campground
      6 miles north of Highway 20
      5,462′ elev
      7 walk-in campsites
    • Sterling Lake Campground
      9 miles north of Interstate 80
      7,000′ elev
      6 walk-in campsites

    Toad Lake Walk In Camp, PCT @ Shasta National Forest
    Tuolumne Meadows Camp, Yosemite National Park
    (reservations & wilderness permits required)

    Union Reservoir Walk In Camps, Arnold CA

    Union Valley Reservoir – Eldorado National Forest

    • Azalea Cove Campground
    • Fashoda Campground

    Van Damme Redwoods State Park, Mendocino Coast

    Walker Pass Campground, PCT, East of Lake Isabella CA
    Whitney Portal Trailhead Camp, Mount Whitney, Eastern Sierra
    Woodside Campground, Salt Point State Park, Sonoma Coast

    OnionValleyWalkIns

    Walk in campgrounds are considered ‘tent camping‘, as opposed to ‘car camping‘, which is literally camping next to your vehicle. This type of hike-in camping may also be referred to as ‘trailhead camping‘, as many ideal hikes begin at these prime locations. Boat-in, bike-in or hike-in camp sites are also available at some of these locations.

    Camp Fires Correctly

    desert bonfires

    Deserts & beaches are the only places for bonfires.

    kill your television

    Camp Fires
    The heat source, the light source, the cook source, the sock drier, the night supplier, the outdoor LIVING ROOM. The campfire is the center stage for all entertainment, true tales and ghost stories alike.

    Since the beginning of time humans have gathered around the campfire at dark. This nightly ritual is built into us on the deepest level. We miss this today. We miss the real conversations, the community, the bonding, the stories, the soul searching. We miss the connection with nature, the fresh air and the great outdoors. The night sky filled with stars and maybe a meteor shower, a hot drink and the glow of the campfire coals. Enjoying the wilderness requires certain skills. FIRE is only ONE skill – for survival, for cooking, for warmth, for safety.

    Total Escape is dedicated to those who yearn to camp, often.

    In Certain Circles

    photo – Charlie Sweeney 2010

    Some folks cannot imagine camping without a campfire, but we better get used to it here on the West Coast. Weather patterns swing from years of super-dry drought to deluge and drenching – as we’ve seen of recent in California. Dry conditions means high wildfire dangers, tight camp stove and strict campfire restrictions.

    Each California region, National Forests and State Parks have their own fire restrictions, so call ahead to rangers for current fire conditions on the place you wish to visit. Certain mountain locations will ban fires in the back country, fires on the back roads and sometimes in extreme conditions, no fires allowed even inside a developed campground.

    Campfire Basics

    Campfire Restrictions

    fire

    California is well known for its unforgiving drought conditions and its seasonal wildfire danger. Always know the fire conditions in the area you plan to camp. Most Southern California regions have banned ‘open campfires’ in forested areas, due to wildfire threat and population density. Call ahead to get an update on road closures and current campfire restrictions. Find California BLM offices & NFS ranger stations

    Campfire Permits

    If you plan on camping outside of a developed campground, you will need to get a free “camp fire permit”, which can be obtained at the local rangers office.

    Find more on FREE camp fire permits

    DSCN3700

    California Camp Fires

    • RULE # 1 – Never leave a campfire unattended
    • Build campfires in designated rings. Always try to use an existing ring when possible. If you must build a new rock fire ring, follow the guide on FireSafe
    • You will need water source & bucket, plus a decent shovel for building, maintaining and controlling a campfire. BRING enough water & tools with you to control a fire.
    • A ten foot clearance – all around, down to the bare dirt is the best practice. No brush close to the ring, no bushes, no leaves or pine needles. No dry over-hanging tree branches.
    • You might need to clean trash out of the fire pit, so bring heavy duty trash bags, or a spare old box. Shovel comes in handy here.
    • Kindling is key to getting a good fire going fast, so gather more of the small stuff. Wood gathering away from camp is usually better pickens.
    • Use environmentally friendly fire starters (with damp wood, if you must); not the BBQ lighter fluid or gasoline
    • Building fires up against a big boulder scars them w/ black soot, and although it can reflect heat back to you, it is seldom worth the unsightly damage
    • Bring chainsaws or hand saws for cutting your own campfire wood in the forest
    • Gathering wood for fuel — use only dead and down wood
    • A ranger issued “wood cutting permit” is required if you plan on cutting a full cord
    • Firewood page – buying locally, in California
    • Never burn plastics, batteries or other toxic materials in campfires
    • Tossing beer bottle caps into a campfire only litters site for future campers
    • While glass bottle smelting is a real treat among boys at night, which one is actually gonna get their hands dirty & clean up broken glass out of the campfire the following morning?
    • Do not leave any hot coals during the day (if you are away from camp). Winds could pick up.
    • Always douse campfire with water completely when breaking camp. Stir it, feel for heat, and drown it more if you hear sizzling or see bubbling.
    • Read more wild fire / campfire info on our FireSafe page

    Drown Fires

    Last Final Step

    The Final Step of Breaking Camp

     

    Campfire Pits & Fire Containers

    Campfire Pits & Fire Containers

    Stormproof LIghters

    Stormproof Lighters