Category Archives: Backpacking

Trinity Alps Camping

Trinity Alps Wilderness Campgrounds

Northern California Camping
Shasta Trinity National Forest

Trinity Alps Wilderness

camp

 

  • backpacking
  • camping
  • fishing spots
  • floating
  • hiking
  • hunting
  • kayaking
  • mountain biking
  • off-roading
  • soaking
  • swimming holes
  • tubing
  • stargazing

trinitydetail

campgrounds near Trinity trailheads –

camping Highway 3
(California State Route 3):

  • Horse Flat Campground, near Eagle Creek trailhead
  • Eagle Creek Campground @ Hwy, near Stoddard Lake & Eagle Creek trailhead
  • Goldfield Campground, near Boulder Creek trailhead
  • Big Flat Campground (via Coffee Creek Road #104)
  • Preacher Meadow Campground @ Hwy, near Swift Creek trailhead

camping Highway 299
(California State Route 299):

  • Ripstein Campground, near Canyon Creek trailhead
  • Hobo Gulch Campground, on Road #34N07
  • Hayden Flat Campground, near Big French Creek & Green Mountain
  • Denny Campground, near Jim Jam Ridge, East Fork & New River; Way out west
  • Groves Prairie Campground, near Grizzly Camp trailheadtrinityalps_lg
  • Happy Camp Campground, near Grizzly Camp trailhead

camping Highway 96
(California State Route 96):

  • Tish Tang Campground, near Tish Tang trailhead
  • Box Campground, near Red Cap Lake, Bear Hole & Mill Creek Lake
  • Klamath Riverside Campground @ Hwy, near Salmon Summit

camping Salmon River (Cecilville Road #1C02):

trinitysign
Trinity Scenic Byway (CA SR 3)

NorCal Topographic Maps – Trinity Map

Shasta Trinity National Forest Map

Pacific Crest Trail Map #6 (Shasta Cascades)

Trinity Alps Wilderness Map

outdoor destinations also nearby –


View Larger Map

Hiking Mount Whitney

Mt Whitney Trail / Mount Whitney Map

mt whitney mapWhen the snow melts in the High Sierra, the rush is on! This is one of the most popular backpacking trips in the Eastern Sierra, as Mt Whitney is the highest peak (14505′ elevation) in the contiguous United States of America.

Day hikes to the summit should only be attempted if you are in excellent physical shape & used to high altitude hiking. There are so many folks trying to hike this sought-after peak in the warmer summer months (MAY-OCT) that the National Forest has put tight restrictions on these Mount Whitney trails. You must obtain a Wilderness hiking permit for this hike & that requires waiting in a long line of outdoor enthusiasts that also seek this prime destination.

The Lone Pine Ranger station holds an annual Whitney trail LOTTERY, where you must apply a year in advance & be granted a permit before you can set foot on this popular hiking route.

An alternate backpacking route to Mt Whitney is the southern ridge line from the Cottonwood Lakes trailhead, but you still must verify with local authorities for permits & Wilderness passes.

The Alabama Hills, between US Hwy 395 @ Lone Pine CA and the Whitney Portal offers camping and mountain biking trails with excellent views of Mount Whitney from below. A short drive up to the portal & you can stand in the waterfall mist & then do a day hike up to Lone Pine Lake.

Now that we have you salivating for this epic adventure, you can start your dreaming & real planning by ordering hiking topo maps of the region. Then after you have thoroughly reviewed the maps, the terrain (as well as your own physical condition), you can contact the Inyo National Forest / Lone Pine ranger office for more specifics on dates & details. This may take years of planning to make it happen.

lone pine roads

The Alabama Hills sit at the base of Mt Whitney, California

Matilija Wilderness

Upper Matilija Fall

Matilija Wilderness
Matilija Falls

Matilija Canyon
North of Ojai, California

Los Padres National Forest Map

Established 1992 by the Los Padres Condor Range & River Protection Act.

29,600 acres
Ojai, CA

Los Padres National Forest
Ojai Ranger District
805-646-4348

USDA web link – Matilija Wilderness

hikelospadres.com/matilija-wilderness

The coastal mountain range wilderness located approximately 12 miles north of Ojai, CA. Drive 5 miles N on Highway 33; left at the Matilija Canyon Road turn off.

Chaparral is the prevalent vegetation with poppies plentiful in springtime. Cottonwood, alder and maple trees dominate the canyon. One trail has trail campsites along it and follows 9 miles of the North Fork, gaining about 3,400′ feet in elevation as it makes a north-south journey, and leaving the Wilderness at a parking area on Cherry Creek Road. This road is open seasonally from Aug. 1 to Dec. 15

Upper North Fork Matilija Creek

Matilija Hot Springs, a primitive rock tub near the creek is also a popular destination for hikers and backpackers, although it can be closed for restoration at times. Ecotopia is currently managing the Ojai Hotsprings. ojaihotsprings.com

Matilija Canyon Trails & Trailheads

Landowner closes popular trail to Matilija Falls (2010)


View Larger Map

aaron climbing

Upper North Fork Matilija Creek

23S01 – Los Padres NF

Big Sur Dirt Roads

Los Padres National Forest Road #23S01

Willow Creek Road
Los Burros Road

South Big Sur Coast Dirt Roads & super scenic US HWY 1 – North of San Simeon and Hearst Castle, north of Ragged Point and just past Gorda, CA a dirt shoulder, widens, a break in the bushes on the right side of the highway, a small wooden sign for the Yurt Resort called Treebones and the turn off to the back-country of Los Padres National Forest Road #23S01

Willow Creek is a steep coastal canyon w/ Willow Creek Trail #5E08 in the creek below and the dirt road 1000′ above. Willow Creek Day Use Area, the Willow Creek bridge and Willow Creek beach w/ restrooms, picnic tables, and paved parking lot near the highway.

DIRT ROAD, high clearance is recommended, but not required. 4×4 may be needed in wet weather. Motorhomes, trucks w/ trailers and RV campers are not gonna like this rugged, narrow, steep, dirt road and are advised to stick to the pavement. Camper vans and SUVs are be better suited for this terrain.

  • Both Thomas Bros. Maps & Benchmark Map’s California Atlas has this route listed as Los Burros Road
  • Google Maps has this route named Will Creek Road
  • Yahoo Maps has this route as Willow Creek – Los Burros Road
  • Mapquest has this one listed as Los Burros Rd – Fort Hunter Liggett (which is a military base,  on the opposite side of the mountain range near US Hwy 101)


View Larger Map

 

Free Camping in Big Sur

Willow Creek Rd

Several primitive camp sites can be found along this rugged dirt road, which climbs steeply and switchbacks thru redwoods, madrones, cedars, grass lands and oak hills. Sites within the first 3 miles  of this road offer the serene sounds of the ocean – waves, seals, sea lions as well as traffic on the busy highway. There are a few private properties back here in the boonies too, so read signs and don’t go exploring this region in the dark.

About 8 miles back on Willow Creek Rd is Alder Creek Campground – a small developed camp w/ only 2 camp sites and no piped water and no fees.

Prewitt Ridge  also has numerous ideal top-of-the-world, free camp sites, which do require a lot more dirt road driving and a very good backcountry map.

  • Sycamore Flat Road intersects @ 3 miles up
  • Alder Peak Camp is San Martin Top @ 12 miles up
  • South Coast Ridge Road is at the very top @ 14 miles
  • Lions Den Camp is 19 miles of dirt road driving
  • Three Peaks Camp is 21 miles way back there
Los Padres Monterey District Big Sur Map NatGeo

Sierra Buttes California

sierra buttes

The Sierra Buttes

elevation: 8591′

Northern Gold Country California at the headwaters to the Yuba River

Lakes Basin Recreation Area, Tahoe National Forest
near Plumas Eureka State Park

Gold Lake, Sardine Lake, Upper Sardine, Smith Lake, Packer Lake, Grass Lake, Sand Pond, Goose Lake, Snag Lake, Long Lake, Jamison Lake, Round Lake, Deer Lake, Tamarack Lakes, Young America Lake, Frazier Falls

California is the land of granite peaks. Rocky, exposed mountains that stick up out of the landscape for all to see. SoCal has a few of them, but most granite peaks are found in the Sierra Nevada – the youngest mountain range on the continent. The Eastern Sierra ridge lines are the well photographed and Tahoe has plenty of big granite surrounding it. The farther you go north, the less granite you will see. – not because it isn’t there, mostly cuz it is just buried with tall dense forest.

The Sierra Buttes are the impressive granite peaks located in between the Yuba River and Sardine Lake. SE of Mount Lassen and NW of Lake Tahoe, at the tippy top of the historic gold country. Gold Lake Road #24 connects Gold Country Highway 49 to North of Tahoe Highway 89. Road #24 is often closed for winter snow, so most visitors enjoy this region in the summer months.

Sierra Buttes Fire Lookout Hike

The infamous PCT or Pacific Crest Trail passes the peak and goes north through this basin of alpine lakes, so backpackers are often seen. Tent camping is very popular, as well as RV camping w/ numerous developed campgrounds and open camping as well.  Some of the hard to reach primitive camp sites (next to lakes) can be accessed via 4×4 vehicle. Downieville is well known for the mountain biking trails, so this whole region is covered with amazing trails. Snowmobilers and cross country skiers love the area during a good winter snow and they can access this area from the north off Hwy 89.


View Larger Map

Sardine Lake

hiking, biking, backpacking, camping, fishing, kayaking, cross country, & snowmobiling

Sierra Buttes Map Tahoe National Forest

Trinity Alps Wilderness

NorCal Mountains – Trinity Alps Wilderness

Sapphire Lake -- Suicide Ridge -- Trinity Alps

525,627 acres

North of Weaverville & Lewiston, about 10 miles
West of Trinity Lake & Redding, CA
Headwaters of the Trinity River & the Salmon River

Shasta-Trinity National Forest

Thompson Peak – 9002′ elevation
Trinity Mountain – 6094′
Granite Peak – 8091′

Trinity is NorCal’s jewel of alpine lakes and granite peaks – many above 8000′ elevation, about 40 miles inland from the ocean. Trinity is located in between the infamous redwood coast and the I-5 corridor. Rivers, creeks, lakes, and trails into the high elevations regions, bqckpackers and equestrian campers alike.

trinityalps_lgHiking trailheads are accessed from all sides -On the east side you have Trinity Lake & Trinity River w/ Highway 3 running lengthwise in a north-south direction. Hwy 299 runs east-west along the south side of the wilderness. Klamath River Hwy 96 lies on the west side of the wilderness. Salmon River, Scott Mountains and Cecilville are north of the alps.

Both the small Russian Wilderness & the larger Marble Mountain Wilderness are located to the north of Trinity Alps, along with rural towns near the Scott Mountains and the Salmon River. Castle Crags Wilderness is to the eastern side, near Interstate 5.

towns nearby –

camp

Campgrounds near Trinity Alps Wilderness

hike

Trinity Alps Trailheads

lake

Waterfalls & Lakes near Trinity

NFS


View Larger Map

The mountainous area is quite unique, as exposed granite mountain peaks and alpine lakes are pretty rare in the coastal Cascade ranges. The only other spot in California that has an 8000′ peak nearing the coast is just north of Los Angeles – Los Padres’s Mount Abel & Mount Pinos peaks, both over 8000′ in elevation.

TRINITY ALPS TOPO MAP

camp

The USDA map for Trinity Alps Wilderness was outta print for nearly 2 years and it has recently been updated and reprinted. New edition released in 2013 and now available at the Total Escape map store. Printed on waterproof map paper and updated in 2012.

Youtube

 

Samuel P Taylor Campground

San Francisco Redwoods Camping

Samuel P Taylor State Park

Samuel P Taylor Campground

San Francisco Redwood State Park

SamP is one the large redwood parks north of San Francisco, CA. Coastal redwoods can be found in the mountains above Santa Cruz, as well as on Point Reyes in Marin County. Hiking in the region is amazing w/ enchanted forests, dramatic fog, waterfalls, numerous trails in every direction.

This is one of the best developed campgrounds in the region for car camping and RV campers. Consisting of several loops, a group site, a horse camp and hike-in or bike-in camp sites. There are even cabin rentals in the park. This park has several camp sites that can accommodate visitors with disabilities. Reservations are highly recommended, especially during summer months. Be prepared to pay hefty fees for overnight use.

Max RV Camper Length: 31′Marin Redwoods
Max Trailer Length: 27′

  • Creekside Loop
  • Orchard Hill Loop
  • Madrone Group Site
  • Madrone Cabins
  • Horse Camp
  • Hike & Bike in Sites
    (max 8 persons)

CA State Park

Samuel P Taylor State Park
59 developed campsites
4 cabin rentals
15 miles W of San Rafael on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard
415-488-9897

 

Samuel P Taylor

Vallecito – Anza Borrego

Vallecito Park, San Diego Desert

Anza Borrego Desert

Great Overland Stagecoach Route of 1849

East San Diego County Road S2 winds thru the lower passes & washes of Anza Borrego Desert State Park. On the edge of the State Park boundary Vallecito is a small campground & park, but it was a stage coach route in the 1800’s.

California Historic Marker #304

VallecitoVALLECITO STAGE STOP – A 1934 reconstruction of Vallecito Stage Station (originally built in 1852) on the eastern slopes of the mountains in the high desert. A super important stop on the first official transcontinental route, serving ‘The Jackass Mail‘, the Butterfield Overland Stage Line, and the southern emigrant caravans.

backpacking, birdwatching, camping, cycling, hiking, mountain biking, off roading, stargazing, wildflowers

Vallecito Campground
elev. 1555′
camp sites: 44
overnight fee
first come, first serve
reservations accepted
Campfire pits, picnic tables, bathrooms, & historic buildings; 22 sites are tents only. RV 40′ limit; Additional 8 equestrian campsites w/ corrals. No RV hookups, no dump station. No piped water. No gasoline, no store, no amenities. No firewood, no collecting of firewood. No shade trees, just tall desert brush. Arrive adequately prepared for real desert roughin it.

Vallecito Stage Station County Park
760-765-1188
37349 Great Southern Overland Stage Route
County Road S2 @ mile marker 34.7
About 3.5 mi NW of Agua Caliente Hot Springs

Closed during the hottest months of summer. Open seasonally: Labor Day weekend through the fall, winter and spring, up until the last week in May. 

see also – Oriflamme Canyon / Mason Valley Truck Trail

muck to stagecoachA neighboring and more rural stage coach stop is further down a long wash, to the south east. Getting there usually requires 4×4, since you must ford a muddy desert wash w/ creek & deep holes. There are no signs out in this sandy desert wash, so you best have a good map and a compass. The Old Carrizo Stage Station site is accessible by 4 different dirt roads (desert washes) off the paved highway. None of these are well signed at the highway: Vallecito Creek, Willow Creek near Mountain Palm Springs, Carrizo Creek near Bow Willow, and Canyon sin Nombre.

Agua Caliente, Bow Willow Campground, Canebrake, Sweeney Pass,  the badlands overlook, mud caves and slot canyons are all located south of Vallecito. California SR 78 and Blair Valley are north of Vallecito.

Vallecito Creek

San Diego Desert MapVallecito is located at the apex of the gap in the Carrizo Badlands created by Carrizo Creek and its wash in its lower reach, to which Vallecito Creek is a tributary. Once a seasonal village of the native Kumeyaay people, on a trail across the desert from the Colorado River, this oasis, became a crucial stopping place for Spanish and then Mexican travelers to recover from the desert crossing between Sonora and New Mexico to California. The non native settlement of the site began in 1850, as a camp with a one room sod warehouse as the U.S. Army Depot Vallecito for the supply of Fort Yuma. It was later increased in size and became a store, a stage station, and a ranch house. read more on wiki

dark skies anza

Another Vallecito, California?
Yep! Small community of about 400 folks in the Sierra foothills. Gold Country region, up off the Historic 49 and it used to be called Murphy’s Old Diggings.

Castle Crags Wilderness

NorCal Hiking
Castle Crags State Park
CastleCrags Wilderness

12,232 acres
Northern California Mountains
South of Dunsmuir, CA
Interstate 5
exit #724 – Castella

backpacking, camping, creek fishing, hiking, mountaineering, lakes, rock climbing, snowshoeing, swimming, waterfalls

About an hour north of Redding, you can see those impressive peaks off to the left above the lush forest. Way up off the west side of I-5, lies a hiking paradise of scenic lakes, waterfalls and wildflowers. Opposite the freeway from Mount Shasta; Just south of Lake Siskiyou.castle crags

Castle Crags Wilderness neighbors the Castle Crags State Park, which is surrounded by Shasta-Trinity National Forest. This area is named for 6,000′ tall glacier-polished peaks and pointed crags. Due to their relatively low elevation, year-round recreation, hiking, backpacking, and rock climbing are popular spring through fall. Snowshoeing near Castle Lake is excellent.

Castle Crags State Park
530-235-2684

Castle Crags State Park Campground
76 developed campsites
6 environmental campsites

Max Camper Length: 27′
Max Trailer Length: 21′

28 miles of hiking trails (2.7 mi access trail to Castle Crags Wilderness)
The Pacific Crest Trail also passes through the park.
Dogs not allowed on park trails.

Shasta-Trinity National Forest
Mount Shasta Ranger District
204 West Alma
Mt. Shasta, CA 96067
530-926-4511

Climbing at the Crags:
the Cosmic Wall & beyond

regional history: The northwest area contains the largest glacial cirque, Castle Lake, which is near where the Modoc War’s 1855 Battle of Castle Crags took place. Now a historical landmark, the battle was fought on a ridge saddle between the lake and what is known as Battle Rock. The Wintu tribe inhabited the area, they called the crags the Abode of the Devil and the Spanish explorers called it Castle del Diablo (Castle of the Devil.) read more on wiki

nearby towns –

 


View Larger Map

Hoover Wilderness

Dunderberg Meadow

 Dunderberg Peak capped with snow about half the year @ 12,374′ elevation. Dunderberg Meadow is a side route off Green Creek Rd. Upper Summer Meadow Rd is another side route off Green Creek Rd.

Eastern Sierra Hoover Wilderness

East Yosemite National Park

48,601 acres
10 miles South of Bridgeport, CA
Toiyabe National Forest Autumn Eastern Sierrasand Inyo National Forest

Hoover Wilderness spans  the mountain ranges from Sonora Pass to Tioga Pass, with high elevation peaks ranging from 10,000 to over 12,000′ elevation. Emigrant Wilderness lies to the west of Hoover, with Yosemite National Park & Inyo National Forest to the south.

  • Twenty Lakes Basin
  • Virginia Pass
  • Virginia Lakes Basin
  • Lundy Pass
  • Bond Pass
  • Hoover Lakes
  • Return Creek
  • Little Walker River
  • West Walker River
  • Matterhorn Peak – 12,264′ elev

towns nearby –

Aspen groves in the Eastern Sierra are some of the best autumn colors in the whole state. Fall car camping includes nighttime temps in the teens w/ fishing and hunting nearby.

PCT trails, Eastern SierraPacific Crest Trail passes partially through Hoover Wilderness inside  Yosemite National Park.

Hoover trails are not all dirt road access, but most are. There are 2 major trail heads along Highway 120 inside Yosemite NP, which lead north to Hoover.

Hoover trailheads –

California SR Highway 120 (Yosemite NP):

off US Highway 395:Hoover Trail Map

Twin Lakes area:

  • Robinson Creek
  • Horse Creek
  • Cattle Creek
  • Tamarack Lake
  • Buckeye

Little Walker River area:

  • Bort Canyon
  • Emma Lake
  • Molybdenite Creek

California SR Highway 108 (Sonora Pass):

hoover wilderness map

Green Creek Road is a signed dirt road on US Highway 395, near Virginia Creek Settlement and across from the Bodie ghost town turn off. Green Creek Campground  (a developed NFS campground) also has trailhead parking for Hoover hiking trails. Primitive free camp site can be found all along this major graded dirt road.

Many developed campgrounds in the surrounding areas – Saddlebag, Lundy, Virginia, Green Creek, Twin Lakes, Buckeye, Obsidian. Off Sonora Pass, Levitt Lake usually gets the most snow depth around and is only acessible in summer months. Super remote primitive camping for those with a high clearance vehicle.

FRee Camping Green Creek

 

San Rafael Wilderness

Sierra Madre Mountains
Cachuma Lake to Cuyama Valley

Sierra Madre Mountains

197,380 acres
Central Coast Foothills
Los Padres National Forest

North of Santa Barbara, CA
East of Santa Maria, CA
South of New Cuyama, CA
West of Ventucopa, CA

San Rafael Wilderness is otherwise known as the Santa Barbara backcountry. The Sierra Madre mountains and San Rafael mountains make up the this chunk of wilderness, a vast open space near the coast – which extends from Lake Cachuma to the Cuyama River Valley. This is the southern ridge line along Highway 166, with few pine trees, mostly oaks, leading west to Santa Maria River.

Figueroa Mountain and Lake Cachuma are to the south near Santa Barbara. Vineyards and wineries skirt the western hills of Santa Maria, cattle grazing, oil fields and agriculture line the northern borders near Cuyama Valley. Dick Smith Wilderness is just to the east a little bit, spanning over toward Hwy 33.

OHV: better known as off-roading and dirt biking is common in the foothills behind Santa Barbara, as well as on the west side of the San Rafael Wilderness, near Miranda Pine and Tepusquet Road. Numerous small campgrounds on dirt roads are positioned around the perimeter, but no OHV trails lead into the wilderness areas.

McPherson Peak – 5749′ elevation
Peak Mountain – 5843′DSCN5759
Timber Peak – 4764′
Miranda Pine Mountain – 4120′
Wheat Peak – 2436′

trailheads –

  • via Figueroa Road #8N09

    • Cachuma Saddle
    • Davy Brown
  • McPherson Peak, on Sierra Madre Ridge
  • Painted Rock, on Sierra Madre Ridge
  • Santa Barbara Canyon, off Hwy 166

developed campgrounds surrounding the wilderness

  • Davy Brown Campground
  • Nira Campground
  • Cachuma Campground
  • Figueroa Campground
  • Manzana Schoolhouse
  • Colson Canyon (OHV) #11N04
  • Brookshire Springs
  • Miranda Pine #11N03
  • Horseshoe Springs
  • Lazy Campground
  • Wagon Flat Campground
  • Barrel Springs #10N06
  • Alesandro Campground

back road access –

  • Figueroa Mountain Road #8N09
  • Tepusquet Road, off Hwy 166
  • Miranda Pine Road #11N03
  • Sierra Madre Ridge Road #32S13
  • Cottonwood Canyon Rd @ Hwy 166
  • Santa Barbara Canyon Rd, off Hwy 166

Native American petroglyphs can be found in this remote region of Central California, but may require topographic detective skills and a full day of action.

rock art

Access to ”Painted Rock” on Sierra Madre ridge is hike in only. The dirt road that access these trailheads are rough road and not maintained. High clearance may be needed. This day trip is an all-day adventure and you might want to consider bringing the mountain bike. Just stay on the road, as rangers will ticket for riding in the designated Wilderness Areas.PigPen Trailhead

from the west – Cottonwood Canyon, past Bates Canyon Campground up to ridge, east on dirt road #32S13 several miles to the dirt parking area at the pig pen w/ locked gated and signed trailhead.

from the east – dirt road hike is about 10 miles (one way) and it starts at the Santa Barbara Canyon trailhead.

 

If Los Padres Westyou plan to visit the rock art from the west side – take the dirt road road up past Bates Canyon Campground. The turn off on Hwy 166 is called Cottonwood Canyon. Pay attention to private property signs, cuz the locals are serious about their lands.

 

nearby towns –

Silver Peak Wilderness

Hiking the Southern Big Sur Coastline

faded public lands
Sun-bleached, wooden Los Padres sign – near Salmon Creek trailhead.

Silver Peak Wilderness, Big Sur Coast

Central California Coast

31,555 acres

8 miles South of Gorda, CA
along Pacific Coast Hwy 1
near Big Sur, CA
Los Padres National ForestBig Sur Wilderness Map

Backpacking and hiking trails on the Pacific Coast, steep terrain next to ocean. Coastal redwood canyons, oaks hills, great views. The neighboring Ventana Wilderness is located just north of Silver Peak hiking trails.

Southern Redwood Botanical Area

Silver Peak –3,590′ elevation
Alder Peak –3,744′

trailheads

  • Salmon Creek Trail #5E09
  • Hwy 1 @ connection Trail #5E10
  • Alder Creek Trail #5E09

mm

mile markers along Pacific Coast Highway 1
(Monterey County)

  • Cruickshank Trailhead – 6.5 mm
  • Soda Springs Trailhead – 3.8 mm
  • Buckeye Trailhead – 2.4 mm
  • Salmon Creek Trailhead – 2.2 mm

developed campgrounds nearby –

nearby towns –

Ocean View Hikes Big Sur


View Larger Map

Oak Foothills

Dick Smith Wilderness

Santa Barbara Mountains
Ojai Backpacking, Ventura, CA

old cabin cuyama
Old Cabin at Cuyama Peak Fire Lookout, Dick Smith Wilderness Area in the background

64,800 acres

30 miles N of Ojai, CA
Los Padres National Forest

Dick Smith Wildernessreyes lift off

  • backpacking
  • camping
  • hang gliding
  • hiking
  • horseback riding
  • parasailing
  • OHV trails nearby

Los Padres National Forest – Located in between the Santa Barbara coastline and the Cuyama Valley, this coastal wilderness area is situated miles north of Ojai, off Highway 33.

The Dick Smith Wilderness is where the San Rafael Mountains and the Sierra Madre Mountains merge on the east side, next to Pine Mountain Summit (elevation 5080′ @ highway). This PINE MTN should not to be confused w/ the Pine Mountain Club, on the north side of Cerro Noroeste.

Big Pine Mountain – 6828′ elevation
Cuyama Peak – 5875′
Lizard Head – 5350′
Madulce Peak – 6536′
Samon Peak – 6527′

Closer to Ojai, Matilija Wilderness is on the southern boundary of DickSmith and the San Rafael Wilderness sits to the west side. Native American petroglyphs can be found in this region.  Access to “Painted Rock” on the Sierra Madre ridge, via Road #32S13 (which has a locked gate on both ends), is a long one so you might want to bring the mountain bike. The dirt road hike is about 10 miles (one way) and it starts at the Santa Barbara Canyon trailhead. If you plan to visit the rock art from the west side – take the dirt road road up past Bates Canyon Campground. The turn off on Hwy 166 is called Cottonwood Canyon.

Dick Smith Trails
hiking trailheads –

  • Chorro Grande (Hwy 33)
  • Potrero Seco (Hwy 33)
  • Santa Barbara Canyon (Hwy 166)

 area campgrounds –

  • Nettle Springs
  • Ozena (closed)
  • Pine Mountain (dispersed)
  • Rancho Nuevo
  • Reyes Creek
  • Reyes Peak
  • Tinta

 nearby towns –

more Ojai camping

ojai backpacking

Dick SMith Wilderness

Ozena Valley Badlands

Dinkey Lakes Wilderness

Central Sierra Nevada

Wilderness lakes
Courtright Reservoir w/ CLIFF LAKE trailhead

Dinkey Lakes California

Dinkey Creek Road
Tom Harrison Dinkey Map East of Shaver Lake, Hwy 168

30,000 acres

Sierra National Forest

Located in the high elevations between Shaver Lake and Courtright Reservoir is the Dinkey Lakes region. Granite domes and alpine lakes are the key feature of this mid-Sierra forest. John Muir Wilderness is located on the east (right) side of Courtright, while Dinkey Lakes Wilderness is on the opposite west (left) side.

  • alpine lakes
  • backpacking
  • camping
  • creeks & streams
  • cross country ski
  • fishing
  • granite domes
  • horseback trails
  • hiking trails
  • off-roading
  • rock climbing
  • snowmobiling
  • snowshoe
  • stargazing
  • wildflowers
  • wildlife viewing

4 wheel drive trails serve some of the Wilderness boundaries. Dusy Ershim OHV Trail (pronounced ‘doosey’) crosses the boulder strewn terrain for 30 rugged miles, from Courtright to Kaiser Pass. Road #8S10 is known as ‘Red Lake Road’ and pretty popular among 4x4s and fishermen. This high clearance 4×4 trail accesses both scenic lakes – Red Lake and Coyote Lake, as well as Dinkey Wilderness trailheads.

Trailhead Access:

Access the trailheads on the north side of Dinkey Creek Road, a paved route which connects Shaver Lake to the Sequoia McKinley Grove and then on to Wishon and Courtright. Rock Creek Road #9S10 becomes dirt and leads up to the Dinkey Lakes hiking trails.

Paved Dinkey Creek Road leads out to the Trails End trailhead. Dinkey Creek and main Campground is located at 5840' elevation and tucked deep in the forest, about 10 miles east of Shaver Lake. Beyond the Sequoia grove is Wishon & Courtright Reservoirs w/ Cliff Lake trailhead. All the other trailheads located at these large lakes lead over to John Muir Wilderness.

Paved Dinkey Creek Road leads out to the Trails End trailhead. Dinkey Creek and main Campground is located at 5840′ elevation and tucked deep in the forest, about 10 miles east of Shaver Lake. Beyond the Sequoia grove is Wishon & Courtright Reservoirs w/ Cliff Lake trailhead. All the other trailheads located at these large lakes lead over to John Muir Wilderness.

The Dinky Creek locale (on most maps) is located at the main Dinky Creek Campground, along Dinky Creek near the historic Dinky bridge on a small, paved, side route north of the main road. Although this summer vacation area is well signed, people can often miss this turn, especially at night.

DSCN0005

USDA map Two main hiking trail systems can be accessed from the west, via Tamarack Ridge (parking at Hwy 168). Both dirt routes from highway, Road #9S09 and Road #8S10 lead out to Dinkey trails, although one is rugged 4×4 trail, Red Mountain OHV, and the other is a long, graded dirt road.

Kaiser Pass Road to the north side has even more trails leading into Dinkey. Badger Flat and White Bark trailheads are closest points to Huntington Lake, CA. Bolsillo trailhead is way back near Florence Lake, which also has a major trailhead and paved parking.

NFS

 

local rangers:

Sierra National Forest
High Sierra Ranger District
29688 Auberry Rd
Prather, CA 93651
559-855-5355

Secluded Camping
4×4 Camping at Coyote Lake

 

Ishi Wilderness

Bridge and Chute from top of Black Rock

NorCal Ishi Wilderness

41,840 acres
20 miles N of Chico, CA
Lassen National Forest

  • Barkley Mountain (elev. 4488′)
  • Black Rock Campground
  • Deer Creek
  • Flat Iron Mountain (elev. 4400′)
  • Iron Mountain (elev. 3274′)
  • Indian Ridge Campground
  • Mill Creek
  • Peligreen Place
  • Pine Creek
  • Pinnacle Peak (elev. 3293′)
  • South Antelope Campground
  • Twentymile Hollow

Up in the mountains behind Chico sits a rugged landscape of deep canyons lined with bizarre rock formations and roaring mountain creeks. Wilderness encompasses lower elevations – ranging from 1500′ – 3500′  – making this outdoor destination a winter haven, when the rest of the backcountry is covered in several feet of snow. One of the most historic wilderness areas in the state, as the aboriginal existence of the Native Americans came to an end in this area.

COHASSET ROAD climbs up the volcanic fin of Cohasset Ridge into the pine forests high above the valley floor. The paved road becomes dirt and the road name changes to Ponderosa Way (Lassen Road# 28N29). The Ishi Wilderness can also be accessed from the north side via Highway 32, near the Tehama State Game Refuge.


View Larger Map

  • backpacking trails
  • hiking trails
  • fishing creeks
  • horseback trails
  • wildlife viewing

 

Ishi Wilderness mapIshi Wilderness Map

Ishi Wilderness


Trinity Alps Trailheads

Trinity Alps Wilderness Trailheads
NorCal Hiking Vacations

Meadow on Trinity Alps Long Canyon Trail

Northern California, Trinity Lakes
Shasta Trinity National Forest

  • backpacking
  • camping
  • fishing lakes
  • hiking trails
  • horseback trails
  • waterfalls

Trinity Alps Wilderness

hike

 

Trinity Wilderness trailhead locations –

trailheads from Highway 3:

  • Scott Mountain (PCT access)
  • Bear Creek
  • Eagle Creek
  • Stoddard Lake
  • Boulder Creek
  • Big Flat
  • Swift Creektrinityalps_lg

trailheads from Highway 299:

  • Canyon Creek
  • Hobo Gulch
  • French Creek
  • Green Mountain
  • Jim Jam Ridge
  • East Fork
  • New River
  • Grizzly Camp

trailheads from Highway 96:

  • Tish Tang
  • Red Cap Lake
  • Bear Hole
  • Mill Creek Lake
  • Salmon Summit

trailheads from north @ Salmon River, Cecilville Rd #1C02:

  • Hidden Horse
  • Trail Creek
  • Carter Meadows Summit (PCT access)
  • Middle Boulder

Trinity Alps Wilderness Trail
Overview @ SummitPost

Trinity Alps Lakes & Waterfalls

Trinity Wilderness Lakes & Waterfalls

Grizzly Falls -- Trinity Alps Wilderness

Northern California Lakes
Shasta Trinity National Forest

NFS

 

Trinity Alps Wilderness

lake

 

Lakes & Waterfalls in the Trinity Alps region –

Canyon Creek Fallstrinityalps_lg
Trinity Lake
Josephine Lake
Hidden Lake
Caribou Lake
Lost Lake
Grizzly Lake
Sapphire Lake
Papoose Lake
Emerald Lake
Conway Lake
Barker Lake
Foster Lake
Boulder Lake
Cecil Lake
Lion Lake
Ward Lake
Mirror Lake
Long Gulch Lake
Trail Gulch Lake
Fox Creek Lake
Red Cap Lake
East Boulder Lake
Middle Boulder Lake
Big Boulder Lake
Big Bear Lake
Big East Fork Lake
Little Bear Lake
Canyon Creek Lakes

 

Trinity Alps Lake

West Kern

festivals kern

CA Kern / western Kern county

Kern County is known for its oil, its agriculture, and outdoor recreation. The Kern River is the highlight of the region with lush, green and grey granite canyons, a big reservoir & the Sequoia trees just up the road. On the western side of Kern County are small towns like Frazier Park, the golfing cabin community of Pine Mountain Club, plus the oil meccas of Maricopa and Taft. Expansive Lockwood Valley enters into Ventura County. Cuyama River borders Santa Barbara & SLO counties.

Much of the western Kern area is rural ranch land, desert or forest. Los Padres National Forest, Chumash Wilderness, Bittercreek Wildlife Refuge, Wind Wolves Preserve, Buena Vista Reservoir, Ballinger Canyon, Hungry Valley and Fort Tejon State Park all call this region home, right on the mighty tangent of the San Andreas fault line. The San Emigdio range and the surrounding mountains of Mt Pinos and Mount Able design a perpendicular range to the Central Cali coastline, connecting the huge Mojave desert to the ocean. Cerro Noroeste is a very scenic drive.

The 17 mile long Quatal Canyon, where the indian camp of Mahu Tasen hosts a Bear Dance every summer is also a wild place of bird watching, camping and hunting. The indian word for Mount Pinos is “Iwihinmu” – a sacred spot for Chumash Indians, as well as others; Chumash call it the ‘center of the world’. Locals respond regularly with music, hikes, star gazing, drum circles (seasonally) and local festivals (annually) .

PHOTOS: Los Padres Photos | Miller Jeep Trail Off Roading Photos

Drum Camp Pinos | Drumming Cerro Noroeste

Tecuya Ridge

Tecuya Ridge, Cuddy Valley 4×4 trails can keep you busy for a whole weekend of back road exploring.

boating, camping, dirt biking, fishing, hiking, horseback, hunting, mountain biking, off roading, skydiving, xc skiing

DSCN0029

Quatal Canyon

Chumash Wilderness

Chumash Wilderness
Los Padres National Forest

38,150 acres
Mount Pinos – 8831′ elevation
Cerro Noroeste – 8286′ elevation
Los Padres National Forest

Terrain consists of high mountain peaks, badlands of Quatal Canyon Wash & Lockwood Valley; Steep slopes of forests, rock outcroppings, sparse forest areas, on border of Kern County & Ventura County. This area is sacred to the native California Chumash tribe.

Quatal Canyon Rd #9N09

DSCN0042Mount Pinos, Mount Abel, Cerro Noroeste, Westside Park, Hudson Ranch Road, Mil Potrero Highway, Lockwood Valley Road, East Dry Canyon, Apache Canyon, Cuyama River

campgrounds nearby –

The Peak to Peak Hike is a 7 mile, high elevation, ridge line day hike that traversed 2 of the tallest peaks in Kern County – Mt Pinos (elevation 8831′) and Mt Abel (8286′). Day hikes, equestrian trails, backpacking, mountain biking areas nearby. Steep, granite, chaparral, lightly forested w/ ponderosa and Jeffrey pines. From this ridge trail you have a 360 degree view over the entire region. The cabin community of Pine Mountain Club is to the north side (and IF the skies are really clear, you can see the Sierra Nevada mountain range too); Lockwood Valley & Ozena Valley are located to the south; Cuyama Valley to the west and the Tejon Pass w/ Frazier Park to the east.

Off road use 4×4, dirt bikes, ATVs, and quads are common in Quatal Canyon, Apache Canyon, East Dry Canyon leading up to the wilderness edge. Rangers will ticket if they find you on the Chumash side of Quatal wash. The secluded yet inviting, wide, white sandy washes are just too tempting for some bad boys.

Chumash trailheads are located

  • about a mile before Camp-O-Alto Campground (Mount Abel)
  • along lower end of Quatal Canyon Wash (OHV areas parallel)

nearby towns –

 

DSCN0060


View Chumash Wilderness Area in a larger map

Garcia Wilderness

Garcia Wilderness, Los Padres NF

14,100 acres
Garcia Peak – 3146′ elevation
Los Padres National Forest
Huasna River
Pozo Creek

himtncampgroundcampgrounds nearby –

American Canyon Campground
Hi Mountain Campground
La Panza Campground
Lake Lopez Campground
Navajo Campground

trailheads for Garcia Wilderness

  • Hi Mtn
  • Santa Lucia
  • Garcia OHV

POZO ROAD is also known as

  • Pozo La Panza Rd
  • Hi Mountain Rd
  • Pozo Arroyo Grande Rd

San Luis Obispo’s Los Padres Pozo Rd is a 4×4 route that accesses the Garcia Wilderness; the dirt route connects Lake Lopez to Pozo Saloon, out near Santa Margarita. Los Padres National Forest 

Located inland from the Pismo Coast in south San Luis Obispo county.
Garcia Peak OHV Route, off Pozo Road behind Lake Lopez, Arroyo Grande, CA

  • backpackingLupine on Pozo Rd
  • camping
  • hiking
  • mountain biking
  • off roading
  • waterfalls
  • wildflowers

Steep lush coastal mountains, rugged, remote landscapes close to Central Coast San Luis Obispo.

Garcia Ridge Road #30S18

Garcia Ridge Trail #15E11

Hi Mountain Road #30S11

 

DSCN5297

also nearby – Machesna Mountains Wilderness and Santa Lucia Wilderness