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.

    Best View Camp Sites

    view campsite

    Great Overlooks for Camping

    Best View Camp Site in California 

    Overlook Camps, View Spot Camp Sites

    This list is comprised of primitive camp sites and developed campgrounds with views overlooking a large area (valley, town, canyon, desert, river, ocean). Many ideal spots may require dirt road driving, and a few might need a 4-wheel drive vehicle to reach.

    Prewitt Ridge, Big Sur Coast

    This is by far the best, free coastal camping on the Central Coastline of Big Sur. Dirt roads traverse 10 miles out to vacant ridges overlooking the Pacific, with steep hills down to the highway. Camp above the fog layer and above the crowds. Explore the beaches during the day, and camp above the traffic & crowds at night.

    Dry brush is abundant on the mountains of Los Padres National Forest. Camp fire restrictions should be of utmost concern in this area, since wildfires burn here often. Camp fire permits are required for camping on the back roads, and much of the time camp fires are banned in this region. Call ahead to the rangers to find out the current conditions.

    Swinger

    Julia Pfieffer Burns State Park
    Big Sur Coastline

    Two prime walk-in camp sites, on a shady point, high above a beach cove w/ scenic waterfall. Called “environmental camps” these highly desirable spots need advanced reservations w/ fees many months in advance. Tables, fire rings and a vault toilet. Bare bones basics, but the ideal location is worth it. A forested cliff on the edge of the ocean, high above a secluded cove. This location a can get windy if a storm moves in (generally October – March).

    Los Padres National Forest

    Kirk Creek Campground
    on Highway 1 @ Nacimiento Rd
    Big Sur CA

    Willow Creek Road # 23S01
    primitive camping on dirt road, above Hwy 1 @ Gorda, CA

    sunset watch

    Reyes Peak Camping
    North of Ojai, CA
    Pine Mountain Summit, CA Hwy 33

    Off Cerro Noroeste Road, W of Pine Mountain, CA

    Above Santa Maria, Highway 166
    West of New Cuyama, CA

    • Miranda Pines Campground @ 4100′ elev
      Located well off hwy. on Road #32S13

    San Bernardino National Forest
    Toro Peak Campground

    toro_campsite

    Angeles National Forest

    Fire Safe Spot

    San Bernardino National Forest

    I-8 East of San Diego, CA

    • Larkin Campground
      McCain Valley BLM OHV
    • Mar Tar Awa above Viejas Casino
    • Sweetwater Summit Co Park San Diego

    I-5 North of San Diego, CA

    S-22  East San Diego County

    Montezuma Grade, overlooking Borrego Springs & Anza Borrego Desert

    • Culp Valley – boulders, primitive camps on dirt roads; better views off-road. No tables, no signs. Small campground at the highway is easy to find.

    providence

    I-40 Mojave Desert

    view spot mojave

    US Hwy 395 & surrounding areas

    inside Death Valley National Park

    • Mahogany Flat Campground steep dirt road access. Trailhead for tallest peak in the park, Telescope Peak (11,049′ elev)
    • Tucki Mine, 4×4 route. Unmarked dirt road inside Emigrant Canyon, off Wildrose Road.

    inside Inyo National Forest

    • Coyote Flat @ Pinyon Boulders – 4×4 required, one primitive camp w/ great views overlooking the Owens Valley & peaks to the east.
    • Onion Valley Campground – High Sierra @ 9200′ elevation. Trailhead to Kearsarge Pass. W of Independence, CA

    4x4 Camps

    Western Sierra Nevada Mts
    Sierra National Forest

      • White Bark Trailhead @ Kaiser Pass,
        primitive camp site, pictured above. 4WD required @ Dusy Ershim Trail (OHV route). NE of Huntington Lake, CA

    cabin rental

    NFSsee also – NFS Fire Lookouts & Rental Cabins
    many of which have excellent views of the wilderness areas; a hike or climb may be necessary

    Colorado River Camping
    Multiple riverside RV havens near Parker, AZ

    coloradoriverRV

     


    California Fire Lookout

    Dome Land from Bald Mtn, KERN

    NFS Fire Lookout Towers

    Cabin Rentals in California National Forests

    Ready to see wide and wild terrain? Views for 100 miles out and the best scenery California has to offer. Be prepared to off road or hike to reach one of these destinations.

    Below is a list of historic look out towers & cabins used for spotting wildfires. Some are located on steep granite peaks, ridge lines or dirt roads. 4×4 may be recommended to reach a few. Road conditions can change w/ harsh mountain weather, so be prepared to rough it. Thunderstorms are common on these mountain ridges.

    Several of these places are cabins, some are stone houses, but most fire lookouts are basic metal towers – with high climbing staircases, so you must be in decent physical strength to haul your ass up this high.

    rangers cabin mountains hikers vacation

    Cabins are also called guard stations, huts, bunkhouses. Most are located on mountain tops, but a few exist in desert regions. Some are refurbished & available for overnight rentals. Bare bones furnishings, so forget the frills. People come up here for the thrills. To be outside w/ epic views, way away from the urban grind & to feel on top-of-the-world.

    Coon Creek Cabin

     

    NFSlogoSee the full list of overnight accommodations on mountain peaks & ridges, some near meadowsNational Forest Cabin Rentals

     

    El Dorado National Forest:

    Cuyama Peak

    Cuyama Lookout is a rough road up. Off Hwy 33, in Los Padres NF

    Los Padres National Forest:

    • Cuyama Peak Lookout Tower (pictured above) off Hwy 166 & via Santa Barbara Cyn, 4×4 recommended. Sorta near jct w/ Hwy 33

    San Bernardino National Forest:

    Sequoia National Forest:

    Sierra National Forest:

    cabin rentals

    BEWARE:
    California is the land of wildfires!

    Always check for local fire conditions at nearest ranger station, obtain a free campfire permit when camping outside of developed campgrounds, and always practice fire safety when visiting our public lands. You can be held liable for wildfires. Outta control campfire, cigarettes, idling vehicles on tall, dry grass. Be very cautious with fires on the often dry, west coast.

    Borrego Park

    Anza Park / Borrego Park

    purplmtns_i

    East San Diego County, Borrego Springs CA

    San Diego Backcountry
    600,000 acres of SoCal desert
    San Diego desert maps

    BLOOM: mid-March thru May
    Anza Park elevations range from low to high. Lowest near eastern border (next to the Salton Sea) to the upper reaches of the western slopes @ 4000′. Wide, deep, sandy, long desert washes, native petroglphs, wind caves, slot canyons and split mountain. This uncrowded state park has the most acreages than all of the parks.

    OPEN CAMPING

    Camp in a developed campground, a small back country site or camp primitive on nearly any dirt road. Car camping to 4×4, this park has lots to offer folks wishing to really escape. No ground fires allowed, so bring your metal campfire bucket and large trash bag to carry out your ashes. The last thing you want is to scar these pristine white desert washes.

    DESERT WILDFLOWERS

    Steep rocky canyons on the Laguna mountain foothills can be challenging terrain, so bring good, sturdy hiking boots. Wildflowers can be abundant on certain years. Lower elevations sprout up first; Higher elevations along County Rd S-2 & S-22 bloom later in Spring. By June 1st most of the color is gone in and around Borrego Springs, so this is a real Winter and Spring vacation kinda spot. California desert wildflowers include primrose, barrel cactus, prickly pear, monkey flower, ocotillo & many more.

    ANZA BORREGO WILDFLOWERS

    seaoflavendar

    see also BORREGO SPRINGS

    find you way easily with the Anza Borrego Desert Map

    anza park

    This is the largest State Park in California and “open car camping” is allowed on the back roads. (also referred to as primitive camping, free camping or 4×4 camping) One of the few places in Southern California that you can camp outside of a developed Campground and still have a campfire. You gotta bring a large metal bucket to have your campfire in – as ashes scar white sandy washes and ground fires are not allowed.

    Oroville Dam Emergency

    Repairs @ Oroville Dam

    spillwaycrews

    Last night the town of Oroville, California was evacuated due to an emergency at the dam. Downriver – Gridley, Marysville & Yuba City were also evacuated. And the evacuation has not yet been lifted. So today, I went for a hike over at Foreman Creek, which joins the Lake Oroville Reservoir – directly east of the dam.

    The waters edge is super high, coming up the paved access road and drowning the green grassy canyon and trees. A gaggle of geese greeted me and then swam away. I looked for the helicopters that were supposed to be working on the tallest dam in the nation. Nothing!

    foreman creek

    Although I did hear the crews working on the opposite side of the lake, I could not see them. I did not bring my binoculars, nor my tripod. Bummer.

    I sat down on the road with my Nikon Coolpix camera and began to use the digital zoom feature, which sometimes works. I had to use my knee to balance the camera so my shots would not be blurry.

    The geese decided to come back into view. With the zoom feature of my camera, I was able to make out the work vehicles that were parked on the Oroville Dam. These are the best shots of the day. Click to expand images.

    On my way back to the car I started to hear helicopters, more than one – so I do know that the crews are working hard on a plan to fix the dam. All through the night 24/7, plugging the holes on the damaged spillway with rock, boulders, debris, cement, metal, whatever they can. Timing is crucial now, cuz more rain is due in later this week!

    Several local creeks and 4 forks of the Feather River empty into Lake Oroville. Count ’em FOUR!

    We’ve had 20 something inches of rain recently in the North Sierra Nevada mountains, so this winter is helping drought conditions in NorCal, but also putting major pressure on California’s reservoirs. Recent warm storms melted snowpack at higher elevations (Lassen), which is why the dam is currently maxed out.

    gaggleofgeese
    Geese swim by, with work crews on the dam in the background.

    Polymers?

    KwikBond

    Construction materials, including plastics, have come a long way since 1968. Trucks seen rolling thru town this week include: double trailer semi rigs “rock trucks”, cement trucks, and flatbeds w/ kwik bond polymers, by the ton, coming from outta state.

    Oddly, DWR – Department of Water Resources, does not mention the POLYMERS, or shall we say “plastics”, in the recent news updates.

    “Rock, aggregate and cement slurry are being used to repair and backfill the affected areas.” (02/17/2017)

    #OrovilleDamSpillway

    DWR Spillway Updates
    http://www.water.ca.gov/oroville-spillway/index.cfm

    Lake Oroville State Park web cam
    https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=29411