Kirkwood Lake

Kirkwood Lake Campground

kirkwood granite

Central Sierra Nevada mountains
Kirkwood Lake is west of Kirkwood Ski Resort;
west of Silver Lake @ Carson Pass Hwy 88

Kirkwood, CA
El Dorado National Forest

Inside the granite maze of rock known as Caples Creek, you may find this small lake, just off the highway. Paved access camp ideal for quiet weekends – fish, hike, stargaze and relax. Snow is deep in these parts of the Sierra, so the campground closes annually for winter.


No motor boats
No RV or motorhomes
No horse trailers

Small Camping Lake

Kirkwood Campground

• Elevation: 7,600′
• Number of Sites: 12
• Vehicle Accessibility: No RVs
• Campsites Reservation: No
• Campsite Fee: Yes
• Length of Stay: 14 Days
• Season: June – October
• hiking trailheads, fishing, swimming, kayaking, canoe, rock climbing

Bears are active in this region, so use the metal bear boxes provided to store all food items.

Canoe Lakes

Extra precautions should be taken with human waste around fragile eco systems, like lakes and meadows. Use the new bathroom, instead of the bushes (or granite crack).

new toilets

new toilets

pipe drinking water

piped drinking water, a camp luxury

Kelbaker Road

Kelbaker Road, Mojave NP

Kelbaker Road is one of the well-traveled back roads in the Mojave Desert connecting two major Eastern California routes of Interstate system. The I-40 to the south and the I-15 to the north, spanning 50 miles from one to the other.

Kelbaker Rd continues south to T up w/ old Route 66 near Amboy, CA. Gasoline is very iffy in Amboy, so remember gas up in Barstow.

A super scenic portion of  Kelbaker Road cuts thru the western edge of Mojave National Preserve. The Kelbaker pavement reaches to an elevation of 4024′ at Granite Pass, about 6 miles north of the exit @ interstate 40. Boulder outcroppings, bare mountain peaks, secluded cove camp sites w/ dirt roads, and old mines all over. Joshua tree forest and pinyon pine forest encircle the Mid Hills region.

There are private property ranches, active railroad tracks & BLM lands along the Kelbaker route. Some of the boundaries of NPS have recently been expended. Free camping is abundant in this desert region, but it’s all primitive w/ no facilities and all are on dirt roads when your turn off Kelbaker. The best camping area are 4000 feet above sea level, so serious wind and even snow is quite possible in winter months, so go prepared w/ plenty firewood.

Historic Mojave Trail (aka Mojave Road) is out this way. Dirt bikes, off roaders love this trail that connect the Colorado River to Afton Canyon near Barstow.

Kelso, CA

This small historic ares is centered around the old train depot, which has been restored and has become the new visitors center and is totally worth a 2 hour stop and stretch break. The road heads north from Kelso and the name changes to Kelbaker-Cima Road.

Cima, CA

Cima store, 20 miles to the north is one of the few businesses in this region. Cima Road connects to I-15 in approx 15 miles. Kelbaker Road splits again and it heads up to I-15 @ Baker, CA

See more in the area —

Kelbaker Rd

Kelbaker Road and Railroad Tracks

Hole in the Rock

Hole in the Rock, Mojave NP

Mojave Scenery

Mojave Mid Hills boulder peaks