Dirt Street

7S02 up hill

An avenue made of dirt, earthen highways, dirt trails, forest roads, fire roads, jeep road, graded roads. Dirt driving trails that lead into the middle of nowhere. No stop signs, no billboards, no stores, no one else around… for miles. Enjoy less crowds and more open space.

dirt streetsIf you are fed up with city life, sitting in traffic & need to vacate your mind among the barren hills of California (if only for a weekend), then Total Escape is your place. You seek solitude, peace, maybe a mini tailgate party & BBQ on a dry lake bed, with the heavenly stars above. Imagine the warm camp fire light reflecting off the high canyon walls, your music echoing, moonlight hikes for a few miles.

California has some awesome spots to drive on dirt, get way back in nature. Right up to the edge of the Wilderness boundary. That’s what this one silly “dirt street” page is all about… helping you get out there, the easiest & best way possible. We even got you the right maps!

Back Roads in California

The End of Dirt Roads

California OHV Maps

Most of this is just dirt road driving, graded, some hills, easy stuff. But on occasion you might come across a 4×4 required sign – or perhaps a triple black diamond trail. Having several good maps on hand will help you enjoy these roads, instead of stressing & wondering if there is a lock gate at the other end – 18 miles in.

Some dirt streets lead to campgrounds, some to waterfalls, some to viewpoints, some have loop options & others are just dead end; sometimes at old mines. Get ready to explore with your truck or SUV. 2WD or low clearance vehicles (such as passenger cars) should be ready to turn back if the road get too nasty. Any decent precipitation can make any unpaved road much worse & may require 4 wheel drive, so have a plan B mud terrainor C as a backup idea.

Best off road areas & parks in California:

Death Valley Roads

Tooling around Goler Wash & Barker Ranch on the very edge of Death Valley

Mammoth Fishing



Stark Weather Lake

Originally uploaded by danamight

Mammoth Mountain Lakes / Eastern Sierra Fishing

Sure splendor for fishing, most of the time. Lake fishing, stream fishing, river fishing. Fishing the Eastern Sierra area, near Mammoth Lakes, California can be very rewarding. You may have read about places like these in the sports magazines, seen them on a television program, or imagined them in a fishing vacation day dream. Summers can be crowded, so pick a lake and camp carefully. Weather can change quickly, so come prepared. Autumn fishing w/ the golden aspens and less crowds is preferred.

Most of these Eastern Sierra lakes are accessible by car, others by foot. Look at the photos, pick a destination and get a good map of the area, so you can explore everything around too.

CAMPGROUND RESERVATIONS

Mammoth Lakes Area

Mammoth Area Lakes – Mammoth City

Mammoth Area Creeks –

Mammoth Area Rivers –

  • Owens River
  • San Joaquin River

junelake

June Lake Loop

June Area Lakes –

June Area Creeks –

Mammoth Maps

inyo maps
Inyo National Forest Map

Ansel Adams Wilderness Maps
Devils Postpile Map
Mammoth High Country Map
Mono Divide Trail Map
Mammoth Mono Map NatGeo

other Eastern Sierra maps –

Bishop Pass Trail Maps
Hoover Wilderness Trail Map
John Muir Wilderness Maps
Mono Lake Map
Palisades Trail Maps

fishing trip

El Dorado Camping

Primitive Camping in El Dorado County

Camping Rivers

More & more people are venturing off the beaten touristy path of Gold Country. Getting outta the developed campgrounds to discover the joys of dispersed back woods camping is a new adventure, not to be taken lightly.

With truck or SUV ownership come some great rewards! Order a good map & go find some dirt roads. Waterfalls, dense forests, secluded creekside camp sites & more await you. Obtaining a camp fire permit is mandatory for this style of camping. Campfires are often banned in California, due to extreme wildfire danger. Since the gold mining foothills are usually oak and dry grass, with large steep river canyons, extra caution should be given. Always know the fire conditions before you build a campfire. Caldor Camping

Discover the hidden back roads: like Caldor Road off of Grizzly Flat Rd. – up above Placerville CA

Hey, now this is what we’re talking about. Plenty great dispersed camping down by the Cosumnes River & Consumnes Mine Rd. There are hundreds of miles of small roads to discover back behind this historic mining area. Rivers, waterfalls & decent fishing too. Make sure you clean up some litter. This is the only price you pay for the beauty, serenity, peace & quiet & no neighbor campers next to you.

Out exploring these parts, you may run into a dead end road that peters out at some Private Property, which is usually signed & fenced. Make nice with the old crazy miner dude & turn your ass around politely, everything will be okay as soon as you are not within gun shot of him. Yes, there still are plenty of small time mining experts tucked away back here in the hills.

river camping
Premium and secluded river side camp sites in El Dorado National Forest

Plenty creeks and rivers run throughout this central Sierra region, so you can fish all day – until your hearts desire. River rafting and river kayaking opportunities are also great reasons to get wet.

Several mountain reservoirs around offer camping and boating too. Eldorado lakes are listed below.

CAMPGROUND RESERVATIONS

  • Caples Lake @ Carson Pass
  • Ice House Reservoir
  • Jenkinson Lake – US Hwy 50
  • Kirkwood Lake
  • Lower Bear River Res. – South Shore Campground
  • Salt Springs Reservoir
  • Silver Lake @ Carson Pass
  • Union Valley Reservoir
  • nearby towns –

    El Dorado Forest Maps –

    Eastern Sierra Hiking

    Eastern Sierra Hiking Trails – Mammoth Hikes

    Autumn Bliss Hike

    Desert ghost towns to Sierra meadows & waterfalls, Inyo National Forest offers plenty of diversity for scenery. To list all the hikes in the Eastern Sierra would be obsurd, cuz there are so many trails. This side of the Sierra Nevada is all about hiking, fishing & camping.Inyo forest map

    No matter where you hike you will probably get a great view over the Owens Valley, Long Valley Caldera or Mono Lake. So that means most of those trails are hiking up a canyon, or a ridge line. Thousands of trails over this region require a good map to make the best decision for your hiking interest.

    US HWY 395: The Eastern Sierra is one of the premier hiking destinations of California. Featuring the granite crags of the HIgh Sierra peaks. Mount Whitney, the tallest peak is closest to Lone Pine. Southern Californians love Eastern Sierra destinations, cuz they can avoid Los Angeles Basin and stay outta traffic.

    Lone Pine Lake – Whitney Portal is a great, but crowded place for hiking. DO NOT ATTEMPT to hike to Mount Whitney in one day! Leave it to the seasoned pros. The first good stop up the Whitney Trail is gorgeous Lone Pine Lake, a great moderate day hike from there.

    Alabama Hills – just below Mt. Whitney and has a totally different landscape than the backdrop granite Sierras behind. Try some boulder hopping & explore the dirt roads. Bring your mountain bike too.

    Cottonwood Lakes (Pacific Crest Trail) – day hikes to alpine lakes. US 395 @ Lone Pine, W on Whitney Portal Rd. Left on Horseshoe Meadow Rd & continue up 19 mi. to the Horseshoe Meadow campground. Mostly a trail head camp, way, way up there. Open May – November

    Kearsarge Pass – from 9000′ Onion Valley you can access the incredible High Sierra & numerous alpine lakes. The elevation gain makes this a full days hike; rated strenuous. Or continue on w/ backpack into Kings Canyon National Park.

    Devils Postpile – back behind Mammoth Mountain, creeks, forest & cool geology awaits. Plenty hiking trails.

    FALL COLORS: Autumn is the best time to enjoy the gorgeous aspen groves, as they change colors w/ the onset of winter.

    Eastern Sierra Peaks

    Topo maps, wilderness hiking maps
    Equestrian trails, OHV maps –


    Sierra High Country Hikes
    Originally uploaded by danamight

    Trailhead @ Onion Valley leads up to impressive alpine lakes, Kearsarge Pass & Kings Canyon High Country.

    Eastern Sierra communities include:

    Alabama Hills

    Alabama Hills @ Lone Pine, CA

    Frazier Park Camping

    Mount Pinos Camping & Frazier Park Campgrounds
    frazier park camping


    Frazier Park and neighboring towns, like freeway-close Lebec and Gorman, is where the Los Angeles hills meet the Kern County mountains, next to the Mojave desert and the Antelope Valley. EXIT I-5 @ Tejon Pass (elev 4144′)

    Wildflower hills, seasonal creeks, forested peaks, high desert canyons. Bike trails, hike trails, off road routes. High elevation backpacking, hang gliding, mountain biking and camping in every direction.

    High desert washes, oak creeks, pinyon pine forests, mountain meadows and numerous peaks – Frazier Peak, Reyes Peak, Alamo Mountain, Mount Pinos, Mount Abel (Cerro Noroeste) and north facing San Emigdio ridge.

    CAMPGROUND RESERVATIONS

    blue links lead to camp reservation services.

    Mt. Pinos District:

    campground elev spots veg toilet water notes
    Aliso Park, Cuyama 3200′ 11 oak pit no Aliso Cyn Rd. (#10N04)
    Ballinger OHV Camp 3000′ 20 pinyon vault no Rd# 9N10, Cuyama Valley
    Camp-O Alto 8286′ 12 jefferey pit no ridge, Cerro Noroeste
    Caballo Campground 5850′ 5 oaks pit no Rd# 9N27, Cerro Noroeste
    Cherry Creek 4×4 5200′ 2 oak no spring 4WD trail, Cuddy Valley
    Chuchapate Campgr 6000′ 30 pines vault piped Rd# 8N04, closed winter
    Chula Vista Campgr 8300′ 12 pines vault no walk-in camps & RV lot
    Cottonwood Campgr 4600′ 2 ctnwd no creek 4WD only trail, fish
    Dome Springs Camp 4800′ 4 oak pit no Rd# 8N40, Lockwood
    Dutchman Camp 6800′ 8 pines no no Rd# 7N01, 4WD trails
    Half Moon Campgr 4700′ 10 pines pit no Rd #7N03, May-Oct
    Kings Campground 4250′ 7 pinyon vault no near OHV & Piru Creek
    Marian Campground 6600′ 5 pine pit no closed in winter
    McGill Campground 7500′ 50+ pine vault seasonal mountain biking
    Mount Pinos Campgr 7800′ 19 pine vault seasonal closed winter
    Nettle Springs Camp 4400′ 9 pinyon vault no Rd# 8N06, Apache Cyn
    Ozena Campground 3660′ 12 cottnwd vault no Lockwood Rd
    Pine Springs Camp 5800′ 12 pinyon pit no Road #7N03
    Pleito Campsite 5000′ 2 mixed no no dirt rd access, dispersed
    Rancho Nuevo 3550′ 2 mixed no no river crossing
    Reyes Creek 4000′ 30 oaks vault yes creek camping
    Reyes Peak Pine Mt 5200′ 6 pines none no ridge camping
    Salt Creek 4×4 3000′ 2 mixed no no 4WD only
    Sunset Campground 4300′ 2 cottonwd no no Lockwood / Piru Creek
    Thorn Meadows 5000′ 5 pine pit no Rd# 7N03C, horse corral
    Tinta Campground 3600′ 3 scrub pit no river crossing
    Toad Springs Camp 5700′ 5 pinyon pit no Rd# 9N09, Quatal Cyn
    Twin Pines Camp 6600′ 5 pine vault no Dry weather only
    Valle Vista Camp 4800′ 7 mixed pit no condors, new toilet

    See Mount Pinos Recreation Campgrounds only

    Group Camping Sites in Los Padres Forest

    Map of Los Padres NF –

    Los Padres mountain towns –

    DSCN0043

    Toad Springs Campground atop Quatal Canyon.┬áSmall camps located in Los Padres NF have no fees, and often no toilets – so bring the shovel