Tag Archives: Campground

Mineral King Camping

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Mineral King is a magnificent canyon in the southern portion of Sequoia National Park, east of  Visalia, CA. So magical indeed that Disney tried to purchase the rugged scenic lands for a wilderness ski theme park in 1960. Thankfully that project never happened, due to strong opposition from preservationists. Mineral King became part of Sequoia National Park in 1978.

Mineral King is the Great Western Divide, where high peaks separate the foothills from the taller Eastern Sierra range. Upper Kern River Canyon lies beneath as the main south drainage from the very tallest peak, Mount Whitney @ 14,494′

sierra topo maps

Mineral King Road is a paved off shoot from Highway 198, just to the east of the town of  Three Rivers, CA. The road is steep and curvy and 25 miles long. No gasoline at all. No RV motorhomes or trailers are permitted to travel this scenic and amazing back road. Certain portions of the road are dirt and usually graded, but most of the route is paved.  Snow closes the road in winter months – NOV-MAY.

We usually get less than a half year to enjoy this special place, so make plans in advance to fit this destination into your schedule JUNE-JULY-AUG-SEPT.

And do not even think of trying to cram spectacular Mineral King into an already packed Sequoia Park weekend trip. The Giant tree Sequoia groves, Hume Lake and Kings Canyon are over an hour north (hwy 198), to other side of the park.

If you have a full week to hang out in the Sequoia National Park area, then obviously Crystal Cave and Mineral King should be on the list, but keep in mind taht each destination will take a full day to drive to and explore.

Driving the distance on Mineral King Road, the wonders abound on every curve. Wildlife, waterfalls, water flowing and the dense forests.

Atwell Mill Campground is located at an old wood mill site and has a good hike to a footbridge at Kaweah River. There is a small cabin community called Silver City which caters to summer crowds and family campers. Only open during the warm season.

At the very end of Mineral King Road is the gravel parking. Step out into high elevation (7830′ above sea level), breathe deep and enjoy the granite bowl of alpine bliss with creeks, meadows, wildflowers, picnic spots, hiking trails and scenery everywhere. Mid day sunshine can be bright. Black bears and marmots are very common.

Cold Springs Campground is the last developed campground, located next to a raging creek. The hike-in sites are the best choice for seclusion at this camp.

South Fork Campground is the smallest of the campgrounds in this area; located in the foothills at 3600′ elevation, open all year. From Highway 198 (W of the town of Three Rivers), take South Fork Drive 13 paved miles to camp.

KaweahFalls

mineral king backpacking

Mineral King is a favorite destination among backpackers as it gives instant access to many high country trailheads with mostly paved road driving. Located deep in the forest at end of a long road, near the center of the Sierra Nevada range gives ample hiking in every direction. The hikes are steep and challenging, but the rewards are solitude, true wildness and grandeur scenery. Although inviting, these steep passes might not be adequate for beginner backpackers, so please keep that in mind when planning. Fishing lakes, day hikes, horseback trails, waterfalls, creeks, and jagged mountain peaks.

From Mineral King you can access the these popular spots – PCT, the Great Western Divide, the Golden Trout Wilderness, Sequoia National Park, Kings Canyon High Country, Keasarge Pass, John Muir Wilderness.

top maps for the region –

Ponderosa Flat Campground

Butt Lake California
Ponderosa Flats Campground

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Lake Camping NorCal

RV camping, tent camping, fishing, hiking, swimming, boat launch, handicap accessible.

Ponderosa Campground – PG&E Campground,  located 3 miles from Lake Almanor

Tucked away off the main drag of Plumas Hwy 89. North end of Butt Valley Reservoir on east shore. Turn off about 6 miles northwest of Lake Almanor Canyon Dam on Hwy. 89, take Butt Valley Road south for 3.2 miles.

Set in a Ponderosa Pine forest along the shores of Butt Lake, part of a system of reservoirs formed by hydro-electric dams managed by Pacific Gas & Electric.  Lake levels can change rapidly with minimal warning.

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Quiet lake in California: No water skiing, jet ski or race boats; only small motorized fishing boats.  Canoeing, kayaking and sail boating are also popular lake recreation. Off road areas nearby.

• Elevation: 4,150′
• Number of Sites: 63
• Camping Reservations: Yes
• Sites Available: Reservations; First come, First serve
• Vehicle Accessibility: Vehicle 32 ft. max. No RV Hookups
• Length of Stay: 14 Days
• Water: Piped; lake
• Toilet: Vault
• Season: Closed for winter, Nov-April
• Fee: Yes
• Operated By: PG&E
• Closest Town: Lake Almanor, CA

Pacific Gas & Electric
Almanor Ranger Station
916-386-5164

Ohio Valley Route
The alternate dirt road access thru Ohio Valley is graded dirt w/ rough roads that may require 4×4 or high clearance vehicles. RVs are not advised to travel this way.

nearby destinations –

Sespe Wilderness

Sespe Wilderness & Hiking Trails

Los Padres National Forest
Campgrounds & Trailheads

Sespe Wilderness is located in the mountains W of Interstate 5, North of Los Angeles. The chaparral region lies in between Lockwood Valley and the Santa Clara River Valley (Hwy 126). Higher elevation Mount Pinos lies to north side of Sespe and Ojai Valley to the south. The infamous 4×4 Miller Jeep Trail is located on the north side near Alamo Mountain, which is also accessible via Hungry Valley.

The 2006 Day Fire burnt a good portion of the Sespe Wilderness, so you can expect to see some black and toasted areas. Sespe Creek is also referred to as Sespe River. and certain waterways may dry up during drier months. Piru Creek, Alder Creek, Aqua Blanca Creek, Tarr Creek, Mutau Creek, Snowy Creek are several worthy of note. Expect heat and high temperature in the summer & fall month, and possible campfire restrictions during extreme wildfire season.

219,700 acres
6 areas of hiking trails

Los Padres National Forest
Lockwood Ranger Station
661-245-3731

Sespe Trail Map
Sespe Trails, Tom Harrison Topographic Map

Sespe hiking trailheads located at –

Highway 126 – Fillmore, CA
Sespe Condor Sanctuary – Dough Flat Trailhead

Highway 150 – Ojai, CA
Sisar Canyon Day Hike / Road #4N15

Highway 33 – Ojai, CA
Rose Valley Road #6N31, Rose Valley Falls, Day Hike
Piedras Blanca Trailhead for the National Recreation Trail
Pine Mountain Rd # – Reyes Peak Trailhead

Lockwood Valley Road – Frazier Park, CA
Reyes Creek, Camp Shiedeck – Pine Mountain Trailhead
Half Moon Mutau Flat Trailhead, Sespe Hot Springs

Interstate 5 Tejon Pass @ Hungry Valley
Hard Luck Trailhead

 

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Los Padres Campgrounds near Sespe Wilderness

  • Frazier Park Camping
  • Ojai Campgrounds
  • Twin Pines Campground, Road # 18N01
    Alamo Mountain via Hungry Valley OHV
  • Lockwood Creek Campground
  • Half Moon Campground, Lockwood #7N03
  • Thorn Meadows Campground, Lockwood #7N03
  • Dome Springs Campground, Lockwood #8N40
  • Reyes Creek Campground, Lockwood Valley Rd
  • Pine Mountain Road @ Reyes Peak (dispersed)
  • Nettle Springs Campground, Cuyama Hwy 33
  • Ozena Campground (closed)letswalk
  • Tinta Campground, Hwy 33
  • Rancho Nuevo Camp, Hwy 33
  • Rose Valley Campground, Hwy 33
  • Wheeler Gorge Campground, Hwy 33

 

nearby parks & lakes –

nearby towns –

Backpackers at Sespe Hot Springs

Dome Springs Campground

Domesprings

Los Padres NF – Frazier Park Camping

Dome Springs Campground

Los Padres Forest Rd #8N40

North of Lockwood Valley Rd. 20 miles W of Frazier Park, CA

Free, small campgrounds are abundant inside the Los Padres. Pinyon pine forest & a wide high desert wash, steep canyons and mountain wilderness. Kern County’s highest peak sits nearby @ Mount Pinos 8831′, with neighboring Mount Able 8286′ directly west of Pinos. Peak to Peak hike is a popular attraction for day hikers and backpackers alike.

Saabaru Off-Roader

Lockwood Valley Camping

free campground  / badlands terrain

When mountain winter temps set in (around the holiday season), camping overnight in the low lands might be more appealing. Domesprings is a perfect camp spot for car campers, off roaders, hunters or even mountain bikers. OHV trails, target shooting areas are abundant, as well as hiking and stargazing opportunities. The main wash is called Dry Canyon, which is nice when there has been some mild rain for minimal dust. No motor bike, vehicles or bicycles in the neighboring Chumash Wilderness, which borders this region on the north next to Mt Pinos.

Dome Springs – Dry Canyon main access road #8N40 can be sandy at times and 4×4 might be needed to reach camp during drier months. Snow or wet weather might also pose a problem with this road, so always check weather and call the rangers ahead of time to find out current road conditions. Most of the time you can get back here with a low rider passenger car.

Elevation: 4,585′
Number of Sites: 4
Camping Reservations: No
Sites Available: First come, First serve
Vehicle Accessibility: small RVs
Length of Stay: 14 Days
Water: No Piped; seasonal creek iffy
Toilet: Vault
Season: Open all year
Fee: No
Operated By: National Forest Service
Closest Town: Frazier Park, CA

Los Padres National Forest
Lockwood Ranger Station
661-245-3731

camp

2 other big washes off this mountain ridge are –

Apache Canyon Road #8N06Nettle Spring Campground, running to the west.

Quatal Canyon Road #9N09Toad Spring Campground, running to the west.

 

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Saddlebag Lake Campground

Saddlebag Lake, Yosemite East Side

Inyo National Forest @ Tioga Pass, Hwy 120

Yosemite High Elevation Campground

Yosemite Lake View Camp Sites

Tioga Pass camping on the eastern side of Yosemite National Park, just outside park boundaries is Inyo National Forest lands. Snow is usually epic up here and some of the deepest on the range of light.

Several prime campgrounds line this popular Sierra pass, highway 120. Most camps are located along the busy highway just outside the National Park gate. Behold, this prime choice destination is a few miles back off the highway, at the end of a graded dirt road. Smaller RVs okay.

Saddle Bag Lake

High altitude, tree line, thin air, snow melt everywhere, spectacular elevations and dark skies make this an awesome stargazing spot. Summer is busy with trailers, boat rentals, horses and day hikers. Locals and fishermen use this small campground often, so tourists should feel lucky to find such a rare camp here. First come, First serve, when it is open (only half the year).

Elevation: 10,000′
Number of Sites: 19
Camping Reservations: No
Sites Available: First come, First serve
Vehicle Accessibility: Vehicle limit 22 ft. max.
Length of Stay: 14 Days
Water: Piped; lake, creek nearby
Toilet: Vault
Season: Closed during winter & spring
Fee: Yes
Operated By: National Forest Service
Closest Town: Lee Vining, CA

Inyo National Forest
Bishop Ranger Station
760-873-2400

RV Camper Lake

Indian Flats Campground

Temecula Camping / Warner Springs Campground

San Diego Mountains – Cleveland National Forest

Indian Flats Campground

Indian Flat Campground is located on the seasonal San Luis Rey River in rural North San Diego County.  From I-15 @ Temecula, CA travel eastbound on Highway 79. Look for the tiny turn off  (on left side) for forest road #9N05, sorta near glider airport located west of Warner Springs. This poorly paved backcountry route (half dirt/mud at times) is also known as both Indian Flats Road or Lost Valley Road.

Graded dirt road (paved in some portions) travel is approximately 6.5 miles to campground, look for gate and turn off on the left side. When you see the giant boulder near the entrance, you’ll know you’ve made it to the right place.

Oak trees and a few pines, plenty shade, boulders and mountain scenery, this is a great small campground that is well away from everything in Southern California.  Seasonal creek-sized river and boulder waterfall often dries up in late summer. This means a wet spring is the best time to visit this camp. Hiking, mountain biking trails and hammock spots. Pacific Crest Trail access.

Cleveland National Forest
Palomar Ranger District
760-788-0250

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Elevation: 3,600′
Number of Sites: 17
Camping Reservations: None
Sites Available: First come, First serve
Vehicle Accessibility: Length 15′ max.
Length of Stay: 14 Days
Water: No Piped; Seasonal creek nearby
Toilet: Vault
Season: Closed for mud & snow during winter months
Fee: Yes
Operated By: National Forest Service
Closest Town: Warner Springs, CA

Indian Flat
Indian Flat Campground Entrance

Lily Pad Campground

Lilypad Campground @ Lake Wishon Reservoir
Sierra National Forest, California

The long journey up the mountain into the Sierra National Forest is only for the true adventure seekers. First off, get a good forest map. Second, plan several days if not a full week off of work to explore this region in depth. It is a long drive from most anywhere in California, and this spot is way, way tucked back in there right up against the High Sierra peaks and wildness.

East of in Fresno, historic village of Clovis is a good lunch stop in route. Drive up mountain on Hwy. 168, turn right at Shaver Lake on to Dinkey Creek Rd. Now you will clock the mileage 28.7 miles to the camp. Drive past McKinley Grove and past Dinkey Creek. Follow signs to Wishon Reservoir. This campground is located adjacent to the road before you reach the dam.

All this travel time will have you asking ‘is it worth it’? The answer is ‘yes’….. if you want an uncrowded lake with plenty of wilderness surrounding you. Granite rock and forest all around. Lake Wishon is a hydroelectric reservoir operated by PG&E

Lily Pad Campground

Central Sierra Camping – Wishon Lake

High Sierra Rangers Office: 559-855-5355

• Elevation: 6,500′
• Number of Sites: 15
• Camping Reservations: No
• Sites Available: First come, First serve
• Vehicle Accessibility: 35′ limit on RVs & trailers
• Length of Stay: 14 Days
• Toilet: Vault
• Water: Piped
• Season: Closed in Winter Snow
• Fee: Yes

camp sites at lake

Large granite boulder coves provide cubby-hole privacy w/ shady trees and well spaced camp sites. Very unique design with paved driveways, adequate for handicapped camping with some sites with better access than others. 4 camp sites are considered walk-in sites.

Lake views from camps are only a mere climb up to the top of the nearest granite, which will show you just how close you are sleeping to the big water.

As with any Sierra location, holiday and summer weekends are the most busy. Tourists, family campers and RVers are all out enjoying the sunshine. Mid-week camping is good for fishing, relaxing w/ peace and quiet. Off season is best for having the place to yourself.

Outdoor recreation in the area include – hiking, camping, backpacking, rock climbing, mountaineering, sightseeing, kayaking, canoeing, mountain biking, off-roading, creek fishing, lake fishing.

 

Neighboring Wishon Village has a small general store, RV park w/ wifi & boat rentals.

 

California Summer Camp

Kids Summer Camps in California

a child’s fondest memory, summer camp.

California Camps

Coppercreek Camp
Williams Valley Rd
Greenville, CA 95947
800-350-0006
Northern Sierra Nevada mountains

Gold Arrow Camp
60378 Highway 168
Lakeshore, CA 93634
800-554-2267
Central Sierra Nevada mountains

Kennolyn Camps
8205 Glen Haven Road
Soquel, CA 95073
831-479-6714
Santa Cruz mountains

Mountain Meadow Ranch
Susanville, CA 96130
530-257-4419
Northern Sierra California

Plantation Farm Camp
4285 Kruse Ranch Road
Cazadero, CA 95421
510-849-1084
707-847-3494
Coastal Sonoma redwoods

Pine Springs Ranch
58000 Apple Canyon Road
Mountain Center, CA 92561
951-659-4131
Idyllwild SoCal mountains

River Way Ranch Camp
6450 Elwood Road
Sanger, CA 93657
800-821-2801
559-787-2551
Central Sierra, Kings Canyon

Shaffer’s High Sierra Camp
38782 Highway 49
Sattley, CA 96124
866-597-6617
Gold Country Sierra foothills

Skylake Yosemite Camp
37976 Road 222
Wishon, CA 93669
559-642-3720
Bass Lake in Sierra NF

San Francisco RV Park

RV Campground San Francisco / RV Camp Ground

San Francisco RVing

Beach RV Park
2505 Portola Dr
Santa Cruz, CA
831 462-2505

Betabel RV Park
9664 Betabel Rd
San Juan Bautista, CA
800-278-7275
831 623-2202

Candlestick RV Park
650 Gilman Ave
San Francisco, CA
800 888-2267
415 822-2299

Costanoa Coastal Lodge & Camp
2001 Rossi Road @ Hwy 1
Pescadero, CA
650 879-1100

Coyote Valley RV & Golf Resort
9750 Monterey Rd
Morgan Hill, CA
866 376-5500
408 463-8400
San Jose, CA

Marin Park
2140 Redwood Hwy.
Greenbrae , CA
888 461-5199

Novato RV Park
1530 Armstrong Ave
Novato, CA
800 733-6787
415 897-1271

Olema Ranch Campground
Point Reyes National Seashore
10155 Highway 1
Olema, CA
800 655-2267
415 663-8001

Parkway Lakes RV Park
100 Ogier Ave
Morgan Hill, CA
408 779-0244

Pinto Lake Park
451 Green Valley Rd
Watsonville, CA
831 722-8129

San Francisco RV Resort
700 Palmetto Ave
Pacifica, CA
877-864-2728
182 sites

Santa Cruz Ranch RV Park
917 Disc Dr
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
877-864-2728
Full hook up, pull-thru sites

Saratoga Springs Park
22801 Big Basin Way
Saratoga, CA
408 867-3016 x824

Trailer Tel RV Park
1212 Oakland Rd
San Jose, CA
408 453-3535

Treasure Island RV Park
1700 El Camino Real
South San Francisco CA
650 994-3266

see also –

Los Padres Camping

Los Padres Campgrounds
Big Sur, Mount Pinos, Ojai, Santa Barbara, Santa Lucia

Forests

Los Padres National Forest campgrounds span the length of the California Central Coast, from the Monterey Bay to Los Angeles County. Choose a desired area:

Big Sur Campgrounds

Frazier Park Camping

Mount Pinos Campgrounds

Ojai Camping

Santa Barbara Camping

Santa Lucia Camping

Bottcher Gap Campground
Lush coastal campground is Bottchers Gap near Big Sur, CA

Los Padres National Forest

see also Los Padres Group Campgrounds

maps of the Los Padres regions –

Los Padres nearby towns & cities –

Pine Mountain Club from ridge
Pine Mountain Club from ridge

Tuttle Creek Campground

Tuttle Way

There she sits, above Lone Pine California, right next to the High Sierra. Above the Alabama Hills….. at the base of Whitney, on an alluvial fan overlooking the Owens Valley & US Hwy 395.

Tuttle Creek Campground is perfect stop for RVers traveling the Eastern Sierra, beginner mountain bikers needing to explore & test their skills, or the avid backpackers waiting to acclimate & get a good nights rest in reasonable temperatures, before attempting the tallest Mount Whitney.

Tuttle Creek is a BLM Campground w/ picnic tables, fire rings or BBQs. Awesome creek camping at the base of Mount Whitney. Hear the water rushing over the boulders; soothing for bedtime or stargazing. The fishing is decent. Wildflowers like indian paintbrush & lupine can be found here in spring and summer, in the high desert sage lands of the Eastern Sierra.

• Elevation: 5120′
• Number of Sites: 85
• Vehicle Accessibility: RVs okay
• Camp Fee: No
• Campsites Reservation: No
• Length of Stay: 14 Days
• Season: March – October
• Trailheads: John Muir Wilderness

From Lone Pine CA, head West 3 miles on Whitney Portal Rd, turn LEFT on Horseshoe Meadow Road, within 2 miles, turn right on a dirt road that leads to the campground.

Tuttle Creek flows past campground; No drinking water.
Pit toilets; Some shade.

BLM Lone Pine
760-872-4881

LONE PINE CA

HINT: On the dirt back roads, on the slopes of the Eastern Sierra, between Lone Pine & Bishop, you can find & fishing holes & primitive camps (free camping) on any numerous of creeks; some you can park so close that you don’t have to leave your vehicle to fish. You may need a high clearance vehicle to reach some.