Tag Archives: meadows

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.

fishing trip

Most of these Eastern Sierra lakes listed below 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.

Mammoth Lakes Area

Mammoth Area Lakes – Mammoth City

Mammoth Area Creeks –

Mammoth Area Rivers –

  • Owens River (high desert valley)
  • San Joaquin River (high country)

junelake

June Lake Loop
Eastern Sierra, US 395 @ Hwy 158

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

 

horseback overnight trips
Abundant Horse Packers in Eastern Sierra, California

Kern River Camping

relaxing at kern

Kern River California

Kern River is a top recreation destination for the lower half of the state, since it is the only big Sierra river within easy reach of Southern California.

Lower mountain elevations 2000-4000′ means camping all year is possible on the Kern. With only a few inches of rainfall, plus an average high temperature of 60 degrees in December & January, Kernville has become a year-round recreation destination for the Southern Sierra Nevada mountains. Kern Canyon and most surrounding mountains are managed by USDA: Sequoia National Forest, which extends south to the Tehachapi range!

Sierra Nevada ROAD CLOSURES during winter restricts that Kern Canyon is only accessible via the Hwy 178 route. Both the Western Divide Highway (to the north) and Sherman’s Pass Road (to the east) close for many months, due to snow. (typically, NOV-APRIL closure)

Snowy Springs

 

Popular Kern Recreation – backpacking, camping, fishing, hiking, river rafting, kayaking, rock climbing, mountain biking, off-roading & floating (inner tubing).

Kern Tube Ready

Kern River can be divided into 5 different & distinct regions:

kern gorge
Granite gorge, Kern River, South of Whitney

Kern River High Country

headwaters of the Kern River.
High Sierra, Golden Trout Wilderness, Kern Hot Springs, Mount Whitney snowmelt, Kern Gorge. foot access only, wilderness backcountry. fishing, day hikes, backpacking, rock climbing, mountaineering, horse packs.

fencedmeadow

Upper Kern Plateau

Southern Fork of the Kern River
Golden Trout Wilderness
Monache Meadows (Inyo NF)
Troy Meadows
Kennedy Meadows
Horse Meadow Campground
Big Meadow
Long Valley Campground
Chimney Creek Campground
Chimney Peak Backcountry Byway

johnsondale bridge @ KERN

Forks of the Kern

(areas north of Johnsondale)

Johnsondale Bridge
backpackers & fishing trailheads
Big parking lot at the bridge. trails travel rivers edge into a tight canyon, impressive rock gorge continues up to the tallest mountain peaks in the High Sierra.

rincon
Shermans Pass Road turn-off
paved route that connects Kern River to Mojave desert.

RINCON CAMP – The Rincon Fault (an earthquake faut line) runs in a north-south direction, on the east side of Kern River. Popular and rugged RINCON, a dirt bike and mountain bike trail runs this ridge as well. An overgrown hunters camp (which has been almost destroyed) is located up hill from Brush Creek falls; but accessible via unmaintained dirt road – unsigned pull out, just off Shermans’ Pass Road. High clearance vehicle is needed to reach this spot.

Johnsondale Cabins: R Ranch

johnsondale
Johnsondale under Fire 2002

Sequoia #22S82 – Forks of the Kern Road

Boy Scout Camp Whitsett
Lloyds Meadow
Kern River Gorge
Lower Peppermint Campground
Primitive camps – Camp 1, Camp 2, Camp 3, Camp 4, Camp 5
Jerky Meadows Trailhead to Golden Trout Wilderness

kern flat camping

Upper Kern River

Kern River north of Kernville, CANFS

This part of the river sees much of the action, with kayakers, river rafters, fishermen, RVs, motorcycles, mountain bikers, backpackers and campers, seeking easy river access, hiking trailheads or just a good picnic spot.

Numerous small lodges between Kernville & Johnsondale

Brush Creek: awesome waterfalls & pools on Brush Creek, only accessible by hiking trail.

Rincon Trail runs above the river on the east side, via the Rincon earthquake fault. This is right where Brush Creek comes down the steep mountain. RINCON is favorite mountain biking trail, that is also open to dirt bikes (OHV) & equestrian, so share the trail and play nice. Rincon Camp is rugged, may be overgrown and unmaintained. Long dirt road might require high clearance vehicle or possible 4×4, if weather is wet.

kern fishing

Lake Isabella

Huge recreational reservoir in the southern Sierra Nevada mountains. Dry and high desert terrain. Canyons have more vegetation. East part of lake is a wildlife refuge w/ abundant cottonwood trees, which turn golden yellow in Autumn.

The earthen dam is on the south westside. California State Route 178 (Hwy 178), which connects Mojave desert w/ Bako. This major east-west Sierra route is a four-laner (freeway) cutting thru the valley. EXIT#  intersects w/ CA 155 to reach Alta Sierra, Wofford Heights, Kernville and all place north of there.

Breckenridge is a Mountain to the south of Isabella and Lower Kern. Tall pines with an empty campground awaits!

Isabella Lake

Lower Kern River

(river access / camping, southwest of Lake Isabella)

Historic Kern – Keyesville OHV
Off-Road Camping

hobo camping
Hobo Camp has a fishing trail along the river.

Old Kern Canyon Road

Minimal to modest campsites in the lower canyon. Most seclusion for overnight spots, can be found along the empty stretches of the Old Kern Canyon Road. Many curvy mountain miles, one lane, paved, several flat spots for easy road-side camping. Caution for cattle in roadway. Speed limit is generally under 40 mph for this historic route which parallels the 178, in between Lake Isabella and Bako.

Kern River Hot Tub
Local Hot Springs

California Meadows

Cherry Mdws

California Meadows

California meadow is a common term people search for when dreaming of their mountain retreat vacation or upcoming weekend camping trip.

Meadows are places in the forest where cool air collects and settles. Deer among other wildlife, can often be found here grazing around dawn and dusk. Alpine meadows are usually surrounded by trees with lush green grasses, located at higher altitudes above 6000′ – the ‘highcountry’ as most like to say.

Find meadows on National Forest lands from 3000-10,000′ elevation, and it is not uncommon to see cattle grazing in these same regions. California National Parks have some of the most protected meadows in the golden state!

MT SAGE – mountain sage meadows

High desert mountains have drier landscapes, with large sage brush meadows surrounded by sparse pinon pine and/or juniper forest. The Mojave desert’s sagebrush reaches out westward to the peaks of West Kern County. High deserts and mountain meadows can both have significant wildflower blooms. The deserts start to show color in March & April, while the highest elevations of the Sierra Nevada can bloom as late as July & August. All California Wildflowers depend on autumn seasonal rains & snow melt.

Kennedy Meadows from Bald
Kennedy Meadows from Bald Mountain Fire Lookout

Wilderness Meadows

The best places to find secluded wildflower meadows is on the high country trails of various mountains – Mount Pinos, Sierra Nevada, Shasta, Trinity & Lassen – all have marvelous meadows, some have easy access w/ parking nearby and others are hike-in only. Locate hiking trailheads for meadows and possibly find camp nearby.

Excellent near Meadows:
Stargazing, Wildflowers, Wildlife Viewing, Horse Camping

Explore dirt back roads of California to find your very own meadow. If you would like to explore at this level, a good topo map is highly advised. The Sierra Nevada mountains have the most beautiful meadows in the state (by far). Their scenery w/ granite outcroppings and wild flowers, surpasses all else. Although on rare occasions, even the Antelope Valley can look amazing — with poppies.

Common Wildflowers

BEST PLACES TO FIND MEADOWS

Lupine Drive

Rules of the Meadow

Mountain Meadows are sacred spaces: Do not disturb the lush, grassy landscape, as wildlife rely on these areas for survival.

No driving on meadows. No camping on meadows; No Campfires; Camp next to (or nearby), but not on top of the meadow. Picnicking should be kept on the sidelines.

4x4Stay on designated dirt roads: No tires across the meadow; No mountain biking, No dirt bikes, No off roading. You’re not spreading the seeds, you’re destroying a fragile ecosystem.

Ranch FENCING w/ barbed-wire is quite common around meadows, to keep cattle out of certain problem areas. Fences also help keep the wandering public out of private lands or sensitive areas.

hikerWhen hiking – stay out of the muddy spots and know that if you choose to hike directly across meadow, you may encounter water and deep, sinking mud. HINT: There is usually a shallow creek running through most meadows, during all times of the year.

Winter snow usually blankets these fragile areas in winter, and when deep enough – making this terrain prime destinations for snowmobilers.

Snow Mobiling

highmeadows

meadow views

14S11 – Sequoia NF

trails to meadow

Big Meadows Road: Sequoia Forest Rd# 14S11

GIANT SEQUOIA: in between Sequoia & Kings Canyon, inside Sequoia NF

Sequoia Meadows

This chunk of National Forest land is perfectly located in between 2 very popular National Parks – Kings Canyon and Sequoia. This primary paved road leads to some great camping, a perfect option for NOT camping inside the crowed National Parks.

Turn east off of Sequoia ‘Generals Highway’ 198, on to the well signed Big Meadow Rd. There is primitive camping all over this area & a few developed campgrounds along this route. Motorhomes be warned: the road narrows to one lane with no “turn outs” or U turn spots for the last 10 miles (on a steep cliff w/ large overhanging rocks)

SEE CAMPING PHOTOS

campIn the first few miles, the dispersed camp sites on the right side have great views & some situated on fairly flat granite slabs, perfect for astronomer campers or adventurous RVs. To the left side of the road is more primitive style campsites in wooded areas. The whole area is also a very popular cross country ski & snowmobiling spot for winter recreation. Hunters also like these camps during hunting season (in September).

horseback

There is a developed Horse Camp on the left side of the road for equestrian campers. This camp is located across from the biggest meadow and may be the first place you notice on this drive.


Buck Rock Campground
(7600′ elevation, 5 spots) & Big Meadows Campground (7600′ elevation, 25 spots) are both family style camps, perfect for those who want picnic tables, plus bathroom nearby. Sorry no flush toilets out here, only pit toilets.

 

Sequoia maps

Buck Rock Fire Lookout Tower @ 8500′ elevation – is located to the north on Forest Rd # 14S02. It’s a great spot for some impressive views – if you aren’t afraid of heights. To reach the tower you must climb several flights of steel steps. This place is worth a stop if planning a sightseeing day.

Big Meadows Guard Station @ 7500′ elevation (also known as Big Meadows Cabin), is located next to the BIG MEADOW and is available for rent on a weekend basis from the NFS. Hiking Jennie Lakes Wilderness and fly fishing Big Meadows Creek are favorite activities to be enjoyed.

Big Meadows Road is long & narrow – 12+ miles. RVs are not recommended beyond the Big Meadow Campground, as the road is one lane in some spots & it skirts a cliff edge. The views are incredible the farther you go & many creeks feed the region.

The narrow, long paved road eventually forks off into several smaller dirt roads back near Horse Corral Meadow. Way back here, the dirt roads lead out to trail heads for backpacking, horse packing or day hiking in Jennie Lakes & Monarch Wilderness. Backcountry access to either Sequoia or Kings Canyon National Park! Have a good map if you plan to venture out this far. Pay attention & don’t get lost.

GPS would be helpful in this area. Some of the smaller of the dirt roads are not even on the NFS maps. Make sure to GPS way-point your favorite camp site, so you can find in next time…. in the dark.

Sequoia National Forest

Sequoia National Forest MAP

nearby services:

Sequoia Groves

see all – Big Meadows in California 

Marvin Pass Trailhead

Smith Lake California

Smith Lakes in California

Numerous places called SMITH LAKE exist in the Sierra Nevada.

wildflora

Lakes Basin Recreation Area has two different spots named SMITH LAKE. This region is in the Northern Sierra Nevada mountains, near Downieville, at the north end of the California Gold Country @ Highway 49.

smithlake

Smith Lake hiking trail can be accessed from the Gray Eagle Lodge area along Gold Lake Highway; or this hiking lake can also be accessed from a park on the north side. Plumas Eureka State Park, via the Jameson Creek trail.

mikeatsmiths

Lakes Basin also has a small set of two lakes called “Smith Lakes” – located on Smith Creek. Way back behind the larger, most famous Gold Lake.

4×4 Road #11E71 will lead you to this remote destination, with the proper vehicle, of course. Creek crossings and large rocks; A quality topographic map and a 4 wheel drive rig is needed for this adventure.

nicemeadows
Lakes Basin Recreation Area
Lakes Basin California
North Sierra mountains, Sierra granite meets Cascade volcanic rock. Bordering of State Park & 2 National Forests

nearby towns:

driftwood

Snake Lake, California
Snake Lake, California

Snake Lake Campground, located west of Quincy, CA – has a small neighboring lake named Smith Lake. Chances are Smith is covered with lily pads, just like Snake Lake. Smaller Smith is accessible via dirt road only. Many people hike, horseback, mountain bike or dirt-bike back on these narrow dirt roads, so use caution when traveling. Butterfly Valley Botanical Garden is located way back here, if you can find it. A real forest service map is advised.

  • black bears
  • butterflies
  • frogs
  • snakes

driftwood

Smith River National Recreation Area is a remote watershed located in Northern California, on the Oregon border.

another Smith Lake in California? We’re still looking.


Marble Mountain Wilderness

Marble Mountain Wilderness
Northern California

241,744 acres

Klamath River

Craggy granite peaks, abundant meadows, big streams, w/ 89 lakes are the main highlights of this wild land area in Northern California.

Marble Mountain itself, a stark, red-and-gray marbled peak. Most of the lakes are gems set in rocky settings, and at least one-third of the wilderness is cloaked in a great variety of trees, dominated by

Tanbark oak, madrone, and Douglas fir populate lower elevations, with whitebark pine, foxtail pine, and mountain hemlock higher up in altitude. You will find alpine meadows and bare rock in the highest elevations. Bear, deer, and many other species of wildlife are plentiful. Most of the peaks exceed 6,000 feet in height, with Boulder Peak being the highest at 8299 feet. Long recognized for its wild value, this region became a Primitive area in 1931, a Wilderness in 1953, and a part of the NWPS in 1964. Numerous trails provide excellent and extensive access to the Wilderness, and human use is rated as moderate. The Pacific Crest Trail crosses the entire Wilderness for 32 miles north-south, and accesses many other trails. Most of the trails offer relatively easy travel for humans and horses, and excellent campsites are to be had along the way.

Marble Mountain Wilderness USDA link

Klamath National Forest

NFSlogoSalmon & Scott Rivers Ranger District
Fort Jones, CA
530-468-5351

Marble Mountains

Central Valley Reservoirs

California’s Central Valley Recreational Lakes & Reservoirs

boatingcampingRV campshiking fishing

(listed from north to south)

North State / North Valley / North Sacramento Valley

Black Butte Reservoir
Stony Gorge Reservoir
East Park Reservoir
Lake Berryessa
Lake Oroville SRA
Thermalito Forebay
New Bullards Bar
Collins Lake

Sunset at the Lake
Oak foothills of the Historic Gold Country, at the edge of the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Central Sacramento & California Delta

Trimmer Boat Ramp
Trimmer Boat Ramp @ Pine Flat

Central Valley / San Joaquin Valley

Lake Amador
Lake Camanche
Pardee Reservoir
New Hogan Lake
New Melones Lake
Woodward Reservoir
Salt Spring Valley Reservoir
Lake Tulloch
Don Pedro Lake
Turlock Lake SRA
Modesto Reservoir
Lake McClure
San Luis Reservoir SRA
Eastman Lake
Hensley Lake
Mariposa Lakes
Millerton Lake SRA
Redinger Lake
Pine Flat Reservoir
Lake Kaweah
Lake Success
Buena Vista Reservoir

Walk-In Camp Site at Lake
Walk-In Camp Site at New Melones Lake, Gold Co
Kaweah Sequoia Sierra
Lake Kaweah, near Mineral King & Southern Sequoia NP

Gurnsey Campground

bestcampgurnsey

Gurnsey Creek, Lassen Forests & Fishing

NFS Gurnsey Creek Campground: W of Chester, CA

A developed USDA campground along forested Highway 36, near the junction of Chico’s Hwy 32. This stretch of 36  overlaps with north-south Lassen Hwy 89. Awesome fishing creek, meadows, hiking trails and mountain biking trails nearby. Paved, level camp sites w/ easy access to Lassen Volcanic Park and the National Forest.NFSlogo

This is a popular camp just south of the Lassen National Park boundary and 5 miles east of Child’s Meadow Resort. Car camp, tent camping, some spaces for large motorhomes. Plenty fishing, hiking and mountain biking trails.

gurnseycreek

Gurnsey Creek Campground, California

on Gurnsey Creek; Campground open May-October
(depending on snow)
gurnseysign

Lassen Creek Camping

52 camp sites on Gurnsey Creek @ 4700′ elevation; vault toilets, creek and piped water, bear boxes; first come, first serve camping – and reservations are also accepted

GURNSEY CREEK CAMPGROUND

Max Camper Length: no limitations
Shady forest camp sites w/ creek. Numerous fishing spots. Close to Lassen Volcanic National Park, Chester and Lake Almanor. Backpackers, day hikers and horseback riders will enjoy the PCT nearby. Pacific Crest Hiking Trail runs to the east side of this campround.pct

CHESTER, CA ranger
Rangers Office: 530-265-4531
Almanor Ranger DIstrict, Lassen NF

GROUP CAMP RESERVATIONS NFS

2 reservable Group Camps are available at this campground. Group Site 1 can accommodate up to 56 people; Group Site 2 can accommodate up to 112 people.

Free Camping nearby.
If you are seeking primitive camping in this Lassen area, look for dirt roads in the USDA National Forest lands, which surround the National Park boundary.

to the west – Lassen Road #14 – the Blue Ridge, north off of Hwy 89 @ Mineral.

to the south – Yellow Jacket Road #29N48 around Turner Mountain, which is south-southwest of Mill Creek.

to the east – Lassen Road #10 – head north off of Highway 89 in between Chester & Westwood.

see also – Lassen Lakes

lassen park mapHighly advised: a real map, a printed ‘hard copy’ shows both the National Park and the National Forest of Lassen on one map – with topographic features, all mountain peaks, creeks, lakes, trailheads, plus all dirt and paved roads.

Trailheads near Gurnsey Campground lead out to –

NEARBY TOWNS:


View Larger Map

Gurnsey overview
Mature forested, creek campground, close to the highway

Chimney Peak Backcountry Byway

chimney peak Wilderness

East of Lake Isabella and west of Walker Pass, there is a small community called Canebrake along Highway 178 Canebrake Road, a graded dirt road climbs up into pinyon pine forests. Lamont Peak (aka Lamont Pinnacles) is a decent hike & rock climbers dig it too.

Lamont Peak

Chimney Creek Campground is along the main road and has RV access (28′ max), for the motorhomes who do not mind a little dirt road driving. Easy trail access to numerous area hikes. The PCT is routed close by.

Long Valley Campground is tucked way back in the boonies with trailhead leading into the granite Dome Lands; Fishing and river access to the South Fork of the Kern.

Long Valley Loop
Long Valley Loop Road (2001)

Long Valley Loop Road circles the Chimney Peak Wilderness, which skirts the Domeland Wilderness. THE LOOP is washed out and ROAD is NOW CLOSED in one portion. See BLM web site for up to date info.

[ see the photos from 2001 ]

nearby towns –

ALTA SIERRA
LAKE ISABELLA
KENNEDY MEADOWS
KERNVILLE
WOFFORD HEIGHTS

maps of the region –

SEQUOIA NATIONAL FOREST MAP
DOMELAND WILDERNESS MAP
HIKING MAP PCT #3 (PACIFIC CREST TRAIL)

Grover Hot Springs

Grover Drive

Grover Hot Springs Park

California State Park
Sierra Hot Spring Camping Resort
open all year

California State Park RV Winter Camping State Park Winter Camping Hot Springs XC Ski Winter Camping Tahoe Ski Camping Tahoe Snow Camping

Meadow Entrance

South of Lake Tahoe, hidden in a forest meadow near the small town of Markleeville, sits this super scenic, year-round camping resort in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Popular place for senior travelers, RV campers, families, snow skiers, and tourists.

No lodging available, no cabins. Only Campground Camping – Reservations are recommended. This is a popular destination for the Eastern Sierra Tahoe region. May thru September are peak season. During mid-winter a portion of the campsites are closed and the remainder may be on a first come, first serve basis. State Park is located 4 miles west of Markleeville, at the end of Hot Springs Road.

camping
fishing
hiking
hot springs
cross country skiing
stargazing

RV Camping

grover springs in the sierra

Camping and Day Use
530-694-2248

Pool Information
530-694-2249

California State Park
California State Park

Piped water, flush toilets, showers, this is luxury camping by State Park standards. Hiking, fishing, stargazing. Quite an ideal spot, especially if you visit during a slow time. Surrounded by mountains that top 10,000′ elevation, expect to see some snow in the winter months.

SwimSuits Required

The hot pool resort is open to the public for day soaking w/ a fee. Wheelchair accessible areas. The pool hours tend to fluctuate with the seasons, so be prepared for anything. Even a snow storm!

Grover Hot Spring Campground

• Elevation: 5800′
• Number of Sites: 75
• Vehicle Access: RV 27′ max
• Campsites Reservation: Yes
• Camp Fee: Yes
• Length of Stay: 10 Days
• Season: Open all year
• Trailheads: Carson River

GROVER HOT SPRINGS SP Winter Camping Hot Springs

pool hours

hot pools

meadow views

California Countryside Hikes

California Wine Country Hikes, Gold Country Hiking, Sierra Foothills, River Trails

DSCN1649

6N06 – Stanislaus NF

graded road

Forest Rd #6N06 – County Line Road, Fence Creek, Stanislaus National Forest

Central Sierra Nevada Mountains, California
N of Hwy 108; W of Sonora Pass

On the very edge of wilderness
Stanislaus NF
County Line Road
Fence Creek Campground (NFS)

Graded dirt road near Clarks Fork junction @ SR 108. Dirt road travels up into forest, hiking trails and meadows; South side of the volcanic Dardanelles @ Tuolumne Co. & Alpine Co. boundary

Carson Iceberg Map

County Line Trailhead
Wheats Meadow Trailhead
Carson Iceberg Wilderness Area
The Dardanelles (9524′ elev)

Clark Fork, Middle Stanislaus River

Topo Maps of this Region:

Stanislaus National Forest Map USDA
Carson Iceberg Wilderness Map USDA
Carson, Emigrant, Mokelumne Map NatGeo
Sierra Nevada Topo Map

  • backpacker access
  • day hiking
  • horse camping
  • primitive camping
  • trailhead camping
  • winter road closure, annually
    Check with local rangers on road access and conditions.

    Rd# 6N06, climbs to mountain scenery at upper elevations, well of the main highway. Route is a 2-lane wide road at times, narrower and private towards the end of roads; several dirt roads, overgrown 2 tracks w/ many camp sites to choose from. Dispersed primitive camping requires a camp fire permit.

    6N06rd

    OHV off-roaders will only find dead ends on dirt route 6N06. NO motorized access in nearby wilderness. Wheelers should try south of Highway 108 @ Niagra Campgrounds; Niagra Off Road #5N01 for all the noise-makers, gear heads, dirt bikes, and toy boxes. Niagra Creek, Niagra OHV, Niagra 4×4.

    Closest towns:

    Dardanelle
    Pinecrest Lake
    Twain Harte

    volcano mdws

    Big Meadow Sequoia

    Big Meadow Kern

    Big Meadow – Kern Plateau

    Sherman’s Pass, Sequoia National Forest
    Big Meadow borders Dome Land Wilderness
    in the Southern Sierra Nevada mountains

    horse camping National Forest Camps Mountain Biking Kern Hikes Trailer access camping

    There are many large and gorgeous meadows inside Sequoia National Forest, but none compare in ‘grandeur’ to this southern Sierra public pasture. BIG MEADOW KERN

    Find your way north of Kernville and the river really comes into view. Up close, right there! Stop, get out of the vehicle for a stretch break and breathe; take it all in. This is only the start of the adventure. Gorgeous Big Meadow is located up on the Kern Plateau, 3000′ above the river on the eastern ridges. Only accessible half the year due to snow, this meadow is a must see for those exploring the eastern side of the Kern River.

    22s05 sherman pass

    Sherman’s Pass Road #22S05 is a hard right turn after the Johnsondale Bridge. It is well signed and still easy to miss. Climb out of the dryness and into the dense forests and meadows of higher altitudes. Driving this southern Sierra-crossing route, Sherman’s Pass Rd. will require all of your concentration. Steep, curvy road without guard rails. Plus epic, scenic views (NOT to die for).

    At this point – Rock slides, snow gates and road closure are typical in winter months. Check w/ rangers in Kernville about road conditions (before you head up this way).

    Sequoia National Forest National Forest Camps
    Kernville Ranger
    105 Whitnet Rd
    Kernville CA
    760-376-3781

    While traveling eastbound on Sherman’s Pass Road, the intersection to look for is

    Big Meadow Road #22S12

    The partially paved road will lead south a few miles, then becomes GRADED DIRT and ventures another 15+ miles – way, way out into dead-end territories. Not one road connects down to Lake Isabella!

    Spur roads (all one lane, dirt roads) lead out to various places like – Cherry Hill, Big Meadow, Horse Meadow Campground, Dome Land Wilderness Trailheads, Manter Meadow, Salmon Creek Falls, Cannel Meadows, dozens of trails and spurs. Plenty of primitive camping back in these forest areas. A high clearance rig may be required the further back you go. Mud and snow are quite common in spring and fall.

    Camping California Back Roads
    Extra Large Camp Sites

    BIG MEADOW is a favorite camp area among –
    backpackers (trailheads)
    equestrian (horse campers)
    hunters
    mountain bikers
    off-road campers

    westsidedrive
    westside drive: ample parking and camping for horse trailers

    cattlecowsbeefy

    no 'froading on meadows
    no ‘froading on meadows

    publicpasture

    Big Meadow Rules

    Back Loop Road
    Back Loop Road, around the Big Meadow. Narrow & muddy

    fencedmeadow

    Or perhaps this is not the Big Meadow near Sequoia that you are seeking. National Parks The scenic, giant, public horse pasture listed above is not to be confused with #14S11 Big Meadows Road, also in National Forest land, located in between popular Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon. (100 miles north of here)

    22S12 – Sequoia NF

    open camping

    Big Meadow: Forest Road# 22S12 – Sequoia National Forest

    Take Sierra Hwy. N of Kernville, past Fairview & over the Johnsondale bridge; Right turn on Sherman’s Pass Road & drive up to a signed intersection (near a snow gate). NOTE: This area may not be accessible during winter months.

    Turn right on Big Meadow Road, aka Forest Service Rd# 22S12. This is a very long road which is paved for the first few miles. 22S12 becomes a graded dirt road, suitable for horse trailers; it forks off to other smaller dirt roads, as it progresses through the forests & dead ends back by Cannell Meadow. The main routes are passenger car accessible, but some of the smaller dirt roads can get quite bumpy. A truck or SUV would be advisable to explore these secondary routes. Certain areas have suffered from wildfires 2000-2002.

    Big Meadow Sequoia

    Horses & equestrian camping are very popular in this region. There is also a fair amount of backpackers heading into the Domeland Wilderness and mountain bikers looking for premium backcountry rides, away from the crowds at the Kern River.

    NFS developed Horse Meadow Campground can be found on the right via road# 23S08. Located at 7400′ elevation w/ 41 spots, in the forest. Trailhead to Salmon Creek leads directly from camp.

    SPUR – side routes include:

    • #23S14 Cherry Hill – a few camp spots near creek & a meadow with views at the very end
    • #23S41 Poison Meadow
    • #23S13 Salmon Creek
    • #22S07 Big Meadow – loop road around the “Big Meadow”. Plenty of primitive camp sites around Big Meadow, but they are the first ones to fill up during a popular summer weekend. The region is perfect for backpackers or day hikers wanting to access Manter Mdw. & the Domelands Wilderness.
    • #24S13 feeds the last stretch of road to Rattlesnake Meadow. Taylor Creek near 24S43, features numerous waterfalls leading to the South Fork of the Kern River
    • #24S12 Cannell Meadow & Pine Flat. The Cannell Meadow National Recreation Trail runs thru here, from Big Meadow down to Kernville, CA.

    North Meadow

    Sequoia National Forest

    Sequoia National Forest MAP

    DOME LAND Wilderness MAP

    Nearby towns include:

    Sequoia National Forest Camping

    Giant Sequoias

    Sequoia NF Camping

    Sequoia Campground Reservations – Giant Sequoia Campgrounds, Western Divide, Kern Canyon

    areas include: Kernville, Kern River, Lake Isabella, Sherman’s Pass, Kennedy Meadows, Forks of the Kern, Western Divide Highway, Camp Nelson, Kings River, Hume Lake & Sequoia National Park

    Western Divide Campground

    Listed below are all the Sequoia National Forest campgrounds, public lands for outdoor recreation. Sequoia Campground

    campground elev spots veg toilet water notes
    Alder Creek Campground 3900′ 13 alder vault creek W of Alta Sierra; RV max 20′
    Auxiliary Dam Campgr 2650′ dsp flush piped Lake Isabella
    Belknap Campground 5000′ 15 pines vault piped Camp Nelson
    no RVs
    Big Meadows Campground 7600′ 25 pines vault creek Rd#14S11; June-Oct
    Boulder Gulch Camp 2650′ 78 oaks flush piped fishing Lake Isabella; RV max 45′
    Breckenridge Campground 6600′ 8 pines vault no South of Kern River; no RVs
    Buck Rock Campground 7600′ 5 pines vault no Kings Canyon NP
    Camp 3 Campground 2800′ 52 oaks vault creek Kings River rafting; RV max 30′
    Camp 4 Campground 1000′ 5 oaks vault creek no RVs, Kings River rafting
    Camp 4 1/2 Cabin 1000′ 5 oaks vault creek no RVs, Kings River rafting
    Camp 9 Camp Area RV 2600′ 109 none flush piped Lake Isabella
    Cedar Creek Campground 4800′ 11 pines vault piped W Alta Sierra; no RVs; May-Oct
    Coy Flat Campground 5000′ 20 pines vault piped Camp Nelson; RV max 22′
    Eshom Creek Campground 4800′ 23 pines vault piped fishing; near Sequoia NP
    Evans Flat Campground 6100′ 20 pines vault spring equestrian, pasture; RV 20′
    Fairview Campground 3500′ 55 mixed vault river upper Kern River; RV 45′
    Fish Creek Campground 7400′ 40 pines vault E of Sherman; RV max 27′
    Frog Meadow Campground 7500′ 10 pines vault no Sugarloaf Ridge; June-Oct
    Frog Guard Station Cabin 7500′ 10 pines vault no Sugarloaf Ridge; 2 nite min
    Gold Ledge Campground 3200′ 37 mixed vault Kern River; RV max 30′
    Green Cabin Flat Camp 1000′ dsp oaks Kings River; primitive
    Hanning Flat Campground 2650′ dsp chem fishing Kern River
    Headquarters Campground 2800′ 44 alder vault Kern River; RV max 27′
    Hobo Campground 2300′ 35 oaks chem lower Kern River; RV 22′
    Horse Camp 7600′ 5 pines vault equestrian campsites
    Horse Meadow Campground 7400′ 41 pines vault Sherman’s Pass; RV 22′
    Hospital Flat Campground 3000′ 40 alder vault Kern River; RV max 30′
    Hume Lake Campground 5200′ 74 pines flush Kings Canyon NP; RV 30′
    Hungry Gulch Campground 2700′ 78 oaks flush piped Lake Isabella; May-Oct
    Kennedy Meadows Camp 6100′ 39 pines vault piped E of Shermans; RV max 30′
    Landslide Campground 5800′ 9 pines vault creek Hume Lake & Kings Cyn NP
    Leavis Flat Campground 3000′ 9 pines vault piped California Hot Springs; RV 16′
    Limestone Campground 3800′ 22 mixed vault creek Kern River rafting; RV 30′
    Live Oak North Campground 2700′ 60 oaks flush piped Lake Isabella; RV max 30′
    Live Oak South Campground 2700′ 90 oaks flush piped Lake Isabella; RV max 30′
    Logger Flat Campground 6000′ 20 pines vault piped Hume Lake; May-Sept
    Long Meadow Group Camp 6500′ 23 pines vault piped Group Camp; Western Divide
    Lower Peppermint Campground 5300′ 17 pines vault piped road 22S82; May-Oct; RV 22′
    Main Dam Campground 2500′ 82 oaks vault piped Lake Isabella; RV max 45′
    Mill Flat Campground 1100′ 5 pines vault creek Kings River rafting; no trailers
    Panorama Campground 7400′ 10 pines vault no Sugarloaf Ridge; June-Sept
    Paradise Cove Campground 2600′ 138 oaks flush piped Lake Isabella; RV max 30′
    Peppermint Campground 7100′ 19 vault creek Western Divide Hwy
    Pioneer Point Campground 2650′ 78 oaks flush piped Lake Isabella; RV max 30′
    Princess Campground 5900′ 90 pines vault Kings Canyon NP
    Quaking Aspen Campgr 7000′ 32 aspen vault creek Western Divide
    Redwood Meadow Campgr 6100′ 15 pines vault piped Western Divide 100 Giants
    Sandy Flat Campground 2300′ 35 oaks vault Lower Kern River
    South Fork Recreation 2650 dsp flush piped some walk-in camp sites
    Stine Cove Campground 2650′ dsp oaks vault Lake Isabella
    Stoney Creek Campgr 6400′ 49 pines flush piped Sequoia National Park
    Tenmile Campground 5800′ 13 pines vault piped Hume Lake; May-Oct
    Tillie Creek Campground 2650′ 159 oaks flush piped fishing; RV max 45′
    Troy Meadow Campground 7800′ 73 pines vault OHV; E Sherman’s; RV 20′
    Upper Stony Creek Camp 6400′ 19 pines vault piped Sequoia NP; May-Oct
    White River Campground 4000′ 12 oaks vault piped Sugarloaf; May-Oct; RV 16′
    Wishon Campground 3900′ 35 oaks vault piped Tule River; RV max 22′

    Sequoia Camping & Kernville Vacations, see also –

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

    Sequoia mountain communities include:

    Hiking Sequoia National Forest

    Kern River Trails & Kernville Hiking

    Sequoia National Forest Trails

    Hiking Trails
    Hundreds of trails meandering throughout this forest. Granite domes to huge Sequoia trees. Most secluded areas are found in the Eastern Section in the Dome Land Wilderness.

    Dome Land Wilderness

    Golden Trout Wilderness

    South Sierra Wilderness

    Sequoia Hiking Maps, Wilderness Maps, OHV Maps

    Sequoia National Forest Hiking

    lower kern river
    the lush Lower Kern River on a misty Spring day

    Upper Kern Hiking

    Lower Kern River Hikes

    Sequoia National Forest & the Lower Sierra Nevada Mountains extend from the Tehachapi ranges to the Kings River Canyon; from the Great Central Valley to the Mojave desert.

    Sequoia National Forest MAP

    Dome Land Wilderness MAP

    Golden Trout Wilderness MAPS

    Kern River Valley communities include:

    Sequoia Mountain communities include:

    Lower Kern Camp

    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

     

    Where to Camp

    Where to set Camp in California?
    Camping Spots
    Small campgrounds have fewer facilities than the larger developed campgrounds, but less sites means more nature and less people. Roughing it on the back roads with dispersed camping is by far the best experience for seclusion and privacy

    real peace and quiet.

    Primitive, free camping requires more thought and planning than just pitching a tent in a flat spot at a developed campground.

    First off, you will need a decent topo map to find the dirt back roads, the trailheads and the creeks with the best camp sites; a dependable and capable rig to get you out there, plus your camping gear.

    Campfire permits are usually required for camp stoves, BBQs and any open fires. (bucket & shovel needed).

    And most importantly, since California is known for its super dry climate and seasonal wildfires, make sure to check with local rangers to find out about any current campfire restrictions.

    Streamside Camping
    some tips for a good camping experience – without scoldings or citations from Mr. Ranger:

    • Choose existing campsite in a used area – rather than creating another rock ring & trampling a fresh spot.
    • Always know fire conditions; get a fire permit if you have a campfire outside of a developed campground.
    • Set up camp away from other people. The majority of people go to the wilderness to experience quiet, peace, & solitude. There is plenty space for everyone, so spread out.

    mountains

    • Never set camp in a meadow. It is a very fragile ecosystem.
    • Use an existing camp site when possible. Rebuilding and cleaning campfire pits is part of the job!
    • Camping right on the a creek bed or lake shore is damaging to the vegetation and wildlife areas. Place tent at least 20+ feet away from waters edge. Many camp site already exist in prime areas on creek front, so seek out those first. The deeper you go into the wood, the more you will find. Seclusion is possible, if you want to drive beyond the pavement.
    • Do not camp beneath large dead trees. Check tent spots for old overhanging branches too.
    • Do not camp near a mine shaft; Toxic heavy metals or radioactive debris could be present in the dirt.
    • Camping next to a lake, wetlands or a meadow can often result in abundant mosquitoes & insects overall.
    • Snow is possible anytime from October to May above 5000′ elevation. Chilly nights are common in summer.

    deserts

    • Avoid camping inside desert canyons when the threat of rain is approaching: possible flash floods.
    • Consider the benefits of potential windbreaks in desert terrain. Large rocks, bushes, trees, your vehicle & even a hillside.
    • Picking a camp spot on a ridge line means sun exposure and windy conditions. Breezes will keep the bugs away and you can’t beat the better view, but wind can pick up at any time especially in desert regions.
    • Low elevation in late spring and fall means very warm temps; summer is triple digit heat most days.
    • Do not camp near a mine shaft; Toxic heavy metals or radioactive debris could be present in the dirt.

    coastal

    • Avoid camping on fragile coastal cliffs; unstable, which can give way, caving in, resulting in danger to you.
    • Camping on the beach means watching the tides. Know where high water mark is before you set camp up.
    • Beach camping in early summer means low clouds and fog are likely. June Gloom can last months.

    countryside

    • Avoid building campfires up against a large boulders or against a rock face.
    • Rivers controlled by hydroelectric dam systems mean that the water levels can change at any time without warning.
    • Never set camp in a wildflower meadow. It’s too fragile of an ecosystem.
    • Lower elevations in summer time means potential triple digit heat during mid-day.
    • Do not camp near a mine shaft; Toxic heavy metals or radioactive debris could be present in the dirt.
    National Parks National Forests State Parks California BLM OHV routes California Wilderness
    Beach Camping
    California Forests
    Wineries
    Desert Parks
    California Back Roads California Lakes

    Jennie Lakes Wilderness

    horse meadow trails

    Sequoia / Kings Canyon / Mitchell Peak

    outta print

    USDA MAP may be out of print 2017

    Jennie Lakes Wilderness is located in between two popular National Parks, via the paved back roads off Sequoia Generals Highway 198. Monarch Wilderness is north of Jennie Lakes, bordering Kings Canyon.

    10,500 acres
    26 miles of trail

    Two lakes, Jennie Ellis Lake and Weaver Lake, set among granite outcroppings. Majority of the wWilderness is above 7,000 feet w/ red fir, lodgepole pine, and western white pine forest near treeline; abundance of spring wildflowers fill meadows. The two main lakes and Rowell Meadow are primary destinations for most backpackers wanting to camp overnight.

     

    Sequoia National Park

    Kings Canyon National Park

    Monarch Wilderness

    Impressive granite canyons, super steep. LOts of rugged rocky terrain, lower elevation to peaks of 11,000′. KINGS RIVER – Longest raging river in the Sierra, headwaters originating near Mount Whitney.

    Road#14S11 – Big Meadows Road

    National Forest & Wilderness Permits –

    USDA Sequoia NF

    More Wilderness Info & Links –

    sierrawild.gov/wilderness/jennie-lakes
    summitpost.org/jennie-lakes
    Jennie Lakes Wilderness Wiki

    Marvin Pass trailhead
    Marvin Pass trailhead, 12 miles down Rd#14S11

    Another Big Meadows?
    Indeed, southern SEQ NF, on the East Kern Plateau.

    Kaiser Wilderness

    WhiteFir Camp

    22,700 acres
    Kaiser Pass Road
    Sierra National Forest

    Central Sierra Nevada Mountains/ Kaiser Pass & Kaiser Peak / Highway 168

    One of the best cell phone coverage areas for any California Wilderness location, this central Sierra region is south of Yosemite National Park and known as primarily as Shaver Lake. California Hwy 168, along with Dinkey Creek Road (southward) and Kaiser Pass Road (northward) leads off in all splintered directions to secluded campsites, rivers, creeks, lakes, developed campgrounds and amazing forest scenery. Off road trails and hiking trails, everywhere back here! But it is best to have several good maps for cross reference.

    This Sierra National Forest region includes all hydroelectric dams and lakes surrounding Shaver and Huntington Lake, including Florence Lake, Ward Lake, Edison Lake, Mammoth Pool, Courtright Reservoir and Wishon Reservoir.

    Dusy Ershim Trail 4×4 travels past Kaiser Peak and the cell phone towers. Several primitive camp sites with views on ridge. Numerous developed NFS Campgrounds out this way on Kaiser Pass Road.

    Trailheads for horseback, hiking, backpackers, mountaineers, rock climbers. Snowmobiles love this amazing route when the snow is deep; some west coast winters can be better than others.

    Kaiser Wilderness is granite chuck of mountain peaks up behind Huntington Lake & China Peak ski resort,  off the paved one lane Kaiser Pass Road.

    Sierra National Forest

    Kaiser Pass Road, elevation 9184′

    25 mph – pothole paved, barely maintained one lane road, 20+ miles. Kaiser Road closed in winter months.

    recreation –
    sierra National Forest map

    • backpacking
    • camping
    • creeks
    • fishing
    • hiking
    • lakes
    • mountaineering
    • rock climbing
    • rivers

    Sierra Topo Maps

    Sierra Map Tom Harrison
    Sierra NF Map USDA
    Kaiser Wilderness Map
    Ansel Adams Wilderness USDA
    Ansel Adams Trail Map
    Dinkey Lakes Wilderness USDA
    Dinkey Lakes Trail Map
    John Muir Trail Maps
    Mono Divide High Country
    NatGeo Mono / Mammoth Map

    surrounding wilderness and forest lands –

    Ansel Adams Wilderness
    Dinkey Lakes Wilderness
    Inyo National Forest
    John Muir Wilderness
    Kings Canyon NP
    Sierra National Forest
    Yosemite National Park

    National Forest & Wilderness Permits –

    USDA Sierra NF

    More Kaiser Wilderness Info & Links –

    sierrawild.gov/wilderness/kaiser
    summitpost.org/kaiser-peak
    Kaiser Wilderness Wiki
    San Joaquin River
    Don’t Tell Anyone Campsites
    Mono Hot Springs

    kaiserpass
    View from Kaiser Pass Trail – Huntington Lake in background