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.

    Central Coast Beach Camping

    DSCN0477

    Beach Camping
    on the California Central Coast

    Camping right on the sand is possible in California, you just need to drive far enough to find it. Campground reservations are common (year round) on this stretch of coastline, since PISMO is a premier vacation spot for most of Central California.

    blue links lead to camp reservation services camp

    This camping page features all beach front camping options along the Central Coast, from Santa Barbara to Big Sur. State Parks, State Beaches, bay side marinas and rugged rural coast camps. We even list private campgrounds and RV parks, just so you have more choices.

    Santa Barbara Camping & State Parks

    Flying Flags RV Resort, Buellton, CA

    River Park RV Campground, Lompoc CA

    Santa Maria Pines Campground (CLOSED)

    San Luis Obispo Camping, Off Road & RV Parks

    pismo beach

    CAMPGROUND RESERVATIONS

     

    Pismo Beach Campgrounds

    Oceano Dunes State Park (SVRA) – Pismo Dunes Off Road Area State Park

    DSCN2931Pismo State Beach State Park

    • North Beach Campground

    county park camping Pismo

    RV camping near Pismo, CA

    Pismo Coast Village RV Resort

    Pacific Dunes Ranch & RV Resort

    Pismo Sands RV Park

    Le Sage Riviera RV Park, Grover Beach, CA

    Montana de Oro

    San Luis Bay & Point Conception
    Avila Beach, Morro Bay Camping

    Avila Beach RV Camping Sites

    Avila Beach Hot Springs Camping

    Montana de Oro State Park State Park

    El Chorro Regional Park Campground

    Morro Bay State Park Campground State Park

    Morro Strand State Beach State Park

    Morro Strand RV Park

    Morro Dunes RV Park

    DSCN3175

    San Simeon & Big Sur Campgrounds

    San Simeon State Park Campgrounds

    • San Simeon Creek Campground
    • Washburn Primitive Campground

    Big Sur Campgrounds & State Parks

     

     

    Los Padres National Forest

    USDA National Forests lies inland along the Central Coast of California, all the way from Ventura to Monterey.  Numerous recreational lakes and back roads that lead to secluded small campgrounds. Primitive dispersed camping is allowed, but campfires are limited to local fire restrictions. The later part of the year means drier conditions and sometimes campfires are not allowed during wildfire season. Obtain a free campfire permit & check current conditions from the local ranger before venturing into the backcountry.

    Central Coast Inland Lakes Camping

    Launch Spot

    Walk-In Camp Sites

    MIneral KIng Walkin Camps

    Walk-In Camps

    Below are all developed campgrounds in California that have walk-in camp spots available. Vehicles are parked and you must carry your gear into the camp site (usually a short distance, but can be up to a half mile).

    California Campgrounds with more than a 1-mile trek are not included in this list below. Areas such as – Catalina Island, Crystal Cove SP, Angel Island SP, Point Reyes National Seashore, indeed have many hike-to camps, but most are measured in miles (one way).

    walk in campsites are perfect for –

    • people who wish not to see cars @ camp
    • people who prefer less noise while camping
    • physically fit folks, who want exercise
    • backpackers, who plan to hit the trails soon
    • avid hikers, who may be out day hiking
    • cyclists, just passing through
    • mountain bike campers
    • one nighters, travelers who only stay one night
    • late comers to the campground
      (hint: these are usually the last campsites to fill up)

    NewMelones WalkIn Camps

    Walk in campsites are often located away from car campers & RVs. Some camp sites may have more privacy, tucked away in trees, while others have shared community area with fire pits and/or barbecues. All camp sites will have picnic tables and a some kinda toilet nearby. Bear boxes may be available for storing food properly. Sharing the storage boxes with neighboring campers is common practice.

    Campgrounds with walk-in sites range in elevation from sea level marshlands to high altitude alpine lakes. Most of these camps listed below are located inside developed campgrounds with overnight fees. Many are small campgrounds, while others are large hubs of activity. The most popular places can be reserved online, with the links provided.

    Many parks can also have day use fees, so know where you park and what time span is allowed. Ask the campground host if needing assistance. Some campgrounds lock their gates at sunset and do not permit entry at night. Others may not allow campers to check in anytime after sundown. Know their rules before you make reservations.

    If you plan on not making camp reservations; make sure to have a plan B or C choice camp – in case your desired campground is already full. Many popular destinations can fill up fast (by noon in the summer).

    CAMPGROUND RESERVATIONS

    Walk In Camps in California

    hikes campmtb

    Andrew Molera State Park, North Big Sur Coast
    Anthony Chabot Regional Park, East Bay San Francisco
    Austin Creek SRA, Armstrong Redwoods, Guerneville CA

    Big Basin Redwoods State Park, Santa Cruz Mountains
    Black Rock Campground, Little Grass Valley Reservoir
    Boise Creek Campground, Six River National Forest
    Bottchers Gap Campground, North Big Sur Mountains
    Butana State Park, Pescadero, Santa Cruz Mountains

    Cherry Hill Campground, Butte Creek, Lassen National Forest
    Chilcoot Campground, Frenchman Lake, Plumas NF
    China Camp State Park, SF @ San Pablo Bay, San Rafael
    Chula Vista Campground @ Mount Pinos, Los Padres NF mtb
    Clear Lake State Park, North Wine Country, Kelseyville CA
    Cold Springs Campground
    ,
    Mineral King @ Sequoia NP
    Cool Springs CampgroundPG&E Camp, Butt Valley Reservoirhike
    Cottonwood Pass / Cottonwood Lakes on Horseshoe Meadow Rd, PCT Eastern Sierra @ Lone Pine

    coolsprings

    Dark Day Campground, New Bullards Bar Reservoir, N Sierra
    Donner Memorial State Park, Interstate 80 @ Truckee CA
    Dry Lagoon Walk-In, Humboldt Lagoons State Park

    El Capitan State Beach, North Santa Barbara Coast

    Gaviota State Park Campground, North Santa Barbara Coast
    Glory Hole Campground @ New Melones Reservoir, Gold Co
    Granite Flat Campground, Truckee River @ Lake Tahoe
    Gualala Point Park, Gualala River, Sonoma County Park

    Half Moon Bay State Beach Campground, Half Moon Bay
    Headquarters Campground, Salton Sea SRA, Mecca CA
    Henry W Coe State Park, Santa Cruz Mountains
    (wilderness permits required)

    Intake Campground, Bishop Creek, Eastern Sierra

    Jackson Flat Walk-In Camp PCT @ Angeles NF
    Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park Campground, NorCal
    Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Big Sur Coast

    Klamath National Forest –
    small campsite on river

    • East Fork (Salmon River @ Cecilville)
    • Lover’s Camp (Marble Mountain Wilderness)hike
    • Kangaroo Lake (NorCal PCT access)
    • Matthews Creek (South Fork Salmon River)
    • Shadow Creek (East Fork of Salmon River)
    • Sulphur Springs (Marble Mountain Wilderness)
    • Trail Creek (Upper Salmon River)

    Liberty Glen Campground @ Lake Sonoma Recreation Area
    Limekiln State Park Campground, Hwy 1 Big Sur Coastline

    MacKerricher State Park Campground, Mendocino Coast
    Macumber Reservoir,
    PG&E Camp, West of Lassen NPfishing
    Manresa State Beach Campground
    , Monterey Bay
    Marmot Rock Walk-In Camp, Courtright Reservoir
    Mary Smith Campground
    @ Lewiston Lake, Trinity River
    Merced Recreation Area, Merced River, Mariposa CA
    Mesa Campground, Silverwood Lake SRA, Cajon Pass
    Mill Creek Campground @ Bucks Lake, Plumas NF
    Mill Creek Campground, Del Norte Coast Redwoods SP
    Montana de Oro State Park, Morro Bay, San Luis Obispo mtb

    Niagra Creek Campground, OHV 4×4 trails, Stanislaus NF
    North Battle Creek Reservoir
    PG&E Camp, West of Lassen
    North Grove Campground, Calaveras Big Trees State Park

    Oak Bottom Campground

    Oak Bottom Campground @ Whiskeytown Reservoir SRA

    Onion Valley CA

    Onion Valley Campground, Eastern Sierra @ Independence, CAhike

    Pantoll Campground, Mount Tamalpais State Park, Marin
    Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park Campground, Big Sur Coast
    Pigeon Flat Campground, Stanislaus River, Dardanelle CA
    Pomo Canyon Walk-In Camp, Sonoma Coast State Beach
    Portola Redwoods State Park, Santa Cruz Mountains
    hikePrather Meadows Camp, Bunny Flat @ Mount Shasta
    Providence Mountains SRA @ Mitchell Cavern, Mojave

    Redwood National Park, NorCal Coast
    (no reservations, no fees. open all year)

    • Flint Ridge Walk-In
    • Nickel Creek Walk-In
    chulavistacamp

    CHULA VISTA CAMP – Wild Iris Meadow at Mount Pinos

    Refugio State Beach, North Santa Barbara Coast
    Rock Creek Campground
    , Eel River @ Standish-Hickey SRA
    Roxie Peconom Campground, Bizz Johnson Trail, W Susanville mtb
    Russian Gulch State Park Campground, Mendocino Coast

    San Clemente State Beach, Orange County Coast
    Sanborn Campground, Skyline County Park, Saratoga CA
    Sand Flat Campground, Clark Fork, Carson Icerberg Wild
    Silver Creek Campground, Truckee River @ Tahoe
    Southwest Walk-In Camp
    , Lassen Volcanic National Park
    Squaw Leap Campground, San Joaquin River, Auberry CA
    Stillwater Cove Regional Park, N of Fort Ross, Sonoma Coast

    Tahoe National Forest
    Donner Area Camping Lakes

    NFS 530-265-4531

    • Carr Lake Campground
      10 miles north of Highway 20
      6,700′ elev
      5 walk-in campsites
    • Rucker Lake Campground
      6 miles north of Highway 20
      5,462′ elev
      7 walk-in campsites
    • Sterling Lake Campground
      9 miles north of Interstate 80
      7,000′ elev
      6 walk-in campsites

    Toad Lake Walk In Camp, PCT @ Shasta National Forest
    Tuolumne Meadows Camp, Yosemite National Park
    (reservations & wilderness permits required)

    Union Reservoir Walk In Camps, Arnold CA

    Union Valley Reservoir – Eldorado National Forest

    • Azalea Cove Campground
    • Fashoda Campground

    Van Damme Redwoods State Park, Mendocino Coast

    Walker Pass Campground, PCT, East of Lake Isabella CA
    Whitney Portal Trailhead Camp, Mount Whitney, Eastern Sierra
    Woodside Campground, Salt Point State Park, Sonoma Coast

    OnionValleyWalkIns

    Walk in campgrounds are considered ‘tent camping‘, as opposed to ‘car camping‘, which is literally camping next to your vehicle. This type of hike-in camping may also be referred to as ‘trailhead camping‘, as many ideal hikes begin at these prime locations. Boat-in, bike-in or hike-in camp sites are also available at some of these locations.

    California Wildflower Blooms

    Lupine Oroville
    Wildflowers in California 

    Wildflowers bloom all over California – from the desert in winter months, to the High Sierra in mid summer.  Remember that the timing is everything, since most of these precious, delicate beauties only last a week or so. Out there alone, all day in the bright sunshine, whipping in the seasons strongest breezes. Flora!Ocotillo Joshua Tree

    The higher the elevation, the later the bloom.
    Lower elevation deserts begin to show as early as February and higher elevation peaks thaw in May. Wilderness meadows and flowers can be found in the mountains in summer. Generally in California, Springtime – between MARCH and JUNE is the best viewing time.

    Places to find Wildflowers in California

    West coast wildflower blooms in relation to elevation; Order of bloom is typically

    • low deserts (FEB)
    • high deserts (APRIL)
    • river canyons
    • central valley
    • mountain foothills (MAY)
    • coastal foothills
    • mountain forests (JUNE)
    • high altitude meadows
    • mountain lakes
    • mountain peaks (JULY)

    some recent finds:

    Carrizo Plain Super Bloom – W of Taft, CA

    Klipstein Canyon, Kern County @ Hwy 166Gorman Post Road

    Cottonwood Canyon
    W of New Cuyama, CA

    School House Canyon
    W of New Cuyama, CA

    Figueroa Mountain Rd – Los Padres NF @ Santa Ynez, CA

    Table Mountain – Cherokee Road, N Oroville, CA

     

    Box Canyon @ Mecca, California

    Turtle Mountain Road, Needles, CA

    Mill Creek, Lassen NF

    Lassen Peak Lupine Way HikeNPS
    Lassen NP (mid-to-late summer)

    Lassen Peak Lupine Summer Hikes

    more pages on wildflowers –

    California Wildflowers

    California Golden Poppies

    Poppy Reserve Antelope Valley, LA Co.

    Poppy Stompers

    popstrollin

    Anza Borrego Desert Wildflowers

    Mojave Desert

    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.