Campfires in California

Campfires on the Back Roads

Campfires on the Back Roads: shovel & water bucket required

When & Where – Campfires in California

California has many different National Forest districts and each region has their own fire restrictions. State Parks & BLM also manages recreation areas & camping in the Golden State. Each agency & region has different rules, so blanket answers cannot apply to general questions on campfires.

CAMPFIRE PERMITS
Campfire permits are required for fires outside of designated recreation sites (not during fire restriction period). Campfire Permit are available from Forest Service, CalFire or BLM offices or online, http://www.preventwildfireca.org/

Current Fire Restrictions:
California suffers more from wildfires now than ever before. Drought conditions or record winter rains, the huge population means fire danger. By mid summer we have usually have several wild land fires burning, which means campfire restrictions are usually in place before JULY 4th weekend. When this happens – No open campfires are allowed in the backcountry or on the back roads.

Often in the driest of years, no campfires are allowed even inside the campgrounds.

tent camping

If you love to primitive camp outside of developed campgrounds, you need to plan more road trips for Spring time & early Summer. Or go desert camping during winter months.

No concise, easy-to-read list or online map exist on which forests are allowing backcountry campfires and which ones are not. It seems to change so often and they aren’t great about updating those .gov web sites.

Best just to call each forest individually and ask rangers about current fire conditions. If you can speak to a field ranger, they can tell you more on dispersed camping. Or you can navigate the USDA web site to find current ALERTS & RESTRICTIONS.

Here is a Total Escape page with all of the California National Forests listed w/ phone numbers
http://www.totalescape.com/active/campstuff/NF/NFS.html

Narrow down a specific region by checking out where fires are active today and selecting a region well away from big fires.
http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/?state=5

See more on this topic –

Fire Safety
Camping without a Campfire
Firewood Dealers

Camp Fires Correctly

Rock Creek Campground

rockintable

Rock Creek Lake 9600′ elev, Eastern Sierra

Numerous places named Rock Creek exist inside California. This particular Rock Creek page is specific to Camping and Campgrounds!

This compilation of “Rock Creeks” is to help with the confusing lists of similarly named camps and locations (which are many, inside California)

List begins with the most well known –

Eastern Sierra Campgrounds

NFS Campgrounds on Rock Creek Road
Rock Creek Lake @ Inyo National Forest

12 NFS Campgrounds are located around Eastern Sierra Rock Creek Canyon. Elevations range from 7000′ at the highway, to over 10,000′ at a trailhead parking lot at the road’s end.

CAMPGROUND RESERVATIONS

Tuff Campground ( US Highway 395)

French Campground (7500′ elev w/ 86 sites)
Holiday Campground (7500′ elev w/ 35 sites)

Aspen Group Campground (8100′)

iris meadow

Iris Meadow Campground NFS

Iris Meadow Campground (8600′ elev w/ 14 sites)
Big Meadow Campground (8600′ elev w/ 11 sites)
Palisade Campground (8600′ elev w/ 5 sites)

East Fork Campground (9000′ elev w/ 133 sites)

Pine Grove Campground (9300′ elev w/ 11 sites)

rockcreeklake

Rock Creek Lake Campground (9600′ elev w/ 66 sites)

Rock Creek Lake Group Campground (by reservation)

Mosquito Flat Walk-In Campground (trailhead camp) Some maps may have this one listed as Little Lakes Campground, but that is just the trailhead name.

eastern sierra snowline

eastern sierra

More Rock Creek Camps

Rock Creek CampgroundMammoth Pool Reservoir, south of Yosemite National Park, behind Bass Lake, CA inside the Sierra National Forest (18 camp sites)

Rock Creek Campground – US Hwy 101 NorCal Redwood forests, north of Leggett, CA. Camp located on the Eel River, in the Standish Hickey State Recreation Area. (36 camp sites)

Rock Creek Loop Road – Dinkey
Sierra Forest Road #9S09, off of paved Dinkey Creek Road. Excellent primitive camping along creek; 4×4 trailheads, as well as hiking & horseback trails. Small RVs okay. Dispersed camp sites, no facilities. Fire permits are required. Near Shaver Lake, CA inside the Sierra National Forest

Rock Front OHV

Similarly named –

ROCK LAKE is located inside Lakes Basin Recreation Area, northern Gold Country @ Yuba River headwaters. Hike-in access only.

And if you want some Central Coast wheelin – 4×4 camping and trails, see the ROCK FRONT RANCH on California Hwy 166, on the way to New Cuyama, CA

lower rock creek road

Lower Rock Creek Road, off US hwy 395

We will continue to add more Rock Creeks to this page as we find and photograph them. Stay tuned for more of the best camping in California.

Blue Lakes California

Blue Lakes
Hwy 88 @ Carson Pass

Blue Lake California

[some areas closed 2018-2019, due to PG&E work]

Blue Lake Campground

highest lake campgrounds in the vicinity

Eldorado National Forest in Amador Ranger District; a forest south of Lake Tahoe in the central portion of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. This set of scenic, alpine lakes sits in between both Eldorado, Toiyabe National Forests and the Mokelumne Wilderness. But please take note that the Blue Lake facilities are owned and operated by utility company PG&E

No Reservations.
camp sites are available first-come, first-serve

RV limitations: 30 feet

69 miles east of Jackson, CA on Highway 88 and then another 12 miles south on Blue Lakes Road.

Blue Lakes consist of several developed campgrounds. Blue Lakes Rd# 13 is a well signed, paved road off Hwy 88, just east of Carson Pass (8560′ elev). The route is closed during winter snow, while it serves as a winter recreation area. The main paved road becomes dirt near the campgrounds. A dirt road continues past the lakes and south to Deer Creek and meets w/ Hwy 4 near Ebbett’s Pass.

RV campers, fishing folks, hikers, kayakers and disabled travelers like this lake camp area due to the easy access, paved parking and campground amenities. Handicapped camp sites are also prime lake front locations.

Picnic Areas, Group Sites and campfire rings. Piped water, bear boxes and vault toilets. No RV hookups, no dump station, no showers. Unimproved boat ramps are available at Upper and Lower Blue Lakes.

Lower Blue Lake Campground
blue lakes eldoradoelev. 8055′
camp sites: 16

Blue Lake Dam
camp sites: 25

Middle Creek Campground
camp sites: 5

Upper Blue Lake Campground
elev. 8136′
camp sites: 32

Overflow Camp
camp sites: 34

hikesBackpackers and day hikers: Sierra trailheads out here lead south into the Mokelumne Wilderness Area. The infamous Pacific Crest Trail also passes thru this high elevation region: PCT access @ Carson Pass, Upper Lake & Tamarack Lake

recreation –PCT

  • backpacking
  • boating (non-motorized)
  • camping
  • fishing
  • hiking
  • horseback
  • kayaking

local topographic maps:

nearby townsLower Blue Lake

 

Tahoe Back Roads

another blue lake?

MODOC BLUE LAKE
There is also another Blue Lake in California. NorCal region of the South Warner Wilderness in Modoc National Forest. That’s way out past Alturas, CA. Northeast California, real seclusion. Paved Road #64 is Jess Valley along Mill Creek, which leads up to Blue Lake Campground, elevation 6067′

 

Klamath Fire

Klamath Fire

InciWeb: California Fires 2018

NorCal – Klamath River: 2017 fire season provided significant firefighting challenges. In order to meet future challenges in the most effective way possible, the NFS will continue to use prescribed burning as a tool in our mission to reduce build-up of hazardous fuels, restore forest ecosystems, and improve resiliency and safety of communities within the wild-land urban interface.

Planned projects include burning piles of stacked materials and low to moderate intensity understory burns of vegetation on the forest floor. The main goals of these projects are to reduce the severity of future wildfires and provide added protection for communities in the wild-land urban interface. In addition, the burns will promote a diverse and more resilient forest, and improve habitat for wildlife.

NorCal River Camping, Fishing, Kayaking, Rafting, Recreation.

Klamath burns will take place on the Salmon River, Scott River, Happy Camp, Oak Knoll and Goosenest Ranger Districts between April and June 2018. The actual dates of ignition will depend on local weather and fuel conditions.

Expect smoke in the Klamath for spring time!

Great Camping all summer long. June – September

Marble Mountain Wilderness Map

Kirch Flat Campground

Kirch Flat NFS
Camp Kings River

kirch flat

Low elevation Western Sierra: a big river at the beginning of Kings Canyon. Fishing, biking and hiking. The Kings Cyn National Park is directly east, upriver.

Oak woodlands, steep granite canyons, waterfall hikes, rock beaches, river fishing, mountain biking and wildflowers. Day time temperatures get triple-digit in summer months, so best time to visit is the rest of the year. Small RV accessible, paved road, river close – and best of all, open all year long!

flora west sierra

Kirch Flat Campground

Due EAST of Fresno, California in a large river canyon, Western Sierra Nevada
Located 18 miles up Trimmer Springs Road (paved), 5 miles above Pine Flat Lake. Sierra National Forest; River rafting take-out spot for Middle Kings River.

• Elevation: 1100′
• Number of Sites: 17
• Camp Fee: No
• Vehicle Accessibility: RV 22′ max
• Campsites Reservation: No
• Length of Stay: 14 Days
• Season: Open Year Round
• Trailheads: Kings River

lowerkings

see also Kings River Camping

nearby destinations –

Big Creek Rd #9
Blackrock Reservoir
Dinkey Creek
Dinkey Lakes Wilderness
Fresno, CA
Kings Canyon NP
Monarch Wilderness
Pine Flat Reservoir
Reedley, CA
Shaver Lake, CA
Sierra National Forest
Sequoia NP
Wishon Reservoir