Tag Archives: norcal

Sierra Canyon Wildflowers

florasierra

West facing canyons of the Sierra Nevada mountain range are prime spots for wild flora, especially in Springtime. Lots of rain means a great show can usually be found. Rivers exit the mountains and carve deep into the landscape. Lush green hills, oaks, boulders. Perfect picnic spots everywhere.

wildflowers:
make a whole day of it

Lower elevations bloom first in the year. Remember if the Central Valley is blooming fruit trees, the mountain foothills are starting up too. Mid-elevations, above 3000′ bloom in summer months, but below that – plenty of river canyons and reservoirs are superb locations to search for wild flowers.

Orchards Blooming San Joaquin Valley
Orchards Blooming, San Joaquin Valley, California

The steep Eastern Sierra canyons near US 395, do have some wildflowers in Spring. Rocky, higher elevations bloom in mid-summer. And what Eastern Sierra lacks in wildflowers, they make up for in Autumn Colors (best in the state)

Kern Spring Wildflowers

Kern River Canyon

Kern Wildflowers
Kern Wildflowers, North of Kernville, CA

Kings River Canyon

Poppies Sierra Nevada

California: Gold Country Foothills

melones flora
Shoreline bloom @ New Melones Reservoir, Angles Camp

Consumes River – East of Coloma, CA

New Melones Reservoir – near Angeles Camp, CA

American River Canyon – Hwy 49, South of Auburn, CA

fencesitters

Northern Cal: Wildflower Areas

Yuba River along Hwy 20, up to Grass Valley, CA

North Table Mountain via Cherokee Road – N of Oroville, CA
the epic volcanic tablelands of Butte County.

Lupine Oroville

Bureau of Land Management

free desert washes

California BLM

desert figure blythe
Giant figures INTAGLIOS, on desert floor, near Blythe, CA

Camping while traveling. The east-west corridors across the California deserts are well traveled routes. If you plan to camp, get to know areas managed by the California Bureau of Land Management.

All BLM Offices in California BLM CA

  • 4×4
  • Back Roads
  • Car Camping
  • Canyons
  • Deserts
  • Dirt Bike Trails
  • Dunes
  • Hiking
  • Historic Sites
  • Hot Springs
  • Intagios
  • Mountain Bike
  • Off Road
  • Palm Canyons
  • Petroglyhs
  • River Camps
  • RV Camping
  • Slot Canyons
  • Tent Camping
  • Wildflowers

ocotilloBLM

BLM lands in California are often known as the ‘free camping’ option. freeway close campingNo charge camp sites, convenient, in-route locations, many areas along major highways or interstates. Campfire permits are always required for any open fires, BBQs and campfires.

BLM Field Offices in California located in neighboring towns can provide maps, information and campfire permits. 

giantcholla

DESERT WILDFLOWERS can be found annually, February – April in most of these areas. Springtime blooms draw the crowds, but few visitors actually camp out overnight.

When searching out premium camp sites – drive slower than 50 mph & look for the brown recreation signs. Since people like to drive fast in the desert, make sure to put your hazard lights or blinkers on, so traffic knows you are slow poking. Typically dirt roads are only marked with small, thin reflectors, maybe numbers or letters, if you’re lucky.

Traffic noise will be minimal if you camp away from the main drag at least ONE mile or more. Motorhomes may not have the luxury to travel that distance; they often prefer to stay in large, level, flat pull outs, right near the pavement.

If daring to venture more than 2 miles from the pavement, be prepared for rough conditions. 4WD drive may be needed in certain spots, or in the wettest of weather. Wind is always a factor in desert regions, so keep that in mind. Deep sandy washes, tow strap anyone? No facilities, no services, no toilet. Spotty cell phone coverage. Basically – the boonies!

BOONDOCKING
is the latest phrase for “open, free camping”

Palo Verde Washes

 

SEEKING QUIET CANYONS? stay away from the off-roaders. They usually congregate in dunes and specified OHV areas. Trails and dirt roads are for multi-purpose use, so a variety of recreation can be had. Many people use these public lands, so leave them clean and better than you found it. Boulder coves, palm gardens, primitive hot springs. There are plenty of hidden camp spots within the vast desert region of SoCal.

Several BLM lands are near Wilderness Areas. Camping is allowed close by, mountain biking & hiking are usually abundant. Off roading prohibited within Wilderness boundaries.

hikes tent camping 4x4

URLs within the official BLM site keep changing, which is why we are rebuilding our BLM pages. So you can find what you need, easily.

ca.blm.gov
blm.gov/ca

www.blm.gov/ca
https://www.blm.gov/california

road BLM

Northern California Mountains

Mountains of Northern California / NorCal Mountain

sacramento river

Shasta Trinity National Forest

Dunsmuir, Lewiston, Mount Shasta, Trinity Center

Lee Fong Park
Beautiful park setting @ Lee Fong Park, in historic Weaverville, CA

Klamath National Forest

Happy Camp, Weed, Yreka

NorCal California

Modoc National Forest

Alturas, Cedarville

River Beach Campground
Trinity River Camping, Douglas City, CA

Silver Lake @ Lassen

Lassen Camp Site

Silver Lake @ Lassen

(Lassen Co)

6400′ elev. inside Lassen National Forest
East of Lassen National Park

Silver Lake Road #10
20 miles off Highway 89. Northbound, outside of Westwood @ Lake Almanor, take County Road A21 to County Road 110 (Silver Lake Rd)

a21sign

Dirt road boat ramp @ southern end of lake. Winter weather & snow closes this area annually, so this lake is mainly a summertime destination. Mid-week tends to be less popular for those seeking seclusion.

  • backpacking
  • fishing
  • camping
  • canoe
  • hiking
  • kayaking

Hiking trails lead to Caribou Lake, Emerald Lake, Betty Lake, Trail Lake, Shotoverin Lake & Caribou Wilderness.

campground

Silver Bowl Campground NFS

• Elevation: 6400′
• Number of Sites: 18
• Vehicle Accessibility: small RV
• Campsites Reservation: No
• Camp Fee: Yes
• Toilet: Vault
• Water: piped/potable
• Length of Stay: 14 Days
• Season: May – October
• Trailheads: Caribou Wilderness

Lassen National Forest
Lassen National Forest
Almanor Ranger District
900 East Highway 36
Chester, CA 96020
530-258-2141

silverlassen

See all Silver Lakes in California

Snake Lake California

Snake Lake Campground

Snake Lake Campground, Plumas NF

Don’t let the name frighten you, Snake Lake is a very scenic fishing lake – but you will NOT want to swim in it. Lily pads cover the water surface most of the year so it is considered “frog heaven” during the warmer months. NFS has been upgrading these camping facilities recently. Snake Lake Campground has new picnic tables, camp fire rings, bear boxes, vault toilet and expanded equestrian camps and corrals. No piped water, so bring your own. A bucket & shovel are always required for proper campfire maintenance.

morninglakeview

One of the best free campgrounds in the region, Plumas National Forest and close to Quincy, CA. Paved road access means an easy 3 miles off the main road (Bucks Lake Road, aka Oroville-Quincy Highway, Oro Quincy Hwy). 7 miles west of the town of Quincy, the green, metal, one-lane bridge is easy to spot, but the small sign for “Snake Lake 3” is easy to miss, if driving 50 mph or faster. Turn off is located in between Quincy and Meadow Valley.

New Signs

Horse Camping

Equestrian camp sites, horse corrals, OHV trails, group picnic areas. Hiking, fishing, mountain biking, off roading, horseback trails, kayaking or canoe.

Snake Lake Campground
• Elevation: 4200′
• Number of Sites: 17
• Vehicle Accessibility: small RV
• Campsites Reservation: No
• Camp Fee: No
• Length of Stay: 14 Days
• Season: May – October
• Trailheads: OHV, Horse & Winter Rec

This lake camp serves as a central hub for travelers, motorcyclists, campers, hikers, fishermen, off roaders and equestrians alike. Mountain biking & OHV trails go off in numerous directions and horseback trails are readily accessible. Winter Recreation Area means snowmobile trails too.

Another smaller lake, Smith Lake, is a short drive or short hike (on dirt road) further into the woods, with the Butterfly Valley Botanical Area neighboring it.

Another SNAKE LAKE exist inside Plumas National Forest. The smaller Snake lake can be accessed by off-road trail Road#12E66, off the Gold Lake Highway; 4×4 is required to reach this one. West of Gold Lake in the Lakes Basin Recreation Area. The PCT is routed nearby one mile away.

middayblue

Sardine Lake California

Sardine Lake California Camping

Lakes Basin California, Northern Sierra

Lakes Basin Recreation Area

The granite spires of the Sierra Buttes (8591′) tower above both Upper & Lower Sardine, making for a glorious backdrop to these two lakes. This is a popular fishing lake with no swimming allowed. The water is so clear that at noon you can see to the bottom!

There are numerous, super-scenic, small lakes in this region and one trip here is not nearly enough. Total Escape rates this collection of small lakes up there w/ the ‘best hiking lakes’ in California. The Pacific Crest Trail runs through this awesome lakes area, which is located north of Truckee, east of Downieville.

backpacking
boating
camping
canoeing
fine dining
fishing
hiking
granite peaks
kayaking
mountain biking
off-roading
stargazing
waterfalls
wildflowers

snowmelt lake snowmelt lake snowmelt lake
high elevation means snow

Plumas Co Road #24 is the Gold Lake Road, also referred to as the Gold Lake Highway – which skirts the lakes, the buttes and connects Historic Gold Country Hwy 49 to Graeagle Golfing @ Hwy 89. SNOW CLOSES THIS ROAD, but the area remains open for winter recreation.

SARDINE LAKE ROAD, a paved turn off the main road. NFS Campground is located one mile from the shore at Lower Sardine. Sardine Lake Resort rents cabins and the restaurant serves dinners w/ lake view!

fishing lake Gold Country Lake hiking trailheads National Forest Service Developed Campground

CAMPGROUND RESERVATIONS

Sardine Lake Campground

• Elevation: 5800′
• Number of Sites: 29
• Vehicle Accessibility: RV 22′
• Campsites Reservation: Yes
• Camp Fee: Yes
• Facilities: piped water, vault toilet
• Length of Stay: 14 Days
• Season: June – October
• Trailheads: Sierra Buttes & PCT

sardine campground sign

National Forest Service Rangers Quarters

Sardine Peak Lookout
SARDINE PEAK FIRE TOWER LOOKOUT (NFS)
RESERVE a historic fire lookout tower, built in 1935. A three story enclosed tower with external stairs. (elevation 8138′)

panoramic

Upper Sardine Lake California

Upper Sardine Lake: Takes only a short hike to get to. This is a pure glacial bowl; the rock plunges straight into the water, no beach at all. Great fishing; ice-cold swimming.

local contacts for this lake:

Sardine Lake Resort
530-862-1196

Row boat rentals on Sardine Lake
530-862-1196

Canoes rentals on nearby Packer Lake
530-862-1221

Plumas County Visitors Bureau:
800-326-2247

Plumas National Forest Rangers:
530-862-1368

Sierra County Visitors Bureau:
800-200-4949

nearby towns:
Downieville, CA
Graeagle, CA
Sierra City, CA

nearby lakes:
Gold Lake
Sand Pond
Packer Lake

maps of the region:
Lakes Basin Map USDA
NatGeo Sierra Buttes Map
Plumas National Forest Map
Tahoe National Forest Map

Crocker Campground

Davis Lake Free Camping

Crocker Camp Lake Davis

Crocker Campground
Crocker Guard Station

Plumas Forest Rd #24N06
Crocker Mountain Rd @ Beckwourth-Genesse Rd

Seldom used, but often loved. This old camp used to be a California Conservation Corps (CCC) camp, during the construction of Lake Davis in 1966. Situated next to a big meadow w/ ancient lava flows up hill, the small campground hugs a wooded hillside above the freshly paved Beckwourth-Genesse Road #111

Lake Davis Recreation Area

Plumas National Forest
Beckwourth Ranger District
530-836-2575

If choosing to enter camp from the lake side, take Crocker Mountain Rd. / Plumas Forest Rd #24N06, up from Grizzly Road #112. This area is a north turn off Hwy 89, in between Beckwourth and Portola, CA

Access from the paved (east) side is via Beckwourth-Genesse Road #111. Adventurous camper trucks trailers or small RVs may attempt this dirt hillside campground, but roots and rocks and erosion are abundant in the upper portion of the camp, so be warned.

The minimal aspen grove at nearby Crocker Guard Station makes for a nice back drop, but there are no aspens at camp. Please note: you cannot see Lake Davis from this side of the hill. This primitive campground is located on a forested, volcanic hillside facing east; Dirt road entry, vault toilet w/ minimal facilities. No paved campsite loop here!

Numerous unmarked foot trails lead out to the meadows edge, up lava ridges or into the forest behind the aspens. Crocker Guard Station is a very short walk; and now available for rent from the NFS w/ reservation link below.

Crocker Campground
• Elevation: 5600′
• Number of Sites: 10
• Vehicle Accessibility: Small RV
• Campsites Reservation: No
• Camp Fee: No
• Length of Stay: 14 Days
• Season: May – November
• Trailheads: Crocker Meadow Loop

Crocker Campground

NFS CABIN RESERVATIONS

Crocker Guard Station

Set back off the main road, this historic, two story cabin with wood siding and small front porch has meadows and aspen groves surrounding it. Crocker Guard Station was built in 1912 as a home for Forest Service personnel, and was later staffed as a fire station until the 1980s.

lava campsites

Crocker Mountain is popular for deer hunting, mountain biking, as well as off-road travel.

Lake Davis is about 5 miles away from this small campground, to the west. From Crocker Camp to Lake Davis (the most direct way) is a one lane, graded dirt road – Plumas Forest Rd #24N06.

The paved way over to the lake will be triple the distance – and you’ll need to go back to the highway.

View East from Davis
Crocker Mountain @ Lake Davis, California

Weaverville Car Show

Lee Fong Park
Beautiful park setting @ Lee Fong Park, in historic Weaverville

Historic Weaverville’s Car Show

Weaverville Chamber of Commerce & E Clampus Vitus (ECV #62) present NorCal’s summertime CarShow in Weaverville, a highlight of the Trinity River region. This classic auto display is held at a beautiful small town location & it’s been running for years. Event festivities spread out between the SuperMarket parking lot and Lee Fong Park, near downtown Weaverville, California; Camping & fishing are superb in these forests at this time of year. Make a long weekend of it!

Enjoy raffle prizes, Clamper breakfast, raffles, vendors, VFW Tri-Tip Lunch, Music, Shuttle Service to Historic Downtown Weaverville beginning 10 am Saturday.

This auto show event may have been previously referred to as “Car Show in The Park”

Annual event; August
530-623-6101
www.weavervillecarshow.com

WEAVERVILLE CA

Trinity Alps Hiking Map

Trinity Alps Camping

Trinity Alps Wilderness Campgrounds

Northern California Camping
Shasta Trinity National Forest

Trinity Alps Wilderness

camp

 

  • backpacking
  • camping
  • fishing spots
  • floating
  • hiking
  • hunting
  • kayaking
  • mountain biking
  • off-roading
  • soaking
  • swimming holes
  • tubing
  • stargazing

trinitydetail

campgrounds near Trinity trailheads –

camping Highway 3
(California State Route 3):

  • Horse Flat Campground, near Eagle Creek trailhead
  • Eagle Creek Campground @ Hwy, near Stoddard Lake & Eagle Creek trailhead
  • Goldfield Campground, near Boulder Creek trailhead
  • Big Flat Campground (via Coffee Creek Road #104)
  • Preacher Meadow Campground @ Hwy, near Swift Creek trailhead

camping Highway 299
(California State Route 299):

  • Ripstein Campground, near Canyon Creek trailhead
  • Hobo Gulch Campground, on Road #34N07
  • Hayden Flat Campground, near Big French Creek & Green Mountain
  • Denny Campground, near Jim Jam Ridge, East Fork & New River; Way out west
  • Groves Prairie Campground, near Grizzly Camp trailheadtrinityalps_lg
  • Happy Camp Campground, near Grizzly Camp trailhead

camping Highway 96
(California State Route 96):

  • Tish Tang Campground, near Tish Tang trailhead
  • Box Campground, near Red Cap Lake, Bear Hole & Mill Creek Lake
  • Klamath Riverside Campground @ Hwy, near Salmon Summit

camping Salmon River (Cecilville Road #1C02):

trinitysign
Trinity Scenic Byway (CA SR 3)

NorCal Topographic Maps – Trinity Map

Shasta Trinity National Forest Map

Pacific Crest Trail Map #6 (Shasta Cascades)

Trinity Alps Wilderness Map

outdoor destinations also nearby –


View Larger Map

Oak Bottom Campground

Oakbottom Campground

Whiskeytown Recreation Area:
Oak Bottom Campground

campground and lake closed, due to recent wildfire

The large, level, paved campground is right on the north shore of Whiskeytown Lake, on Hwy 299 – E of Redding CA

101 walk-in campsites
22 RV sites
elevation 1200′
kayaking
marina
hiking trails
mountain biking trails

Camp Sites near Water

CAMPGROUND RESERVATIONS

Group Camping can be reserved at
Whiskey Creek Group Picnic Area
3 group camping sites with excellent views of the lake and mountains, on the northeastern shore of Whiskeytown Lake.

nearby towns:

Shasta Lakes Camping

camping whiskeytown

Unbeknownst to most California tourists, the “Shasta” region encompasses most of the northern part of the state. From the majestic Trinity Alps to raging Burney Falls; the huge, snow capped peak of Mount Shasta can be seen by half of NorCal. From the high alpine country on the north side, to the Sacramento Valley on the south side. Shasta dominates this region all around Redding and I-5.

Northern California has numerous camping lakes, most of which are very RV friendly. Boating, fishing, hiking, kayaking & even houseboat rentals are available at Lake Shasta.

The BIg Lake you see from Interstate 5 is named Shasta Lake, the main drain from the northern reaches of Oregon. The big reservoir in the middle of the North State. Whiskey Town Lake is west of Redding, with Trinity Lake tucked way back up in the hills – N of Weaverville. You could spend a lifetime exploring all the lakes in the Shasta area. On foot, by bike, with a fishing pole and a pack llama. Maybe just in an old funky motorhome.

Lake Road Trinity

towns nearby with camping –

Weaverville, CA
Trinity Center, CA
Douglas City, CA
Lewiston, CA
French Gulch, CA
Shasta, CA
Redding, CA
Shasta Lake, CA
O’Brien, CA
Lakehead, CA
Dunsmuir, CA
McCloud, CA
Mount Shasta, CA
Burney, CA
Weed, CA

California North Coast

Northern CA Coast / Northern Coast of California

The redwood north coast of California is very forested region with many rivers & streams running throughout. Fishing, kayaking, rafting, camping & backpacking are all superb here. The wilderness rules, as the majority of the landscape is wild & untouched by development. Mountain ranges near the north California coast span in elevation from 1000′ to 8000′. The Klamath River, Eel River & Trinity River are the predominate waterways in this region, with designated National Forest lining their canyons. There are over 10 parks along the coast that feature the redwood trees as the main attraction. The ones listed below are the inland, mountainous areas of Northern California.

klamath river

Mendocino National Forest

Clear Lake, Kelseyville, Ukiah

north coast CA

Redwood National Park

Klamath, Orick

north coast CA

Six Rivers National Forests

north coast CA

Smith River Recreation Area

Crescent City, Orleans

Joss House Weaverville

joss_house_interior

The Joss House

Historic Chinese Taoist Temple

A small but impressive State Historic Park located in downtown Weaverville, a small Northern California town located near the Trinity Alps Wilderness and the Trinity River. State Park

DSCN8505This darling park is only open Thursday through Sundays (mid day) and tours can be arranged. A one room museum tells the story of the Chinese miners who came to the Trinity River region in search of gold. The neighboring temple is a historic masterpiece and has been preserved for all to enjoy. The wooden building has withstood deep snow falls and logging trucks rumbling by on the highway a block away. Neighboring museums, outdoor displays and lush creek side parks make for ideal picnic spots.

parks.ca.gov/?page_id=457

Moon Festival, Weaverville, CA

Annual “Moon Festival” at this park location in October.

joss_decore

Weaverville Joss House.
Not to be confused w/ the Chinese Josh House in San Francisco.

Hayfork Century Ride

Northern California’s Century Bike Race

Experience 115 mile and 126 mile rides with 10,800 feet and 12,330 feet of climbing, respectively, along with spectacular views of the Trinity Alps and Mt. Shasta, and almost no vehicle traffic through remote wilderness. Paved and dirt roads.

Wild, wild country!

Annual event: June
Hayfork, CA

hayforkcentury.com

Lighted Tractor Parade, Ferndale

John Deere Power!

Ferndale Tree Lighting

Ferndale’s Lighted Tractor Parade

Local farmers and ranchers parade fancifully decorated tractors and tractor-drawn wagons depicting holiday scenes down the Victorian Village’s historic Main Street. Sparkling country Christmas celebrations include the Tallest Living Tree Lighting, shopping and dining downtown. Romantic Christmas destination on the Northern California Redwood Coast!

Annual event: December
Ferndale, CA
707-786-4477

victorianferndale.com/events

Ferndale, CA 1998

Christmas: 2011

Truckers Christmas Parade

North Coast Unified Air Quality Management District

Eureka’s Truckers Parade
Truckers Christmas Convoy
Truckers Christmas Parade

Eureka, Northern California

BIG RIGS: The 18-wheelers stretching as long as 60 feet, include some with special parade additions that might be tacked on: bandstand platforms, dancing reindeer, flying fish, you name it. Join in this Eureka tradition, and you’ll never think of Jingle Bells in quite the same way again. The parade starts at 6 pm at Redwood Acres and goes to about 8:30 pm. Presented by KEKA country radio – Eureka Broadcasting and local sponsors.

Eureka, CA

keka101.com/info/truckers-parade/

a Corner Shoppe

Eureka California Old Town

Old Town Eureka, CA

Much Ado About Sebastopol

Hilt

Sebastopol Renaissance Faire
Much Ado About Sebastopol Festival

Much Ado is become the regional Renaissance Faire in Northern California. A quality, family-friendly event in wine country that is entertaining and educational, as well as a long-term fundraiser for local Sebastopol public schools.

Wander around and interact with a myriad of villagers from 1578, make herbal soap or try your hand at weaving while listening to a wandering minstrel. Enjoy ice cold lemonade while watching the falcons and learning about their role in Renaissance farming. Sit back and take in a short Shakespeare performance while feasting on a hearty, rustic lunch.

Annual event: September
707-481-8213

Sebastopol, CA

muchadoaboutsebastopol.com

Much Ado About Sebastopol 2013

Much Ado About Sebastopol 2013

Intermountain Fair

Intermountain Fair 2010

NorCal Intermountain Fair

90 years running. Intermountain Fair is held annually at McArthur Fairgrounds, east of Fall River Mills, CA. Small town parade, exhibits, livestock, motocross, demolition derby, carnival rides and games. If you are looking for a small hometown fair inside California, this one is choice pickins.

The Inter-Mountain Fairgrounds is located in the northeastern tip of Shasta County on Highway 299E in the town of McArthur, CA. McArthur is located in the Fall River Valley – along with neighboring communities of Fall River Mills, Glenburn, Pittville, and Dana. All are farming communities with a total population of about 2,000 people @ 3400′ elevation.

Annual event; August & September

Fall River Mills, CA

inter-mountainfair.com

y Picture 1035 ed

Home Town Parade

Intermountain Fair 2010