Tag Archives: summer

Find a Creek

Finding a Creek in California

Creek Bound Campers

California Stream Fishing
California Creek Camping

Since SoCal is more of a desert terrain, big water in California can be found elsewhere throughout the state. Natural waterways flow primarily from NorCal and from the backbone of the west coast, the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Determining the region to explore is a first step, then narrowing it down to several possible camp spots after you’ve found a good printed map (a hard copy, non digital, non electricity, the old fashioned kind).

California Rivers are popular destinations for the outdoor vacationer. The most desirable streams or creeks in California flow into a reservoir, not out of. The wilder scenery above the lake, deeper up the canyons are the secluded places we seek. Some accessed only by dirt back roads. 4×4 camps are commonly positioned near creeks.  Wilderness trail heads can lead to even more privacy if you are willing to huff it.

SELECTING A MAP

Full color, waterproof maps show every creek, stream, river, paved road, dirt road

Topographic maps show more detail on terrain, elevation, trails, roads; Less colorful.

READING THE MAP

look for the tiny blue lines, the bolder the better

– is your choice a main blue line?
– does this one creek feed into another larger stream?
– is it a creek that will be flowing strong?
– how far from a paved road is it?

How to find a streamside camp

Forest Service Back Roads are usually one lane dirt roads and have strange long numbers attached to them. Maybe signed, but don’t count on it. In the illustration: Look Road #22S59 is right along a creek, and maybe 22S08 has some water sources, but has a developed campground w/ possible fee. 22S59 is very likely to have some dispersed sites along it. You always have options open when you have a good map; make your back up choices when planning your destination. Have a few plan B roads chosen, just in case your first choice is too steep of a slope, or packed with RV families, or totally muddy and impassable with your vehicle.

 

Creekside Camping in California

MIneral KIng Walkin Camps

4WD needed?

Spring snow melt is when the dirt roads are still closed (gated) and often quiet muddy. Some primitive camp sites may be best access with a 4-wheel drive, but each river or creek side camp spot is unique at different times of the year, due to the snow depth and land erosion process. For easy-going exploring purposes, small all-wheel-drive vehicles work well too, but clearance can be a limiting factor. You wouldn’t believe what passenger cars we see on the back roads of Baja. Almost anything goes anywhere, slowly, as long as it runs and rolls.

last tip – mosquito, where?

Screen room tents may appear unsightly, but those hungry, annoying mosquitoes don’t really care what flavor you are. Them lil suckers are abundant in areas with water, standing or still water, meadows, creek beds, especially active in the warmer summer months. Beat ’em before they hatch – camp in the springtime. By autumn their numbers seem to dwindle with the night time chilly temps, but make sure to come prepared for those colder nights.

6S05 – Inyo NF

6S05bridge

Paved, one-lane extension of #4S12, Rock Creek Road.
Up above Rock Creek Lake, East Sierra Nevada, California

High elevation 10,272′ at roads end and parking lot

Little Lakes Valley Trailhead
Mono Pass
Morgan Pass
John Muir Trail (JMT)
Pacific Crest Trail (PCT)

Mosquito Flat Picnic Area

Restrooms, paved parking lot, nature trails, fishing creeks, horseback, wilderness trails.

hikes NFS camp horse camp

Mosquito Flat Walk-In Campground is intended for backpackers departing overnight into the backcountry the following day. Single night stay ONLY. Please camp down canyon if you plan to stay for more than one night. Bear lockers are provided at campgrounds for proper storage of food items, so use them!

No campfires are allowed outside of developed campgrounds. Day use does not require a permit. Wilderness permits are required for overnight trips into the John Muir Wilderness. Bear containers are required for backpackers. Permits for these trails are issued at Inyo National Forest ranger station in Mammoth, or the Eastern Sierra Visitors Center (ESIA) near Olancha.

littlelakesvalley

John Muir Wilderness (JMT) trails, Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), epic scenery, alpine lakes, high elevation. Eastern Sierra

Rock Creek NFS Hiking Trailheads (download PDF)

Rock Creek Pack Station provides wilderness pack trips on horseback, and day rides too.

Road and canyon is CLOSED for winter snow approx. NOV-MAY

snowlane

Peaks and passes surrounding Rock Creek Canyon, in the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains –

Red Mountain 11,472′ (elevation)
Mount Morgan 13,748′
Morgan Pass
Mt Huntington 12,405′
Mono Rock 11,554′
Mono Pass
Mt Starr 12,835′
Mt Mills 13,451′
Mt Abbott 13,704′
Round Valley Peak 11,943′

Hike or horseback ride to these alpine lakes from Rock Creek Rd trailheads –

Davis Lake
Hilton Creek Lakes
Patricia Lake
Golden Lake
Pioneer Basin Lakes
Trail Lakes
Summit Lake
Ruby Lake
Mills Lake
Gem Lakes
Treasure Lakes
Dade Lake
Upper Morgan Lake
Lower Morgan Lake
Chickenfoot Lake
Little Lakes
Box Lake
Heart Lake
Marsh Lake
Serene Lake
Eastern Brook Lakes
Tamarack Lake
Buck Lake
Francis Lake
Dorothy Lake
Kenneth Lake

Spicer Reservoir

spicer terrain


Spicer Meadow Reservoir

Spicer Meadows, Spicer Reservoir, Rd #7N01
Spicer Lake, Stanislaus National Forest

lake elevation 6418′
227 surface acres

public boat ramp
hiking trail around lake
more lakes nearby

Ebbetts Pass Sierra Hwy 4

Ancient volcanic peaks mix with Sierra Nevada granite rock, pine forests and fresh, clear, clean mountain water! California, of course.

Stanislaus Forest Road #7N01 leads down from Highway 4 to this popular series of alpine lakes and reservoirs. Camping, fishing, hiking and mountain biking. Sailing, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, floating and fishing are also popular water activities.

Rules of the Reservoir:
10 mph speed limit on Western Arm.
No motorized boating in Eastern Arm.
Camp only in developed Campgrounds.

NFS
2 NFS Campgrounds at west end of lake:

  • Spicer Campground (60 sites)
  • Spicer Group Camp (75 people max)
  • Campgrounds only open June-September. Some campsites at the campground are wheelchair accessible.

    Additionally, Stanislaus River Campground w/ only 8 sites, is located just off the main access road #7N01, right near the river.

    spicer lake shore

    Spicer #7N01

    Numerous smaller lakes in the region make this a hot spot for summer vacations. Union and Utica Reservoirs (both with dirt road access) are good for kayaking and canoes, while power or sail boats prefer the larger Spicer Lake. Summit Lake and Elephant Rock Lake are perfect for quite picnics and day hikes. Trails (many unmarked) connect the lakes to each other. Area gets buried with snow in winter, so these roads are generally only open half the year.

    More reservoirs and lakes nearby:
    Highland Lakes
    Mosquito Lakes
    Lake Alpine, CA
    (all along Hwy 4)

    Stanislaus National Forest Map USDA
    Stanislaus National Forest Map USDA

    Nearby mountain towns:
    ARNOLD, CA
    BEAR VALLEY, CA
    Lake Alpine, CA

    Lake Campgrounds

    Rancheria Falls
    Rancheria Falls, Huntington Lake, CA

    California Lake Campgrounds

    Wanna Camp at the Lake?
    (you’re not the only one)

    lakes  fishing boating mountains backroad horseback trails picnic mountain bike camps hikesnight skies

    Nothing beats fresh, cold, clean water from the California mountains, in the summertime. Find time to exit the urban rat race, soon. Escape the smoggy city life and the triple-digit heat for a road trip to the higher elevations.

    View East from Davis
    Crocker Mountain @ Lake Davis, California

    Lake Campgrounds are abundant in California, where man-made reservoirs and recreation abound. Alpine lakes in pine forests are also numerous in the west, although only accessible for a portion of the year, they draw in the campers all summer long. A majority of the small lakes are located inside the California National Forests.
    USDA / USFS / NFS

    NFS State Parks

    Larger reservoirs can often be managed by California State Park system. State Parks, SRA, State Recreation Area. Suburban lake locations can be local County Parks. A few locations listed could even be desert lakes.

    Many ideal secluded lakes are only accessible with a 4WD vehicle, by foot or horseback. Super scenic, backcountry lakes are so far out – that a day hike is usually required.

    tent camp developed campground

    primitive camping primitive campsites

    RV camper trailers allowed RV campground

    hikes wilderness access

    Spicer

    No motorized boats, camping on west shoreline only, no fishing from the dam, catch & release?

    No access for trailers? Individual rules for each lake are different. Learn the basic before you get out there.

    CAMPGROUND RESERVATIONS tent camp

    Lake Campgrounds are so popular in California that many require reservations during summer. Many locations accept reservations online and we have links for those too. Other lakes are so small and remote, that only the fishermen, hikers and 4×4 gear-heads know of them.

    outdoor recreation found at or near lakes

    • backpacking
    • boating
    • camping
    • canoeing
    • creeks
    • fishing
    • floating
    • four-wheelin
    • hiking
    • horseback riding
    • house boating
    • jetski
    • kayaking
    • mountain biking
    • OHV trails
    • picnicking
    • rivers
    • river rafting
    • swimming
    • water skiing
    • waterfalls

    Silver Lake from Above

    Lake destinations listed here have some sort of campground facilities. Some may be mini resorts with boat launch, marina or bait shop/general store. RV hook-ups, maybe. Dump station, it will cost you. Usually these bigger lakes are busy centers of tourists activity with boat rentals, RV camping and certain locales are even walking distance from ‘town’.

    Fine dining is a rare find on the lakes, but some lake side restaurants (open seasonally & with limited hours) can be found. Most will require reservations, especially on the weekends.

    Other lake camps listed are literally on the edge of wilderness – with trails to the high country. The best little lakes will have one dirt road access. Below is a wide variety of lake destinations within California.

     gardisky_lake

    Floating Flyfishing Tube
    Red Lake, 4×4 access (primitive, no facilities)

    and let’s not forget the ever-popular California Lake List

    Grassy Picnic Faucherie Lake

    Where is your favorite place to camp?

    tent camping

    This is one of those silly questions that has no real definitive answer from DanaMite. If you have camped California at all, you know it can be awe inspiring around every corner, especially the Sierra Nevada & the Coastline.

    Most California transplants get so wrapped up with city life, college & new careers, that they rarely venture past the county park, much less the county line.

    When they finally do break away, they are often misled to crowded campgrounds with steep reservation fees and too many RVs, walking distance to a mini mart. Often they assume camping in California is not what they thought it was going to be. Not like the photos they once saw, not the dream-like places of wildness, not the privacy they had envisioned. They may even give up on the whole ‘camping experience’ all together.

    It does not have to be like this. Information is power. This web site Total Escape was made for YOU, the avid Escaper, who desires the best camping options available. One who will respect the land & care; Those that will teach their children to clean up litter & respect our precious public lands.

    The California deserts are just as magnificent as the alpine meadows; The mountain peaks, the hot springs, coastal cliffs to the forests, and the river canyons!

    It’s all good.

    There cannot be one favorite camp spot, when you find yourself camping every month. Each site is a new destination, a place to explore, with usually a reason to return. Each season your favorite spot will change & be more desirable some months over others. From aspen trees changing color in the Eastern Sierra to wildflower meadows of the High Sierra, every place has its own unique flavor.

    Drive further for less people and more nature!

    National Forest Service

    California National Forests are a great place to start.

    Highland Wildflowers

    Collections of California Camping Lists

    sierra camps

    Specific Places to Camp in California

    Sierra Nevada Campground

    Yosemite Lakes

    yosemite camping lake
    Lakes in & around Yosemite

    These are picnic lakes, hiking lakes and camping lakes that are located inside Yosemite National Park or the surrounding areas bordering the granite wonderland.

    Tioga
    Tioga Tent Camping

    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

    Campground Lakes

    RV California / Campground Lakes / Camping Lake

    RV lake Camping

    Wanna vacation near a lake this season? So does everyone else in California.

    “Mountains” & “lakes” are the top camping destinations sought by most web surfers. Be prepared to search for your ultimate lake side camp. Summertime is prime time at all water sources, so make your reservations, or better yet – find a secluded lake all to yourself. (4×4 may be required).

    boating marina camping RV Camp boating

    Lakes area recreation & camping sites in California

    granite domes


    Sierra Nevada Lakes

    Oroville Salmon Festival

    Lake Oroville

    Lake Oroville Salmon Festival
    Salmon Fest in O’ville

    Feather River Fish Hatchery, Feather River Nature Center and Riverbend Park

    On the Feather River between Historic Downtown Oroville and the Fish Hatchery, the town bursts with fish-flavored activities during the annual Salmon Festival. Friday night starts @ Feather River Nature Center for dinner & dance. Saturday brings on the fun, food, music and vendors on Main Street. Lots of great local info – salmon recipes, water/drought, fishing and environmental issues.  Big pancake breakfast, a farmer’s market, live music, a craft fair, clowns, rides for the kids. Hatchery tours. The Bounty of Butte County will be located atop Myers Street, next to the Municipal Auditorium leading into Salmon Court. FREE to attend and tastes sold as desired. There will be food demonstrations, local food vendors, restaurant tastings and so much more.

    Annual event; September
    800-655-4653

    Oroville, CA

    salmonfestoroville.org

    Oro Hatch

    Oro Hatch  - 14

    Historic Downtown Oroville

    Banana Festival

    Healthy Banana and Friends!

    Sac Banana Fest
    Sacramento Banana Festival

    Held in Sacramento @ William Land Park

    5k run/walk on Saturday and a Kids Banana Split Eating Contest. Enjoy a day filled with fun, food, live entertainment, and exhibits. The event benefits the National Academic Youth Corps, which provides art and educational programs for young people in Sacramento, as well as over a dozen other worthy local charities.

    Annual event: August
    916-320-9573

    Sacramento, CA

    sacbananafestival.com

    Community Drummers

    Kids Banana Split Eating Contest

    Lodi Street Faire

    Sliver Budda

    Lodi Street Fair, Central Valley California

    This event is held twice a year & sponsored by the local Chamber of Commerce. Held in Downtown Lodi, this is a one-day event focusing on food and vendors. The Street Faire takes up a 14-square block area of Lodi. Over 500 vendors participate in this biannual event, selling antiques, arts & crafts and commercial items. While shopping, visitors can satisfy their appetite with their choice from 25 food vendors offering everything from hamburgers, to hot dogs, sausages, to pizza. Mexican, Chinese and Filipino dishes are also available for those craving a more international fare. And, no faire is complete without sweet treats and cold drinks.

    Bi-annual event; May & October
    209-367-7840

    LODI CA

    lodichamber.com/events/street-faire/

    Adam Messinger & Ramon Villalobos @ The Lodi Street Faire

    Lodi Street Faire 2013

    Monterey Jazz Festival

    MJF13-McFerrin-2426.jpg

    Monterey Jazz Fest

    MJF stands for Monterey Jazz Festival: One of the most popular, well known, Jazz Festivals in California. This special one on the Monterey Bay has been going on near 60 years. And we’re not kidding on the popularity of this event.

    Annual event; September

    MONTEREY CA

    montereyjazzfestival.org

    Willie Green

    Cannonball Adderley 1970 Monterey Play Misty -  07-10-2010_0004

    Montetey Jazz festival.  51st

    Grape Festival in Lodi

    GrapeMural

    Lodi Grape Festival & Harvest Fair

    Located in the California Central Valley farming region in Lodi, California. Carnival games, rides, entertainment, livestock & animals, wine tasting, square dancing, arts & crafts.

    Annual event; September
    209-369-2771

    LODI CA

    grapefestival.com

    GrainMural

    2011 Lodi Grape Festival

    CaseyPony2

    Taste of Main Street in Encinitas

    Taste of Encinitas

    Encinitas: Taste of Main Street

    PCH is Pacific Coast Highway 101 @ Encinitas CA features a summertime treat, a Taste of Main Street International Food Fair, where local restaurants & vendors offer food samplings to the general public. Food, wine and beer. One day event, usually held on a week day. 25 years running!

    Annual event; August
    760-943-1950

    ENCINITAS CA

    encinitas101.com/events/annual-taste-of-mainstreet/

    McCloud Lumberjack Fiesta

    Lumberjack Festival, McCloud, California

    McCloud’s Lumberjack Festival

    Join old-fashioned fun in the sun all weekend in the Shasta area! McCloud’s Main Street Parade, vendor’s booths, nightly dance w/live music, baseball tournament, children’s events, horseshoe tournament, logging competitions, food, family games. Running nearly 70 years!!

    Annual event; July
    530-964-2718

    mccloudchamber.com/lumberjack-fiesta

    McCloud CA

    Main Street in McCloud

    Independence Day Celebrations

    July 4th in Cali

    Beach Camping
    Crowds are common at beaches all summer long.

    go somewhere cool this summer

    camping lakes

    drifters

    July 4th marks the busiest summer week in California. It’s mid Summer for most school kids. The golden state has it’s biggest increase of visiting tourist during this month too, along with the local residents traveling on seasonal road trips. Plenty of traffic, be warned.

    Camping July 4th means EVERYBODY and their GRANDMOTHER will be outside this weekend. The majority of big family camp-outs and social BBQ events take place — on this very summer holiday weekend. Backpackers and serious car campers are on the road well ahead of time – headed for wilderness destinations.

    Stay away from the biggest campgrounds and tourist traps, unless you are into that. Head for the back country for optimal seclusion, flowing creeks and coolest lakes.

     

    • BE FIRE SAFE, always know fire restrictions
    • DRINK PLENTY WATER
    • DON’T DRIVE DRUNK
    • NO FIREWORKS IN FOREST

     

    City Fireworks & Parade Events can be found on various city web sites or chamber of commerce sites, which you can easily access through Total Escape.

    California July 4

    Fourth of July is also known as Independence Day, with celebrations in almost every major city & some notable small towns. City parades, firework displays, live music, streets fairs, BBQs, crafts, beach bon fires & in certain beach towns, total utter chaos. Below is only a sampling of popular July 4th events within California: