California Campground Maps
Maps are the key to finding your very own slice of heaven in the Wilderness. Online map sources can barely get you to your city destination correctly, much less the remote waterfall you desire. You will need a real map for your adventure. A topographical map, with all the details, dirt roads & hiking trails. If you are seeking to stay away from the touristy crowds, this is the best possible place you can be…. on this site, searching for ways to make it happen – this weekend.
BACKPACKERS BACKPACKING MAPS –
Mount Whitney, John Muir & way beyond the High Sierra. DanaMite has all the California Wilderness maps on the new map shop. Various brands and types of maps. Most are printed on waterproof plastic now & are tear-resistant.
CAR CAMPING MAPS –
Planning on camping outside of the developed campgrounds & finding that perfect stream side spot without the reservation & the fees? Then you will need a free fire permit (from a ranger station), plus a good map of the forests & a vehicle capable of handling the rugged the back roads. Much of California is prone to wildfires, so make sure campfires are even allowed on the backroads, before you get out there. Call the “field rangers” for back road advice and current recommendations.
CALIFORNIA OFF ROAD MAPS –
Wanna take that 4×4 vehicle somewhere really special this season? Camp well beyond the masses, way down that dirt road. We have OHV maps for SoCal, the deserts & all the National Forest maps too.
CALIF CAMPGROUND MAPS –
Start your search on the perfect campground or camp site with the destination in mind. Mountains, deserts, coastal. Parks & forests all have their own maps with all nearby camp grounds listed. We feature all the National Forest maps, as well as some State Park & National Park maps
See all California topo, hiking, camping maps
California A to Z
RV camping at it's best in the Sierra; This rig found themselves deep in the alpine lush meadows with towering trees and a view and a very private camp site.
Big Bend Ranger Station, off I-80
BSA Camp Cutter
Santa Cruz Mountains & Santa Cruz Redwood Parks
overnight in the redwoods
Camping out in the Santa Cruz mountains can be a magical experience. It is here where some city dweller first get a glimpse of the coastal giant trees. Towering above in several Redwood Parks, the hiking & camping are endless. Backpacking, day hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding are all popular activities in this region.
NOTE: There is no off-roading, 4×4, OHV trails in these coastal mountains, so it will be more peaceful. Peace and quiet, remember that?
Since this mountain range is in between the Santa Cruz coastline and THE CITY, San Francisco, and situated right next to the mega-city “Bay Area”, you can always expect a few tourists about and lots of locals out enjoying their backyard (at all times of the year). Make campground or cabin reservations as far in advance as possible. Summers are the busiest months!
Tent Cabins: Big Basin Cabins can be arranged at Big Basin State Park, private vacation homes nearby, or a few small towns on Hwy 9 offer accommodations. On the coastal side is the small community of Pescadero near Butano SP.
Small towns nearby offer lodging & dining:
Marin County Camping
Point Reyes Peninsula / Pt Reyes Campgrounds
The Lighthouse doesn’t have a campground! There are no camping facilities at Muir Woods National Monument, nor Muir Beach. No camping at Stinson Beach, nor Bolinas.
The Tule Elk Reserve has no camping at all. Tomales Bay State Park no longer has car camping available; hike-in or boat-in camping, maybe.
What is available for campground camping on “the Point” is listed below, with links for more info and reservations.
POINT REYES, CALIFORNIA
blue links lead to camp reservation services.
Point Reyes National Seashore Campground
hike-in, bike-in, and boat-in camp sites only
Mount Tamalpais State Park Campground
- Alice Eastwood Campground
- Frank Valley Campground
- Horse Camp Campground
- Pantoll Campground
- Steep Ravine Campground
- Steep Ravine Cabins
Marin Headlands Camping
Samuel P. Taylor Redwood State Park
reservations recommended; open year round
- Devils Gulch Horse Camp
- Historic Camp Taylor
- Madrone Group Camp
- Car Camping / Tent Camp
- RV max 27′
- Cabin Rentals @ SPT
Cycling, hiking, backpacking, mountain biking, kayaking and boating are all popular outdoor recreation activities.
Small towns located on the Point Reyes peninsula do have a few private campgrounds, some of which can accommodate motorhomes. Follow towns links for those.
There are no RV parks, camper trailers or motorhomes allowed in campgrounds on the steep coastal region of Point Reyes. Most of the narrow, winding roads are forbidden for motorhome travels. No shoulder, no guard rails, on many curvy roads. Great viewpoints are best when you STOP to look, off the roadway.
Golden Gate National Recreation Area
Point Reyes National Seashore
Stinson Beach Park
Tomales Bay State Park
Tule Elk Reserve
nearby towns –
Spectacular Small Campground in a granite bowl above 9000′ elevation.
Inyo National Forest near Independence, CA
Eastern Sierra California
One of the best high elevation trailhead camp for backpackers in the Sierra.
High Sierra Lake Hikes
Onion Valley Campground
- Elevation: 9,200′
- Number of Sites: 29
- Vehicle Accessibility: no RVs
- Campsites Reservation: Yes
- Length of Stay: 14 Days
- Season: June – Sept
- Trailhead Parking
Inyo National Forest
Mount Whitney Ranger District
Trailhead parking & camping for these High Sierra destinations –
wild mountain onions?
High elevation NFS campground, located in a huge granite valley w/ waterfalls, wildflowers and aspen groves. The setting is breathtaking and the high altitude valley is nothing less than grand.
The views (east to the Owens valley) are from the paved road up, or from the hiking trails leading up outta camp. Gotta hike up (on foot) to see the views! Any visitor that does not hike, will be missing out on the best features of this destination. Plan to spend more than one day at Onion Valley.
ONLY OPEN for summer months! This small, developed campground closes annually. Big winters and deep snow is the norm w/ elevation this high.
walk-in camp sites, as well as car camping sites.
- picnic tables
- fire rings
- vault toilets
- piped water
- bear boxes
ONION VALLEY ROAD
access via Independence, CA
The paved road is long and very winding; sheer cliffs, steep drops, hairpin curves, minimal guard rails. RV motorhomes are not allowed on this route, due to the steepness of the terrain and the narrow roadway.
- horse pack trips
- lake fishing
- rock climbing
HIKING LAKES in the Sierra
- Bench Lake
- Big Pot Hole
- Charlotte Lake
- Flower Lake
- Gilbert Lake
- Golden Trout Lake
- Heart Lake
- Lower Pot Hole
- Matlock Lake
- Rae Lakes Loop
- Robinson Lake
- Slim Lake
Golden Trout Lake Canyon
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!
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.
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 166
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 Hike
Lassen NP (mid-to-late summer)
more pages on wildflowers –
Poppy Reserve Antelope Valley, LA Co.