California Meadows

Cherry Mdws

California Meadows

California meadow is a common term people search for when dreaming of their mountain retreat vacation or upcoming weekend camping trip.

Meadows are places in the forest where cool air collects and settles. Deer among other wildlife, can often be found here grazing around dawn and dusk. Alpine meadows are usually surrounded by trees with lush green grasses, located at higher altitudes above 6000′ – the ‘highcountry’ as most like to say.

Find meadows on National Forest lands from 3000-10,000′ elevation, and it is not uncommon to see cattle grazing in these same regions. California National Parks have some of the most protected meadows in the golden state!

MT SAGE – mountain sage meadows

High desert mountains have drier landscapes, with large sage brush meadows surrounded by sparse pinon pine and/or juniper forest. The Mojave desert’s sagebrush reaches out westward to the peaks of West Kern County. High deserts and mountain meadows can both have significant wildflower blooms. The deserts start to show color in March & April, while the highest elevations of the Sierra Nevada can bloom as late as July & August. All California Wildflowers depend on autumn seasonal rains & snow melt.

Kennedy Meadows from Bald

Kennedy Meadows from Bald Mountain Fire Lookout

Wilderness Meadows

The best places to find secluded wildflower meadows is on the high country trails of various mountains – Mount Pinos, Sierra Nevada, Shasta, Trinity & Lassen – all have marvelous meadows, some have easy access w/ parking nearby and others are hike-in only. Locate hiking trailheads for meadows and possibly find camp nearby.

Excellent near Meadows:
Stargazing, Wildflowers, Wildlife Viewing, Horse Camping

Explore dirt back roads of California to find your very own meadow. If you would like to explore at this level, a good topo map is highly advised. The Sierra Nevada mountains have the most beautiful meadows in the state (by far). Their scenery w/ granite outcroppings and wild flowers, surpasses all else. Although on rare occasions, even the Antelope Valley can look amazing — with poppies.

Common Wildflowers

BEST PLACES TO FIND MEADOWS

  • Alta Sierra
  • Beasore Meadow, way up behind Bass Lake, CA
  • Big Meadow Road #22S12, Dome Land
  • Big Meadows Road #14S11
  • Butte Meadows
  • Camp Nelson
  • Dixie Glade Campground, Mendocino NF
  • Drakesbad Ranch, Warner Valley – Lassen NF
  • Dunderburg Meadow, off Green Creek Rd
  • Eastern Sierra Canyons
  • Gold Lake
  • Green Creek Road
  • Holey Meadows Group Camp, Western Divide
  • Horse Meadow Campground, Road #22S12
  • Horseshoe Meadows Road
    w/ Cottonwood Lakes Campground (10,000′ elev)
  • Inyo National Forest
  • Jackass Meadow – way up behind North Fork
  • Kennedy Meadows, Sequoia NF
  • Kennedy Meadows Pack Station, Sonora Pass
  • Kingsley Glade Campground, Mendocino NF
  • Kings Canyon National Park
  • Lakes Basin Recreation Area
  • Lake Tahoe CA
  • Lassen National Forest
  • Leland Meadow, Pinecrest, CA
  • Little Shasta Meadow Botanical Area, east of Yreka, CA
  • Long Meadow Campground, Sequoia NF
  • Mammoth Lakes
  • >Manter Meadows>, Dome Land
  • Meadow Valley rural btwn Quincy & Bucks Lake
  • Mendocino NF names these Glade, instead of meadow
  • Mill Potrero Highway, Pine Mountain CA
  • Mount Pinos Recreation
  • Monache Meadows
  • Mountain Home State Forest
  • Panther Meadows Campground, Mount Shasta
  • Plaskett Meadows Campground, Mendocino NF
  • Ponderosa, California
  • Red’s Meadow Campground, Mammoth Lakes
  • Red’s Meadow Resort & Pack Station
  • Redwood Meadow Campground, Giant Sequoia
  • Rock Creek Road: Iris Meadow & Big Meadow Campgrounds
  • Powell Meadow, Sequoia NF
  • Sequoia National Forest
  • Sequoia National Park
  • Shaver Lake
  • Shirley Meadows Road #25S15
  • Sierra National Forest
  • Stanislaus National Forest
  • Sugarfoot Glade Campground, Mendocino NF
  • Thousand Lakes Wilderness
  • Toiyabe National Forest
  • Troy Meadows, Sequoia NF
  • Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite Highcountry
  • Upper Summer Meadow Road, off Green Creek Rd
  • Yosemite National Park
  • Lupine Drive

    Rules of the Meadow

    Mountain Meadows are sacred spaces: Do not disturb the lush, grassy landscape, as wildlife rely on these areas for survival.

    No camping on meadows; No Campfires; Camp next to (or nearby), but not on top of the meadow. Picnicking should be kept on the sidelines.

    Stay on designated dirt roads: No tires on the meadow; No mountain biking, No dirt bikes, No off roading.

    Ranch FENCING w/ barbed-wire is quite common around meadows, to keep cattle out of certain problem areas.

    When hiking – stay out of the muddy spots and know that if you choose to hike directly across meadow, you may encounter water and deep, sinking mud. HINT: There is usually a shallow creek running through most meadows, during all times of the year.

    Winter snow usually blankets these fragile areas in winter, and when deep enough – making this terrain prime destinations for snowmobilers.

    Snow Mobiling

    Tent Cabins in California

    tent cabin rentals

    Merced Lake is one remote destination along the High Sierra Camp Loop, Yosemite Wilderness.

    Tent Cabins & Yurt Rentals
    around California

    Tent cabins are made up of wooden floors, canvas walls & a canvas roof – a combination between a tent & a rustic cabin. Most have sleeping cots for beds; some have heaters, wood burning stoves or electrical outlets. A shared community bathroom is close by. Yurts are round versions of this same concept, with a wooden floor, real beds and usually some nicer decor. Often these places request that you bring your own bed linens and towels, but each resort is different so check the web links for detailed info.

    Hike-in locations in the wilderness, rural river resorts or an easy drive to campground right off the freeway. These popular lodging accommodation are often marketed as GLAMPING, as in Glamour Camping – for the (luxury loving) princess who likes to try out nature – in a very controlled setting. Just watch out for mountain lions and bears.

    Below are unique places in California that offer tent cabins, tree houses and yurt rentals.

    Big Basin Redwoods Tent Cabins
    Boulder Creek, CA
    408-338-8860
    Santa Cruz mountains

    Big Sur Pfeiffer Campground
    Big Sur Coast Cabins
    831-667-2315
    California Central Coast

    Cachuma Lake County Park
    Yurt Rentals & Campground
    Lake Cachuma, CA
    805-568-2460
    Santa Barbara Mountains

    Carmel River Yurt
    Songbird Refuge overlooking River
    Carmel, CA
    California Central Coast

    Costanoa Coastal Lodge
    Pescadero, CA
    650-879-1100
    Santa Cruz Coastline

    coloma river resort

    Coloma Resort
    Hwy 49 @ American River
    800-238-2298
    California Historic Gold Country

    Creekside Yurt Retreat
    near Mt Shasta
    Single Vacation Rental
    Weed, CA
    NorCal Mount Shasta

    El Capitan Canyon
    N of Santa Barbara
    Hwy 1 @ El Capitan
    866-352-2729
    805-685-3887
    North Santa Barbara Coast

    Fallen Leaf Campground
    6 Yurt Rentals @ Campground
    Lake Tahoe Basin, CA
    Sierra Nevada Mountains

    Hat Creek Resort
    Yurts near Fishing Creek
    12533 Highway 44
    Old Station, CA
    530-335-7121
    Lassen National Forest

    High Sierra RV Park
    Yurts near Yosemite NP
    Oakhurst, CA
    559-683-7662
    Western Sierra Nevada

    Hotel Nipton
    Nipton Road @ NV stateline
    760-856-2335
    Mojave Desert National Preserve

    Keough Hot Springs Resort
    Hwy 395, Bishop, CA
    Eastern Sierra High Desert

    Lupin Lodge
    Clothing Optional Resort
    20600 Aldercroft Heights Rd.
    Los Gatos CA
    408-353-9200
    Santa Cruz Mountains

    Middle Fork Ranch
    NorCal Smith River
    15 acre retreat, Hwy 199
    Crescent City, CA
    707-457-3477
    Northern California Coastal Mountains

    Mother Lode River Center
    6280 Hwy 49, Lotus, CA
    530-626-4187
    California Gold Rush Country

    Oz Farm Retreat
    41601 Mountain View Rd
    Point Arena, CA
    Mendocino Coast

    Premier RV Resorts
    Cabin & Yurt rentals (in town)
    Redding, CA
    888-710-8450
    Northern California

    Rancho Cicada Retreat
    Plymouth, CA
    209-245-4841
    877-553-9481
    California Gold Rush Country

    River Park Resort
    River Rafting Trips w/
    Yurts next to American River
    Coloma, CA
    California Gold Rush Country

    Santa Margarita Lake KOA
    Santa Margarita, CA
    805-438-5618
    800-562-5619
    San Luis Obispo Backcountry

    Shasta Lake Yurts
    Lakeshore East Campground
    Lake Shasta, CA
    530-275-8113
    Northern California

    Strawhouse Resort
    31301 State Hwy 299
    Big Flat, CA
    530-623-1990
    NorCal Trinity River

    Treebones Resort
    Ocean view yurts
    Big Sur Highway 1 @ Gorda, CA
    805-927-2390
    877-424-4787
    Big Sur Coastline

    Vermillion Valley Resort
    via Kaiser Pass Road
    Edison Lake, Lakeshore, CA
    559-259-4000
    High Sierra, John Muir Wilderness

    Virginia Creek Settlement
    70847 Highway 395
    Bridgeport, CA
    760-932-7780
    Eastern Sierra Nevada

    Yosemite Lakes Resort
    South Fork of the Tuolumne River
    31191 Hardin Flat Rd
    Groveland, CA
    209-962-0121
    800-533-1001
    Western Sierra Nevada

    Yosemite Pines RV Park
    20450 Old Highway 120
    Groveland, CA
    209-962-7690
    Western Sierra Nevada

    tuolumne cabins

    HSC: HIGH SIERRA CAMP

    Yosemite National Park Tent Cabins:
    (advanced reservations required)
    hikes

    DustMites and AllergiesALLERGY NOTE: Most tent cabins are constructed out of heavy canvas material (fabric), which can mold when exposed to moisture (rain, fog, snow). Often they get dismantled, cleaned and stored properly over each winter season, sometimes not; All depends on weather, terrain difficulty and individual resort practices. If you suffer w/ allergies, moldy tent walls and dust mites can trigger asthma or other allergic reactions. If in doubt speak to the innkeeper or caretaker ahead of time.

    Central Coast California

    San Simeon SP. Central Coast of California

    Rent a Treehouse

    Post Ranch Inn
    Tree-House Rentals in California
    Big Sur, CA
    Big Sur Coastline

    National Forest Cabins

    California Fire Lookouts for Rent
    US Forest Service Cabins

    red cabin

    NFSlogo
    Rent a secluded cabin with an amazing view, a historic tower for wildfire spotting, or a USDA guard station – hidden deep inside California National Forests. Several of these NFS lookouts have been closed recently, so the ones listed below have links to status and reservation information. Dirt road access is common to reach these locations. Winter months are usually snowy, inaccessible and sometimes dangerous for these high country locations. A FEW are open all year long – in the southern part of the golden state.

    El Dorado National Forest USFS

    Harvey West Cabin
    4,720′ elev. on Silverfork American River, Gold Rush

    Loon Lake Chalet
    6375′ elev. near Georgetown, Gold Country California

    Robbs Peak Lookout
    Robb’s Hut / Robbs Cabin

    6686′ elev near Placerville, Gold Country California

    Sly Guard Cabin
    Sly Park @ Jenkinson Lake, near Placerville, Gold Country California

    Van Vleck Bunkhouse
    6549′ elev. near Georgetown, Gold Country California

    Lassen National Forest USFS

    McCarthy Point Lookout
    overlooking Mill Creek Canyon and Ishi Wilderness

    ranger & info 530-258-2141

    Plumas National Forest USFS

    Crocker Guard Station
    5700′ elev. near Lake Davis Loop, way out behind Portola, California

    Big Bear Lake 2002

    San Bernardino National Forest USFS

    Morton Peak Fire Lookout
    SoCal Mountains, Big Bear Lake Area,
    near Forest Falls, CA

    Coon Creek Cabin
    Group Camp Site
    Heart Bar Rd #1N02 near Angeles Oaks, CA

    Sequoia National Forest USFS

    Big Meadows Cabin
    Big Meadows Guard Station

    off Big Meadows Rd #14S11
    7600′ elevation; in between Sequoia NP & Kings Cyn NP

    Camp 4 and a half
    1100′ elevation; Lower Kings River Cyn
    near Hume Lake & Kings Canyon NP

    Mountain Home Guard Station Cabin
    6000′ elev. near Springville, CA

    Oak Flat Lookout
    Oak Flat Cabin Rental
    4900′ elevation; Kern River canyon near Lake Isabella, CA

    Poso Guard Station Cabin Rental
    open all year round
    4500′ elev. near Kernville, CA

    Quaking Aspen Cabin Rental
    Giant Sequoia National Monument, Western Divide near Ponderosa, CA

    Wishon Campground & Cabin Rental
    Giant Sequoia National Monument; open all year round
    4000′ elev. near Camp Nelson, CA

    Shasta/Trinity National Forests USFS

    Forest Glen Guard Station
    near Trinity River & Forest Glen, CA

    Girard Ridge Lookout
    Historic Fire Lookout Tower
    4809′ elev. near Dunsmuir, CA

    Hirz Mountain Lookout Tower
    Hirz Mtn. Fire Watch Tower Rental
    overlooking Shasta Lake, CA

    Harris Springs Guard Station
    near McCloud, CA

    Little Mount Hoffman Lookout
    Mt. Hoffman Rental
    7000′ elev. near McCloud, CA

    Post Creek Guard Station
    near Hayfork & Platina, CA


    Sierra National Forest USFS

    Camp Four and a half Cabin
    Lower Kings River, open all year round
    1100′ elev. near Pine Flat Reservoir


    Six Rivers National Forest USFS

    Bear Basin Butte
    Cabin & Fire Lookout

    elevation 5300′ in Six Rivers NF / Smith River NRA
    10600 Highway 199
    Gasquet, CA 95543

    Tahoe National Forest USFS

    Calpine Lookout Cabin Rental
    near Sierraville, CA

    Sardine Peak Fire Lookout
    overlooking the Sierra Buttes and the serene Lakes Basin, Yuba Rivers, Northern Gold Country California

    lakes basin views

    Lakes Basin Recreation Area

    Lakes Basin Recreation Area, California

    Golden gems of California, a collection of alpine lakes on the north end of Historic Gold Country, North Yuba River, Northern Sierra Nevada

    lake dunk
    EAST of Downieville, CA

    California’s Gold Lake and surrounding lakes; the granite spires of the Sierra Buttes and the creeks, waterfalls, headwaters of the Yuba River — total wild beauty. Steep, granite, river canyon from Downieville drive east on Highway 49 from Sierra City to Bassetts, a gasoline and market stop; they have a small hotel there too.

    Historic Lodges

    Take the left turn, north on to the Gold Lake Highway. The alpine and extremely scenic Lakes Basin Area consist of all small lakes in between Hwy 49 to Hwy 89, along GOLD LAKE HWY [Road S620] some maps read Road #24 or call this Gold Lake “Road” instead of highway. Snow closes in this route during winter months.

    The impressive Lakes Basin Gold Lake Region is in the north part of Tahoe National Forest, on the border of Plumas National Forest. Plumas Eureka State Park is also nearby.

    Hiking, Camping, Backpacking, Picnicking, Wildflowers, Stargazing, Fishing, Kayaking, XC Skiing, Snowmobiling

    Lakes Basin Campgrounds

    CAMPGROUND RESERVATIONS

  • Lakes Basin Campground
  • Salmon Creek Campground
  • Sardine Lake Campground
  • Sardine Peak Fire Lookout
  • California best lake destinations

    lakes basin views

    Lakes Basin Recreation Area

    Sierra Buttes Map


    View Larger Map

    Frasier Falls

    Frazier Falls Trail
    Length: 1 mile RT / Directions: Trail head is located on Old Gold Lake Road, about 5 miles from the Highway 89/Gold Lake Road intersection. Take the signed, narrow paved access road 4 miles to the trail head.

    nearby towns –

    A Beauty

     

    Turtle Mountain Road

    Turtle Mountain Rd

    Turtle Mountain Road
    BLM Road # NS477

    off U.S. Highway 95
    in between Needles & Blythe, California

    BLM: Bureau of Land Management – Desert Camping

    Several miles south of the town of Needles numerous desert washes cross the highway with dirt roads leading off into both directions. Turtle Mountain is just one dirt road to explore in this region, but there are many more unmarked, secluded roads. This region is perfect for “campers in-route” traveling who need a quick overnight camp spot (off the freeway).

    Turtle Mountain Road is a one lane dirt road that runs next to a wash, in between Turtle Mountain Wilderness and Stepladder Mountain Wilderness. Leading approx 12 miles from US Highway 95 to the northern edge of the desert wilderness. The Turtle Mountain route continues westward to meet Water Road with Old Woman Mountain Wilderness nearby. Sunflower Springs Road continues north to Essex @ Interstate 40

    BLM signage along US Hwy 95 is minimal. Look for vertical brown markers w/ reflectors, numbers or names. Driving slower than typical traffic, coast at 50 mph and keep your eyes peeled to the west side. Turtle Mountain Rd is marked at the pavement, but the marker is very small.

    Eastern California Desert Wildflowers

    Exploring the eastern side of Southern California, one can find the Colorado River and Arizona border region an excellent destination for winter camping. Springtime offers wildflower blooms, open camping and decent weather with sunny 70 degree days. Wildflowers and BLM beauty awaits those who venture off the paved routes.

    Pink Cactus Bloom

    Palo Verde trees line the washes and much vegetation can be seen throughout this remote region. Cacti include the cholla, ocotillo, barrel, beavertail, just to name a few. Wildflower blooms here are just as good as Anza Borrego Desert SP.

    MARCH & APRIL are both prime months for the desert bloom

    BLM Desert Camping

    Drive more than a mile from the highway if you plan to camp in peace and quiet, as the overnight truck traffic goes all hours.

    RV accessible camp spots are few and far in between. They can be found in large, level pullouts close to the main road, but you will be hearing traffic zoom by. Some dirt roads are in better shape than others; Seasonal storms in the low desert can wash out even paved roads. 4×4 may be needed in some areas.

    Open camping in this desert is free and there is plenty of room to spread out. Imagine not seeing anyone pass by your camp or drive down your road for days. Camping in a sandy wash may seem appealing, but you best know the weather forecast and if rain is at all predicted nearby, be prepared to break camp (in the middle of the night) before a flash flood hits.

    The Needles BLM Rangers Office is located on US Hwy 95, on the south edge of town and they can provide maps and more information. BLM California Deserts

    Needles BLM Office
    1303 S. US Hwy 95
    Needles, CA 92363
    760-326-7000

    Lake Havasu BLM Office
    2610 Sweetwater Avenue
    Lake Havasu City, AZ 86406
    928-505-1200