Tuolumne Meadowsyosemite National Park
Image from The Dyrt camper Michelle C.
If you want to camp in Yosemite but dont want to face the crowds in the Valley, head an hour and a half up Tioga Pass Road to Tuolumne Meadows. Its one of the rare car-accessible campgrounds in the High Sierras. Located at 8,600 feet, the campground is only open during the summer months because of the snow. Half of the 304 campsites are reservable online. Half are reserved for walk-ups. During the peak weekends in July and August, there can be a line in the morning. Early or late in the season, though, it can be pretty easy to find a spot.
There are spaces for RVs and trailers up to 35 feet, with a dumping station but no hookups. There are six wheelchair-accessible sites reserved for those with disabilities. Each site has a fire ring, picnic table, and food locker. Restrooms have drinking water and flushing toilets, but there are no showers.
The campground is a popular stopping point for thru-hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail and the John Muir Trail. There are hike-in campsites for those with a backcountry permit. There are also some group and equestrian campsites available.
Find free northern California campgrounds from your car without WiFi. The Dyrt PRO lets you download maps and campgrounds without cell service. My alternative to using pro would be to drive back out to cell service.
Los Angeles National Forest
The Los Angeles National Forestis another option to consider if you are looking for the perfect location to camp in Southern California. Hikers often flock to Manker Flats which is a high-altitude campground near the peak of Mt. Baldy or Mount San Antonio. There are rustic accommodations available here but you can also pitch your tent if you want. Take note that the trails get crowded during the weekends.
Cisco Grove Campgrounds Soda Springs
This beautiful natural site offers you the view and experience of the South Yuba River. Once you are here you will be surrounded by hundreds of acres of forests where you can camp. There is a lot that you can do at this campsite starting from playing volleyball and basketball to hiking and bicycling. If you visit Cisco Grove Campgrounds in winters, you can even go sledding and skiing.
Plan your adventure: Cisco Grove Campground
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Are There Bears In Northern California What Other Wildlife Can I Expect To Come Across
Yes, Northern California is home to a healthy population of American black bears.
There are no grizzly bears anywhere in California . Many black bears are brown, so dont be confused!
Black bears are shy, and there has never been a person killed by a black bear in California ever!
In reality, black bears are much more likely to be killed by people. You can help keep yourself safe and bears safe by strictly following bear safety rules laid out by your region.
Northern California is home to a wide array of exciting wildlife, but you likely wont see most of them due to their fear of humans.
These include mountain lions, bobcats, coyotes, foxes , badgers, fishers, and eagles. And those are just the land animals!
How To Book The Campsite
Car campers can make a reservation on reservecalifornia.com for $35 per night per campsite.
If you want to hike or bike in, apply for a backcountry permit before you go. You dont need to reserve a campsite. The hike and bike section of the campground is first-come, first-serve and costs $5 per night, per camper.
Theres plenty of beach camping along the moody Lost Coast, but backpacking in this remote stretch of land is not for the faint of heart.
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Yosemite National Park Snow Camping California
If youre looking for a scenic spot for winter camping in Northern California, Yosemite National Park is the place to be. It is set in the Sierra Nevada mountains with 750,000 acres of snow-covered land in winter.
It is home to massive, ancient sequoia trees, deep valleys, grand meadows, and many cascading waterfalls. Notable attractions at the park include the Bridalveil Fall, El Capitan, and Half Dome.
At Yosemite National Park, you are required to book in advance with a daily fee of $26. There are 13 popular campgrounds in the park, and four are ideal for the best snow camping California has to offer.
The campgrounds in Yosemite Valley that remain open during winter include Upper Pines, Camp 4, Hodgdon Meadow, and Wawona. For the best winter adventure, make your way to the Upper Pines campground. It is open all year at an elevation of 4,000 feet above sea level with 137 sites.
If youre seeking a glamping experience, there are several lodging options available. From simple tent cabins to deluxe rooms, there are plenty of accommodations with a rustic-luxurious feel. Some of the top choices include The Ahwahnee, Yosemite Valley Lodge, and Glacier Point Ski Hut.
Final Thoughts On The Best Winter Camping In California
Whether youre heading on a well-deserved getaway or winter backpacking, California offers plenty of winter camping spots for every kind of adventurer. The states magnificent mountains and vast desert landscapes provide scenic settings, ideal for a tranquil trip.
From stargazing to wildlife viewing, the natural settings offer awe-inspiring views with a calming silence thats perfect for winter camping in California. Ready for your next exhilarating camping trip this winter? Book your tickets and pack those thermals your winter escape awaits.
Have you done winter camping in California?Let me know where in the comments below
Feature image by Joseph Starbuck on Unsplash
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Best Rv Campgrounds In Northern California
California is a great state for camping, especially in the summer. The Golden State has a little bit of everything when it comes to RV Camping. There are hundreds of great RV campgrounds in Northern California to choose from.
There are campsites next to waterfalls like Fowlers Campground next to McCloud Falls. California also has some amazing campgrounds that are right on the beach.
Some of the best beach campgrounds include Francis Beach RV and Wesport Beach RV, where you can enjoy ocean views right from your campsite.
If you are looking to camp lakeside then Northern California has great lakeside RV campgrounds such as the popular Collins Lake Campground.
There are also some great spots for RV Camping where you can camp in a majestic Redwood Forest and ride a real historic steam engine train.
Beals Point Campground Folsom Lake State Recreation Area
Beals Point Campground is a great place to stay in Northern California if youre looking for a bit of wilderness within the city limits. With plenty of amenities including restrooms and showers, the campground offers everything you need to have a comfortable stay.
In addition, the staff at Beals Point are always more than willing to help with whatever needs you might have while camping in Northern California.
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Where Are The Best Places To Go Backpacking In Northern California
One of the most popular and famous backpacking routes in Northern California is the Pacific Crest Trail.
The Pacific Crest Trail runs from Southern California to Northern Washington and usually takes at least four months to complete.
However, you can do portions of the trail, called section hiking, and pop in and out for a few days at a time.
Besides the Pacific Crest Trail, most national parks and state parks in Northern California have overnight backpacking destinations in gorgeous locations.
You can check out our article on the Best Hiking Apps to find a backpacking route that fits your style.
Mount Tamalpais State Park
Mount Tamalpais State Park is a 6,300-acre state park in Northern California. It features the notable 2,571 foot Mount Tamalpais and fun activities like wildlife watching, picnicking, and hiking.
If youre seeking scenic hikes and nature outings for wildlife viewing, we recommend heading to the Mount Tamalpais Middle Peak Loop. It is a moderate, 5.3-mile hiking trail that is accessible year-round.
You can enjoy awe-inspiring views of the Farallon Islands, Marin County hills, Mount Diablo, the East Bay, San Francisco Bay and the city. Fog is common in winter, so it is always best to be extra careful during outdoor activities for a safe camping experience.
The park is open year-round with several campsites and lodging options. The reserved areas include Alice Eastwood Group Camp and Steep Ravine Environmental Campground .
You can book these rustic cabins and seaside campsites up to six months in advance. If youre heading on a last-minute trip, the Pantoll and Bootjack campground do not require reservations. There is a $25 nightly fee for both camps.
Note:At Mount Tamalpais State Park, you are not allowed to fly drones. But, dont forget to bring your camera to capture the breathtaking vistas and memorable moments.
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Graham Hill Campground Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park
The Graham Hill Campground at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park is one of the best campgrounds near Santa Cruz. Its 100-plus campsites are five miles from the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and surrounded by a lush forest and towering trees. And these big surroundings lend to the feeling of spending the night in a forested wonderland.
RVs and tents all find sites at Graham Hill. No hookups are available, and RVs are limited to a maximum length of 31 feet. Overnight guests have access to potable water and coin-operated showers, as well as a bicycle path that navigates near all the sites. Campers can also hop on the nearby Eagle Creek Trail to hike to the park’s signature Redwood Grove Loop Trail.
Less than 20 miles northwest of Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, more redwood camping can be found at Big Basin Redwoods State Park – the oldest state park in California. Big Basin has nearly 150 standard campsites spread across four different campgrounds. Backcountry camping is also popular in Big Basin, and many hikers utilize these primitive spots while trekking the Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail.
Address: 2591 Graham Hill Road, Scotts Valley, California
New Reservation Lottery For North Pines Campground In Yosemite Valley
In order to give the public equal opportunities to reserve a campsite at popular North Pines Campground in Yosemite Valley during the high season in 2022, Yosemite is testing a new lottery system. From January 18 through February 6, 2022, applicants can enter the lottery on the reservation website Recreation.gov.
After the application window closes, Recreation.gov will randomly select 640 applicants for campsites dates between July 21 and September 14. A $10 non-refundable fee is required to enter the lottery. Regular campground fees will apply for those selected. Details may not be available yet, but check the Recreation.gov website in coming weeks for full information.
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Angels Camp Rv Resort
Another great home base for those looking to check out Sacramento, Angels Camp RV Resort is a lovely place to go RV camping. The campground features full-hookup gravel sites for RVs, as well as some well-manicured tent camping sites. The nearby Calaveras Big Trees State Park is a must-see attraction, and the local caves, wineries, and Gold Rush historic sites are sure to keep you busy.
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Tips For Camping In Northern California
- Check the weather Always check the forecast for your intended camping spot and be as specific as possible. For example, if youre camping at Lake Tahoe, try to put in the town closest to you. South Lake Tahoe may have very different weather than east Lake Tahoe.
- Prepare for bears: Ive lived in bear country a long time, and I often see visitors who are either petrified of bears or want to get a selfie with one. In reality, a healthy attitude is somewhere in the middle. Very carefully keep your food put away, understand what to do if you see a bear, and youll be fine.
- Make a plan and share it with others: This is a good idea no matter where you go. Since cell service can be spotty in Northern California, share your plans with someone staying behind. Tell them where youre camping and when you plan to be out. That way, if you dont come home on time, they can start calling the right people.
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Lake Siskiyou Resort And Camp
Region: Shasta and TrinitySwimming: lake
This is a true gem of a lake, a jewel set at the foot of Mount Shasta at 3,181 feet, the prettiest lake on the I-5 corridor in California. The lake level is almost always full and offers a variety of quality recreation options, with great swimming, low-speed boating, and fishing. The campground complexes are huge, yet they are tucked into the forest so visitors dont get their styles cramped. The water in this 435-acre lake is clean and fresh. There is an excellent beach and swimming area, the latter protected by a buoy line. A good boat ramp and boat rentals are available, and a 10-mph speed limit is strictly enforced, keeping the lake pristine and quiet. The campgrounds often fill on weekends and summer holidays.
There are also cabins available, along with other amenities such as restrooms with flush toilets and showers, boat rentals, volleyball, a playground, gift shop, and coin laundryputting Siskiyou in the list of Top 10 Campsites for Families. A free movie also plays every night in the summer, so parents can get some personal time.
Note: If you cant get a spot here, Kangaroo Lake and Toad Lake Walk-In are nearby backup campsites.
Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
While you wont find many coastal redwoods at Elk Prairie Campground proper, the camps creekside sites offer quick access to Californias most striking redwood trails. From the parks visitor center a short stroll from the campground follow the Prairie Creek Trail to the Cathedral Tree Trail, which loops through a primeval forest of the parks most scenic redwood stands. Or, hop on the James Irvine trail that leads 4.5 miles to Fern Canyon, a dazzling, overgrown streambed bounded by towering walls of lush ferns and dripping moss.
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Best Winter Camping In California
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Here is a list of the top camping spots for winter camping in both Northern and Southern California. From bare deserts to lush national and state parks, there is a great choice if youre looking for a winter adventure.
As temperatures begin to drop, the California wilderness provides an enchanting setting for outdoor winter adventures. Winter camping in California offers a memorable experience with peaceful environments and scenic views.
While California does not experience extreme winters like Alaska and Minnesota, youll need to prepare for the snowy mountains. For a more comfortable stay, its best to pack your favorite hiking boots and a heated pair of socks.
The Golden State is home to breathtaking beaches, woodlands, and deserts that offer ideal locations to pitch a tent. Whether youre looking to camp out on the beach or in the desert, California boasts diverse environments to fit every kind of camper.
However, camping options are more limited during the colder seasons. Wondering where to camp in the winter? Weve compiled a list of the best winter camping locations for a cozy cold adventure in California.
Channel Islands National Park
What makes Channel Islands National Park one of the best camping places in Northern California? For one, this Northern CA camping ground is home to San Miguel Island, one of the worlds most incredible abandoned islands. That and the other four islands that encompass this offshore national park is a perfect example of primeval California, circa hundreds of years ago. They can be reached via a 1.5-hour ferry ride from Los Angeles. Since none of them are connected to the mainland, they have a wondrous fauna populace. So, theres everything from dolphin spotting and whale watching to kayaking and hiking the trails. Birdwatchers will especially love the islands, as theyre home to at least 10 land bird species that cannot be found anywhere else on Earth! Fishing is a popular pastime, so do bring your fishing backpacks and fishing sunglasses.
Every isle boasts a small campground, but Scorpion Canyon campground on Santa Cruz island is the easiest to reach. While youll have to lug your gear for around half a mile from the dock, rewards are aplenty. Think a night sky that twinkles with thousands of stars and a serenity that can be found in very few places in the world. There are 31 tent-only walk/hike-in primitive sites, of which 25 are individual sites and 6 are group ones. However, all sites require reservations. Moreover, the campground even has pit toilets, potable water, food storage, and picnic table.
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Salt Point State Park
Salt Point State Park is a great spot to camp while you are in Sonoma County. From kelp-dotted coves to rocky promontories, to the soothing sound of the surf pounding against the rocks, this is an ideal location in the Northern California coastline. Aside from that, campers can choose among the hiking trails here that run 20 miles around the park. If you are into water activities, you will not run out of options here since it is home to six miles of coastline.