Campgrounds

Notes for reserving campgrounds.

Book State campgrounds tomorrow at 8am for Sat Jun 13 2020

Holidays:

Our holidays 2018/2019:

  • MLK Day: Monday Jan 21
  • President’s Day: Monday Feb 18
  • Spring break: March 25-29
  • Memorial Day: Monday May 27
  • Summer Break: July 29 – August 12
  • Shaver Lake: June 26-29 2019?
  • Labor Day: Monday Sept. 2

Reservations

Recreation.gov (Federal parks)

Reserve California (State parks)

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  • About CA State Park Reservations
  • You can now book 6 months out from the current day
  • Book tomorrow at 8am for Sat Jun 13 2020

Sites:

Car camping locally, roughly by distance:

  • Kirby Cove (just N of Golden Gate Bridge).  Firepits, short hike < 1 mile. Extremely popular & always full.  Photos.  Map.
    • Reservations:
    • Open: March 8 – Nov 2
    • Sites open 3 months / 90 days early @ time=?
  • Haypress Campground (Golden Gate Rec Area / Marin)
    • Reservations by phone only: (415) 331-1540 from 9:30 AM – 4:30 PM
  • China Camp State Park.   (North Bay) Photos.  Map
    • Nice campground, good bathrooms, and some showers (bring 4 quarters per shower!).  All sites are hike-in, about 100-200′, they have rolling trash cans to cart your stuff. Campground is in a shady Bay tree forest. Wood available for campfires.
    • Best spots in lower campground area: 7, 9, 13a, 14, 15 (far).  2nd best: 13b.  Best spots in upper campground loop: 17 (small), 21, 25.  2nd Best in upper campground: 16, 22, 23, 26.
    • Reservations: ReserveCalifornia.com. Sites open up 6 months in advance.
    • Lots of sites available when reserving in January
    • Dogs allowed on leash in campground and on beach, but not trails.
  • Mount Tamalpais State Park (Marin)
    • Reservations on ReserveCalifornia.com, Sites open up 6 months in advance at 8am.
    • Steep Ravine (S Rav) Fills up right at 8am for 6 months out.  Photos.  Map.
    • Pantol: First come, first served.
    • Bootjack:  First come, first served.
  • Samuel Taylor State Park (Marin). Photos.  Map.
    • Reservations on ReserveCalifornia.com, Sites open up 6 months in advance. Usually available if you book 6 months out.
    • Map
  • Mt. Diablo State Park (East Bay) Photos.  Map.
    • Reservations on ReserveCalifornia.com, Sites open up 6 months in advance.
    • Juniper Campground seems better than Live Oak?

Santa Rosa or Farther North:

Penninsula or farther south:

  • Portola Redwoods State Park.  Photos. Map.
  • Big Sur?

Short hike backpacking locally:

Point Reyes Campgrounds

  • Point Reyes Sky camp:  Photos.  Map.
    • 1.5 mile hike. Lots of poison oak and not much to do once there.  Spots 5, 6, and 12 are wooded and really nice without much poison oak.  1 is exposed, but near some nice big trees that you could camp at.  10 & 11 never stay at.  The rest are just ok, with mixed blackberry and poison oak hedges around them.
  • Point Reyes Coast camp:   Photos.  Map.

Bay Area first-come, first served:

  • Castle Rock State Park in the Santa Cruz mountains.  Hike-in camps at 0.1 and 2 miles from road at different locations.
  • Mt. Tam. Pantol: First come, first served.
  • Mt. Tam. Bootjack:  First come, first served.

Camping in Western Sierra:

Camping in Eastern Sierra:

Our Campground Notes:

  • Tioga Lake:  7/21/2018,  Nice location with only a few spots.  All first come, first served.  Get there early (10am?) to get a spot if it’s available. Beautiful lake.
  • Robinson Creek South: 7/22/2018,  Nice campground with lots of good spots along the large creek, good enough for getting wet and cooling down.  We stayed in site #4 and it was great.  Good general store and big lakes just 2 minutes upstream!
  • Indian Creek Recreation Area: 7/23/2018, Spacious sites, decent campground with free warm showers! Reservoir isn’t that pretty or swimmable.  No need to go back here, though.
  • Lakes Basin: 7/25/2018, Stayed in site #11 for 2 nights which was nicely shady.  #10 ok also.  Reservable sites.  Decent swimming hole just across from site #11.  This whole area would be great to go back to-  any of the other campsites in the vicinity.  Gas and Groceries 20 minutes away in GraeEagle. We have a topo/hiking map now.
  • Lassen Summit Lake: 7/26/2018, Tight spaces and busy campground with lots of weekenders who may not be as nice as all the other places we’ve visited. Lake is ok to swim in, but silty squishy bottom.  Grassy lake edge was nice with some trees nearby for shade.
  • Lassen Juniper Lake: 7/27/2018, Small campground but REALLY nice lake.  Perfectly clear water and nice clean rocky bottom.  Sites are close, but so what?  Everyone there was really nice. Reservable group camp on the lake would be fun to try someday. No water, but pit toilets and trash/recycling.

ReserveAmerica

National Sites open up 6 months early, at midnight?  Each day opens one at a time, not in a whole block.  Looks like they only have private and regional campgrounds now.