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Old 12-06-2018, 12:40 PM   #1
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1st trip starting in Yosemite

Hi all,

I'll be picking up my new 4x4 Sprinter in Fresno end of January. First trip will be to Yosemite and then on down to San Diego. Any recommendations for the best hook up and boondock sites in Yosemite and traveling to southern CA?


Are there any groups meeting up in CA, AZ, or CO in the new year?

Thanks, cant wait to start traveling!
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Old 12-06-2018, 01:51 PM   #2
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Good idea spending some time close to Fresno to make sure all the bugs are worked out before getting too far away. Highly recommend Merced River Recreation Area at Briceberg off Hwy-140 provided the gravel road is open to the campsites. Also note that there have been several forest fires and the highway itself may or may not be open due to slides and what not. Always best to check:
https://www.blm.gov/visit/merced-river


There is a beach site camp at the first area and an isolated spot at the next area. Many of the sites are walk in types but during winter you can usually find a vehicle camp during a weekday. The last groups of camps have several sites that are situated close to each other. It's low enough to avoid snow and very nice at that time of year. No power or water but vaulted heads. The drive into the park isn't that far. El Portal has a nice little store and fuel is also available (at a high price).

In the park itself prepare to install chains at this time of year. Even with a 4x4 they may ask to see your set of chains. I've never had an issue finding a camp in the valley during winter provided it's not around a holiday or the super bowl. However the park tries to jam everybody together so you might have close neighbors. Still beautiful though. Bears don't always hibernate in the valley so camp as if it's summer.



Further south there are several spots open around the lower Sierra scenic byway and around Bass Lake. Some at Bass lake have full time hookups if you want to test that part of your vehicle.
https://www.fs.usda.gov/detailfull/s...567&width=full


Another area close to Fresno would be around Shaver Lake. Camp Edison is another full hookup spot and the nearby town is kinda quaint. There are several other less populated CG's but not sure which are open. I usually stay in places out of the snowline. The nice thing about that area is there are a few really nice mild all year 4x4 drives to explore if you have the time.
https://www.sunrisereservations.com/...nd/Camp+Edison


I really enjoy the Kings River just above Pine Flat Lake which is also very close to Fresno. These are boon dock spots along the river as well as a few CG's. The easy Davis 4x4 trail is nearby and doable if it's dry enough.

https://www.fs.usda.gov/wps/portal/f...t%20Campground





Another spot I've camped at during winter (my maiden run) is King Canyon NP. Not much open but I stayed at the CG close to the General Grant big tree grove.


Enjoy your trip. I have some info at my web site that talks about some of these areas. Edit if you can find a copy of Backcountry Adventures by Peter Massey and Jeanne Wilson buy it. You should be able to find a used copy.
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Old 12-06-2018, 02:49 PM   #3
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I love Yosemite but also live King's Canyon / Sequoia. Worth it to check out both - especially if won't be back for a while. What's a hookup? :-)
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Old 12-06-2018, 07:15 PM   #4
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I love Yosemite but also live King's Canyon / Sequoia. Worth it to check out both - especially if won't be back for a while. What's a hookup? :-)
Ha, I couldn't agree more. I love Yosemite about 3 billion people ago. Unfortunately I just can't hack it with all the traffic.

I think a 'hook up' is what kids do nowadays, or something you need a 5th wheel camper to do. One of those.
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Old 12-06-2018, 07:20 PM   #5
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We stayed at Camp Edison last spring when our SMB was getting new penthouse struts because the USFS campsite wasnít open yet. Itís relatively close to Fresno, reservations are easy online, and the spring flowers were great though that wonít help you. It is a commercial campground with fairly tight spacing and itís hard to tell what is quieter or more secluded in the online map. However, most of the other campers were families with kids (lots of bicycles and laughter) and the company is serious about noise restrictions. Given our situation, it worked for us for several days but we were glad to leave.

Don
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Old 12-16-2018, 10:02 AM   #6
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+1 on Sequoia and King's Canyon. It is beautiful in the winter and crowds are lighter. Road conditions there can be iffy if there is a lot of snow.

There are periodic van meet ups in San Diego at Fiesta Island. There are usually listed on the forum so hopefully one will be organized for the time you are down.
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Old 12-16-2018, 12:17 PM   #7
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All of davebís suggestions are spot on.

If the weather in the mountains is nasty, or you need to stay closer to Fresno for any reason, there are three ďlakesĒ (reservoirs) in the nearby foothills that have campgrounds, and a few trails. They should be fairly quiet in January: Millerton Lake, Hensley Lake and Eastman Lake.

Also check out Wind Wolves Preserve near Bakersfield. You need to call in advance about camping, but may end up with the place all to yourself at night.
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Old 12-16-2018, 12:55 PM   #8
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A couple of years ago I made a day trip to visit the Carrizo Plain. A few members have done this and looking at some of their trip reports, I knew I had to go. Depending on what kind of wet season we get, the flower bloom can be fantastic. You can find links to monitor the bloom as Feb might be a little early. Different flowers bloom at different times but March is usually a good time to go. Camping can be tricky as the bloom brings people from all over but there are a few places that might have a spot during the weekdays. Most visitors just come in for the day during the weekends. If you just want to do a drive by, you can start at the north end (HWY-58) and travel south through the Plain which exits at HWY-166. Sometimes we get an early bloom. Well worth a look after leaving Yosemite.

Edit: just read one of those reports and it doesn't look good this year. Although the rains have hit here, its been dry down there.


http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/for...rip-19300.html
http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/for...ers-14574.html








Carrizo Plain national monument
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Old 12-27-2018, 12:03 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by daveb View Post
Good idea spending some time close to Fresno to make sure all the bugs are worked out before getting too far away. Highly recommend Merced River Recreation Area at Briceberg off Hwy-140 provided the gravel road is open to the campsites. Also note that there have been several forest fires and the highway itself may or may not be open due to slides and what not. Always best to check:
https://www.blm.gov/visit/merced-river


There is a beach site camp at the first area and an isolated spot at the next area. Many of the sites are walk in types but during winter you can usually find a vehicle camp during a weekday. The last groups of camps have several sites that are situated close to each other. It's low enough to avoid snow and very nice at that time of year. No power or water but vaulted heads. The drive into the park isn't that far. El Portal has a nice little store and fuel is also available (at a high price).

In the park itself prepare to install chains at this time of year. Even with a 4x4 they may ask to see your set of chains. I've never had an issue finding a camp in the valley during winter provided it's not around a holiday or the super bowl. However the park tries to jam everybody together so you might have close neighbors. Still beautiful though. Bears don't always hibernate in the valley so camp as if it's summer.



Further south there are several spots open around the lower Sierra scenic byway and around Bass Lake. Some at Bass lake have full time hookups if you want to test that part of your vehicle.
https://www.fs.usda.gov/detailfull/s...567&width=full


Another area close to Fresno would be around Shaver Lake. Camp Edison is another full hookup spot and the nearby town is kinda quaint. There are several other less populated CG's but not sure which are open. I usually stay in places out of the snowline. The nice thing about that area is there are a few really nice mild all year 4x4 drives to explore if you have the time.
https://www.sunrisereservations.com/...nd/Camp+Edison


I really enjoy the Kings River just above Pine Flat Lake which is also very close to Fresno. These are boon dock spots along the river as well as a few CG's. The easy Davis 4x4 trail is nearby and doable if it's dry enough.

https://www.fs.usda.gov/wps/portal/f...t%20Campground





Another spot I've camped at during winter (my maiden run) is King Canyon NP. Not much open but I stayed at the CG close to the General Grant big tree grove.


Enjoy your trip. I have some info at my web site that talks about some of these areas. Edit if you can find a copy of Backcountry Adventures by Peter Massey and Jeanne Wilson buy it. You should be able to find a used copy.
Thanks so much for taking the time to describe some great camping sites around Fresno and Yosemite. I'll be on the road come February!
Happy holidays!
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Old 12-27-2018, 12:07 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by rionapo View Post
We stayed at Camp Edison last spring when our SMB was getting new penthouse struts because the USFS campsite wasnít open yet. Itís relatively close to Fresno, reservations are easy online, and the spring flowers were great though that wonít help you. It is a commercial campground with fairly tight spacing and itís hard to tell what is quieter or more secluded in the online map. However, most of the other campers were families with kids (lots of bicycles and laughter) and the company is serious about noise restrictions. Given our situation, it worked for us for several days but we were glad to leave.

Don
Thanks so much for the campsite referral near Fresno. I'll be on the road Feb. 1.
Happy holidays!
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