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Old 04-21-2010, 11:34 AM   #1
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California camping recommendations?

We're heading out next month for three weeks on the road. The original plan was to head into Arizona from California (Sedona, Grand Canyon, Arcosanti, via Death Valley) but I think it'll be too hot by mid-May (our departure was delayed a month). So, looking for ideas around Southern and mid California.

I'll be combing through the forum but perhaps y'all wouldn't mind jotting down some good camping spots that you know of? Looking for peaceful, beautiful camping, can spend a few days in each spot, anything from mountains to beach. Happy (hoping!) to go off pavement, but not off road. We just want to get away from it and see some nature with the kids.

Thinking about:

- Sequoia
- Big Sur
- Yosemite
- anything around San Diego? Never been there.

Also, don't know anything about:

- Los Padres
- Big Bear
- Joshua Tree

Anywhere else?

Thanks very much!
Mike.
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Old 04-21-2010, 11:56 AM   #2
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Re: California camping recommendations?

Yosemite rocks
you should be ok if you are going soon as far as crowds

Joshua tree also is great

have spent a lot of time in Yosemite and been to J Tree once, but will be back

will follow this for a bit then chirp in

best

bw

ps
Jage: is there some sort of plug in that we can use that would
allow us to post a travel point A to Point B
and folks here could "pin" fav places and help us route??
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Old 04-21-2010, 01:07 PM   #3
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Re: California camping recommendations?

Check out this post for ideas along US-395: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=4490. Definitely hit the Alabama Hills off Whitney Portal Road west of Lone Pine. Check out this post for an interesting trip in J. Tree viewtopic.php?f=11&t=4534. If Tioga Pass is open through Yosemite while you are in the area, be sure to take it.

Also, yes to Joshua Tree, Sequoia, Yosemite, Death Valley. Consider Steens Mountain area in SE Oregon on your way to/from if you're passing through, or Crater Lake. This post: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=4455 has some info on hot springs in the Steens Mountain area.
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Old 04-21-2010, 02:43 PM   #4
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Re: California camping recommendations?

Don't count out Death Valley. The valley may be hot, but there are many alternatives to staying down there.

- Mesquite Springs 1800'
- Wildrose 4100'
- Thorndike 7400'
- Mahogany Flat 8200'

Mesquite Springs is in the north, near Scotty's Castle. A good place to stay if you want to visit Scotty's. Ubehebe Craters are near and worth a visit. Also remote camping off the road to Racetrack, or up and over Hunter Mountain on the way out.

The last three are free camping on the west side of the mountains, best accessed from the west, not from the vallley. From Mahogany is a nice 7-8 mile hike up to the top of Telescope Peak.

Death Valley - its not just for winter.

Mike
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Old 04-21-2010, 06:55 PM   #5
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Re: California camping recommendations?

Big Spur is spectacular but camping is limited and it might be one very long winding road for kids. (Typically, they don't enjoy scenery as much as adults.) Sequoia is nice but you can see the same gigantic trees in Yosemite at Wawona. But Yosemite gets very busy at Memorial Day (there are some campsites outside the Valley though) and some can't be reserved.

Some other things...

Lassen NP is nice and much less crowded. The boiling pools might be neat for kids. Although it might be warm depending on when you come down, Lava Bed NP can also be neat for kids if they might like to explore some wild caves. Some have ice in the bottom of them year-round.

One route might be Lava Beds and then Lassen before heading to Yosemite and returning via Highway 1 and the coast...
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Old 04-21-2010, 08:34 PM   #6
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Re: California camping recommendations?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aldercrest
Check out this post for ideas along US-395: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=4490. Definitely hit the Alabama Hills off Whitney Portal Road west of Lone Pine. Check out this post for an interesting trip in J. Tree viewtopic.php?f=11&t=4534. If Tioga Pass is open through Yosemite while you are in the area, be sure to take it.

Also, yes to Joshua Tree, Sequoia, Yosemite, Death Valley. Consider Steens Mountain area in SE Oregon on your way to/from if you're passing through, or Crater Lake. This post: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=4455 has some info on hot springs in the Steens Mountain area.
+1 on the Alabama Hills area. Very scenic/unique and acess is very convenient off of hwy 395 in Lone Pine.

If you are heading south towards LA and need a good place to camp along the way, consider Mt. Pinos area in Los Padres NF. It is about 1-1.5 hours north of LA, easily accessed off I-5 and pretty remote at about 8k altitude. IMHO, this is some of best forest camping within 2 hours of LA. Also has some of the best MTB riding in SoCal if that matters.

Have fun.
R
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Old 04-22-2010, 10:52 AM   #7
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Re: California camping recommendations?

Thank you everyone!! This is such great information, and I appreciate you sharing it.

Getting stoked for the trip!! The kids wake up each morning, excited: "Are we going to California TODAY?"

Keep it coming!

Mike.
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Old 04-22-2010, 12:12 PM   #8
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Re: California camping recommendations?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mjeffrey
Thank you everyone!! This is such great information, and I appreciate you sharing it.

Getting stoked for the trip!! The kids wake up each morning, excited: "Are we going to California TODAY?"

Keep it coming!

Mike.
Enjoy it while it lasts Mike. Soon enough it will be "are we there yet?"
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Old 04-22-2010, 03:08 PM   #9
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Re: California camping recommendations?

[/quote]
Enjoy it while it lasts Mike. Soon enough it will be "are we there yet?" [/quote]


Followed by, "Holy crap, is this place crowded. Let's get home soon!".
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Old 04-23-2010, 06:31 PM   #10
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Re: California camping recommendations?

Depends on what your definition of hot is, but the Grand Canyon and Sedona should be fine in mid-May. You might hit some low 90s in Sedona, but the Canyon should be in the 80's and fairly cool at night. Arcosanti is getting quite a bit closer to Phoenix, but I am not sure I would miss it just 'cause of that. AZ doesn't get to really broiling until a little later.

Linda
Living in CA now, but lived in the Phoenix area for years.
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