Standard (tent/RV)
RV Sites
Tent Sites
Fires Allowed
Pets Unknown
Drinking Water
About Arroyo Seco

Arroyo Seco Campground is a semi-rustic, but developed facility in California's westernmost national forest. It offers a great place for camping near San Jose - into the mountain air and provides access to a variety of outdoor recreation opportunities.


The small non-body contact lake near the group campsites gives campers an edge on mountain fishing and small non-motorized boating. Anglers will find mostly bass and catfish in the lakes, and other species on occasion. A fishing license is required for visitors over 16 years of age. The nearby river offers a small beach where campers and day use visitors may wade and swim. All nearby bodies of water are dependent upon seasonal rain for levels to rise.

The Ventana Wilderness, also known as "the gorge," provides ample opportunities for hiking, swimming, backpacking, hunting and horseback riding. No motorized vehicles are allowed (unless prior permission is granted by the Forest Service) beyond the gated road and parking lot. The 15.5-mile Santa Lucia Trail is available for hiking and horseback riding and provides access to the surrounding wilderness and a variety of other trails.


The campground offers sites that are both modern and more primitive, for single and double-family occupancy. Campsites are available for tent or RV camping, however utility hookups are not provided and there is no dump station. Some sites are level and large enough to accommodate most RVs. Roads are paved throughout the campground.

Each site is equipped with a table and campfire ring with grill. Campsites in the first loop offer accessible flush toilets, coin-operated showers and drinking water. In the more primitive area of the campground, vault toilets are provided, as well as drinking water. Some sites are fully accessible.

A group campsite is available for reservations and can accommodate up to 50 people and 10 vehicles. It provides tables and a campfire circle, as well as vault toilets and drinking water.

Natural Features

The campground offers views of the Ventana Wilderness mountain peaks and one small lake (water levels depend on the season). It is nestled into the hillside, surrounded by abundant shrubbery and large oak trees. It is situated next to the Arroyo Seco River at an elevation of about 1,200 feet. A variety of birds and wildlife make their home in the area.

A splash of color greets visitors at the entrance gate, where a variety of plants in bloom. In the spring and fall, the leaves on the trees change to beautiful shades of red, yellow and orange, creating a beautiful scenic landscape. In the springtime, lupines bloom all around.

Nearby Attractions

The city of Monterey provides a variety of tourism opportunities and is located about 50 miles from the campground.

The west side of the Pinnacles National Monument is about 30 miles from the campground. The monument and surrounding area is popular among rock climbers during the spring and fall.

ADA Access: N

$25.00 - $125.00
National Forest
Drive In
Walk In
ADA Accessible
Alcohol Allowed
Drinking Water
Electric Hookups
Fires Allowed
Firewood Available
Phone Service
Picnic Table
Sanitary Dump
Sewer Hookups
Trash Available
Water Hookups
Arroyo Seco is located in California
36.2397 N
-121.4786 W
Get Directions
Coming from the south on Highway 101 to Greenfield, take the first exit (Arroyo Seco) into town. Turn left on Elm Street and go west to Arroyo Seco Road and turn left. Arroyo Seco Road dead-ends at the campground. Coming from the north on Highway 101, just past Soledad, turn west onto Arroyo Seco Road and continue to the campground.
8 Reviews of Arroyo Seco
Loved the river hike!

Went during memorial weekend last year, quite busy! The area was nice but we loved the river hike the most. That was so much fun and adventurous. It kept us occupied for a good 3-4 hours. On the other side of the river we heard there were waterfalls but we didn’t explore in that direction. A lot of people brought their grill and were hanging out on the banks of the river. Campground had a curfew but the campers did not care for it and blasted their music until 2 am. After reporting it to the park ranger, the people had some decency to stop the music earlier (12 AM). The camp sites were not too close and not too far from each other and it was very spacious.


Beautiful weather! Nice pit and grill. Trees all around. Latrine.

Great campsite, greater scenery

The drive to the campsite was very nice, driving alongside of a hill and taking in the scenic valley that it's located in. The campsite itself was spacious, equipped with clean and cold drinking water for consumer use, garbage disposal within arms reach, and well maintained, clean restrooms and shower rooms. Campsite staff was great and very helpful, also selling firewood and ice if campers needed it. Walking down from the campground is the river where everyone can swim for day use. My only complaint is the park rangers who made up rules out of nowhere such as kicking everyone out of the day use area an hour before it's supposed to be used and other nonsense. Aside from that, my friends and I enjoyed a great camping trip!

Rustic camping

It’s hot in the summer, but you go here to cool off in the river. Perfect summer spot.

Great place awesome swimming holes

My family comes here once a year for an awesome rafting trip down the Arroyo Secco River. The campground is clean well maintained and the sites are spacious. If you’re looking for a fun adventure nestled in the Monterey County wineries look no further.

River adventure close to civilization

Arroyo Seco Campground is located about 60 minutes south of Salinas in the Los Padres National Forest. The Arroyo Seco river runs close by the campground and there is a day use area right on the river with picnic areas, grills, and a playground. In the summer it gets very hot here, so the river is a nice way to cool off. There is also great hiking up the Arroyo Seco gorge with plenty of swimming holes along the way. There is also a small lake nearby for fishing, but swimming in the lake is not allowed. Big Sur looks to be close by, but it is actually about an hour and a half drive along a winding road to get there. For $30, the sites are a little on the expensive side, but there is plenty to do when camping there. The campsites are on the small side and some of them can be stacked right on top of each other, with little privacy, so be sure to look at the map if you reserve online. All of them have a picnic table, firepit, and grill. There are also some more primitive campsites located above the main campground that they hold for first come/first serve campers if you can't reserve one online. This is a very popular campground in the summer and sites get reserved quickly. There are very clean toilets and coin operated showers, which are handicap accessible. Be warned, sometimes there are issues with the drinking water, signs are posted that it is not drinkable. If that is the case, it is a long drive out to get drinking water in Greenfield.

In the hills of California

Campground was nice and views were pretty good, very hilly part of California. We stayed when there was a large group of middle schoolers, though, and even though we were at a different campsite loop, they were pretty loud. The site as a whole tho is really nice, and the showers and facilities were more modernized than I had expected. Hot showers always make a roadtrip easier.

First to Review
Where the desert meets the Salad Bowl

Driving though the John Steinbeck's novel "East of Eden", the Salinas valley's plush farmland stretches south east into the stomach of California. On its southern slope Arroyo Creek cuts though its velvety green slopes which nestle the vast majority of American produce. The Arroyo Seco Campground in the Los Padres National Forest is a secluded cliff lined sanctuary. The campgrounds themselves harbor all the amenities such as bathrooms and potable water sources . In the middle of the day after picnicking under the redwood gazebo and hiking through the holes, take a dip in Arroyo Creek where the water temperature varies between a frosty 45F in Spring and 75F during the summer. If you the adventurous type park in the back parking lot and hike approximately 2 miles down the fire road which penetrates into the Los Padres National forest where you can swim in any of the many gorges. Enjoy cliff jumping from formidable hight and sunbathing along the white sand lined shoreline. Continue upstream from the main gorge to experience a granite slot canyon that can be 15-30 feet deep depending on the season which leads to a waterfall nicknamed "The Waterslide".