the dyrt
THE BEST CAMPING NEAR
Pinnacles National Park, CALIFORNIA
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Most Recent Pinnacles National Park Camping Reviews
Breathtaking and Serene

We came out with a bachelorette group and the rangers were so incredible and helpful that they switched us to a bigger site when they found out there were 7 of us in a site that was stated as being big enough but due to the water flow. It was vacated after the mudslides so they had the "penthouse" available for us to move to. We were sleeping under the Redwoods but we were only a 2-3 min walk to the beach for sunset.

The creek was flowing at full capacity so it seemed like we were the only people in the campground because all noise was drowned out by the lovely flow of the river.

Excellent Camping in Big Sur

The site was beautiful, with many nice trails scattered about within the park. The lodge is not too far in case of any purchasing needs. Besides our loud neighbors, I would say that my group had an excellent time.

Backpacking

Backpacking trip by myself nice big sur like nature majority of the hike is next to a small creek /river. Sites are hard to find but flat. No amenities so make sure to come prepared

Passed by while backpacking

Walked passed it on the way to Estrella camp. Really nice sites with tables and right next to the river. Looked like a good spot to take kids for a swim 🏊‍♀️ only about 2ish miles out so would be an easy first trip for people (can get crowded)

Backpacking

Took some buddies on their first backpacking trip out here probably about 3ish miles there. You pass two waterfalls. The second one is really nice and a great place for a dip. Sites are hard to find but once you get there they are flat and nice next to creek/ river

Burned down

Hiked out 18 miles there and back sites are completely gone from fire and overgrown. Poison oak all over. But if you’re looking for a good pointless workout this is for you (2018)

Trek from cone peak

If you can make it out there you’ll for sure be the only ones in this solitude. Long trek. Sites are just a few downed logs as chairs and fire pit. Stream relatively close for drinking water. Beware of poison oak like all of big sur

Beautiful wilderness

Excellent views of the coast. Difficult road out but worth it. 4x4, high clearance and or AWD recommended. These sites have nothing and there are no amenities close so be prepared and bring plenty of water and supplies. No fires 🔥 and good about of bugs so bring spray

Easy getaway into the Hills of Central Coast

Camped in the group camp site:

  • Pit Toilets
  • Plenty of parking
  • Running water
  • Picnic Benches
  • Fire Pit, although fire was banned do to the season and the conditions.
  • plenty of room for tents
  • Great hikes, although not great maps of the hikes
  • Super nice campground managers, very helpful
Ranger Review: Mountain House Beef Stew at Pinnacles Campground

[ PROS ]

  • Camping in a National Park! This is the only campground in Pinnacles National Park so you’re options are limited, but this campground is centrally located.
  • Wonderful Camp Store with gear, supplies, and anything you might need for camping. They even have snacks, ice cream, and candy.
  • Visitor Center where you can get lots of helpful information about the park and souvenirs to take home.
  • Each sites comes with a picnic table, fire ring + grill, 2 parking spots, and bear box.
  • Clean restrooms but it is shared with a lot of campers. I wish they had a few more.
  • So close to wildlife! We saw 6-8 deers both days just grazing inside the campground. Site #20 is where they hung out the entire weekend. Also, lots of rabbits, owls, magpies, quail, and turkey vultures.
  • Great night sky with lots of stars!
  • Lot’s of hiking trails at Pinnacles National Park. We started on the East Entrance and took the Bear Gulch Cave Trail to Moses Spring Trail, to the High Peaks Trail. It was spectacular and pure magic! One of my favorite day hikes that I’ve done. The caves were so cool to see and the Bear Gulch Reservoir is gorgeous.
  • Really clean and well maintained park. I normally carry a bag to pick up trash on hikes, but this time I barely saw litter.

[ CONS ]

  • The only showers are by the Visitor Center which is a long walk or drive from the main camping area.
  • Sites are super close together and very small. Some sites barely looked like you could put 2 small tents. Be prepared to be close to neighbors.
  • Very touristy and crowded, it is a National Park afterall so that is to be expected.
  • No fires were allowed when I was there.

Note: Site #45 where we stayed was great! It had a water spigot right next to us which was really convenient, and it was a perfect distance from the restroom. Not directly next to it, but one site away.

Product Review

As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get products to test from time to time. This weekend I had the opportunity to test out Beef Stew by Mountain House on a camping trip to Pinnacles Campground. As far as the product goes, I can eat this ALL DAY. It’s so good, filling, and hearty just as it is. This is as good as it gets for a quick, hot meal at the drop of a dime. It tastes just as good as a home cooked meal. Overall, just perfect comfort food -- chunky pieces of potato, peas, and carrots, the beef has great texture and generous portions, and the sauce is savory, flavorful and thick. I decided to elevate this meal and make Mountain House Campfire Beef Hand Pies! All you need is ready-to-bake biscuits and a Mountain House #10 Beef Stew Can and you have the best campfire hand pies ever! One package of Mountain House can make 16-20 hand pies. That’s 2.5 cans of ready-to-bake biscuits.

Ingredients

  • 1 package of ready-to-bake biscuits
  • 1 Mountain House #10 Beef Stew Can
  • Also needed: cast iron pan vegetable oil and paper towels

Instructions

  1. Follow instructions for making Mountain House #10 Beef Stew and set aside.
  2. Open the can of ready-to-bake biscuits and roll out each biscuit until they are about 4 inches in width. Make sure to work fast with the dough so that it still stays cool.
  3. Place 1 tbsp of Mountain House Beef Stew  into the center of each circle, fold them over (like a taco) and seal the edges by using the tines of a fork, press the edges together all the way around. Try to avoid getting any of the stew sauce around the edges or else it will be more difficult to seal.
  4. Place 1-2 inches of oil in a cast iron pan and place on the fire over coals (or camp stove), not direct flames. Test to see if the oil is ready by dropping a couple droplets of water into the pan. If it sizzles, it’s ready to go!
  5. Cook the pies until the first side is well browned then flip over and repeat.
  6. Let the pies set on paper towels for 1 minute to drain out any excess oil.

Optional: Enjoy with salsa, sour cream, and cilantros

Considerations: If you want to prevent leaks in your hand pie, take an additional step when sealing your pies by flipping the pie over to the other side, and sealing it again with your fork. It’s a little more work, but the payoff is worth it!

Close to Santa Cruz

They upgraded everything in the park since the flood.

Military campground in Monterey

This is a military only campground. It is located on a public-accessible military-run golf course right on top of the regional airport. I mean, right on top of. The airplanes will warm up within site of my RV and take off over top of us. It was very loud. But tolerable. We stayed in two sites while we were here. Site 1 on the very eastern end - it was narrow and not very level (tail up). Site 14 was the handicap accessible site, and accordingly was wide and level. Half of the sites had water and electric but no sewer. The other half includes sewer. The bathroom and showers were centrally located and well-kept. Laundry was reliable and reasonably priced. Downtown Monterey was a short drive or bike ride away. I would stay here again but wouldn't recommend.

Sweet spot

We got a nice spot close to the dump station near front. Their pool is huge and very very well kept. The spot was 30amp and back in however they have 50amp/pull through also. There is multiple lodges and a recreation center so plenty to do. Nice spot to bring the family. Close to local wine tastings and even had Safeway close enough for grocery delivery. Plus good nature hike trails in park.

Horrible Blowup

Nightly, weekly, monthly stays. Strongly suggest a reservation. Not much shade. It’s essentially a very large asphalt grounds. Laundry, shower, dump facilities and propane. There is a store that sells a few misc items, drinks and minimal RV supply necessities. There is also a pool.

We’ve stayed at this RV park the first time for three days and the second time we elected to stay a week after initially only wanting to stay a few days. We messed up. We missed our check out time thinking it was the following day. Rather than come around to give some sort of heads up that we were supposed to vacate, the young ladies waited until we went into the office close to 5pm to purchase propane to inform us of our mistake. At that point my boyfriend was told they were full and there was nothing they could do; We could not pay for another spot and we must vacate our spot.

Unfortunate as that was, it was our mistake and immediately upon learning that we had no other choice but to leave, I started disconnecting our set up before my boyfriend had returned to our fifth wheel and within a minute and one half, a woman I assume is some sort of management, approached my boyfriend as he was about to prep the inside for travel (mind you he LITERALLY hadn’t been there a minute after leaving the office) and said “You guys need to go because the person who’s supposed to go in they spot is here.” To which we both said we understood and were packing up as quickly as possible. That wasn’t satisfactory apparently because without prompting this woman barks “You guys need to hurry up because they’re waiting.”

There’s only 2 of us and if we needed to move faster than we were capable of and already moving I honestly couldn’t tell you how. I’m sure I had attitude and at this point, rightfully so, and I suggested that if we weren’t moving fast enough she was more than welcome to give us a hand. The response I got is one that will always blow my mind “Well maybe I’ll just go ahead and call the cops and see how you like that!”

Excuse me?? Ok. That was plenty enough for me at that point and I encouraged her to alert the authorities because quite frankly I though she was acting erratic and aggressive so cops would have been a blessing but to my disappointment, we left and none arrived.

Good RV Park right next to ocean

Good RV Park , back in parking only. Limited space , reservation required. Easy walk to town and restaurants, numerous in area. Great Whale watching boats available right next to RV Park

California gen!

Upon checkin we found nice quiet spot and walked to the river to skip rocks. It was really clean in the restrooms and plenty of places to grab food nearby. Kids even found a rock stump witttons of paired rocks to take ad leave. Spots are my full hookup and are 30amp.

160 acres on a peak in the Gabilan Mountains

The campground is small but there are 22 individual sites and a group site that can hold up to 50 campers. Good water is available with pit toilet facilities. The peak is where the first American flag was raised in the state of California. There are few trails that take you through mixed madrone/ pine chapparal but the real attraction here is the view. The views driving to the campground are spectacular and a relatively easy scramble to the peak itself provides a 360 degree Vista. On a very clear day you can actually see the Sierra's to the East.

Amazing views! Bugs!!!!

We went for one night and it was brutal. The bugs were horrible in the evening and the morning. We didnt even cook breakfast they were so bad. The drive up is a blast but youll want a vehicle with some clearance and there arent many sites to choose from. The views are amazing! So if you can hit it just right and dont get the bugs or the marine layer…amazing place.

Calm, relaxing

Visited in July and was not crowded. Was able to take the dog on a few trails.

Beautiful place

Beautiful place. Felt safe and comfortable. Bathrooms are clean. There is a small store to purchase basics

Limekiln - the prettiest place in Big Sur!

Limekiln State Park is one of the many campgrounds located off of Highway 1 in gorgeous Big Sur, CA. Limekiln is one of my very favorite places to camp EVER. There are three different areas to camp in; the beach, by the creek, and in the redwoods. All three areas are gorgeous and magical. I have camped in both the redwoods area, and down by the creek.

We have camped in site 16 in the Lower Creek area the last couple times we have camped at Limekiln, as it is the most secluded area to camp in. There are only 3 sites down in the Lower Creek area, and they are fairly small sites, so large parties cannot camp there, which leaves it pretty quiet. You are still surrounded by redwoods down in the creek sites, and listening to the creek is so relaxing and peaceful.

Each site has a firepit and picnic table. The campground has plumbed toilets, coin operated showers, and drinking water.

We like to cook in the campground, plate our food, then walk over to the beach to eat in front of the ocean. The beach is essential a private beach, as the surrounding cliffs block it from other areas of Big Sur.

The trails through the redwoods are easy hikes, and absolutely beautiful. There is a small waterfall down one fork in the trial, and the old, decaying lime kilns are down the other fork - they are a must see! The history of the lime kilns is very interesting, and worth reading about.

One time the camp hosts told us about the bats that come down the creek at dusk - they told us to go stand on the bridge that connects the beach sites with the rest of the campground, and ait for the bats at dusk. I’m sure bats are not everyone’s cup of tea, but we enjoyed seeing them fly around the bridge and down the creek.

Limekiln, in my opinion, is one of the prettiest places in Big Sur, and is a must see!

CAMPSITE SPECS

Fees: $35/night

Plumbed Toilets: Yes

Drinking Water: Yes

Showers: Yes (coin-operated)

Picnic Table: Yes

Firepit: Yes

Cooking Grate: Yes

Shade: Yes

Cell Service: No

Animal Bins/Food Lockers: No

Trash: Yes

Nice stop

Good RV stop for the night to recharge RV batteries and fill up on water. Great place to boat and fish as well.

Not in July

It’s too hot and the caves are closed in July due to the bats giving birth. We stayed here due to having to detour from Big Sur because of the landslide that closed the 1 hwy. on our way up to Alaska.

However, it was a nice campground with a good amount of shaded RV sites with electric hookups to run AC, a lot of nearby hikes, scenic views and wildlife. We definitely want to return when it’s cooler and the caves are open to explore.

Just Wonderful

We took our camper here in february and had the campground almost to ourselves. I think there were maybe 3 other campsites filled for the 2 nights we stayed. The site was very clean and spacious with a nice meadow behind us.

It's also a very short walk across the street to sand dollar beach. We got lucky with the weather and had crystal clear blue water and sunny skies with a light drizzle at night (perfect to sleep to by our standards). Can't really beat Big Sur area to get away from it all!

Great campground away from the hustle and bustle

Nice lots on a cliff above the beach protected from the wind by some doug firs and eucalyptus. Beach is long and expansive with very few people on an average day. Nice place to take a stroll and relax. Not far from Santa Cruz, maybe 25-30 minutes depending on traffic. Sometimes there's a decent sandbar for surfing. Always had a good time at this campground.

Shhhh don't tell anyone about this campground

It's one of our favorite campgrounds. And is a well kept secret. So don't tell anyone! What other California campground has green grass between sites? I have to admit when we've gone to this park, Hwy 1 was closed just a few miles south, so there was very little traffic. Now that Hwy 1 is open, I'm curious about the street noise.

Campground is a little south of Big Sur, so dinner & sunset at Nepenthe is a must. Make sure you to go the Henry Miller Library and buy a book or two, or stay for a concert.

Nice location, nice weather

Sites need renovation and they claim it is coming. Of course they have said that for the last 3 years. Their answer to uneven sites is to give you pieces of wood to try and level. Good luck, I saw some raised up 2-3 feet. Full hook-ups, although for some strange reason they are at front of site. Military only. Just 5 min to Monterey wharf.

Beautiful area, crowded

Be careful on which site you pick, although on line doesn't explain well. Mine was on a bad slope and no way to level. Very crowded. Wood laying around all over but you cant use it. They want you to spend $10 on their wood. Drought has killed all grass, so lots of dirt. Tight roads wouldn't recommend anything over 28ft, and forget a trailer. Nasty black flies.

No camp fires allowed!

We love this campground, however, there are no camp fires allowed in any national forests until the end of the year. Had we known this beforehand, we wouldn’t have chosen this campsite. Nice campground, well kept.