The best camping near
Stanislaus National Forest, CALIFORNIA

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Camping California Stanislaus National Forest
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Most Recent Stanislaus National Forest Camping Reviews
Alpine Lakes

This is a great glimpse at what the High Sierra lakes further south look like… but better. Dispersed camp sites all over. (Make sure to follow signs and camp appropriately distanced from the lakes)

Beautiful and peaceful

For beauty and solitude alone this is a five star spot. Follow the dirt road into the little valley and soon a beautiful meadow opens up ahead with a small creek running through. Sites are located along the meadow and around a loop in the back portion of the campground where there’s a trail head into the wilderness. Camping here requires some planning ahead as there is no potable water available and only pit toilets but the trade off is the incredible scenery and peaceful surroundings. Keep your eyes open for horses and cattle!

Popular summer spot

Some great variety in this campground which includes walk in tent only sites! It’s a well laid out campground, tent only spots up front ( near the camp host and showers) and a loop around the back with some well separated sites just above the river.
Years ago this spot was a nice little secret but now it’s often packed and can get quite noisy, especially on the weekends.

Beautiful but crowded

Great family campground but if your in search of solitude this is not the spot. Situated across from the campground is the day use area which is very popular and noisy.
Facilities are clean and the campground is beautiful, great walking path too!

Peaceful Campsite

This secret campsite is located in a beautiful aspen grove! It is about 1/2 an hour from great hot springs. No cell service helps provide the off grid feeling.

Awesome Location

Amazing location! We camped across from the hot springs and got to watch the sunrise whilst enjoying hot springs. The dispersed camping offers many beautiful spots! The drive to the hot springs / campground can feel a little sketchy but really isn’t too bad.

Pinch Yourself

Being able to sleep under the stars in Yosemite Valley is a dream come true. The campground is crowded but the scenery makes up for it. Everywhere you look is an Ansel Adams portrait. Lots of trails leave from the surrounding area. Bathrooms are clean but its a trek to the showers. Have fun.

Cell Coverage: Verizon (Low)

Ranger Review: Wenzel Grand Basin 10 tent at North Pines

North Pines is one of three campgrounds on the floor of Yosemite Valley. Across the Merced River from the other two campgrounds and adjacent to the horse stables, it is relatively isolated with no major roads running by it. Nevertheless, it is well connected to the rest of the valley amenities, with a quick walk to the bus station, a longer walk (1 mi) to the visitor center via the Valley Loop Trail, or a drive (if you don't mind braving traffic and searching for parking spaces). 

The sites are not well defined. You have a place to park and besides that, it is a little of a free-for-all with the adjacent sites as to where you set up your gear. Despite that, we had plenty of room to set up our large 10 person tent, without feeling crowded or that we were overspilling our space. We were there the last weekend it was open (Oct 26/27) and all sites were booked. There are no hook-ups, and the comfort stations only have toliets and sinks (no showers), a fresh water faucet, and a disposal "toliet" for dish water. All dishes must be washed at camp. The facilities were fairly clean, though the disposal toilet often backed up.  Being late October, I was expecting very cold conditions. But the weather was great! 70s during the day and 40s at night. Clear skies. Absolutely beautiful. 

Our site was located right next to the comfort station, and in hindsight I wish we had found a place a little farther away. But besides the proximity, our site was nice with a fire pit and picnic table. Quiet hours are from 1000-0600, and we had to remind our neighbor campers who came back drunk at midnight to shut it, but that seems to be more the normal than abnormal these days. There were mostly tents in the campground, with a few small RVs and trailers. Generators are allowed during limited hours, but the noise wasn't overwhelming, since they were few and far between.

As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get products to test from time to time. This weekend I got to test the Wenzel Great Basin 10 tent (https://wenzelco.com/great-basin-10/). Overall, my impression of this tent is that it is a solid and reliable tent. Yes, it has a few design items that could be improved for ease of use, but overall it served us well and I look forward to using it again. The tent is a domed center-opening design, with two side "rooms" that can be separated by zipped curtains, making three interior spaces total. My husband and I filled up on room with two large cots facing length wise (we had them oriented along center line and still had enough room to move along the sides). The other side has more than ample room for my daughter's small cot, which ran the width of the tent along the side window. Very comfortable for three people. 

Yes, this is a huge tent. Can it be set up by one person? Probably, if that person is patient and tenacious. Two people work much better. A few design items we found annoying were the pole connections, which would frequently catch on the tent pole sleeves and center strap. Also, the zipper flap on the tent's door would frequently get caught in the zipper, making it almost a necessity to use two hands to open and close the tent. Besides these two small inconveniences, the tent worked great. The rain fly fits snug against the tent roof. The construction felt sturdy and we liked the design of the three interior rooms. 

Overall, we had a fun two nights in Yosemite. We might make a tradition out of going for the closing weekend each year.

Overall, a pretty nice place

“Resort” might be an overstatement but it does have a pool, a few simple activities and a mostly nice staff (one lady was very rude and condescending when quoting the cancellation policy but this was remedied easily the next day by someone with better customer service skills), although it could use a little updating. Gravel roads make it dusty in the summertime. Views are not impressive for being close to Yosemite but it’s a decent base camp for trips into the park.

Beautiful. But cold at night

Cool camping site. But, dont listen to the weather app. It said it was going to be 35 to 40. But, actually was 20 degrees. So, pack smart. Bring extra water and firewood. Store is not near.

Nice and quiet and beautiful under the moonlight

We came here because Dardanelle was closed down and we are absolutely grateful for that. This quiet piece of gem sits next to the river which shone so beautiful under the silky moonlight. It is clean and well maintained.

Not the best

It’s a good place to stay when you are in Yosemite because it’s central and close to popular hikes. But spots are small and sanitary are old and not very clean. Hosts are kind and helpful. It’s full all days and it’s a huge campground so there is a lot of people but still quite. Good enough but not the best campground!

Great place

Beautiful place in the middle of pines. Spots are big, sanitary are clean. Hot showers, drinkin water, no place for dish. Calm and you can see bears!! Hosts are very kind.

Lower pines

Super confidently placed site to go to different areas of the park. Also close to trailheads.

Especially Beautiful

Fallen Leaf Lake and its campground were really beautiful and felt remote despite being pretty close to the development of South Lake Tahoe. Our spot (84) was not very private or great for a tent, but it worked for our overnight. The bath house was nice and new/clean. The hosts were super super friendly, but they called it a day pretty early (5?) so we missed out on buying firewood onsite. They did warn us about bears in such an admiring way, it was really sweet. However, we didn't see any bears, just poo about 20 feet from our tent (!). Fire ring, giant table, bear box, water, all as expected.

The lake itself is stunning. Seriously. Dusk was perfectly still and calm, but early morning was also beautiful. Would absolutely stay or visit here again.

Great for anglers!

We camped at Spicer on Labor Day weekend with our 28’ toy hauler (no OHV allowed on site). The campsites have a variety of trees/rocks and many are fairly private. We got one close to the walking trail down to the lake, which took just a couple minutes. The lake is nice but better for fishing than swimming/paddle boarding/kayaking. We did find swimming at the river leading to the lake, and it was only a short hike down. Utica is also a quick 10-15 minute drive and perfect for the activities mentioned.

The camp hosts were pleasant and helpful. The vault toilet bathrooms were clean. No reservations (except group camp, I think), hookups, or America The Beautiful pass discounts (but they do take Golden Age). There is AT&T cell service down by the lake. At the time (early September), there were a lot of bees and we saw some fresh bear poop right behind one of the sites.

Best campsite to be at away from the city

This campsite is quiet and peaceful. The person who is in charge was very welcoming. I enjoyed my stayed there. The place was beautiful where you can just relax and listen to sound of the water flowing throughout the day. I highly recommended this place to anyone who has a small or big group.

Close to Perfect

My brother and I hit the north grove campground for the first time this past weekend. My expectations weren’t high but this place was great.

The campground we chose was kind of close to the road which would have been the only real negative. The campground map makes it seem like the road was further away from the sites but I woke up a couple of times from road noise.

Our campsite had a fire ring, bbq, picnic table and bear box and still had a large flat spot for my huge tent as well as parking for my car.

The weather was great, no bugs to be found and plenty to do. I already want to go back next year but choose a site further from the road.

easy access to beautiful

minutes walk form many trail heads and beautiful views. also close to a small store. some of the sites are VERY close together so choose wisely! all the ameneties are easy to access.

Isolated and Perfect

Unsure what everyone is talking about below in regards to "beaches" or "showers", this is right off 108 and as you can see on the map it's nowhere near beaches… I think there is some confusion. Maybe two mill creek campgrounds in Cali? I'll explain my experience. This campground is only 8 DOLLARS A NIGHT Y'ALL. This is because it does NOT have any running water whatsoever. Luckily we packed in enough jugs to be totally fine. Obviously this also accounts for showers. There are no showers. There also isn't a bear box on site. But the host explained bears weren't an issue in that specific area and to follow normal rules of putting it away in the car. It was fine. The host was thorough and caring, thanks Duane! The site was raked up before we got there and was very kept. So were the bathrooms, even though our campsite was pretty far away from it. Our campsite had some large rocks nearby we loved to climb on, you'll see pictured. A small creek nearby that was very very low. We were the only ones in that side of the campground and it was seriously awesome. Lake Donnell has a vista point nearby that is easy to get to, paved and all. Overall, if you're okay without water, this site is beautiful, isolated and cared for. I recommend it! Just be ready to swat away the bees when you eat. 🐝

Gods Country

Great camping, fishing , Hiking. Friendly people all around.

Dusty but pretty lake

The full hookup rv spots are gravel & very dusty. Whole park is actually. Spots are a little tight for my 37' 5th wheel but it worked out pretty good. Back end of my trailer hung over a big hill. You sit above the full timer rv spots & mostly look at trees. Good sunsets! Lake water level was super low at end of summer & lake is hard to access. Unless you got a boat. Saw deer & wild turkeys. This park is huge. Can drive around & find a good spot to access the lake & go swimming.

Cozy

Nice bear boxes and bathrooms. Tent sites were big

Great location

Gets you right to the middle of the park, some sites on a slight hill but most were flat and private. Decent bathroom and dish wash tub and bear boxes provided

Tranquility

At the top of the Sierras, El Dorado national forest, tucked in away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Stunning views, and blue skies, campground is well maintained and accessible. Rvs and tent camping. Shallow lake that warms up a little for kayaking and swimming. Great family lake.

Beautiful Serene Campground

Stayed at this Campground in the beginning of August. It was absolutely stunning. Super close to this place called The Pots. We arrived near sundown. Unpacked our gear and then walked to The Pots from our campsites. The views were amazing. The campsite host had fire wood for sale. There were new bathroom facilities installed. There were no showers or sinks. There was a fire pit at every campsite and a picnic table as well. Well worth it! Would definitely come here again.

Cool spot

Chill spot Has a “tent only” area with about 6 spots and a lot of other spots for small trailers and tents

Great Backcountry Campground!

We loved every aspect of this camp area. Yosemite only allows a certain number of people to camp at the backcountry sites and it shows. This was a pine tree lovers paradise! We hiked the waterfall trail, which is breathtaking, but full of a lot of people! Once you get passed the 2nd huge waterfall, the crowds start to die down and its just you and the mountains. When you finally get to Little Yose Valley, you're probably super tired (we were!), and the campground invites you in like a warm cup of coffee. We passed out immediately in our hammock to the sound of the river next to the site, then woke up and set up camp. Hiked the rest of half dome the next day. My favorite camp site I've stayed in so far.

Beautiful Views, Windy & Tightly Packed

We stayed in tent site #4, aka “Extra Special Lakeshore Camping”. The views were absolutely incredible. The site site on a small promontory, affording you incredible sunsets across Bridgeport Reservoir. The drawback to this of course is that everyone has to walk right by your campsite to enjoy these views. Expect very limited privacy, friendly conversation, lots of it, and to meet every dog in camp. As the listing warns, the location also means extra exposure to wind and bugs. What the listing also says is that the site is (just) big enough for a large tent and EZ-up (shade structure), although it doesn’t mention what we were told upon arrival: due to winds coming off the reservoir at up to 60 knots, we were not allowed to rely on stakes and had to be present at all times when the shade structure was up.

Additional clarifications: The “dog beach” is ~30 ft long, and is the same beach the kayaks, SUP boards, and pedal boat are lunched from (and stored). In practice this is fine for playing fetch, but is not enough room for letting your dog run. Individual fire rings are not provided, so if you want a fire cozy up to the communal fire ring, which can get crowded on weekends, hopefully you’re not an introvert. Restrooms and showers are at the far corner of camp, ~1/8 mi away and up a small incline, not the easiest to get to for midnight wake up calls, or those with mobility limitations. FYI re: accessibility: the entire camp past the bathrooms is not firm & stable surface, and the restrooms are very tight with small stalls.

Otherwise the camp was great. We loved the free and easy access to boats. The communal kitchen was a nice convenience, particularly for washing dishes. The bathrooms were always very clean, and having free showers is awesome. The host’s local knowledge was very helpful, and pointed us to the right hot springs for the right day/time/weather. Finally, back to the view. It was great anytime of day, sunrise to sunset, even peeking out when hiding in the tent from the rain and bugs, the view really made the trip.

Camping under Half Dome

This campground is one of my absolute favorites in the valley! It's centrally located near the Merced river, Mist Trail trailhead, and a short walk from Curry village if you need supplies and a fresh shower. HIGHLY RECOMMEND!! Book early :)