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THE BEST CAMPING NEAR
Stanislaus National Forest, CALIFORNIA
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Most Recent Stanislaus National Forest Camping Reviews
Beautiful springs

Great little hotsprings in a relatively accessible spot. They are situated right by the creek and I loved how quiet and unused the area is. The canyon can get chilly (esp. in winter months) just get from your campfire to the springs to your tent quickly.

Backpacking to half dome

One of the nicest backpacking campgrounds. Nice bathrooms and right next to a clean blue river perfect for swimming in! Surrounded by granite rocks in one of the most wonderful place Yosemite

No one around

Rolled in with no reservations and not a clue as to camp for the night in my van. All campgrounds were closed but I found a little spot to park for the night right on the lake. Set up camp, did some fishing and cooked up dinner. My best friend and I fished this lake 30 years ago…Good memories

glamping but with none of the perks

This place is good for giving non-campers a little taste of living in a canvas tent. It's not great if you are into camping and want to spend time in nature. The tent cabins are really close together so you def hear your neighbors domestic disputes, snoring etc. Walking around the area in the evening it is pretty magical feeling. +1 to whoever said to bring earplugs. Overall it does feel like a special place, and if I didn't love camping this would seem pretty sweet. Pizza place is always slammed do good for people watching. Support your local dirtbags and offer the climbers your leftovers :)

First to Review
Really nice group of campgrounds

Beautiful and serene campground with a good size creek running through it. Bear boxes and toilets available. Great spot with lots of privacy.

Ok spot

Not a great campsite, but not the worst. Vault toilet, bear boxes, but little cover from weather. Have to pay attention due to the elevation

Beautiful view of the lake!

Great spot with great views, but it is a little exposed and right off the hwy. Toilet and bear boxes available. If the weather is good, this is an excellent campground!

Best Campground For Kids!

We love camping but we had never camped with our kids. We decided to go to Calaveras Big Trees and camp with our two kids plus our friends kids which in total equaled seven. We thought we were crazy to go into the woods with a ton of kids. It was actually really fun and we enjoyed every little bit of it.

The first day was fun and the kids ran around all over the place. We did learn that they can't jump off the walking bridge because there is a small marsh and they were soaked up to their ankles. But it was a great learning experience for them. Explore but we a little cautious.

That first night was also very cold and we discovered we didn't bring enough warm blankets. We did have to go to town and buy an extra warm blanket. After the trip we made sure to buy some extra warm sleeping bags too. We made sure to rent two big spots so we can have enough room for everyone. The kids played volleyball at one site and we sat nearby so we can play games. It was nice to have the kids right next door but far enough so they can explore. They even built their own tee pee out of logs and covered it in pine cones. It made me think of Lord of the Flies as they worked together and sometimes fought. They settled everything and worked it out in the end.

Overall it was a great trip and we all enjoyed our walk through the Calaveras Big Trees. It was so fun and exciting. Our kids loved adventuring on their own with a bit of supervision here and there from one or more of the parents. Overall it was an amazing trip. We had a lot of fun.

Large franchise campground close to Yosemite Nat'l Park

We are members of Thousand Trails so our review may be a little different than someone who is a non-member. Here's why. The majority of the campground (the nicer parts next to the river) is for members only. The smaller, tighter section is for non-members.

WiFi: Yes they have it. It is only available in the 'lounge area'. It's VERY slow. Instead I went east by 4 miles to a hotel to have a beer and connect for work.

Sites: Those by the river are packed close together and more shaded. We didn't care to be packed like sardines, so we opted for one of the middle sites. Hardly anyone was in these sites so it was quiet and spacious. No problem with full-hookups.

Events:It's a resort so they have something going on every weekend. While we were there it was a family movie and Octoberfest (beer and bratwurst for $5). Then smores by the fire with music. It was nice.

Proximity: Although it is very close to the park boundary, it is still an hour to the valley. We couldn't get a spot in the valley so we accepted this as the way it was. No biggie. There was also a bus that took you into the valley in the morning and back in the afternoon for a reasonable price.

Service: The staff was friendly and patient with all the folks that came in at 7pm begging/demanding for a site.

Overall, I would go back.

Amazing campground with hiking

We were here during the off season in early March, it was cold, but the campsite was comfortable with all the leaves on the ground. The bathrooms were fine, nothing spectacular. The real draw for this campground are the hiking trails that crisscross nearby and that lead you to the Chawse Native American cultural/historical area. They have rebuilt Native American style dwellings and have placards to explain how the native Americans would grind the acorns to make a meal for their food. All in all a great spot to stop.

A campground centrally located in South Lake Tahoe

I was surprised when I heard of this campground. A city run campground across the street from the lake in the middle of town? Sure! We had a site in one of the two loops that had full hook-ups, and our site backed up to US 50. I was prepared for a lot of road noise and even strangers wandering through our camp but neither was a nuisance. Sites were spacious. We loved seeing the lake from our campsite and hitting the bike trail right outside the campground. There was also a nice city pool, library, and playground in walking distance.

Serene and very beautiful!

No running water but the campground has great views of the lake! There are 2 site that are tucked away further down the road that are really secluded if that is your thing. Took a day trip to Alpine lake to swim. Beware of the elevation - didn't realize how far up we were!

nothin' better than yosemite

Yosemite Creek Campground is a cute little campground on the north-ish end of the park. All the sites are rented out on a first come first serve basis, so it's really a matter of luck if you can find a spot. The campground is strictly for tent campers, no RV sites. The sites are pretty nice! The one I had was not the largest, but it was flat and secluded which I loved. They all seemed to have picnic tables and a bear box for your food.

I think the sites also close down during the fall and winter seasons, so be sure to check on that if you're planning a trip.

In terms of the park, you'll never run out of cool things to do. Yosemite is one of my favorite places to rock climb. The routes are interesting and you gotta love that California granite. If you can hike half dome, DO IT. Also check out Yosemite Falls and Mono Pass.

Everyone needs to visit yosemite at some point in their life. It's amazing!

Everything you need

As disc golfers, of course we love camping here, having 3 courses to choose from. But there is something for everyone in the family here, there is amazing fishing, boating and swimming. The campsites are mostly level with a shared water source every site or two. Restrooms are basic and clean, no shower. There were plenty of campsites to choose from this weekend, but in summer we’ve needed reservations. The wildlife is RIGHT THERE! We saw a tarantula near the tee box on 2. I woke up with 4 deer casually strolling through our campsite, a huge group of turkeys were cruising around the whole weekend.

Great all around campground for RVers and tent camping

One of the largest and nicest campground for RVers and Tent campers combined. Helpful staff, and park rangers on site. Activities planned each day. Close walk to Lake Tahoe and restaurants

Excellent lake access, beautiful, spacious campgrounds

Lots of space to spread out under the trees, easy lake access from all campgrounds, great for boating if that’s what you’re into, could be a drawback if you’re a long distance swimmer as there are lots of boats.

Way overpriced, dirty and full of people that have never camped...

***I start off by saying that the staff I did interact with were all very nice and it have a great mountaineering school with excellent staff and a nice camp store.

Also, this campground is definitely in a great location within the valley. However, for the cost you'd think they could do a lot more maintenance to these "tents". Similarly, not sure why they aren't all heated as they include a simple cheap heater that they could easily put in all of them.

When the campground is making about ~70K per night on the weekend you'd think they could easily afford to maintain the grounds. The tents are filthy, the bathrooms have graffiti in the stalls and there's no area for picnicking, fires, seating, etc. (things that you always get included at a standard campsite). My personal tent is way cleaner than these "tents" as it appears that they haven't cleaned out the dirt in quite some time…They simply (hopefully) just come in and change the sheets in between people and that seems to be about it.

Also, I can understand not having people cook/eat in their tents, but they should then provide a picnic area so you don't have to bus/drive to a different area of the park or eat all your meals in the restaurant (Another way they're making money) if you'd like to bring in some of your own food or sit around a fire and have a S'more. They do have a lounge with a fire place, so why can't they have an outdoor fire pit so you can actually be closer to nature?

Stayed October 11-14th 2018 like another reviewer and couldn't believe how disrespectful so many of the other "campers" were during the quiet hours. People (not just the kids) were not only running through and disrespecting people personal space/belonging but they were up and extremely loud late into the night (at least 3am). Although isn't part of the reason to come to this incredible National park to get up early and explore the park? May people seemed to treat this "campground" as a party spot. People in true campgrounds are much more respectful of the others around them.

While, I'll definitely be back to Yosemite, I won't be staying here again.

Great location and amenities

Easy to access, even for larger rigs. We stayed in 39 foot 5th wheel. Plenty of pull thru spots, full hookups, regularly spaced bathroom/showers. Nice store for basic needs, nice laundry room.

Great place right outside the park

Hot showers, no burn-ban, and they have yurts! Cell connection is not a thing there.

Great place to stay!

This campground is great to stay at if you are trying to explore Yosemite! The campground had a fun bonfire for everyone and included free s'mores!

Crowded and lots of Bear activity

This campground is great if you would like crowds and lots of bear activity. The views are gorgeous, the campgrounds are fairly clean and have access to many amenities such as small stores restaurants and call the touristy stuff that Yosemite Valley has to offer. This would be a great place to take your family if you are not big on roughing it. It is good for younger children and a good first exposure to the outdoors. Also, if you eat at the Hotel restaurant the squirrels get inside and run around :-).

Excellent first resupply on southbound JMT

This is a great campground to use as a stopping point on the JMT. If you were hiking the traditional route, it is a nice point to meet family or friends, have a hamburger, and get geared up for the next leg of the trip.

Beautiful campsites and respectful campers

Our camp site was near the back of the campground and we were tucked away in the trees. The site was beautiful and had a nice spot to park, a bear locker, and picnic table. All the staff members were very friendly and helpful. We really enjoyed staying here.

Crane Flat - Yosemite National Park

In the summer of 2015, my (now) boyfriend and I decided to plan a very last-minute hike up Half Dome. We finalized the decision to go about six weeks before our trip in the third week of September, therefore had missed the window of opportunity to reserve a valley campsite by about 5 months. The only available campgrounds in Yosemite were the ones outside the valley, and we decided to try out Crane Flat campground.

The Crane Flat Campground is about 19 miles outside Yosemite Valley off highway 120 - it takes around 35 minutes or so to travel by car from Yosemite Valley to Crane Flat. Crane Flat is a nice and peaceful campground surrounded by trees, and at the time was at less than half capacity. While camping in Yosemite Valley would have been more convenient for us on the day of our Half Dome hike, we enjoyed the peace and quiet of the nearly empty Crane Flat campground.

The campsites in Crane Flat have bear bins, fire rings, and picnic tables. The toilets were plumbed but there are no showers available. I imagine Crane Flat fills up during the peak seasons, but the sites seem to be more spread out than the sites in the Valley. If you want to avoid camping in the Valley, Crane Flat or Wawona campgrounds are both great options!

We spent our first day doing easy hikes around the valley floor, swimming in the Merced River, and keeping our fingers crossed that we would win the lottery to hike Half Dome. We did, so we climbed it the next day.

We were exhausted the day after our Half Dome hike, so we decided not to drive to the Valley. We swam in Tenaya Lake which was still FREEZING in September, but it felt good as it was hot out. We drove past the Big Oak Flat Entrance and out to Groveland, where we had lunch and drinks at the Iron Door Saloon. The Iron Door Saloon is a family friendly restaurant and bar that is apparently the oldest continuously operating saloon in California. It’s a little tourist-trappy, but I’ve enjoyed it the couple times I’ve been there, and they have good burgers and drinks for cheap.

CAUTION: be extremely aware of bears while camping in Yosemite National Park! Each campsite in Crane Flat has a bear bin - USE YOUR BEAR BIN! Bears are known to break into cars to snack from coolers or any food or toiletries are left out. The bear bins are quite large, so coolers do fit inside - bears can still smell food in coolers inside of cars, and apparently recognize a cooler when they peak into your car windows. If you have to leave your cooler in the car, it is suggested that you cover it up with towels or gear to hide it from site. On the same note, do not leave any of your toiletries or snacks inside the tent with you. In general it seems that the rangers seem to have good control over the bears that have been tagged and are constantly monitored, but not all bears are tagged, and even the tagged bears will make their way into Yosemite campgrounds. Be smart and safe in bear country!

CAMPSITE SPECS

Fees: $26/night peak ($18/night non-peak)

Plumbed Toilets: Yes

Drinking Water: Yes

Showers: No

Picnic Table: Yes

Firepit: Yes

Cooking Grate: Yes

Shade: Yes

Cell Service: No

Animal Bins/Food lockers: Yes

Trash: Yes

So you got skunked in the park campgrounds

You may as well stay close, right? Well… Whip out your wallet and empty on it on the check-in desk of this thousand trails (or whatever) park. For the price of the presidential penthouse suite at the top of the Reno Nugget, I was granted access to a dusty, undefined pad of petrified dirt on the outskirts of this RV and yurt focused campground on which to erect my elaborate two-pole tent. It was a little noisy and occupied by an effervescent mixture of post-millenial biker kids and scowling unibrow backpack bros in Arctic-ready shelters.

Here's the thing: the staff was super friendly, the store was well stocked, and where the holy everloving fuckelse was I gonna go? From tent teardown to nat'l park access was probably all of 15 minutes. Equally 100% bilked and satisfied - aka "thank you sir, may I have another!?"

Pleasant surprise

Campsite doesn’t have the most beautiful views of trees and mountains as other nearby Yosemite campgrounds but the nearby pools from the stream provides shade and a refreshing dip.

Surrounded by pristine wilderness and High Sierra hiking

CAMPGROUND REVIEW: Coldwater Campground, Mammoth Lakes, CA

A beautiful 77 site campground nestled in at over 9,000 ft in the Inyo National Forest of the Eastern Sierras.

Amenities: large sites, modern restrooms spaced throughout the camp (two unisex doors, includes one sink with running cold water, a flush toilet, and metal mirror), water spigots near the latrines.

Each site has a large picnic table, a fire pit with sliding cook grate, a double door bear cabinet and small paved parking pad.

We chose site 66, as it sprawled to s mountain stream, nestled in shaded pines, had a couple flat tent spots and was relatively close to restrooms and water.

No electric, no showers (nearby Twin Lakes Campground Store rents shower time at $7.00…one person per shower.

Coldwater Campground is a short drive from Mammoth Lakes, which has all you should need or desire.

The trails from the back of Coldwater Campground go up, up, up…but offer spectacular mountain views, glacier lakes, picturesque alpine meadows, waterfalls and cascades. A short drive and bus ride away are trails to Iconic Rainbow Falls and Devil’s Postpile, among other ridiculously beautiful mountain trails!

Mountain bike trails are innumerable…and the paved multi-use trails are stellar and travel for miles. https://www.visitmammoth.com/blogs/top-5-xc-mountain-bike-trails-near-mammoth-lakes

There are rentals nearby for every sportsman. This is the active person’s Mecca! Also close-by is Mammoth Ski area that offers the downhill mountain bikers absolute Nirvana, during summer months.

https://www.mammothmountain.com/summer/bike-park-overview/mammoth-bike-park/mammoth-bike-park

At $24 a night, this seems to be the standard rate for this region…and that without showers.

Note: Even during hot summer months, it gets chilly at night. August 6, it was 50 degrees at night. A 40 degree dip from the cloudless daytime temps.

It did not take long to fall in love with the Eastern Sierra Nevadas. I would not hesitate to camp here again, and am already planning a return visit.

Need 4 wheel drive or clearance!

Difficult to get to, but worth the drive! Free camping with large drive-in sites on River bank. Fire pit, tables, bear box and vault toilets only. Very peaceful campground with little traffic!

Antiquated/dangerous

Childrens center with dangerous lawm equipment and tools out back

Nice location, but has a few major issues

We got a last minute cancelled site at the Fallen Leaf Campground, and thought we’d truly lucked out. We stayed at site 87 which is nestled among towering native pine trees on the South end of the campground and one of the few sites which doesn’t have neighbors on all sides. The sites have the standard standing BBQ's and fire rings at all sites (but we couldn’t utilize them because of the fire ban), old picnic tables and various amounts of space for RV’s/cars and the tried and true bear box. In this campground you NEED to utilize the bear boxes. They have signs everywhere about the mass amount of bear activity and how there is a mother and her 2 cubs which have been terrorizing the campground for some time this season (2018). Again, you need to keep everything (food, toiletries, etc.) in the bear box at all times. The sites are reservable, and on top of the $35 (nonelectric) per site there is a $7 fee for a second vehicle, Yurts go for $86 which do have power and a nonrefundable $10 service fee…. While the campground allows dogs, they aren’t allowed in the Yurts.

There’s lots of bear proof dumpsters around the campground, lots of potable water in strategic spots and a number of decent restrooms, and it was nice that at some of them they provided hot (pay) showers (at $1 per 3 minutes) and while the ADA has some control the standard one has no control over the heat or pressure its simply on or off. Also, the restrooms have no soap, paper towels, or hand dryers, etc. Which was a little disappointing for the cost.

My biggest disappointment in the setup of the campground has to do with the bears and cleaning your dishes. There is no dish-washing area in the entire ~200 site, ~14 bathroom campground. They specifically ask that you don’t wash your dishes in the sinks or at the water spigots as they don’t want any food particles going down the drains. So, when I asked about disposing of the dish water they said to just toss it at the base of a tree, as it’s dry and the trees would appreciate it. This doesn’t help keep the bears away… While we scrapped and collected every bit of food waste we could and tossed it into the dumpsters, ff you’re just tossing food scrap-soaked water at the base of the trees the bears are going to come for the smell… I’ve stayed at other sites in bear country which have setups for disposing of the waste water and food scraps to detract bears and Fallen Leaf definitely is lacking and this is possibly part of the reason they’re having such an issue with bears.

While, our site (87) would probably normally be a great location with the Fallen Leaf Lake being the only thing behind you and no neighbors on at least 2 of your sides, we happened to somehow book the same weekend that a corporate event was taking over the vast majority of the campground with almost 200 people….

While, not entirely the campgrounds fault it was a little disruptive to have this mass number of people come directly next to us in site 88 for their meals as they’d decided to make that site the meal prep site for breakfast (they started prep at 5:30 am) and dinner (we actually had to ask the drunk group to stop screaming at midnight) these were both well outside the “quiet hours” and definitely surpassed the “6 people per site” rule.

Otherwise this campground is in a great location to see the area as it’s only approximately one-quarter mile north of Fallen Leaf Lake. The trail from the campground was only 3 sites over from us. The Taylor Creek Visitor Center is directly across Highway 89 and is a great location to talk to the Rangers about other potential hikes in the area. They also have interpretive programs, guided walks on the Rainbow Trail and to the Stream Profile Chamber (which was closed because someone decided to break it. Although it should be repaired now… end of September 2018). Also, nearby Baldwin Beaches or Pope Beach, which cost $10, or you can go to the Tallac Historic Site with tours and events at its historic buildings and grounds and the free (dog friendly) Kiva beach which is exactly the same as the other pay access beaches….

There’s also a really nice paved bike trail that runs 3 miles along Highway 89 and can be used to access all of the above. You have access to excellent day hiking and backpacking in Desolation Wilderness via the Glen Alpine or Mt. Tallac trailheads which are also nearby.