There are 10 units on a first come - first serve basis. Site has water, vault toilets, and is suitable for tent / trailer. Bear box on site.
Camping around Yosemite can become a little overwhelming and pricey. With the park being one of the most popular for those in California to visit, reservations can be a must for many of the options within the park itself. But if you are willing to make a short drive out of the park on the eastern side toward Mono Lake you will find that options start to become more and more abundant such as this one at Mill Creek.
Mill Creek offers entirely primitive camping perfect for those who are able to be off grid and fully sustainable on their own. The campsites lining Mill Creek offer little more than established stone fire rings at various stops along the Mill Creek.
This area is maintained by the Forest Service but you will find that it is far less occupied than the neighboring Virginia Creek Campsites.
I pulled in late in the afternoon expecting to find it hard to secure a campsite considering these are free but found that in late fall this area was unoccupied. I second guessed staying a the first pull off which was just off the main road in and didn’t appear to have any seclusion whatsoever. Instead opting to stay at the second turn off which took me down a small 30 foot drive toward the creek itself.
My site was well placed in the shaded area nearest to the creek and recessed slightly. The road in was a bit uneven but still able to be driven on in my small car with some larger rocks along the way which had to be maneuvered around.
The area is at about 7000 feet so it does get pretty chilly when the winds are blowing in so the trees around me allowed me to be a little warmer than I would have been in the more exposed roadside camping stop.
At the rear of the camp I had access to my own small bridge which spanned the creek. This creek has a rich history in the area as one of the methods for which the electricity was generated from the flow for neighboring mining communities such as the now ghost town of Bodie. The creek provided a calm background on the evening as I relaxed and rested. No restrooms, no electricity, no water but well worth the stay!!
- Stop by the local community Lee Vining for gas and any supplies you will need. You will be paying a bit more here but this will also save you a lot of headache as this is the only stop available for many miles.
- If staying here check out Mono Lake and Bodie Ghost Town for a bit of the unique history of this area beyond Yosemite you will be very pleased to learn a bit more.
- Bring extra blankets during fall and winter if you stay here. The winds are very strong coming off the mountains.
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. 🐝
The closed Mill Creek day-use area has access to trails through old growth redwoods. This Mill Creek campground has limited access to a few short trails. See notes below.
WARNING: Trestle Loop Trail is not a loop (since 2018 according to CH). The first bridge when hiking clockwise is in excellent condition. The second crossing is at a wide section of creek without any bridge or trail markers. The third crossing is impassible due to a ~6ft abrupt drop. Aug 2019 there was a single laminated sign on the trail floor stating "Stay on trail," an A-frame marker tied to a tree by caution tape over 100ft away from the abrupt drop.
Caution: The campground map dated 2006, rev 2019 is missing important campground details and vaguely marks the path of the Trestle Trail.
Most disappointing, this campground has no old growth redwoods and no immediate hiking access to old growth, rivers, lakes, or beaches and ocean.
The map provided on paper, PDF, and on signs is inaccurate. The good: There are many potable water sources on both north and south loops, not just one as on the map. Some of the bad:
1/ Several camp sites have stairs.
2/ Many camp sites are generously graveled making tent camping less comfortable and difficult to drive stakes.
3/ Site 27 is currently (summer 2019) the end of the Trestle Trail. Expect guests passing through.
4/ Camp sites vary significantly. This could be a positive if documented accurately: Some are stacked with one entrance path deeper into the forest. Some have stairs leading to tent sites above road grade. Some have both such as 5, 6, and 7. Recommendation: Read each site detail on ReserveCalifornia carefully or ask the camp staff at the entrance kiosk.
5/ A few sites are inaccurately placed on the map such as site 20 which is on the main loop, not on the side road.
6/ The map is missing trail details such as another creek crossing and switchbacks on the west side which would be helpful progress indicators.
7/ Especially for RVs and trailers: The campground map makes no mention of the poor entrance road conditions. In addition to a steep grade and tight turns there are several small sections of uneven roadway due to slides. A small section is washed out and only graveled. There are also abrupt speed bumps near the kiosk.
8/ The campground map includes info for some nearby trails, but only the Trestle Trail is indicated on the map. Nearby trails are accessible only from the WEST entrance to the Trestle Trail across from camp site 8.
Huge trees, slugs, and the ocean. Perfect campground. Out first day there we were mesmerized by the elk we saw. So beautiful. Definitely recommend if you love the redwoods.
We camped with Rv,campsite were amazing with fireplace,shower and clean toilet
This campground was a lovely find on the northern coast of California. All the campsites were very private and had a picnic bench, firepit, and bear proof box for storage. Host on site was very kind and helped direct us to a good site, cleaned it on the spot, and supplied us with left over firewood for the night. They had well kept bathrooms with roomy hot showers. The campsite we had was by a creek that lulled us to sleep and added a lovely nature ambiance to drown out rowdy nearby campers. In the morning, as we made breakfast we were greeted by playful chipmunks that ran in and out of our campsite and birds flitted above us in the trees singing. It was quite magical how unbothered they were by us. Felt like a Disney movie.
Can be damp and shady, so-so facilities. Plan in advance for reservations. Group camping and hike/ bike in is located near meadow and will likely see elk grazing nearby. However, excellent location to explore beaches and hiking in the most fantastic redwoods!
After climbing up, up, up along the coast, the Mill Creek access road takes you twisting down into a valley among the trees.
Upon arrival the rangers assigned me a campsite but worked hard to figure out which is the available sites best suit my needs. We settled on a site along an out of the way loop. On a Thursday night mid-September there were many open campsites and the campground was pretty quiet. It was incredible just to wander around the campground and wonder at the trees. Mill Creek is in a second generation forest. The old growth trees had been cut for logging years ago but their awe-inspiring stumps are scattered throughout the campground. The trees that grow today are impressive in their own way.
Roughly 20 minutes from Crescent City, there's relatively quick access to the beach and coastline. Check out the Battery Point Lighthouse which can only be accessed at low tide. The campground has flushing toilets, drinking water, and pay showers. There are also fire pits, picnic tables, and large bear lockers in each campsite. The roads down to the campground and throughout are a little rough, keep an eye out for big dumps and dips. The campground hosts sell firewood and have quarters for the showers and are incredibly friendly. I loved staying at Mill Creek and had a wonderful experience yet, $35 dollars a night feels a little pricey.
Definitely my favorite campground in the redwood area. I will be back!
This camp ground has relatively small tent sites. Bathrooms were adequate. Showers were pay to use which lost it 1 star. However the people were great. And the bear lock boxes were great.