Christopher D.
Bellevue, WA
Joined June 2019
Chill campground outside of Lake Wenatchee

Camped here with a group of friends after making a blind reservation since there is no map or pictures of the campground available on recreation.gov. Our campsite ended up being right next to the road, which would not have been our first choice had we been able to see the map of the campground when booking. The road noise was a little bit annoying but it wasn't too big of an issue, especially at night since less people drive at that time. Many sites are spacious here, but some I noticed have a little less space and less privacy than others. The best sites are along the creek, although you can walk to the water easily from anywhere. The campground is made up of three loops that are not connected together, so if you were trying to buy 2 sites next to each other they could end up being in different loops. The bathrooms were nice and had flush toilets, though no soap was provided. Firewood is available from the camp host at site 31 for $7/bundle (cash only). They even drove around with firewood in their golf cart when they did their round of check-ins. Mosquitos were pretty abundant, so make sure to pack the insect repellent, and put it on immediately. I got bit within 30 seconds of getting out of the car when we arrived. Overall this campground was really relaxed and it didn't feel very crowded compared to Lake Wenatchee down the road.

Great campground at the gateway to North Cascades

Had a really great time camping here. The campground is located right next to the North Cascades NP visitor center, and about 1/2 a mile from a general store with fire wood, ice, and food. We camped in Loop B which is nicely forested. Loop C sustained some damage from a wildfire a few years ago so it has more dead/burnt trees than compared to Loop A and B. Most of the campsites are pretty well spaced out and have a good amount of privacy. Campsites are equipped with bear boxes, a table, fire pit, and a tent pad (or 2, depending on the site). The campground overall was really well maintained and nice clean bathrooms, with water spigots located outside.

There are a few nice nature trails that start in the campground that lead to the Skagit River and the visitor center. Definitely worth the short trek to see the river! Diablo Lake is about a 12 mile drive east of the campground, making this a good base to explore North Cascades and beyond.

Convenient desert camping, but very loud and little privacy

I've never considered Joshua Tree one of the "crown-jewel" national parks, and yet people are now flocking here as if it is. Black Rock is the first campground I have ever stayed in at Joshua Tree, and here are my thoughts. 

I'll start with the good:

If you're looking for Joshua Trees, this is a good place to camp because they are plenty throughout the campground. Many of the other campgrounds in the park actually don't have the trees; This campground has running water and clean bathrooms with flush toilets. This is actually a luxury when camping in Joshua Tree because most of the campgrounds have no water and just vault toilets; This campground has a lot of hiking opportunities without having to drive. There are actually tons of trails that lead directly out of the main camping area, so if you're not in the mood to even leave the campground, you can still experience a lot of nature; There is actually a small visitor/nature center located in the campground. Again without even leaving the campground you can get a lot of information about the park; This campground takes reservations(for peak season), which is also a luxury here because only a few campgrounds take them. And be sure to reserve because this campground fills up fast!! For these reasons, I think that Black Rock makes for a really good overnight/short stay, as you can see a lot in a such a small area. 

Now onto the not so good: 

A lot of the campsites are pretty close together. There were some spots that seem more ideal and secluded, but be prepared for close proximity to neighbors in most sites; Neighbors/clientele can be very noisy, and I mean noisy in a number of different ways. There was loud music that was audible far beyond campsites, but that was not the most annoying part. Over all it seemed like this campground was actually pretty quiet, that is until it was actually quiet hours! . An entire boy scout troop decided to roll in and set up an entire base camp right next to us after 10pm. Needless to say, it was very loud and bright until at least midnight. Good thing we had ear plugs; The campground is very close to the town of Yucca Valley, which some might consider a good thing, but there are neighborhoods literally built right up against the campground, so it doesn't really feel secluded at all here. When you hike up the trails and look back you can see the cityscape/city lights in the not so far distance; The wind can get really crazy. I don't know if it was just a freak weather event, but the wind was crazy both days I camped here, and it got so bad that we tore down our camp in the dark and went home early because there was no way we could have slept with that much noise and freezing wind blowing; It's kind of hard to find your way through the campground because there's no signage indicating which loop is which; The firepits were extremely full of ash and needed to be cleaned out; Lastly while the campground is technically inside the national park, it is not connected to the rest of the main part of the park, so you have to drive out of the campground about 20 minutes through the town to access the main park; Also firewood is not sold on site, so you must bring your own from outside. 

Overall, the campground is fairly decent with nice bathrooms and plenty of trail access. If you are looking for a quick and easy trip to experience nature and a national park, this is a good place to go. But if it's desert solitude you're looking for, you may be disappointed by the dgaf clientele and the proximity to civilization.

Pleasant camping off Hwy 395 and good base to explore the surrounding areas

Camped here as a last resort because everywhere else in the area I wanted to camp was filled up. We used this campground primarily as a base to explore other areas such as Rock Creek and Mammoth. Was here in August and the campground was maybe only half full so it was pretty quiet and felt kind of secluded. There are trees throughout the campground but they're smaller trees that don't always provide the best shade. The sites that are closest to the creek seemed like the best because there were more larger pine trees and you could see and hear the creek a lot more. This campground is pretty close to 395 so we could hear trucks and loud cars at night, so I recommend sites that are farther in at the south end of the campground. Overall the campground is really well maintained and the bathrooms are clean and stocked. I would camp here again if I had to, but it's definitely not my first choice. There just isn't much to see/do without driving for a bit, and this area, while it has its charm, is not as aesthetically pleasing compared to nearby campgrounds. Firewood and provisions are available down the street at Toms Place.

Chill and isolated camping along the Kern River

Camped here a couple times with a college group, once in the fall and once in the fall. The Kern River valley is definitely more of a summer destination, because on both occasions camping here our group was the only group in the campground. There are a few different group sites available, with varying group size limitations. When we camped, only a single porta potty was provided which sort of worked with a smallish group, but if we had more people it would have been an issue. At one point we even ran out of TP and had to drive to the neighboring campground down the road to ask the host there for some more rolls, which she happily provided. Also keep in mind there is no running water at al here. Either bring your own or filter/boil the river water. Camping in the off season was nice because it felt so isolated, and our group had a good time. The campground is right up against the river so you will definitely hear it roaring at night. There are many hikes to do in the valley, especially if you drive north. The town of Kernville is also 10 minutes to the south and has a grocery store, gas station, and even a brewery! Overall this campground was really relaxing, and had some awesome views of the towering peaks above the valley floor. I could definitely recommend this campground for a group trip.

Pricey glamping in an amazing Redwood forest

I have always end up here every time I have visited Big Sur because the public campgrounds in the area are always booked out, but this has to be one of my favorite place that I have ever camped. The setting is 10/10 and is probably one of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring places I could think of pitching a tent. There is something truly special about sleeping underneath a giant redwood forest, and this grove of trees is nothing short of amazing. 

The camping experience aside, Ventana is by far the most expensive campground I have ever stayed in. This is partly due to the fact that it's owned by the luxury Ventana Resort up the hill, and also simply because it's Big Sur where camping is pricey even at the public campgrounds. I get that Big Sur is extremely popular, but there becomes a certain point where the price tag for a simple campsite becomes outrageous. I feel that Ventana is more or less taking advantage of campers in that respect, baking on people willing to pay any price just to be able to camp in Big Sur, especially when every other option is booked. 

Bu with the price tag, you get to camp in a beautiful setting that is very well maintained, that has probably the nicest/cleanest camp bathroom I have ever seen. Seriously, the bathrooms are actually pretty nice and they have showers. (Pro tip: Use the bathrooms in the lower loop because they have individual single rooms with showers where you can be alone. The bathrooms in the upper loops have showers in the shared bathroom space.) Firewood and shower tokens can be purchased from the host, and they sometimes even drive around in golf carts to your site with wood and tokens so you don't even have to leave your site. I will note one slightly frustrating thing about this campground: while you can reserve ahead of time, you can't choose your site specifically. But what you can do is write a comment in the reservation and request a specific area and that has usually worked for me. Some of the campsites are kind of close together with shared parking, but it has never been issue. 

All in all, I loved camping at Ventana/Big Sur. I just wish I didn't have to spend so much to do so.

Nice spot for a weekend getaway in the San Bernardino Mtns

A decent campground within a couple hours of the major population center that is LA. The campsites are pretty well spaced out which is nice for a little more privacy and there is a decent amount of trees throughout the campground. The vault bathrooms aren't the best, but I have seen much worse. Bring a light with you to the bathroom because it was dark even during the day. There really isn't a whole lot to do in the area, but this is good campground if you just want to chill and hangout on a short weekend getaway. Be aware they charge$5 on any second vehicle at your campsite, even though it says you're allowed 2 vehicles.

Chill camping under the redwoods

Really enjoyed camping here. A lot of the campsites are very spaced out so you don't have neighbors right next to you. Campsite 63 was very private, while at the same time really close to the water spigot and not far from the bathrooms. The bathrooms have bright lights at night, so consider that before picking a site that's right next to the bathroom. The bathrooms themselves are very clean and are all individual unisex bathrooms, which is nice for privacy. The campsite had a nice deep fire pit and a food locker to keep your food away from the Jays, Ravens, etc. Only complaint was that our campsite was very slopey with not a lot of flat space, but we made it work okay. Overall this is a great place to camp, with some stunning Redwoods!

Relaxing car camping with amazing views

The campground was really nice, and was located in a densely forested area. Most of the campsites have a lot of privacy and are not very close together. The campsite was very well maintained and raked when we arrived. Each campsite has a picnic table and a fire pit. The campground has only one bathroom located near the center of the campground, so keep that in mind when you're choosing your campsite. The bathrooms were very well maintained, and had hand soap available in the sink area. There also showers in the bathroom. Shower tokens, fire wood and ice, are for sale at the state park office at the main entrance of the park. There are water spigots throughout the campground. There are also trails that lead to a stunning bluff area.

Awesome camping on Olympic Coast

Really loved camping here and being right on the coast. We had a fairly large site that had a decent amount of privacy, which was tucked back in the woods, but we could still hear the ocean. There are many sites that directly overlook the ocean, but I noticed those were much windier than those tucked back in the trees. Also keep in mind many of the sites in the campground are quite small, many of which looked like they could only accommodate a single tent. The site I was in luckily fit 2 tents easily. The campground features flush toilet bathrooms, water spigots, and dish washing areas. Be sure to take the trails that lead down to the beach, and you can even have a bonfire on the beach if you want! Overall this was one of my favorite places to camp!