We stayed at site 97. It was downhill from the road so it made it a little more private. The bathrooms had showers, flush toilets and running water, and we're pretty clean. We were able to rent a boat for tuning on the lake, which made the trip.
I stayed at a super campground on a forest road turn off. There were a couple of other spots taken, but it was off the beaten path and very quiet. I was able to watch the sunset from some rocks across the road. Very nice for a quiet night of solitude and hearing there wind through the trees while falling asleep.
I didn't actually stay at this campground. It is the parking lot and trailhead for backpacking in Emigrants. Because it is the parking lot, you're not going to get a lot of privacy. I imagine that you would stay here if you got to the TH late and didn't want to head out until the morning. From here there are so many great campsites to backpack to! I stayed at Grouse Lake, Piute Lake and Camp Lake. On the weekends there are quite a few people on the trail. But because there are so many options for where to camp, there were not ever many people at any of the campgrounds I stayed at. The hikes range from easy to difficult, so you can plan backpacking trips for any level. Getting to Crabtree is really easy, it's right off the highway, with 50/50 paved road and well maintained dirt/gravel roads.
The first thing to know about this campground, is that there are only 6 camp sites, and it is all first come first serve, and it's free. I got there on a Thursday to be sure we got a spot, and already 4 of the 6 were taken. Since there is only 6 sites, it was super quiet all the time. I'm not sure which site we had, but it was at the end of the road, and set far back in to the forest. We couldn't see anyone else, and no one could see us. We loved the privacy! Castle Lake was a short drive up the road, and it is a very popular lake. There was tons of people there fishing, hiking, paddling, taking pics…. There are trails to get to Heart Lake, which is a smaller lake, but great views of Mt Shasta from there. It is about a 20 minute drive to get back to town, so if you needed anything it would be easy to just pop down. There was reception at the campground about 80% of the time.
To get to French Meadows you have to take some winding roads along the mountain side. I went during all the fires, and it was very smoky, which made it seem like I was driving out there at dusk. It was a little unnerving on some parts! But once I got to there, it was definitely worth the drive! There was not a lot of people there, which made it seem like a very private campground. The site I stayed was pretty big with lots of options for setting up the tent. It was easy to get to the water from my site. The downside for me, was that my site was by the toilets, and people could not figure how to not slam the door in the middle of the night. The camp host was good, he stopped by each day to do a check in and kept me updated on weather (lightening storms!), fire conditions and possible evacuations.
I stayed in a tent cabin at Lake Alpine. There were beds in the cabin, but the mattress wasn't that comfy. If you're not staying at one of the regular cabins I would say to just get a campsite and stay in your own tent. The area was really pretty. It was a popular campground so there were a lot of people, but the way the cabins were set up it didn't feel crowded. There was a trail that went around the whole lake that didn't have a lot of traffic, which made it nice for getting out and exploring. The lodge had a restaurant with a full bar. There was a small store attached to the lodge, stocked with all the things you may need. You could rent kayaks or paddle boards there as well. The bathroom had pay showers and flush toilets, but it wasn't really that clean.
Pretty standard campground. My site was a short walk to the lake, which was huge! The campsites themselves were fairly large. The sites could accommodate anywhere from 6 people up to 20. The camp host was great. She was very friendly and would stop and chat when she came around. Firewood was available for purchase from the host. This campground is ideal for larger groups of people.
This campground was so awesome! There were not a lot of sites, so it was fairly quiet. All the camp sites were on the creek so you could hear the water in the background. It was a very short walk to the lake. There were lots of friendly deer that hung out at the campground. The hosts were excellent, and came around each evening to check on everything. I was there during fire season and the hosts kept us updated on all pending fire evacuations. There was a great hiking trail that started right behind my site. It took me up over the mountain with a lot of territory to explore.
This was a pretty big campground, and it was pretty full when I got there. But, the campsite I stayed at (45) was tucked far enough back from the loop road and had tons of bushes, so I felt like I was the only one there. There were rv's with larger groups on either side of me, but I couldn't hear a thing. The hiking trail was right behind my site, and I took full advantage of it, wandering through the backcountry. It was short drive to lake, like 5 min. With as many people as there was in the campground I thought there would be lots of people on the lake. Not so! I shared the lake with only a couple of other people. It was an amazing camping trip!