We camped at Jackass Meadows Campground with my dad, kids & grandkids in July 2016. It was described as beautiful, great swimming/fishing, store for shopping, road ok for trailers up to 25 feet long.
The road into the actual campground was 18 miles, one lane on most of it, blind corners, huge boulders coming out towards the road, minimal pullouts, rocky at points, big ruts on roadway….that 18 miles took us 2 hours to drive! I’d never attempt to drive a trailer over that road.
The campground was pretty with big campsites but very dusty, huge mosquitoes, minimal water stations, vault toilets, and the water in the San Joaquin River was super shallow more like a creek. This surprised us because a couple weeks prior to going, the campground had been flooded (something it does almost every year apparently) and had to dry out before people could camp. The fishing was not good due to lack of water & fish. The kids could put feet in the water & splash around but to “swim”, we had to drive out another narrow road several miles to Florence Lake that was shallow at swim spot, walk through dirt to get to the “beach” & enjoy cougar tracks around the edge. I guess you could rent boats or take the ferry across to the other side, but there was no way to do that with a large group & we were kinda afraid to know the costs.
The store was extremely tiny & even though it had extras like bug repellent ($10 a can) & marshmallows ($4 a bag), it wasn’t a convenient place to go at all. We had to buy ice every day due to high heat and each bag or block was $5! We also had to buy extra water because it wasn’t good out of the faucets…each gallon was $4! As you can imagine, none of us expected this extra cost. There was no other store available unless we wanted to drive the 2 hours back towards town & that store wasn’t much larger from what we saw on the way in.
I will say that the trees were beautiful & walking to the big granite area on the trail by camp was pretty cool. It’s in the John Muir Wilderness, so this was something even the kids enjoyed.
Our camphost was not very polite & was rushing us to gather cash to pay for the extra car in our site, even though it had a handicap placard in it. He didn’t stay on top of extremely loud campers that were playing music late into the night & being extra noisy once they knew it bothered us. Mind you, we had a bunch of kids that could get loud, but once 10pm hit (quiet time), everyone was quieter around the campfire & kids were put to bed. At midnight we were all trying to sleep & my son had to yell at them to shut up because they kept waking our kids up. This was after we’d askrd them politely to please keep it down.
We had paid for 6 nights of camping and left in the morning after night 4. Everyone was tired of the dirt, being bitten by mosquitoes & everything costing so much to keep hydrated & food cold. All in all, we made the best of it & some sweet memories with kids but would never recommend Jackass Meadows for a family campground or go again.