East Fork Campground is off Rock Creek road, 3 miles below Rock Creek Lake, and about 4 miles below the Mosquito Flat trail head, from which you can access the beautiful Little Lakes Valley, and beyond into the high Sierra backcountry.
It is a huge campground with 133 sites, and stretches for a mile or so along Rock Creek. Some sites are in tall pines with good cover, and some are in scrubby aspens, or open meadow with very little cover. Some sites are well spaced, and some are right on top of each other. A few sites are right on the creek. About half of the sites are on a reservation system, and about half are first-come first-served. In my opinion, most of the best sites are not reservable. All sites have a sturdy old-school picnic table, and large bear box. Some sites are suitable for a small RV, but most don't have the space for large vehicles. The team of camp hosts were all very nice and were doing a great job keeping things clean and organized. One of them shared with me that the campground was designed in the 40's, before large RV's existed. Today's rolling condos just don't fit. (Another plus in my book)
We camped here for 10 days in late June - early July, basically the peak camping window in the Sierras and the campground was only full on July 3 & 4. Otherwise it was about 1/2 full. Totally possible to get a site without reserving ahead.
We drove in on a Thursday morning, with no reservations, after checking out other nearby campgrounds (Rock Creek Lake, Upper and Lower Pine Grove). Open sites were plentiful, and we happened to snag what is, I think, the best site in the whole place. Huge, right on the creek, and no close neighbors, yet not terribly far from the restrooms. SCORE! The sound of the rushing creek muffled all undesirable campground sounds.
Bathroom facilities offer flush toilets and running water, a very nice surprise.
This is a great base camp from which to explore the Eastern Sierras and Owens River Valley.
This is a large campground with many many sites, but most are well spaced so you don't feel too crowded. The campground is maintained well. We stayed in the north-west part of the campground, and our site was classified as a "walk-in site." We did have to park about 20 yards away, but this was totally worth it to have a site literally right on the lake. During our time here, there was a massive ladybug migration which was really cool. Huntington Lake is beautiful and quiet - motorized boats are not allowed. there are a couple of stores, and a couple of marinas on the lake, so it's easy to pick up supplies and ice if needed. On the south end there is a little cafe that sometimes hosts live music as well.
Close to Happy Isles and Mirror Lake/Meadow, this campground is convenient for day hikers. it's one of the better spots in Yosemite Valley, somewhat off the beaten path, so to speak. Access to the Merced river is also close-by, so you can cool off after a long day of hiking. It's no secret that this is a high-use high-traffic area, but braving the crowds is worth it to spend a few days and nights under the Yosemite sky.
If you've never camped in Joshua Tree, this is a wonderful spot to do it. It's a great place to explore, climb and learn about the desert. If you're looking for quiet and solitude, you won't find that here unless you visit mid-week in the off-season. Otherwise, the campground is teeming with people.
Summerdale is a little gem right outside Yosemite. The sites are well spaced and private, unlike what you will find in the park. My family and I have visited Summerdale about 10 times so far, and it is one of our faves.
Fishing: Can be GREAT! But at times, has been really bad. We've often caught our limit each day (trout) and snagged some crawfish to boot. But, we've also had a couple of experiences when we didn't get a single bite.
The Creek is lovely - good for swimming wading, and has several slow shallow spots where you can put your chair in and enjoy the afternoon. I have seen beavers in the creek south of the campground.
Facilities: Pit toilets, trash service and piped water. All good quality and well maintained. The campground is CLEAN. I've never seen a cleaner campground.
HWY 41 noise: Yes, its there fairly consistently from about 8am-6pm. Passenger cars are not terribly noticeable, but larger vehicles and noisy vehicles are more so. Nights are punctuated by an occasional Harley accelerating up the hill, and an occasional hot rod blowing by. But most times, the creek makes enough noise that it drowns out all but the loudest highway noise.
This campground is a very short drive from Pasadena, CA, and in fact there are some rustic homes adjacent to the campground. Parking is about 150 yards away, down a hill, so be prepared to haul your gear. The campground is situated at a popular trailhead, and there is lots of good hiking nearby. But, this is also a high-traffic area on spring and summer weekends. A lovely creek runs south-west along the edge of the campground.
There are approximately 4-6 sites, they are somewhat haphazardly spaced on a relatively flat area with good shade. There is little or no cover between sites. There is one restroom on-site which also serves the day-hikers. It is not maintained well, and often smells bad.
Millard would be a great spot to camp for the night if you don't have the time to drive out of the city.