robherr
Simi Valley, CA
Joined September 2018
Great for RVs, not so much for tents

The first thing you should know about Tapo Canyon Park is that for actual tent camping, you will be in either decomposed granite or concrete. The second thing is that there is no cell service and no phone landlines there. 

The park is very nice, and very well maintained. There is a large grass area with an upgraded playground, ample covered picnic area for large groups, and an archery range (private, but open to the public on Saturdays).

The archery range is one of the best in California. There is a members area and the original range is open to the public on Saturdays from 9-1, with a nominal $5 fee.

The campsites are designed for RVs. I have camped here in a tent and there is no way to drive a stake into the ground. The sites are fairly large and well spread out for an RV lot. 

Each site has a fireplace, picnic table, and full hook ups. There is not much shade. The sites are very well maintained daily by the camp host Terri. 

At night you can hear the coyotes calling as they roam the rugged hills, but don't worry it's a very safe park.

I would give the park 4 stars for camping in an RV, 2 stars for tent camping, the facility as a whole is probably a 4.

Now you're getting to the heart of backpacking

One of the great rewards of backpacking longer distances is the fact that the further you get away from the trailhead, the less people you encounter, and the more unspoied your surroundings.

Such it is when you reach Lake Virginia. A fairly flat area, the lake sprawls out in an uneven pattern amidst rocks that protrude from the ground in clumps. The trail itself jumps across these if the water is high, it is a picturesque lake, very lush in it's surroundings.

This was stop three on a 50 mile backpacking trip, where we were able to refuel our water and renew our spirits in one of the greatest lakes in the area. We also renewed our energy for the rest of the hike.

V-mart location is an area for a dispersed campsite, but the whole idea of dispersed campsites is to let areas that are overused regrow. So if it looks overused spread out into other areas and allow re-growth. Keeping in mind to try to camp on durable surfaces, rather than on top of growing plants.

Tranquil dispersed campsite along the PCT

This was a second stop along a 50 mile backpacking trip with my son when he was 11.

This is a broad area along the Pacific Crest Trail at the Deer Creek crossing. Fresh water to filter (always filter stream water), so you can resupply.

Even in August there are occasional thunderstorms and sudden downpours in the Sierras, regardless of the weather forecast. Be prepared just in case.

Dispersed camping, spread out to minimize your impact on the area.

Beautiful and serene, this is the beginning of the deeper backcountry of the Sierras, so press on!

For a free campsite in Southwest Colorado, it's not bad

Hubbard Mesa area is an off highway vehicle area that is managed by the Bureau of Land Management.

There's not much in this area except a small little campsite right off the road. I didn't explore all the rest of the HOV cuz I wasn't in a four-wheeler, but it was perfect for an overnight stay on a motorcycle trip to Sturgis.

The Road in is dirt and there are no durable paved surfaces anywhere, so I would imagine if it had rained this would be a muddy mess.

The hidden gem of the Santa Monica Mountains

Sage Ranch Park is a hidden gem nestled within the mountains between Simi Valley and Chatsworth. Managed by a conservancy organization, it is open for day use ($5 parking) and reserveable for camping.

There is a hiking loop of about 3 miles that encircles the park, with great views all around. Here you will also see a glimpse of the former Rocketdyne plant, which was the site of the worst nuclear disaster in US history.

My son did an eagle scout service project here, and we've camped here many times.

It's a very peaceful park, well maintained, and clean. Let's keep it that way!

Windy and high, Chorma Camp is a quick stop

Chorma Camp is the first spot you will encounter on the hike south through Cherry Creek. Situated high on a bluff it gets lots of wind, and with very little shelter around to break it, if you camp here you will get the brunt of it.

There are no amenities at any of the campsites in this area, they are all primitive dispersed camp areas.

Continuing on past Chorma if you can make it to Maple it is better campsite down in the valley.

Primative campsite close to socal snow

Chula Vista is a short hike from the parking lot (1/4 mile), but it is quite a way off of the 5 up more than one windy road. Mt. Pinos stands at almost 9,000 feet, one of the highest in the area, so if you are subject to altitude sickness be aware.

The camp area itself is semi dispersed, there are fire pits and picnic tables as well as an older pit toilet.

It has been one of our favorite places to Snow Camp every January, as it is relatively close and even during the drought there was usually a little bit of snow at the top. There are many places to make snow runs down the slopes, build snow caves, etc.

A wilderness permit may be required, the area is first come first serve, and there is no water nor trash so pack it in pack it out.

If you enter the parking lot at night be aware that it is a popular place for stargazing, so enter with your headlights dimmed and be respectful and cautious.

Fine camping at a great lake

Campsites are fairly segregated from each other, at least where I was at. Nice and shady especially compared to socal campsites. There is a lot of wildlife in the area, and apparently very used to people. The deer came right into camp and ate food from our hands.

The campsite is obviously right there for the lake, whether you go on the lake or not, the campground has its own merits.

Lopez lake is a great lake, larger and fairly calm, and surrounded by trees. Great for waterskiing and wakeboarding.

Great for night sky viewing and rock exploring in Joshua Tree

If you want to get great views of the night sky without the City Light pollution that we are all so used to, head to Joshua Tree and pick any of the campsites. Both Indian Cove and jumbo rocks campsites have plenty of large Rock outcroppings 2 search and explore. The campsites are well laid out with plenty of room. Some are more set for large RVs. The facilities in this Campground are nice.

Another local easy hike to great waterfalls

This is another fairly easy hike through what would not be considered a typical hike. It starts off going through Thomas Aquinas College, winding through horse property and oil fields, before finally opening up into Santa Paula Canyon. The trail has changed many times over the years because of the nature of flooding through the canyon, but follow the signs through the middle of the canyon and the main trail will head up the mountain to the right, where you will pass through Big Cone Campsite, or you can follow the canyon and climb straight up to Cross Camp.

Getting to Cross Camp you will pass by many of the great water holes that make this area known as the "punch bowls". Depending on weather and water conditions there are some nice water rock slides, and a few pools you can jump from the cliffs into.

Please pack out your trash. Because this hike is local and easy, there are many party people that frequent the area and leave their trash. Also, because of the local crowd there has been a lot of graffiti over the years.

Tragic area where campers died. But I still stayed here

There's not a lot a Horseshoe Lake. It's a small 16 acre pond with a sordid history of leaking CO2 and smothering sleepers into eternal slumber. The trees are dead in a ring around the lake, where tragically a cross country skiier was killed when he encountered a nearly 70% concentration. Don't let that scare you though, he was in an ice cave in the winter. You'll be fine.

If you want solitude, you'll find it here. The lake is tranquil, kayakers like it, and the 1 mile loop around the lake is nice.

First come first serve on the campsites.

Local easy hike to great waterfalls

This is a fairly easy hike through what would not be considered a typical hike. It starts off going through Thomas Aquinas College, winding through horse property and oil fields, before finally opening up into Santa Paula Canyon. The trail has changed many times over the years because of the nature of flooding through the canyon, but follow the signs through the middle of the canyon and the main trail will head up the mountain to the right.

Atop the hill on the saddle, nestled among the trees is the primitive Big Cone campsite. It is one of my favorite spots simply because it is close and when my kids were young it was a fairly easy hike to get to, and there's a nice reward when you get there.

From Big Cone Camp you can easily reach the waterfalls and pools that make this area known as the "punch bowls". Depending on weather and water conditions there are some nice water rock slides, and a few pools you can jump from the cliffs into.

Please pack out your trash. Because this hike is local and easy, there are many party people that frequent the area and leave their trash.

Backpackers delight at 4th Recess Lake

At just above 10,000 feet, 4th Recess Lake is quite a climb to get to. The rewards for tackling the ardous hike is the crisp mountain air, the icy cold water (even in the hottest summer), and the glorious night sky above.

This is a dispersed backpackers camping area, pack everything in and pack everything out.

One of the awesome sights is the 'Alpine Glow' on the mountains as the sun sets, a sheer orange bathing the rocky slopes.

Easy access to Avalon, hiking, and Wrigley Botanical Garden

Hermit Gulch is in a little mountainous valley among Catalina's chapparrel covered slopes.

Pros: the loacion is great, about a mile from Avalon and all of the snorkeling spots, and even closer to Wrigley Botanical Garden (which is a must-see while you're there). The campsite has showers, toilets, and shade (in spots). The sites are ok sized for tents. Wildlife comes through the campsite regularly.

Cons: the pricing is per person rather than per site. Wildlife comes through the campsite regularly (7am about 100 crows fly down the valley squaking and cawing).

Overall I would stay here again though.

Good sized campsites on a small sized lake

Piru is one of the smaller lakes in the area, but it's location to the surrounding communities makes it one of the closest lakes to get to.

The campsites themselves are of ample size, with plenty of room between neighbors.

The lake can be a bit choppy mid morning to afternoon, we tried canoeing on it. Although it was fun it was a workout getting back to the shore.

Desert camping at its finest

Very flat and open, if you like desert camping this might be the place for you. If you're into dirt bike riding there is a wide field of view. If you are into Rockets this is a great place because in some areas there's no vegetation whatsoever.

Note that it does get windy at night so if you camp outside be prepared to be pelted by small rocks and sand all night.

Reservations available at recreation.gov

Excellent backpack to a primative campsite

There are 8 walk-in campsites and 1 group site, all sites have a picnic table with bear box attached, and room for 1 tent. No fires are permitted. There is one pit toilet, and therein is the reason for the drop to 3 stars, the pit has not been emptied, it is full to the top.

Each of the sites in and of themselves is great. Very secluded from each other.

The La Jolla trail is currently closed, you must take the Ray Miller trail up to the overlook trail, it adds a few miles to the hike, but well worth the views of the ocean.

Sunny, larger sites

Threse are group sites, and they are ample in space and amenities. There are four group sites available and they are currently 2018 renovating some of the sites.

Flush toilets and water spigots throughout the campsites. The road within the campsites is not very good.

Sunny and mountainous

Higher up on the bluff ( or moraine, which is a rock outcropping) this campsite is more sunny and higher elevation from the river. It has later sites which are probably more suited to larger RVs. The asphalt has been updated more recently.

There are flush toilets and water spigots spread throughout the campsites.

This camp area is the farthest from the rangers station and the general store.

Cool, close to the river

Sheep Creek Campground is close to the river and a tributary of it runs very close to the North End. It is about half a mile from the General Store and ranger station.

Flush toilets and water spigots are spread throughout the campsites.

Fire rings with a grill on top, and a picnic table are included in each site.