Page 2 of 5 FirstFirst 1234 ... LastLast
Results 11 to 20 of 47

Thread: Camping suggestions on the west coast or western states?

  1. #11
    Tin Can's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    14,984

    Re: Camping suggestions on the west coast or western states?

    I camp daily in my back yard

    there is nowhere to go right now
    wear mask or NOT

    is ???

  2. #12
    Drew Wiley
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    SF Bay area, CA
    Posts
    14,576

    Re: Camping suggestions on the west coast or western states?

    My own backyard is already booked up with campers - kittens laying around everywhere. But that's about to change in a few minutes when I start mowing. One of the reasons formal campsites are so heavily booked this summer in certain areas of the West is that the Forest Service itself, along with the NPS, has instituted a greater degree of enforced spacing between spots, for sake of both public safety, and to economize and protect their own spotty staffing. Everyone is affected. If I was undertaking a real road trip, rather than just a few hours of driving to the mountains, I'd skip any kind of formal developed camping option, just like I always do. Just be self-contained, with plenty of extra food and water, a decent tent, and warm sleeping bags. In higher parts of the West, winter-like storms can arrive anytime of year, and a number of desert areas are subject to flash flooding in late summer. But beautiful casual campsites abound once you've gotten some distance between you and an Interstate Hwy or major city. Right now, So Cal (LA), and Arizona are the viral hot spots of the SW. The urban NW is also experiencing a lot of issues. And what are ordinarily popular little tourist towns are now resentful of outsiders showing up and forcing locals to avoid shopping for groceries or whatever out of fear. These smaller venues easily get overwhelmed. And once that starts to get out of control here on the central CA coast at least, authorities start asking for ID's, and formally ask people from out of the area to promptly leave. At one point, hefty fines were levied, when asking didn't seem to work.

  3. #13

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    San Joaquin Valley, California
    Posts
    9,093

    Re: Camping suggestions on the west coast or western states?

    Dispersed car camp is the way to go if not back packing. Most spurs and passes off of 395 have good spots. Maybe inquire at the Ranger Station in Bridgeport.
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  4. #14
    Drew Wiley
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    SF Bay area, CA
    Posts
    14,576

    Re: Camping suggestions on the west coast or western states?

    No walk-ins allowed at any Ranger Station, John. The websites for specific National Forests list the few current contact phone numbers, but one should not expect information above and beyond basic road conditions, restrictions, and status of formal campsites. Some spur roads have all the nice spots squatted on for months in a row by teardrop trailers and motorhomes. Others have their own little overlooked side roads with all kinds of wonderful spots. Looking for them at night can be frustrating unless one has previous experience camping there. Sonora and Monitor passes have an abundance of lovely casual car camping spots. 4WD allows additional options. Mosquito season will end relatively early in the coming month. It's a fairly dry year. Forest fire smoke conditions are always unpredictable. (John already knows all this - I'm stating it for sake of non-locals.) The hills east of Bridgeport get little traffic, but some areas are in sage and can be dusty. I'm not going to give away any of my relatively secret favorite locations. Scenery-wise, you can't go wrong. It's all around you, everywhere you look along the 395 corridor. Just have a basic road map and head uphill any number of opportunities.

  5. #15

    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Somewhere between SoCal & Norway
    Posts
    263

    Re: Camping suggestions on the west coast or western states?

    Thanks for all the replies so far!

    I think John's suggestion of driving up 365 makes a lot of sense, we can find spots on the way, or do day trips to more popular spots, unless there are a bunch of people there in which case we can simply turn around and go somewhere else.

    We'll either be camping out of a car (tent, stove, sleeping bags, etc) or I might rent one of those little camper vans that has everything you need to stay in it, except for a toilet/shower. I don't have 4wd, unfortunately. I'm a REI member and can rent most of what we need cheaply, but a small camper van might make more senses and provide more freedom if we have to just pull off the side of the road somewhere.

    Dispersed car/camping facility I think would be safest, and I'll note and remember that Tin Can's and Drew's backyards are full

    Again, I'm thinking of heading into the mountains/forests/coasts away from other people. If there are a bunch of people there, we go somewhere else.

    Greg - point taken, but we plan to be far away from other people. The only one at risk will be myself. We'll wait for about a week after he gets home before going anywhere, and I might go ahead and schedule a test for him a few days after he gets back, just to be sure.

    Drew - that seems to be my impression as well, things are changing from week to week and we simply have to stay informed. We were originally planning on going to Alaska (getting tested before leaving, if you're healthy on entry you can enjoy your trip, if you have covid-19 it's a 14-day self quarantine), but they've seen a spike in cases and clamped down hard on visitors. Fair enough, I would have advised them to do the same in the same situation.

    Since we're in CA, I was planning on staying in-state, but then saw how Zion/Grand Canyon looked doable from a mileage perspective. Seems like a nice triangle, LA - Zion - Big Sur. Probably we will stay in CA. I've been checking a number of State Parks and they're open, but all full. Not a single space available.

    I plan on us bringing most if not all of our own food, so the only real contact with civilization will be to use a bathroom, possibly a shower. Wear a mask and wash our hands?

    Keep the suggestions coming, these are great! Thank you all for the ideas and tips!

  6. #16
    Drew Wiley
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    SF Bay area, CA
    Posts
    14,576

    Re: Camping suggestions on the west coast or western states?

    Zion, Grand Can, and Four Corners area are far more visitable in the Fall. Far less people, far less heat, much better color. The 395 corridor will itself be hot. But since it's right at the foot of the east side of the Sierra, which increases in elevation the further south you go, until you run into the Mojave Desert south of Lone Pine, you just have to drive uphill. But since that's where the cooler campsites are, you'll have some competition for campsite spaces. Once you're south of the Virginia Lakes area, most higher camping areas are formally restricted by reservation. But there is almost no restriction on day hiking. Other than Little Lakes Valley and the Mt Whitney trail, you're not going to have a lot of company. Some, so keep a mask handy if you pass in close proximity. Ordinarily I just pull off the trail a little ways and let others pass. Take a few days to car camp at high altitude and walk around, so that when you start more serious day hikes, you'll be acclimated. And one more point that can genuinely be a life and death decision even for a casual day hike in the mountains. Always, always, always have a rain parka and warm sweater in your daypack. The weather can change remarkably fast at high altitude, any time of year. It can be 70 degrees under an unblemished blue sky, and twenty minutes later black and throwing lightning all over the place, or even snowing. Not exaggerating. I've seen it happen just like that hundreds of times. It's almost predictable in Sierra late summer afternoons. But with a little common sense, and staying off high ridges or bare spots when the lightning begins, it's wonderful side show I look forward to every year, and can involve some spectacular cloud activity. If seeking shelter around timberline, just look around you. If the scattered pines and junipers show burn scars, well, maybe not the best place to stand around! ... Then on the opposite side of Owens Valley you have the White Mtns with a road running along the crest to the Bristlecone Pine Forest, mostly unpaved, but decently graded. There is a large campground called Grandview just off the still paved portion, itself unpaved and waterless, but with ample no-reservation sites and indeed a grand panoramic view of the highest portion of the Sierra Crest across the Owens Valley. This is actually the highest of the Great Basin ranges, so a very different personality from the high Sierras, but nearby and quite photogenic in its own right.

  7. #17

    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    SF Bay Area
    Posts
    2,456

    Re: Camping suggestions on the west coast or western states?

    My suggestion would be to stay within California, heading as far north as possible. For example, consider the area around Lassen Volcanic National Park. There are considerations other than the virus though; presently, backcountry camping is closed due to black bears, and Manzanita Lake closed due to otter danger. However, the general area does have much to explore, so maybe take a look.

    395, mentioned by John, has been a favorite of mine since the 1950's. But the days of pulling off at nightfall and setting up camp are gone. I'm sure with a little research you'll have a fine trip, with many stories to share. Check back!

  8. #18
    Drew Wiley
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    SF Bay area, CA
    Posts
    14,576

    Re: Camping suggestions on the west coast or western states?

    That NE corner of the State has almost no viral problems so far, and has plenty to see. It's also adjacent to the even quieter Oregon desert, but is hotter than one might expect in summer. I rarely visit there because the volcanic dust in many areas is high in silica, and causes me nasal irritation and eventually nosebleeds. Walking on it is also a lot more work than solid Sierra granite, unless you're around Mammoth Mtn where pumice dust abounds too. The Lassen area is popular with fishermen, obviously including otters! Getting there quick, up Hwy 5 in summer, is an oven ordeal in itself. One could take Hwy 395 all the way north, but it's an infamously dangerous highway north of Reno, with lots of truck traffic. I've never even checked out the Warner Wilderness above Goose Lake, but once again, my nose doesn't like the dust and itchy blooming rabbitbrush that comes with the territory. If one does cross into the southern Oregon Desert around Burns, quite a long drive, there is the remarkable Lake Malheur (of recent infamy when the Bundy clan attempted to claim squatters rights over it), and even more remarkable long Steen's Mountain, where you drive along the summit ridge and look down on stunning canyons carved in the only three places glaciers existed in the Great Basin (Nevada's Ruby Mtns and Wheeler Pk being the other two). It's nice up there, but everything below will be hot; toward the south it even resembles looking down upon Death Valley. My nephew sometimes takes Geology grad students up there to study the unique terrain. But it's big wide-open 8x10 country in my opinion, rather than roll film fodder. Worth seeing, regardless. Few people even know it exists.
    Last edited by Drew Wiley; 16-Jul-2020 at 10:43.

  9. #19

    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Washington State
    Posts
    232

    Re: Camping suggestions on the west coast or western states?

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	2319655A-A27B-472A-9D1E-202D59EFEBCB.jpg 
Views:	14 
Size:	29.9 KB 
ID:	205902

    I don’t want this to hijack this thread, but it’s so closely related that it hardly warrants a thread of its own. I have a little pandemic road trip coming up across the western states and I’m just beginning to look for places to park.

    My mother, who lives in Oklahoma, has a 2013 Class-C Lazy Daze RV that she wants me to sell for her on the West Coast (she’s convinced she’ll get a better price). My 22 year-old son is moving from Oklahoma to Washington State. The confluence of these two events has conjured this road trip from Oklahoma to Washington State in this RV with my son following in his car. We depart Oklahoma on August 8 and we’re planning to take nine or ten days to make the journey. I’m not sure yet where we’re going to stop- I’m just beginning to sketch that out- but the RV parks on the attached picture show the route that we plan to follow anyway. It will take us through Santa Fe, across Arizona, up to Ely, NV so we can cross Highway 50 (one of my favorites) to Reno, and then on up 395 into Oregon, then across to the Oregon coast, and then home to Bellingham. I’m only going to bring medium format cameras (Hasselblad, Sputnik stereoscopic, Holga stereoscopic, Diana).

    We’re not going to bother trying to go off into the wilderness or off the grid or anything. We’re going to stay in RV parks or at least places that allow us to park without breaking any laws. I’m just looking forward to hanging around with him in the campgrounds in the evenings, eating meals together and talking. We’ll have time to stay a few nights anywhere we want along the way and do some exploring on foot or in his car. The RV will allow us to be self-contained and keep our contact down to gas stations and grocery stores, all masked and gloved up. We have no hard deadline for our arrival.

    I’ve driven through all of the lower 48 states and I’ve been on most all the roads on this route, but I’m certainly no expert on these areas. If anyone with local knowledge has any thoughts, tips, or insights, especially in this crazy time, I’d appreciate it.

    Cameron Cornell
    Washington State
    analogportraiture.com

  10. #20

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    San Joaquin Valley, California
    Posts
    9,093

    Re: Camping suggestions on the west coast or western states?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cameron Cornell View Post
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	2319655A-A27B-472A-9D1E-202D59EFEBCB.jpg 
Views:	14 
Size:	29.9 KB 
ID:	205902

    I dont want this to hijack this thread, but its so closely related that it hardly warrants a thread of its own. I have a little pandemic road trip coming up across the western states and Im just beginning to look for places to park.

    My mother, who lives in Oklahoma, has a 2013 Class-C Lazy Daze RV that she wants me to sell for her on the West Coast (shes convinced shell get a better price). My 22 year-old son is moving from Oklahoma to Washington State. The confluence of these two events has conjured this road trip from Oklahoma to Washington State in this RV with my son following in his car. We depart Oklahoma on August 8 and were planning to take nine or ten days to make the journey. Im not sure yet where were going to stop- Im just beginning to sketch that out- but the RV parks on the attached picture show the route that we plan to follow anyway. It will take us through Santa Fe, across Arizona, up to Ely, NV so we can cross Highway 50 (one of my favorites) to Reno, and then on up 395 into Oregon, then across to the Oregon coast, and then home to Bellingham. Im only going to bring medium format cameras (Hasselblad, Sputnik stereoscopic, Holga stereoscopic, Diana).

    Were not going to bother trying to go off into the wilderness or off the grid or anything. Were going to stay in RV parks or at least places that allow us to park without breaking any laws. Im just looking forward to hanging around with him in the campgrounds in the evenings, eating meals together and talking. Well have time to stay a few nights anywhere we want along the way and do some exploring on foot or in his car. The RV will allow us to be self-contained and keep our contact down to gas stations and grocery stores, all masked and gloved up. We have no hard deadline for our arrival.

    Ive driven through all of the lower 48 states and Ive been on most all the roads on this route, but Im certainly no expert on these areas. If anyone with local knowledge has any thoughts, tips, or insights, especially in this crazy time, Id appreciate it.

    Cameron Cornell
    Washington State
    analogportraiture.com
    IIRC Walmart allows RV'ers to overnight. It might depend on the store manager though. If you have a Costco card, they generally have the best gas prices---Costco has a directory of their stores with pumps.

    I don't know what's open in Reno, but the Santa Fe (next door to Harrah's) serves the best Picon Punches I've ever had
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

Similar Threads

  1. Hi from the west coast of Sweden
    By papac in forum Introductions
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 22-Oct-2012, 14:01
  2. Hello From Connecticut via West Coast!
    By julie nightingale in forum Introductions
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 5-Mar-2009, 12:42
  3. West Coast LF Gathering?
    By jetcode in forum Groups & Meetings
    Replies: 24
    Last Post: 7-Aug-2008, 19:15
  4. West Coast Photography
    By Merg Ross in forum Announcements
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 26-Feb-2006, 12:40

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •