OH RIDGE (JUNE LAKE)

Campsite:  OH RIDGE

Geographic Location: JUNE LAKE, CA (INYO NATIONAL FOREST)

Type of Campground: US FOREST SERVICE

Experience Level: GOOD FOR BEGINNERS AND FAMILIES

 

(All ratings are based on a 1-5 system. 1=Horrible 5=Amazing)

Pet Friendly:(5) YUP– PETS ARE VERY WELCOME.WE HAD A LABRADOODLE WITH US! AND WE HAD NO ISSUES WITH THEM ON THE LAKES EITHER.

Family Friendly:(4) IT’S A GREAT OUTDOORS SPOT TO HANG OUT, GO FISHING, SWIMMING, HIKING, OFF-ROADING OR JUST ABOUT ANY FUN FAMILY ACTIVITY.

Cleanliness: (5) IT WAS VERY CLEAN. CLEAN FIRE PITS, CLEAN TABLES, CLEAN CAMPSITES. CAN’T THINK OF ANYTHING WE HAD “DIRTY” ISSUES WITH.

Noise Level: (3) THIS IS A VERY POPULAR PLACE, AND A VERY BIG CAMPGROUND, SO THERE WILL BE PEOPLE NOISE AND PET NOISE. ASIDE FROM OTHER CAMPERS, THE NOISE LEVEL WAS PRETTY MINIMAL SINCE THE CAMPGROUND IS SET IN FAR ENOUGH FROM THE MAIN ROAD.

Restrooms: (4) THE RESTROOMS WERE CLEAN AND THEY HAVE FLUSH TOILETS AND SINKS INSIDE. THERE WERE ALSO BIG TROUGH LIKE SINKS RIGHT OUTSIDE THE RESTROOMS FOR WASHING DISHES OR HANDS. FOR AN AREA WITH BEARS – THIS WAS A VERY NICE AMENITY.

Campsite Space: (3) THIS IS PROBABLY ONE OF THE “BIGGEST” DOWNSIDES -A LOT OF THE SITE SPACES ARE NOT VERY LARGE. WE BARELY HAD ROOM ENOUGH FOR TWO 4-PERSON TENTS. IF YOU NEED SPACE, PICK A SITE ON THE INNER LOOPS – FACING INWARD.

Shade/Sun: (3.5) THERE ARE A LOT OF TREES, BUT THEY DON’T GIVE AS MUCH SPOT SHADE AS EXPECTED. WE BROUGHT AN EZ-UP FOR SHADE AND PROTECTION FROM THE RAIN.

Ground: (4) DIRT – PRETTY FLAT – WITH TREE DEBRIS. NO ISSUE FINDING GOOD FLAT GROUND FOR TENTS.

Bugs/Critters/Wildlife: (4) BEWARE OF BEARS! AND DEER! THIS AREA IS KNOWN FOR LOTS OF WILDLIFE – SOME DANGEROUS, LIKE BEARS (USE YOUR BEAR LOCKERS AND KNOW BEAR SAFETY!) YOU GET TO SEE LOTS OF DEER THOUGH WHICH IS  A BONUS, AS THEY’RE NOT USUALLY DANGEROUS. BUGS IN THIS AREA WERE VERY MINIMAL EXCEPT FOR SMALL WOODSY BUGS (ANTS, MITES, SPIDERS, ETC). SEE THE COOL RED MITE WE FOUND BELOW!

Amenities:

  • FLUSH TOILETS
  • FIRE PITS WITH GRILL
  • WOOD PICNIC TABLES
  • WATER SPIGOTS AND SINKS
  • BEAR LOCKERS
  • MOST GORGEOUS MOUNTAIN VIEWS!
  • FISHING & SWIMMING NEARBY

Comments from the “Chix”

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If you don’t mind the drive (at least for those coming in from the LA area) – this is one of our favorite areas in California to camp! You are right outside Yosemite, right next to more lakes than we can count (including June Lake), there is often snow late in the season nearby, and the views are just amazing. You can’t go wrong, no matter what direction you go in from the campground. OH RIDGE is one of the first campgrounds you come to when you enter into the June Lake area – but there are plenty more if this one is booked. There also great RV Only places very close by that are privately owned – with full hook ups!
We highly recommend to take the short drive into Yosemite National Park, as well as visiting some of the nearby lakes. You can fish with a permit, or just enjoy the view and walk in the streams. Check out Crowley Lake, Gull Lake, Silver Lake, Grant Lake, Tioga Pass (waterfall photo below) and of course, June Lake!
 Pros: If you’re a camper who can just fall in love with gorgeous mountain views, serene lakes and driving/walking through Yosemite – then this is your place. Everywhere you go just makes you want to go “oooohh… aahhhh.” There is no bad view. There is no direction you can head in that won’t make you never want to leave. On top of that, you get snow in cold weather and clear water creeks, lakes, streams and beaches for when it’s warm. You can’t go wrong here!
 Cons: Bears & rain. You have to be very careful in these woodsy areas in the mountains, because wildlife really is a threat. This is why they give you bear lockers and warn you about not keeping food or anything with a human scent in your tent (besides yourself obviously). Only other con is that it’s known to suddenly rain – all times of year – but usually only for brief amounts of time.  If you follow these rules and stay prepared, there really aren’t many cons to anywhere in the June Lake area.
Tips: Be careful of bears! (Can’t stress this one enough… don’t want our fellow campers to be eaten). Use the bear lockers. Use designated sinks and wash areas. In May it was still cold and rainy – and there was still snow in Yosemite – so check the temp before you come! You’ll either need to bring your cold weather / waterproof gear or your summer gear. And bring your fishing equipment if you’re into that!
Nearby attractions to check out:
– ALL the lakes!
– Yosemite!
– Off Roading areas if you own ATVs!

 More fun photos from this trip!

Dorst Creek Campground – Sequoia National Park

Campsite:  DORST CREEK CAMPGROUND

Geographic Location:  SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK

Type of Campground: NATIONAL PARK SERVICE

Experience Level: SOME EXPERIENCE IN BEAR COUNTRY RECOMMENDED- GOOD FOR FAMILIES

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(All ratings are based on a 1-5 system. 1=Horrible 5=Amazing)

Pet Friendly:(3) SORT OF – WHILE THE CAMPGROUND ITSELF IS PET FRIENDLY, DOGS ARE NOT ALLOWED ON TRAILS IN NATIONAL PARKS, SO YOU WOULDN’T BE ABLE TO ENJOY ALL SEQUOIA HAS TO OFFER WITH YOUR POOCH

Family Friendly:(4) SURE IS- KIDS LOVE TO SEE GIANT TREES, RIGHT? THE CAMPGROUND DOESN’T HAVE ANYTHING SPECIAL TO OFFER FOR KIDS, BUT IT IS A NATIONAL PARK WITH LOTS OF FUN SIGHTS TO SEE AND SOME NEARBY CREEKS TO SWIM IN

Cleanliness: (4) IT WAS OKAY. NOT MUCH ELSE TO SAY HERE. NOT THE CLEANEST WE HAVE SEEN BUT VERY ACCEPTABLE.

Noise Level: (4) THERE ARE SOME FAMILIES, BUT OVERALL IT IS NICE AND QUIET AND YOU CAN HEAR NATURE AT NIGHT. THE ONLY REASON IT IS NOT A 5 IS BECAUSE IT IS A PRETTY DENSELY PACKED CAMPGROUND, SO IF YOU HAVE A SPOT CLOSE TO NEIGHBORS YOU CAN PROBABLY  HEAR THEM.

Restrooms: (3.5) RESTROOMS WITH FLUSH TOILETS AND RUNNING WATER. THERE WAS ALSO A SEPARATE ADA ACCESSIBLE RESTROOM. DURING 4TH OF JULY WEEKEND THE RESTROOMS DIDN’T STAY SUPER CLEAN THOUGH…

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Campsite Space: (3) WE GOT LUCKY! WHEN WE BOOKED THERE WERE ONLY 2 SITES LEFT TO PICK FROM, AND I THINK WE GOT ONE OF THE BIGGEST AND MOST PRIVATE SPOTS IN THE CAMPGROUND. THAT BEING SAID, BASED ON SEEING ALL OF THE OTHER HUNDREDS OF SPOTS, MOST SPOTS WERE ON THE SMALLER SIDE AND CLOSE TO NEIGHBORS. IF YOU WANT A GOOD SPOT, LOOK FOR SITE 10.

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CAMPSITE 10 HAD PLENTY OF ROOM FOR OUR 2 TENTS PLUS IT WAS FAR FROM NEIGHBORS

Shade/Sun: (4) CONSIDERING IT IS IN A NATIONAL PARK KNOWN FOR ITS LARGE TREES, THIS CAMPGROUND HAD MORE SHADE TO OFFER THAN MOST CAMPGROUNDS. OF COURSE, IT ALL DEPENDS ON WHICH SPOT YOU PICK THOUGH. OVERALL, GOOD SHADE.

Ground: (3) DIRT & WEEDS – SOME SLOPE, BUT FLAT AREAS FOR TENTS

Bugs/Critters/Wildlife: (3) TYPICAL SIERRAS – THERE CAN BE SOME MOSQUITOES, AND OTHER CREEPY CRAWLERS. THIS IS ALSO PRIME BEAR COUNTRY SO USE THE LOCKERS!  WE ALSO HAD A DEER WONDER THROUGH OUR SITE.

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Amenities:

  • FLUSH TOILETS
  • ADA ACCESSIBLE RESTROOM
  • FIRE PITS WITH GRILL
  • WOODEN PICNIC BENCHES – A LITTLE ON THE WORN SIDE
  • GREAT HIKING TRAIL FROM CAMPGROUND (MUIR GROVE)
  • INSIDE THE NATIONAL PARK!
  • 2 SHUTTLE STOPS INSIDE THE CAMPGROUND TO PICK YOU UP AND TAKE YOU TO ALL THE MAIN ATTRACTIONS IN THE PARK
  • COLLECT YOUR OWN FREE FIRE WOOD (ANYTHING DEAD ON THE GROUND IS FAIR GAME)
  • BEAR LOCKERS
  • WATER SPIGOT
  • BOTTLE RECYCLING
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MUIR GROVE TRAIL HEAD IS IN THE CAMPGROUND. AN AWESOME, FLAT 5 MILE R/T HIKE WITH ONE OF THE BEST SEQUOIA GROVES TO REWARD YOU

Comments from the “Chix”

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Our overall impression was that this was a beautiful campground with its big draw being that is is actually inside the National Park. There are lots of gorgeous trees and plenty of opportunities to see wildlife. There are some nice amenities like the shuttle and flush toilets, however the campground is huge and densely packed. But, a great place to stay in the park. One thing that we really enjoyed was collecting our own firewood. Any dead wood on the ground is allowed to be collected and burned in the fire pits. That meant some great sequoia on pine and it was easy to find. That saved us like $12 and the wood burned nicely.
Pros: The biggest pro is the location, you cannot beat it. Being in the National Park is great and you can leave your car at your campsite and take the shuttle to crowded places like General Sherman. All of the nice amenities were there, like fire pits, picnic tables, bear lockers and flush toilets. The staff were also very friendly and helpful in recommending some great hikes. Speaking of which, the trail head to Muir Grove is in the back of the campground. That was a really nice and rewarding hike. The campground also had nice shade.
Cons: It can get really crowded. We were  here the busiest weekend of the year (4th of July) and the campground was full. It is densely packed and some spots are small or just really close to a lot of neighbors. There are some great spots though, like site 10! Also, the evil mosquitoes got us, so bring bug spray!
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Now that is how you cook an American feast! Celebrating America through campfire food!
Tips: Bring bug spray and use the bear lockers! Seriously, bears are known to go though this campground a lot in late Spring/early Summer. Also, bring a tablecloth for the older wooden bench.
Another fun tip, there are a lot of “walk-up” sites. However, we noticed the parking for them was very close and these spots were mostly pretty nice. Don’t be afraid of these pots as long as you can haul your stuff 100 feet. These sites don’t book as fast, so it might be your opportunity to get to stay here on a  prime weekend.

Link to reserve your spot at Dorst Creek Campground

Stovepipe Wells (Death Valley NP)

This review is a quick summary rather than a full review due to the nature of this campground. This campground is more for last minute trips and not a destination campground. 

Campsite:  STOVEPIPE WILLS CAMPGROUND

Geographic Location:  DESERT – DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK

Type of Campground: NATIONAL PARK SERVICE

 

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Amenities:

  • FLUSH TOILETS
  • DISH WASHING SINK
  • SHARED FIRE PIT/PICNIC AREA 
  • WOODEN PICNIC BENCHES AT A FEW SPOTS
  • POTABLE WATER SPIGOT AT RESTROOM
  • WALKING DISTANCE TO SHOPS, PARK RANGER AND GAS STATION
  • INSIDE THE NATIONAL PARK  
  • MACHINE PAY STATION
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Group/shared fire pit and picnic table. Unfortunately, despite the clear no camping sign, a family decided they would claim it for the night.

Comments from the “Chix”

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Overall, this campground is really meant for last-minute trips to Death Valley, as a last-resort campground when all the others are full. This campground is basically just a gravle parking lot were you can park your RV or plop your tent next to your car. At $12/night it is affordable, and a viable last-resort option. This was fine for us, since we just wanted a chance to see the superbloom. We would not recommend this a first or second or third choice campground inside Death Valley. That being said, for what it was (basically a parking lot) it had some nice amenities. Note: there are a few spots around the outer-rim that do actually have fire pits and picnic tables, but those go fast.
Pros: This campground is large, so its easy to get a spot. Even during the hype of the superbloom, on a holiday weekend (Easter), we were able to get a spot with no problem. There is a convenient pay-station at the entrance to the parking lot …I mean campground. It is affordable and it is inside the National Park, but before the fee area. There is a gas station and a few shops, as well as a ranger station just outside the campground. The thing we were most impressed by, however, were the restrooms. For such a bare-bones campground, they had really nice restrooms. They have flush toilets (the only ones we saw in the park!), they were clean, they were stocked with toilet paper, they had drinking water available and they even had a dish-washing station outside!
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Group/shared fire pit and picnic table. Unfortunately, despite the clear no camping sign, a family decided they would claim it for the night.
Cons: The biggest con, and its a big one, was the dust level. The beautiful sand dunes are just a short distance away, and when the wind picks up, well, excpet everything you own to get covered in dust. When we returned to our tents after a day of exploring the park everything inside had a layer of fine dust on it. We had to shake our sleeping bags and dust off our pillows before being able to sleep again. Also, there is no shade. That is big no-no in the heat of Death Valley. Due to that one fact, this campground would NOT be recommended during hot-temperature days. Then, there is the obvious…that this campground is merely a parking lot. No fire pit, no privacy, no table, just a spot for your car and a tent or two.
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This was it…our beautiful gravel parking spot. The tents were set up right next to the car. We attempted to use our car as shade and a wind block when cooking on our stove in the wind.
Tips: Bring some sort of shade with you if you can. Make sure you have some sort of camping stove or food that doesn’t require a campfire. Get there early to get a coveted spot with fire pit and bench. Or, just come with an open mind and enjoy the beauty of Death Valley.

No Reservations Required Here