From redwood forests, ocean bluffs and towering mountains, camping in Northern California offers diverse outdoor experiences. National forests and parks are spread throughout the landscape, and campsites within them range from modern sites with busy summer tourist seasons to secluded sites that are located along hiking trails. These campsites, such as those in the shadows of Mount Shasta or on the Pacific Coast, offer panoramic views of the surrounding environment.
Redwood National Park
Redwood National Park is set among ancient forests on the Northern California coast. Two backcountry sites are further from the busy area of the park than any others. In the Redwood Creek area of the park, Elam Creek campground features three campsites and is set near a natural water source. The campground is 7 miles from the Orick Rodeo Grounds, where the trail head is located. Also in the Redwood Creek area, 14 miles from the trail head at Orick, is 44-Camp. This campground has four campsites but is not near a water source.
Lassen Volcanic National Park
Lassen Volcanic National Park is a landscape of boiling mud filled from the volcanic forces below. Though Juniper Lake is accessible via car or truck, the rough dirt road leading to the campground prevents RVs, trailers and buses from reaching the secluded lakeside facility. Tent campers will find a quiet environment on the lakeshore with only 18 sites to share with others, vault toilets and a swimming area. Camping at Juniper Lake is on a first-come, first-served basis.
Yosemite National Park
Little Yosemite Valley campground is the only campground in Yosemite National Park that is hike-in only. The park’s strict permit system regulates the number of campers who are permitted to stay there each night. This system keeps the camp, which is used as a overnight stop for backpackers on the way to Half Dome, from overcrowding. The camp features a toilet, potable water and bear-proof food lockers.
From you campsite at Castle Lake Campground you can take advantage of the remote Castle Lake, just a 1/4-mile walk through a stand of conifers in the Shasta National Forest. The primitive campground has six sites, a vault toilet and no potable water. Large vehicles and trailers will have a difficult time getting to the campground, making it an attractive retreat for tent campers seeking a secluded and quiet camping experience.
Mount Shasta is a 14,162-foot-high dormant volcano. While hiking in the area, you can set up your base camp at Panther Meadows campground. Panther Meadows is the highest campground in the Shasta National Forest, set just below the timberline at 7,500 feet. The campground’s 10 sites are a short walk from the parking area. A vault toilet is on site, but no potable water is provided. The remote distance of Panther Meadows from towns and other campgrounds and its high elevation and rough terrain keep it a secluded and quiet place to set up camp.
- National Park Service: Redwood National Park – Backcountry: Designated Campsites
- National Park Service: Lassen Volcanic National Park – Campgrounds
- National Park Service: Yosemite National Park – Half Dome and Little Yosemite Valley
- U.S. Forest Service: Shasta-Trinity National Forest – Castle Lake Campground
- U.S. Forest Service: Shasta-Trinity National Forest – Panther Meadow Campground