Camping: Large groups to aware of
Campgrounds located closest to interstate or state highways usually fill up fast & can attract all types of campers. For the seclusion, head a few miles off the main roads & enjoy the silence. You will need some good topo maps. Be on the look out for some of these listed below! They could simply make or break your enjoyable experience in nature.
the real animals to be frightened of…
Good Ole Boys
Big Time RVers
to each their own… but,
Beware of these kind of campers
These are the young (teens / college) kids that will stay up late nights with their music cranked, hootin’ & hollarin’ until the wee hours. Copious amounts of alcohol, always. Drunk, belligerent & loud. The ranger is never around to scold them. And they choose small campgrounds, without a campground host. Very disturbing bunch & could care less what you think. Usually found at the easily accessed campgrounds, near urban centers.
Good Ole Boys
Not your occasional yuppie with his new sport utility vehicle. This type of modern day cowboy owns big American made truck. maybe with a lift kit & monster tires. Love to shoot their guns off (&/or camp near a shooting range). Classic rock music & Jack Daniels are the favorites. Where bright clothing & try to stay out of firing range.
These are the all-terrain-vehicle nuts who love getting dusty, dirty & don’t mind an occasional broken bone or two. Their constant high pitched engine noises are always screaming in the background. At night, they can get loud, but usually crash early due to an exhausting day of riding. Noisy power generators are popular. Usually found at the campgrounds near SRVA State Park (State Recreational Vehicle Area) or any OHV Areas.
If you are lucky, you’ll only hear the base thumping over the running trickle of the nearby creek. Their low-rider car bottomed out 3 times before reaching this destination. Hanging with the home-boys at the campsite most of the time & talking loudly. Will build large fires in the middle of the day for no apparent reason & possibly play pyromaniac. Usually found at the easily accessed campgrounds near large cities.
A Family Affair
The huge family that brings all the bicycles, toys & neighbor’s children along with them. Plenty of food, BBQ smells & even a canopy or screen room. Loud children are very apparent, not to mention the screaming stressed out mom. This group is sure to awake you at the crack of dawn, with mom a bitching & the kids riding their bicycles thru YOUR camp site. Please note: Mexican families can be very noisy w/ loud music and chainsaws, both late into the midnight hour.
Big Time RVers
These older people will bring everything including the kitchen sink, microwave, TV & satellite dish. Noisy power generators could be annoying. The bright green Astro turf & lawn chairs are all in place right outside the motor home doorway. A small fluffy pooch is sure to be an annoying accessory. Sometimes they blend with the desert OHV campers w/ their toy boxes and bon fires.
Some yahoos that pull into camp at 10pm & make a huge ruckus. Right when you think they’re quieting down, on comes some Zepplin tunes. You would assume that these are just boys that never grew up & we’ve met some that are 50+ years old. The women rarely stay up as late as their partners, but can ‘out belch’ them on occasion. Some have expensive toys & sometimes haul a separate trailer just for that crap.
Houseless, not Homeless
Over the past decade millions of people lost their homes to foreclosure; and most recently thousands of Californians lost their homes due to super destructive wildfires.
Across Northern Cal, you will find plenty folks living in limbo in their camper trailers.
Many people decide to live on the road in motorhome campers, while searching for a new home, or part time work, bouncing around – free wheelin – where ever they feel comfortable. Now a days, large encampments of full time campers exist within the deserts of the Southwest.
Snowbirds, burners, rainbows, drop-outs, tourists, nudists, hot spring soakers, and off-roaders —– YEP, all mingling out in nature, all winter long, from California to New Mexico. Motorhomes, teardrops, Airstreams, camper vans, truck campers, backpackers. Free camping (without the fees) is always a big concern for these nomads. Several annual ‘gathering’ events exist near Quartzsite, AZ
If you come across a friendly traveler, say hi and make sure they have enough food and water. If they appear unfriendly, they may want you to leave. Be cautious about approaching strangers, especially in the desert. Seen way too many damn movies.
Party Camp Towns
These camp regions below are known for their frequent rowdy campers and partying kids. If it is Spring Break, a 3 day weekend or anytime around a holiday, you can be sure the party will be here. Local pubs, busy restaurants, bon fires, motorcycles, quads, music all night.
Not seeking this kinda camping? ….means you’ll need to stay away.
San Felipe, Baja California
Ensenada, Baja California
Glamis Desert OHV
Lake Havasu, Arizona
Laughlin, Colorado River
Randsburg ghost town
Panamint Valley @ Ballarat
Jawbone Canyon, Mojave
Kern River, Kernville
Pismo Beach, California
Mammoth Mountain, Eastern Sierra
Belden Town, North Fork of Feather River
Caution: Big Time Grow Area
California cannabis growers & land owners are often well armed. They do not want to see any hikers or lost tourists hanging around their ‘private property’ boundary. KEEP OUT: Pay close attention to signs, or you could hear gun shots aimed in your very direction. Now that legalization has come, this list may soon get longer.
Regions listed below often have large grow operations (GROW-OP).
[Keep away and stay alive]
Honeydew, Emerald Triangle – Mendocino Co.
(Petrolia, Matole, Shelter Cove, Lost Coast)
Hayfork, Trinity Pines – Trinity Co.
Weaverville, Junction City – Trinity Co.
Igo & Ono, W of Redding – Shasta Co.
Oak Run, E of Redding – Shasta Co.
Berry Creek, Lake Oroville – Butte Co.
North San Juan, N Gold Country – Nevada Co.
Santa Cruz Mountains – Santa Cruz Co.
Nipton, California NV border – San Berdu Co.
the real cautions
Ahh, the great outdoors. The thought conjures up different images for different people. Whether you picture warm desert breezes, cold mountain streams or simply lounging about in your campsite without a care in the world, we’re all thinking the same thing – relaxation in a nature paradise!
Still, most folks don’t think about the flip side of paradise; getting lost, inclement weather, wild fires, sprained ankles, poison oak, snakebites, etc. Whether you are headed out to desolate, snow-covered peaks or your local hiking trail, you’ve got to be prepared for the unexpected.
Would you like to be one up on the masses by reading some very simple tips? Or, would you prefer to continue stumbling blindly through the woods and fields, drinking contaminated water, picking up ticks, rolling around in poison oak and wrestling your dinner from a 500-pound black bear?
Check our Fire Safety page & for God’s sake, when the signs are posted “no campfires” it means no fires!!!
People who accidentally start destructive wildfires inside California (even by mistake) are often sentenced to over a decade in jail. Be very aware of all sparks, cigarettes, & any open flames.
Pack a good map of the area and obtain a recent weather forecast.
Be alert for signage or, as is often the case, lack thereof.
Bring along a first aid kit and know what’s in it!
Know what poison oak and sumac look like and make all attempts to AVOID it!
Bring plenty of water. NEVER trust natural water sources. Use Tincture of Iodine or some sort of water filter system. (Trust me on this one!)
When in ‘bear areas’ and developed campgrounds, NEVER leave food in tents or the car, when bear box containers are provided. Community bear boxes are common throughout the Sierra Nevada and some NorCal mountains. Backpackers often use bear canisters. Use bear canisters and devise a sling method to hang your food. The bears will get your food if you do not take precautions, believe me! See more info on CAMPING with BEARS in California.
Flash floods, in river basins and most deserts in California. NEVER build camp or pitch your tent in dry riverbeds or along arroyos when there is a chance of rain (unless your tent comes equipped with oars or paddles). Breaking camp at midnight in 40 mph winds is never an easy task, and will likely have you headed home in the wee hours.
Check the forecast as much as possible when traveling. California is a big state with micro-climates and radical weather, so go out prepared for rain or snow if it is winter, spring or autumn (especially in higher elevation); Summers are generally hot and sweltering in California, over the past decade.
If you feel the absolute need to bring a firearm with you. Please obey all federal and local laws and regulations regarding said firearm. Most State Parks & National Park have strict rules for weapons.