However – Spring and Autumn are much shorter, as rapid swings in rain and drought (weather related events) often dominate the West Coast region.
And by the way, Earthquake Season is any time of year.
Camping Season can be all year long in California, where we often have mild winters, sometimes without much precipitation.
Southern California has camping and hiking all the time, in every area. Deserts are a favorite camp destination in the winter months, usually December thru March. Find more info on Desert Camping. See also, a page on Winter Camping.
The Central Coast and Central Valley regions often have campgrounds available and open year-round. Northern California and the Sierra Nevada mountains get most of the real wet weather, between November and April, so campgrounds usually close (for half the year) depending on weather conditions.
Often the higher elevations of California (5000’+) can only be accessed by vehicle during summer months. Deep snowpack means paved roads are usually closed for the majority of the year (Nov-May) and sometimes, during a ‘good’ winter, the main Sierra highway routes do not open up to public access until June or July. Read more on Sierra Road Conditions.
You’ll often hear city folks or gay guys exclaim ” Geesh. I look like hell” – which is usually followed by, “but I am having such a good time this weekend”.
Yep, I hear ya sister. Who cares what you look like! As long as you are enjoying nature & breathing fresh air, that’s all that matters. Bonding with the Earth is something most of us all crave, at one level or another. We’re here to help make that experience better. Soul searching solo camp-out, group camping at a campground w/ reservations or just a weekend fishing in a remote wilderness, via backpack.
be bear aware
blisters – feet (see below)
breath & teeth
dry eyes & irritation
dry skin & bug bites
The vision of a typical “Mountain Man” has changed drastically in the last several decades. Lumbersexual, anyone?Pioneer homesteaders, Trappers, Hunters, Fishermen are rare, mostly found in mountain regions, like Sierra Nevada or Northern California. Chainsaws and all.
Grizzly Adams – big, rugged guy with long hair, un-shaven, dry skin & maybe even white cracked lips. Now-a-days it’s all about the comfort, convenience and healthy choices. The city-life and polished look will not be practical, nor last very long outside in the elements.
Media can glorify outdoor recreation, and feature extreme examples of super fit people, or once-in-a-lifetme adventures. It misleads the general public into a ‘Barbie style vision’ of what back country, wilderness & camping will be like.
Mainstream news about camping and hiking is often BAD news of river drownings, lost hikers, bad accidents and avalanches. Rarely will they focus on the positives of enjoying the outdoors. Remember, THEY want you indoors, glued to the tube and sucking up all that advertising!
UNLESS YOUR FAMILY CAMPED while growing up, most of us get “into the outdoors” with little to no education on the wild. The Wilderness: areas without electricity, spotty cell phone coverage, and no medical facilities. There is a lot to learn, if you want to actually enjoy yourself outdoors, be well fed, comfortable, get good sleep – and not get lost.
Orienteering (using a real compass) and topographic map reading are skills worth exploring. Campfires and cooking over the fire may interest you, if you plan to spend large amounts of time outdoors.
BATHING outdoors? When a cold creek is not readily available, then search for piped water and a spigot. Or pack your own solar shower, designed for campers in mind. Only certain campgrounds have showers available and many will require coins (quarters) to operate.
The topic of ‘outdoor hygiene’ rarely, if ever, comes up in camping conversations. This is what we’re here for. To answer all them embarrassing questions you never had the nerve to ask.
We’ve got the remedies for some physical discomforts many experience while enjoying life outdoors. In the last several years, with new products surfacing daily, there is no excuse not to be comfortable out in the wild. Much of this technique is simply being informed or packing well. Anyone can take advantage of enjoying the mother nature… comfortably & prepared.
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Choose a Gender (if this is impossible task, then maybe camping isn’t a good fit for ya)
Blisters on feet is usually due to friction, heat and moisture. Sweat makes the pore of your skin open up and expand. That along with hot temperatures, tight shoes or hiking boots and mileage, means you must stop and take more breaks.
Shoe/boot laces should be snug, but not too tight.
Take breaks and remove your shoes/boots – once per hour if needed. Pace yourself; know your limits on hiking distances. Plan to be setting a camp, or back at the car before dark.
Dipping your feet into a cold mountain stream is quite refreshing and can add pleasure to your day. Refilling water jugs while you’re at it. Dry feet thoroughly before putting socks back on. Remember the wilderness goal is not always to reach the destination, but to have a great time outdoors. A rewarding experience, but worn out. When feet hurt or become blistered, the fun becomes physical pain.
Do not hike miles in sport sandals or flips flops. You can ruin your arches and injure your feet, especially on granite mountain trails. Sandals are great around water, lounging at camp or walking to the outhouse, but consider wearing good shoes if you plan to walk or hike any significant distance.
New footwear is notorious for creating blisters. Best to ‘break in’ your new shoes or boots on local trails, close to home. Wear them to work, wear them around town – so your foot can fit the boot, well before you try to “hike” in them.
Buying cheap hiking boots may have you swearing out on the trail, so bring backup shoes, just in case. While we’ve found top brand name (expensive) leather hiking boots failing faster than anticipated, we like the abundant shoe options now – trail runners, trekking boots and snow boots.
Backpackers and avid day hikers like to carry this thin, soft fabric. A sticker side w/ mole skin on one side. You might carry it for years, before needing it. Nice to have, cheap, thin and lightweight.
Clean and dry area around the blister.
With scissors, cut a piece of moleskin larger than your blister. *
Fold moleskin in half, adhesive side down.
Using blister as a reference; cut a semi-circle out of the center of the folded end of the moleskin. Result should be a square piece of moleskin with a hole in the center.
Remove adhesive backing and place over your blister, aligning your blister with the hole you made. The circle should completely surround blister without touching its edges.
You may need to double up if the blister is big. Mole foam is also available.
* Pre-cut sizes to avoid hiking w/ scissors.
TWO PAIR O SOCKS
Thinner nylon pair of sock worn against your skin can help with friction. Wear a thick or thin pair of cotton or wool socks, as the outside layer. Most of the friction will now be in between these sock layers.
Athlete’s foot, blisters, sun burn, foot powders, bee sting or injury; there are numerous cautions to consider. Feet are the wheels for your body. They get you to and from; feet are very important for your survival. Taking care of them is key, especially when outdoors.
How to Avoid Tourist Crowds when Traveling California
We are sure you’ll agree: Too much of life is spent sitting in traffic jams and waiting in line. Check out the traffic page. This page is created as a warning – CALIFORNIA IS CROWDED.
“Hell is other people.” – Jean-Paul Sartre
Bus loads of senior citizens travel in luxury motor-coaches to casinos; Airport shuttles bring sightseers to local attractions on full day excursions; Mountain bikers head to the trailheads by way of a personal automobile, a sport utility or pickup truck; 4x4s caravan to their meeting spot, in route to the trail destination. People on their daily commute to and from work, school, play. California has loads of traffic, tourism and terrain, with a massive freeway system, plus some awesome state highways. Popular destinations tend to get crowded at certain times of the year.
California Road Trips & Peak Travel Seasons
California population may be ever growing, but they’re not building any more Yosemite Parks. The migratory path westward started w/ the historic gold rush – the trend has literally lasted over 200 years!
Make sure you plan your trip & book your lodging or campgrounds well in advance. In this west coast world of tourism, 3-6 months is not unheard of. The more popular the locale, the more people want that perfect weather month and the further in advance you should reserve. Remember a good portion of these mountains destinations are closed half the year for winter snow.
There’s nothing worse than planning a trip, only to fight traffic on your way outta town, stand in long lines & see way too many tourists running about. Enjoying nature shouldn’t have to include thousands of other people. Try these helpful tips for avoiding the crowds. Get more solitude & relaxation out of your vacation. Check our Fairs, Festivals, & Events list to know when certain towns & areas will be busiest.
With California population near 40 million people it’s a wonder we don’t kill each other faster. Slow down on the freeways and enjoy the back roads with Total Escape. Statistics show: One outta 8 Americans lives in California!
This staggering large population is ever growing and expanding. College students, retirees, world-travelers and young families flock here, bring relatives and friends to migrate west… ever since the gold mining boom of 1849.
Still we are cranking out babies and building more communities in California. Add a huge tourism industry that brings in millions of outta state folks for conventions & outdoor vacations.
Although Cali is a huge regional paradise to explore, it is amazing that locals can find any secret refuge for weekends or week-long fishing trips. With vast deserts, mountains and countryside, half the golden state land could be easily considered public land, park, wildlife refuge or neighborhood open space preserve. Total Escape has this back roads thing covered. Getting you out in the boonies to relax, in nature, is exactly what this site is for.
more nature, less people
Try out new areas! If you’ve never heard of it, chances are most people haven’t either. Go ahead, explore a little. California is a really big state.
California’s Busy Season
Summer is definitely the tourist season in California. All the out-of-staters coming in to see the amazing Golden State: the recreation & the sights it has to offer. Summertime is the busiest time to visit the well-known areas such as:
Best time to plan trips to avoid summer crowds is –
Before Memorial Day (last weekend in May)
After Labor Day (first weekend in Sept.)
Plan your trip to overnight in the National Forest lands adjacent to a National Park . You can still enjoy nature and scenic attractions without having to sleep with the masses in the expensive campgrounds, which take camping reservations a year in advance.
Plenty of secluded primitive camping & small campgrounds are available in the NFS. California State Parks are very abundant too, often less crowded during the week days and non holiday weekends.
Winter can be the busiest time to visit these areas:
Better Book It – Below is a list of some super popular California destinations that have pretty limited accommodations. Tight quarters, limited capacity. Total Escape recommends you book early if you wanna spot at one of these prime places, especially in summer or winter months.