Tag Archives: foothills

California Wildfire Affected Areas

Forest Fires in California

pinetree

A list of recent wildfires in California, with counties and acres affected. Forest fires listed here are the ones that have affected public lands – like National Forests, National Parks, State Parks and BLM land.

On public lands you may see signs like –

Warning: Entering a Burned Area
Potential Hazards include:

  • LOOSE ROCKS
  • FALLING TREES + LIMBS
  • STUMP HOLES
  • FLASH FLOODING
  • DEBRIS FLOWS

>>> Entering a CLOSED FOREST with burn scar is a crime and can result in jail time. Check USFS forests web site for current closures. 

Forest Fires listed below are alphabetical. Green links to more data.

Dixie Fire
2021 Dixie Fire @ Lassen National Forest

2021 Wildfires in California

TOTAL ACRES
3,083,507 acres

_______________________________

Alisal Fire
Santa Barbara Co
16,970 Acres
_______________________________
 
Siskiyou Co
145,632 Acres
_______________________________
 
Beckwourth Complex
Plumas, Lassen Co
105,670 Acres
_______________________________
 
Caldor Fire
Eldorado Co
221,835 Acres
_______________________________
 

Dixie Fire
Butte, Lassen, Plumas, Shasta, Tehama Counties
963,309 Acres
_______________________________

Fawn Fire
Shasta Co
8,578 Acres
_______________________________
 

French Fire
Kern Co
26,535 Acres
_______________________________

(Sequoia National Park Fire)
Tulare Co
88,307 Acres
_______________________________
 
Siskiyou Co
26,409 Acres
_______________________________
 
Siskiyou Co
94,962 Acres
_______________________________
 
Shasta, Tehama, Trinity Counties
122,653 Acres
_______________________________
 
Trinity Co
223,124 Acres
_______________________________
 
Siskiyou, Trinity Co
199,359 Acres
_______________________________
 
River Fire
Mariposa, Madera Co
9,656 Acres
_______________________________
 
Salt Fire
Shasta Co
12,660 Acres
_______________________________
 
Tamarack Fire
Fresno Co
68,637 Acres
_______________________________
 
Tennant Fire
Siskiyou Co
10,580 Acres
_______________________________
 
Tulare Co
8,777 Acres
_______________________________
 
Tulare Co
97,528 Acres
 
California Wildfire Affected Areas
 
California Wildfire Affected Areas
2020 Bear Fire @ Zink Road; North Complex
 
2020 was a year of many “Complex Fires” inside California. These names were given to a grouping of multiple forest fires caused by lightning strikes, during dry thunderstorm events in mid August. The coastal Santa Cruz redwoods were on fire; then shortly after the Sierra Nevada started burning fast, and campers were rescued by helicopter. We started loosing Giant Sequoia trees at an alarming rate – starting this year.
 

2020 Wildfires in California

TOTAL ACRES 
4,397,809 acres

_______________________________

Riverside Co
33,424 Acres
_______________________________
 
Glenn, Mendocino, Lake, Tehama, Trinity, Shasta Counties
1,032,648 Acres
_______________________________
 
Blue Ridge Fire
Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside Counties
13,694 Acres
_______________________________
 
Los Angeles Co
115,997 Acres
_______________________________
 
Butte/Tehama/Glenn Lightning Complex 
Butte Co
19,609 Acres
_______________________________
 
Fresno, Madera Counties
379,895 Acres
_______________________________
 
San Mateo, Santa Cruz Counties
86,509 Acres
_______________________________
 
Monterey Co
124,924 Acres
_______________________________
 
Dome Fire (Mojave Preserve)
San Bernardino Co
43,273 Acres
_______________________________
 
San Bernardino, Riverside
22,744 Acres
_______________________________
 
Napa, Sonoma Counties
67,484 Acres
_______________________________
 
Lassen Co
22,634 Acres
_______________________________
 
Hog Fire
Lassen Co
9,564 Acres
_______________________________
 
July Complex
Modoc, Siskiyou Counties
83,261 Acres
_______________________________
 
Colusa, Lake, Napa, Sonoma, Solano, Yolo Counties
363,220 Acres
_______________________________
 
Loyalton Fire
Lassen, Plumas, Sierra Counties
47,029
_______________________________
 
Fresno Co
29,667 Acres
_______________________________
 
Mountain View Fire
Mono, Alpine Counties
20,385 Acres
_______________________________
 
North Complex
Bear Fire
Plumas, Butte Counties
318,935 Acres
_______________________________
 
Humboldt, Siskiyou, Trinity Counties
144,698 Acres
_______________________________
 
River Fire
Monterey Co
48,088 Acres
_______________________________
 
Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Joaquin, Merced, Stanislaus Counties
396,624 Acres
_______________________________
 
Sheep Fire
Plumas, Lassen Counties
29,570 Acres
_______________________________
 
Orange Co
12,466 Acres
_______________________________
 
Siskiyou, Del Norte Counties
166,127 Acres
_______________________________
 
Slink Fire
Alpine, Mono Counties
26,759 Acres
_______________________________
 
SQF Complex
Castle Fire
Tulare Co
174,178 Acres
_______________________________
 
Valley Fire
San Diego Co
16,390 Acres
_______________________________
 
W-5 Cold Springs
Lassen, Modoc Counties
84,817 Acres
_______________________________
 
Shasta Co
56,338 Acres

 

disaster zone

California Wildfire Affected Areas

CapRadio WILDFIRES MAP

California Wildfire Map
click above for interactive map spanning 150 years of wildfires

 

California Wild fires

coming soon :

2019 Wildfires in California
2018 Wildfires in California
2017 Wildfires in California

California Wildfire Affected Areas
Madrone trees burned hot with 60 mph winds

Gold Rush Days

gold country grange

Gold Rush Days
California Gold Country

Numerous locations hold historic themed street fairs, parades and festivals in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada.

Gold Country Events

this list is only a partial list, and more will be added soon

Amador County Fair

Arnold Independence Day Parade

Calaveras County Fair

Calaveras Grape Stomp

Coloma Gold Rush Live

Coloma Lotus Celebration

Gold Country Fair

Grass Valley Cornish Christmas

Mark Twain Wild West Fest

Mariposa County Fair

Murphys Homecoming & Duck Races

Nevada City Constitution Day Parade

Old Auburn Country Christmas

Wagon Train Hangtown Days

NOTE: The Gold Rush Days in Old Town Sacramento is now called “Waterfront Days Old Sacramento

califrepublic

Gold Country Historic Parks

bluewagon

Gold Country Cities & Towns

58 counties
58 Counties in Calif

JB Ranch Water Wagon 1

Gold Rush Daze 6

Gold Country Rivers

listed alphabetically

Gold Country Forests

listed from north to south

Plumas National Forest
Tahoe National Forest
Eldorado National Forest
Stanislaus National Forest
Calaveras Big Trees State Park
Sierra National Forest

Covered Wagon with 2 Horses 1

Apple Butter Festival

Loving this Apple Butter from Los Rios in Oak Glen CA - Happy Apple Month!

Oak Glen Apple Butter Festival

Yucaipa’s hidden secret – rural area of OAK GLEN, is a apple orchard canyon near the Inland Empire.

After the harvest is finished and the apples have all been picked from the trees – celebrate the coming winter with a historic festival that traces its roots back to the 16th century.

  • Public Apple Butter Making
  • Harvest Dinner and Dance
  • Historic Crafts
  • Children’s Games
  • Live Music
  • Wagon Rides
  • Merchant Vendors
  • Water Color Painting Class

Los Rios Ranch holds the annual Apple Butter Festival & Apple Butter Hoedown on Thanksgiving weekend.

Annual event: November

losriosrancho.com

Sierra Canyon Wildflowers

florasierra

Sierra Nevada
mountain wildflowers in California

West facing canyons of the Sierra Nevada mountain range are prime spots for wild flora, especially in Springtime. Lots of rain means a great show can usually be found. Rivers exit the mountains and carve deep into the landscape. Lush green hills, oaks, boulders. Perfect picnic spots everywhere.

wildflowers bloom: March – July
make a whole day of it

Lower elevations bloom first in the year. Remember if the Central Valley is blooming fruit trees, the mountain foothills are starting up too. Mid-elevations, above 3000′ bloom in summer months, but below that – plenty of river canyons and reservoirs are superb locations to search for wild flowers.

High Sierra wildflowers start to bloom after the snow melt (and roads open) usually JUNE – JULY

Orchards Blooming San Joaquin Valley
Orchards Blooming, San Joaquin Valley, California

The steep Eastern Sierra canyons near US 395, do have some wildflowers in Spring. Rocky, higher elevations bloom in mid-summer. And what Eastern Sierra may lack in wildflowers, they make up for in Autumn Colors (best in the state)

Kern Spring Wildflowers

Finding Wild Flowers:

BACK ROADSwildflower
CREEKS / STREAMS
FAULT LINES (earthquake)
LAKES & RESERVOIRS
MOUNTAIN MEADOWS
OAK FOOTHILLS
OLD RAILROADS TRACKS
RIDGE LINES
RURAL HIGHWAYS
RIVER CANYONS
STATE PARKS

Discover more with
Total Escape’s online
Sierra Nevada GoogleMap

Sierra Nevada Map

58 counties

Sierra Nevada locations
to see Wild Flowers

listed from south to north

Kern County

One of the premiere counties for wildflowers inside California. Kern offers amazing displays (blankets of flowers) along roadways, on hillsides, and in the numerous canyons.

Obvious I-5

Interstate 5 – from the Grapevine up past Tejon Ranch, and over to Gorman is epic blooms of poppy and lupine. Annually in April  and only if the previous winter was wet or snowy. For safety sake, please exit the freeway to view the flowers!

The famous high desert Poppy Preserve is located off of I-5, east on Hwy 138, way before the town of Lancaster, CA

poppy icon

But all this mentioned above is not technically the Sierra Nevada mountains, so we will move on…

CALIENTE ROAD

Bodfish-Caliente Road

Off of Hwy 58 west (below Tehachapi) Often called Caliente exit, or Caliente Creek Road – the Bodfish-Caliente Road is a narrow, paved, back road that connects Highway 58 to the Lake Isabella area.

Driving this countryside route is long and curvy, but there are numerous pull-outs and places to see wild flora. Plan for half a day to reach Hwy 178. Gold Pan Canyon and rolling oak hills. Dirt roads lead into National Forests, but watch for private property and no trespassing signs. NOTE: You may need to stop the car. Get out and walk around to find these little beauties.

Historic Havilah has an old schoolhouse and a museum.

Caliente Flowers
Baby Blue Eyes – Caliente Rd

 

butterfly

Kern River Canyon

Kern Wildflowers
Kern Wildflowers, North of Kernville, CA

Kings River canyons

Poppies Sierra Nevada

wildflower

Sequoia Foothills

Lewis Hill Preserve
(559) 738-0211
Along N Plano Street. North of Porterville, CA
NOTE: Lewis Hill Preserve is not open to the public except for special tours and events.

Lake Kaweah @ Three Rivers, CA
south of Sequoia National Park has wildflower displays along the lake shore, and with snow capped mountains in the background, it can make for excellent photos.

Sequoia Road J21 – HOMER RANCH
Dirt back road on the north side of the Lake Kawaeah which connects to Sequoia National Park (the long way). Dry Creek Preserve, McKee Canyon, Ragle Canyon, Indian Canyon. Homer Ranch Preserve, open to the public weekends only, from November 1st – June 1st

califrepublic

Calif Gold Country
Foothills & River Canyons

fencesitters

American River Canyon – Hwy 49, South of Auburn, CA

Consumes River – East of Coloma, CA

Lake Oroville SRA @ Hwy 162
Bidwell Bar – Green Suspension Bridge

Mariposa County routes & wildflowers

Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park:
Picnic & hiking in spring @ Coloma
Monroe Ridge Trail

Golden poppies along Gold Country Highway 49

Merced River BLM Briceberg, CA

Natural Bridges Trailhead @ Coyote Creek
Foot trail off of Parrotts Ferry Road near Vallecito, CA

New Melones Reservoir – near Angeles Camp, CA
Heron Point Trail

melones flora
Shoreline bloom @ New Melones Reservoir, Angles Camp

Red Hills Road Trail BLM
South of Chinese Camp on Red Hills Road
SW of Sonora, CA

South Yuba River State Park @ Bridgeport
Long, Historic Covered Bridge and river trails
NW of Grass Valley, CA

West Side Trail – Historic railroad grade near Tuolumne, CA

white lupine
White Lupine @ Merced River BLM – railroad river trail

mountains

see also –

Northern California: Wildflower Areas

Gold Country Fair

Auburn Gold Country Fair - 7 September 2007

Auburn Gold Country Fair

California Gold Country Fair

Auburn is home to the Gold Country Fair every September. 4-day event w/ parade, pony rides, carnival rides & games, entertainment.

1273 High Street
Auburn, CA 95604

Annual event; September
530-823-4533

Auburn CA

goldcountryfair.com

20070907 Cowgirl

Draft Horse Classic

Bath Time

Draft Horse Classic & Harvest Fair

The annual Draft Horse Classic, is combined with a Harvest Faire & Taste of the Gold Country in Grass Valley California.

Nevada County Fairgrounds
11228 McCourtney Rd
Grass Valley, California

Annual event; September
530-273-6217

GRASS VALLEY CA

nevadacountyfair.com/draft-horse-classic

Country Christmas Festival

Old Town Country Christmas 2006

Old Town Auburn Christmas Festival

Old Town Auburn’s Country Christmas Festival

From 5-9pm the whole community is invited to share in the holiday fun. Crafters and artists will have their wares on sale for that special one-of-a-kind Christmas gift. Great food and entertainment, pictures with Santa. Shops and restaurants open. Holiday Open House in all the old town village shops!

Annual event; December – multiple days
(2 different Saturday nights)

Old Town Auburn
Auburn, CA
530-888-1585

oldtownauburnca.com

 

Auburn California

 

Auburn California

Mountain Mandarin Festival

Mountain Mandarin Festival

An abundance of tasty citrus, from fresh fruit samples offered by local growers to market products featuring the Sierra foothill’s mandarin oranges. Thousands of filled orange mesh bags await and jams, jellies, infused olive oils, balsamic vinegar, barbecue sauces and body care products are all available for purchase. Visitors are delighted to discover that the food vendors offer everything from mandarin pizza to mandarin glazed wings, mandarin doughnuts and mandarin pulled pork, just to name a few.

1273 High Street, Auburn CA
916-663-1918

Annual Event; November
AUBURN CA

mandarinfestival.com

 

Auburn picnic park
Picnic parks in downtown Auburn, CA

Central Valley Reservoirs

California’s Central Valley Recreational Lakes & Reservoirs

boatingcampingRV campshiking fishing

(listed from north to south)

North State / North Valley / North Sacramento Valleyboatramp

Black Butte Reservoir
Stony Gorge Reservoir
East Park Reservoir
Lake Berryessa
Lake Oroville SRA
Thermalito Afterbay
Thermalito Forebay
New Bullards Bar
Collins Lake

Sunset at the Lake
fishOak foothills of the Historic Gold Country, at the edge of the Sierra Nevada mountains.

  • boating
  • canoe
  • camping
  • fishing
  • hiking
  • houseboats
  • kayaking
  • wildflowers

Most Central Valley Reservoirs have blooming wildflowers in early springtime. Summer heat can measure triple digits for months as most of these lakes are located below 1000′ elevation.

Central Sacramento & California Delta

Trimmer Boat Ramp
Trimmer Boat Ramp @ Pine Flat

Central Valley / San Joaquin Valley

Lake Amador
Lake Camanche
Pardee Reservoir
New Hogan Lake
New Melones Lake
Woodward Reservoir
Salt Spring Valley Reservoir
Lake Tulloch
Don Pedro Lake
Turlock Lake SRA
Modesto Reservoir
Lake McClure
San Luis Reservoir SRA
Eastman Lake
Hensley Lake
Woodward Reservoir
Millerton Lake SRA
Redinger Lake
Pine Flat Reservoir
Lake Kaweah
Lake Success
Buena Vista Reservoir

Walk-In Camp Site at Lake
Walk-In Camp Site at New Melones Lake, Gold Co

Kaweah Sequoia Sierra
Lake Kaweah, near Mineral King & Southern Sequoia NP

New Bullards Bar Reservoir

Bullards Bar California

Bullards Bar Boat-in Camps

BULLARDS BAR Dark Day is a lakeside walk-in campground on a small reservoir, located deep in the Gold Country foothills. Flush toilets and hiking trails, kayak rentals and fishing.

fish

West of Highway 49. Huge dam for hydro-electric power. Minimal roadways along the lake and steep canyons make for optimum hiking and boating. Floating and fishing. Relaxing in the mountains, with fresh water!

On most maps the official name of this lake may read New Bullards Bar Reservoir, or Lake Bullards Bar, but locals just call it simply – Bullards Bar!

Sierra Nevada Foothills. Yuba River, California.

Northern Gold Country, California

Near Camptonville, West off Hwy 49
in between Oroville and Nevada City, CA

Located not far from historic Downieville, Bullard’s Bar is an excellent base camp location for exploring the upper reaches of the Gold Country region. Old mining locations, museums, a covered bridge, various parks, Yuba River, Sierra Buttes, Lakes Basin. Grass Valley & Nevada City are also nearby. Mountain bike trails, river rafting and hiking all around.

New Bullards Bar

lake surface area: 969,600 acrespaddle sports

lake elevation: 2000′ above sea level

lake county: Yuba County California

roads around lake: Marysville Road (south of lake and east side w/ Hwy 49), Moonshine Road (south of lake), Oregon Hill Road (west side), Pendola Road (north side), and Forest Route #47 (dirt road on north side)

boatramp

nearest towns:

Bullards Bar
Shade @ the marina, just when you needed it most

Yuba River Recreation

camp

Bullards Bar water is a beautiful teal color of greenish-blue – due to heavy mineral content in the local soil (red dirt) and the dense forest above.

This water comes down the north fork of the Yuba River, as snowmelt from Lakes Basin Recreation Area, the Sierra Buttes, and the Yuba Pass on Highway 49. Northern Gold Country, California.

Bullards Bar Lake – Emerald Cove Marina
New Bullards Bar Reservoir
877-692-3201

boating boating gasoline marina

New Bullards Bar Reservoir

boat in camping

One of the few lakes in the Sierra Nevada that offer boat in camping at developed camp sites, and also to allow boaters primitive camping along the shoreline. No drinking water is available. No pit toilets, so a portable chemical toilet is always required. Plus, pack out all garbage.

No charge for DAY USE areas: parking or boat launch ramps

NOTE: Dark Day & Schoolhouse Campgrounds are the only car camping & RV accessible camping on this lake. These both have flush toilets and drinking water piped in. Hiking trails & boat launch nearby. Wheelchair accessible campsites are available.

CAMPS OPEN: APRIL – OCTOBER
Campgrounds @ BullardsBar are usually open from April to October annually and all are closed for winter months.

camping walkin camps hiking camping boating camping RV camping mountains

Bullards Bar Campgrounds

camp information 530-692-3200

  • GardenPoint: 17 boat-in sites
  • Madrone Cove: 10 boat-in sites
  • Shoreline Camp: 2 boat-in sites
  • Dark Day Walk-In Camp: 30 sites
  • Schoolhouse Campground: 56 sites
  • Hornswoggle Group Camp

Frenchy Point Campground USDA

Located 5 miles northwest of Dark Day Boat Ramp on the west side of the reservoir. Boat in only access. It is used as an over flow campground. There are campsites, but no bathrooms. Portable chemical toilet required. More info call Emerald Cove Marina at (530) 692-3200

National ForestsBullards Bar Lake located on the Yuba River, bordering
between Tahoe National Forest & 
Plumas National Forest

 

bullards bar California

lake recreation 

  • boat in camps
  • canoe
  • fish
  • houseboat rentals
  • kayak
  • picnic sites
  • sail
  • watercraft rentals

land recreation

  • backpack
  • campgrounds
  • hike
  • mountain bike
  • walk-in camps

bikingbullardsdam

also in the area


View Larger Map

califrepublic

Second Spillway – in the works?
Yuba Water Agency has just committed to building a $160 million second spillway at the New Bullards Bar Dam; beginning in 2021, with a completion date of 2025.

check

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Bullards_Bar_Reservoir
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Bullards_Bar_Dam

Balch Park

Balch Park / Sequoia Park

Balch Park Campground

BALCH PARK campground is on a first come basis; no campground reservations needed.

2021 – THIS CAMPGROUND IS CLOSED indefinitely,
due to the Castle Fire 2020

Balch Park open May to October
Park info # 559 539-3896

Hedrick Pond lined w/ Sequoia trees

Balch County Park is right in the middle of Mountain Home State Forest, which is within the bigger Sequoia National Forest (aka Giant Sequoia National Monument). But don’t let all the bureaucracy mislead you, this is an ideal park and location, well worth your trip. The campground is the most developed one within the area – with paved roads, RV spaces, flush toilets and a fee to go along with all that. Even gotta fishing pond.

  • Bears are a big deal in these neck of the woods. Please store all your food properly to avoid a un-welcomed visitor
  • A Sequoia Grove is nearby with plenty of creeks & meadows.
  • Trailers not recommended due to the long curvy road leading up the mountain.

Balch Park & Campground NOT TO BE CONFUSED with utility company residences of BALCH CAMP between Pine Flat & Blackrock Reservoirs


View Larger Map

Helpful Maps:

Nearby cities & towns:

campground elev. spots veg toilet water fee
Balch Park
559-539-3896
6500′ 71 pines flush piped yes no reservations
first come basis

DSCN0021

Bear in California

black bear

California Black Bears

califrepublicAlthough the grizzly bear image graces the state flag, grizzlies were killed off during the gold rush days. Black bears are found in California mountains and foothills, down to lowest elevations in NorCal. California black bears come in more than one color –  light brown, cinnamon, dark brown, and of course, black. For the most part, bears usually stay away from people.

Some areas are more prone to bear problems due in large part to the overpopulation of tourists and abundance of food Bear Habitatprovided by them. Certain California National Parks are particularly notorious for their brazen bear populations. Concentrated bear problems are sometimes posted so be very aware and read signs. If you see steel bear boxes, leave no food or drink in your vehicle. Use the boxes to keep bears from breaking into your car!

California Black Bears

Follow some simple rules:

  • Keep a very clean campsite
  • Clean up all dirty dishes & beverage containers (especially before bedtime)
  • Keep clothing & sleeping bags free from food odors or heavy scents
  • Never leave any type of food garbage ‘bagged up’, sitting outside of a cabin rental, motorhome, trailer, or mountain home
  • Store garbage properly inside a locked, sturdy container inside garage or a shed
  • Stay away from bear cubs, there is sure to be a protective (aggressive) mother in close proximity
  • Try not to hike alone. Make noise & sing on trails to scare away any unwanted animals.
  • Bear storage canisters are available at sporting good stores & at stores in most National Parks.

Proper Food Storage Outdoors:

Bear Boxes @ Campground

Store food in closed up automobile, not visible. Store food correctly: in trunk of your car, or hidden from sight; in campground food lockers when available.

Lock all food, beverages and coolers in the provided metal bear boxes or bear lockers where available.

Toothpaste, deodorant & anything that has a scent should be thought of as food and stored accordingly.

Bears are so strong they can rip your car door open (in places like Yosemite, where bears are problem and you can get cited for not storing food items properly)

Bears are so strong they can break open a garage door to get to the smelly trash inside, so make sure you utilize the curbside pickup service available in some mountain communities or take a trip to the dump once per week.

carcampers

DO NOT LEAVE FOOD OUT, UNATTENDED, outdoors…
during a picnic lunch, a quick snack, maybe a barbeque, or dinner around the campfire.

Birds, dogs, squirrels and wild animals can move in quickly.

hiker

Backpackers should hang food in nylon bag & drape over weak branch in high in tree: hang your food using the counterbalance method. Ranger who issues your wilderness permit can explain the hanging procedure;

2 stuff sacks (with drawstrings) for your food items, and 60 feet of medium weight cord. 2 carabiners make hanging much easier.

Bear Canisters

Bear Canisters

for your food when exploring the wilderness

hikers tent campers mountains rivers picnic lakes

Bear Repellent / Bear Mace
Bear Pepper Spray

 

camp  4x4 campfire fish

Additional Storage Tip

As for storing food inside cars:

When primitive car camping on a dirt road, which does not have campgrounds, nor bear lockers, it is possible to store food in the vehicle. BEST location is on the front floorboards with towel over it. With the car alarm set at bedtime, any ruckus should trigger a decent alarm. Any large animal trying to break in will get blasted with alarm siren & most likely will run away. The noise will wake you up as well, to deal with the intruder, if need be.

If a bear does get into your camp area:

  • At night, bring bear repellent can into tent, storing it close to the door. Bring a weapon for added protection.
  • Make as much noise as possible: yell, bang pots/pans, whistle, air horn and get your bear mace or pepper spray ready in hand
  • Raise your hands up to appear larger; lift clothing, increase appearance of size and yell aggressively toward bear.
  • Get your entire camp group together, join hands and spread out; Everyone at the camp should be outside the tents in order to be as effective as possible
  • Throw rocks & small objects; pots, pans, chairs
  • If possible, try to get to your car for protection
  • Sound the alarm on a vehicle &/or honk the horn

If you encounter a bear on a hiking trail:

  • Make as much noise as possible while walking solo. Hum, sing, talk to the birds. Sing or talk to yourself – out loud. Bear bells can be worn on hiking boots. Do not hike w/ headphones on listening to music/radio.
  • Carry bear spray (mace or pepper) in a belt holster, or easy to reach pack.
  • If a bear approaches: stand still, slowly retreat, say a few calming words in a friendly voice and calmly retreat, keep eyes on the bear

encountering a bear  – see more on this topic 

bearcreek

camptruck pinetree  ranger

Bear Meadow
Camp Site at Bear Meadow, Sequoia NF

dirtbikes

Bear Box in Mineral King

driftwood

El Dorado Camping

Primitive Camping in El Dorado County

Camping Rivers

More & more people are venturing off the beaten path. Tourist flocks to Gold Country, and many do not even leave Highway 49. Get up the mountains, higher than the foothills.camp

Getting outta the developed campgrounds to discover the joys of dispersed back woods camping is a new adventure, not to be taken lightly.

With truck or SUV ownership come some great rewards! Order a good map & go find some dirt roads. Waterfalls, dense forests, secluded creekside camp sites & more await you. Obtaining a camp fire permit is mandatory for this style of camping.

campfire

fish

Campfires are often banned in California, due to extreme wildfire danger. Since the gold mining foothills are usually oak and dry grass, with large steep river canyons, extra caution should be given. Always know the fire conditions before you build a campfire. Caldor Camping

Discover the hidden back roads: like Caldor Road off of Grizzly Flat Rd. – above Placerville CA

Hey, now this is what we’re talking about. Plenty of great dispersed camping down by the Cosumnes River & Consumnes Mine Rd. There are hundreds of miles of small roads to discover back behind this historic mining area. Rivers, waterfalls & decent fishing too. Make sure you clean up some litter. This is the only price you pay for the beauty, serenity, peace & quiet & no neighbor campers next to you.

hiker

Out exploring these parts, you may run into a dead end road that peters out at some Private Property, which is usually signed & fenced. Make nice with the old crazy miner dude & turn your ass around politely, everything will be okay as soon as you are not within gun shot of him. Yes, there still are plenty of small time mining experts tucked away back here in the hills.

river camping
Premium and secluded river side camp sites in El Dorado National Forest

Plenty creeks and rivers run throughout this central Sierra region, so you can fish all day – until your hearts desire. River rafting and river kayaking opportunities are also great reasons to get wet.

canoe

Several mountain reservoirs around offer camping and boating too. Eldorado lakes are listed below.

  • Caples Lake @ Carson Pass
  • Ice House Reservoir
  • Jenkinson Lake – US Hwy 50
  • Kirkwood Lake
  • Lower Bear River Reservoir – South Shore Campground
  • Salt Springs Reservoir
  • Silver Lake @ Carson Pass
  • Union Valley Reservoir

mountains

nearby towns –

El Dorado Forest Maps –

Ojai Camping

ozenavalley
Highway 33 Camping Ojai, California

Los Padres National Forest / Ojai District:

campground elev spots veg toilet water notes
Holiday Group Camp 2000′ 8 oaks vault creek group site
Middle Lion Campground 3150′ 8 oaks vault creek Rose Valley
Pine Mountain Camps 6650′ 6 pines vault no May-Nov
Reyes Peak Camp 7000′ 6 pines vault no May-Nov
Rose Valley Campground 3450′ 9 scrub vault creek Rose Valley Falls
Wheeler Gorge Campground 2000′ 73 oaks pit piped Matilija Creek

Launch @ Reyes Peak Trailhead

Los Padres National ForestNFS

see also –

middle lion campground
middle lion campground

Creek Camping Lion
Creek Camping @ Lion

Piedras Blancas
Coastal Foothills and Fog with Piedras Blanca backdrop

primitive camp sitesFREE CAMPING
additional NFS camps in the region:

Chumash Quatal Canyon
Chumash Wilderness access via Quatal Canyon

Open Camping in Quatal Canyon
Hwy 33
@ Ventucopa, California. OHV trails and red dirt canyons; Hike into Chumash Wilderness.

The main road parallels the big wash. Quatal Road #9N09 is graded (annually) and usually passenger car accessible; side routes to camps in the big wash or up any canyons may require high clearance or 4WD vehicle. No services in this canyon at all; Cell service is minmal. Gasoline is somewhere along the hwy (near a pistachio orchard).

Wilderness Areas along Hwy 33backpacking Los Padres

map of the Los Padres region –

Los Padres mountain towns –

DSCN2342

Rose Valley Falls has a small campground at the trailhead


Central Sierra Nevada Mountains

Small Camping Lake
Kirkwood Lake Campground

Central Sierra Nevada: Sequoia to Donner

Although Sequoia trees can be found in the southern Sierra, the National Park is located more in the mid-Sierra. From the Kern River to Kings River,  the southern stretch of Sierra Nevada is home to the southern most Sequoia groves, the longest river in California, and the granite dome wonderlands that overlook the Mojave Desert.

The Tehachapi range is on the tail end to the south w/ Hwy 58, while Kings Canyon Park borders more High Sierra Wilderness to the north end. If you are heading up from SoCal, this is the most accessible portion of the Sierra Nevada range.

While the Kern River Valley can get hot in the summer months, the rivers, streams & higher elevations surrounding it, make it a prime destination for folks seeking cooler mountain breezes, creeks and dark skies. Springtime is one of the best times of year to visit the Kern River. While summer is best for the high wilderness areas, since the snow usually doesn’t melt until May.

Mountain Home State Forest is a little known haven for campers & hikers seeking less-crowded Sequoia groves. With the Tule River, fishing ponds, waterfalls, swimming holes & meadows, this place provides a nice solitude to the busier parks to the north. Balch Park is a county park w/ large campground, that sits adjacent to Mountain Home Forest.

Both National Parks (Seqouia & Kings) are both busy in summer & tourists can be seen lining the main road, Highway 198. Crystal Cave & Boyden Cavern both offer daily tours during the warmer months. Sequoia National Park is open during winter months & is popular among winter sports enthusiasts. Kings Canyon National Park & Hwy 180 are also open during winter, with winter sports recreation.

Big Meadows Road (14S11) offers great camping options for those that wish to camp outside the National Park boundaries.

Sequoia groves

Sequoia forest & parks –

Sequoia National Forest
Mountain Home State Forest
Sequoia National Park
Kings Canyon National Park

Sequoia maps & trails –

Sequoia towns nearby –
Alta Sierra, Camp Nelson, Fairview, Kennedy Meadows, Kernville, Lake Isabella, Mineral King, Ponderosa, Springville, Three Rivers, Wofford Heights

Sierra Nevada

Central Sierra Nevada forest & parks –


Sierra National Forest

Yosemite National Park

Stanislaus National Forest

Eldorado National Forest

Tahoe National Forest

Sierra Nevada

Central Sierra Highways –

Central Sierra Nevada maps & trails –

Rancheria Falls
Rancheria Falls, Huntington Lake, CA

Central Sierra Nevada towns nearby –
Bass Lake, Fish Camp, Huntington Lake, Pine Flat Reservoir, Shaver Lake

stanislaus sonora pass

Gold Country California

is located in the western foothills of the Central Sierra Mountains

Historic Highway 49 is the Gold Country Hwy, which begins down near Yosemite and leads north, thru the foothills, up to Sierra Buttes & ends out near Loyalton, CAgold miner

Angeles Crest Hiking

Hiking Trails Los Angeles

another two bite the dust

localhikes.com – GONE
latrails.com – GONE

Millard Falls
2 mi RT; 1200′ elevation; oaks.
Arroyo Seco District –
of Angeles National Forest
818-790-1151
Altadena CA
From Interstate 210 in San Gabriel Valley, exit Lake Ave., go N & turn left/west onto Loma Alta Dr. & to Chaney Trail & follow signed dirt road

LA waterfalls

Sturtevant Falls
5 mi RT; 4600′ elevation; oaks, creek-crossings.
Santa Anita District –
of Angeles National Forest
818-899-1900
inside Big Santa Anita Canyon
From Interstate 210 in San Gabriel Valley, exit Santa Anita Ave.Go North/East, through neighborhood & up mountain to paved parking lot.

More hikes on Angeles Forest

  • Big Tujunga Wash
  • Circle X Ranch
  • Mendenhall Ridge
  • Mount Lukens
  • Newhall Pass
  • Strawberry Peak
  • Towsley Canyon
  • Verdugo Mountains

Hiking Los Angeles Area

Angeles Forest – Los Angeles California

nearby towns –

Angeles Maps – hiking, OHV & mountain biking –

California Wildflower Blooms

Lupine Oroville
Wildflowers in California 

Wildflowers bloom all over California – from the desert in winter months, to the High Sierra in mid summer.  Remember that the timing is everything, since most of these precious, delicate beauties only last a week or so. Out there alone, all day in the bright sunshine, whipping in the seasons strongest breezes. Flora!Ocotillo Joshua Tree

The higher the elevation, the later the bloom.
Lower elevation deserts begin to show as early as February and higher elevation peaks thaw in May. Wilderness meadows and flowers can be found in the mountains in summer. Generally in California, Springtime – between MARCH and JUNE is the best viewing time.

Places to find Wildflowers in California

West coast wildflower blooms in relation to elevation; Order of bloom is typically

  • low deserts (FEB)
  • high deserts (APRIL)
  • river canyons
  • central valley
  • mountain foothills (MAY)
  • coastal foothills
  • mountain forests (JUNE)
  • high altitude meadows
  • mountain lakes
  • mountain peaks (JULY)

some recent finds:

Carrizo Plain Super Bloom – W of Taft, CA

Klipstein Canyon, Kern County @ Hwy 166Gorman Post Road

Cottonwood Canyon
W of New Cuyama, CA

School House Canyon
W of New Cuyama, CA

Figueroa Mountain Rd – Los Padres NF @ Santa Ynez, CA

Table Mountain – Cherokee Road, N Oroville, CA

 

Box Canyon @ Mecca, California

Turtle Mountain Road, Needles, CA

Mill Creek, Lassen NF

Lassen Peak Lupine Way HikeNPS
Lassen NP (mid-to-late summer)

Lassen Peak Lupine Summer Hikes

more pages on wildflowers –

California Wildflowers

California Golden Poppies

Poppy Reserve Antelope Valley, LA Co.

Poppy Stompers

popstrollin

Anza Borrego Desert Wildflowers

Mojave Desert

Redinger Lake

redinger lake

Redinger Reservoir

south of Yosemite NP, Bass Lake, CA

dammed lake canyon NFS sierra river sierra mountains

Officially this lake is actually a reservoir, located in the low lands of the Sierra foothills country. Narrow, winding back roads, a way outta the way kinda spot.

a long, narrow lake w/ steep hills, inside a tight canyon

  • canoe
  • fishing
  • hiking
  • jetski
  • kayak
  • waterski

The San Joaquin River flows west, down from the highest granite peaks of the Sierra Nevada and into the Central Valley foothills. If you find your way off the main highway 41, exploring way back behind Bass Lake, CA – then you may consider this scenic loop to Redinger.

off the beaten path

Truthfully, this place is usually an afterthought, sorta near Yosemite National Park. Not exactly a top destination for tourists, but it is very accessible most anytime of the year due to low elevation.

Spring wildflowers can be decent. Summers do get super hot here, so take that into consideration when planning your visit. Due to extreme wildfire danger, no campfires are allowed at any time.

redinger bridge

Lake, Reservoir, or a good wide section of the San Joaquin River w/ hydro-electric dam.

elev. 1000′

open camp no fires boating fish

public boat launch ramp
Camping is restricted to a large open area near the dam. No fee is charged. No campfires are permitted. Services limited, no drinking water or garbage pick-up available. Nearest town 7 miles away.

NORTH FORK, CA

Redinger Lake Road (Rd# 235) can be found south of the town of North Fork, CA. The paved route down is long, steep and winding. At the bridge crossing, the road loops to Joe Basin Road, which connects to the small community of Auberry, CA

Way up river, a dozen plus miles, is the utterly beautiful Mammoth Pool, only accessible half the year.

A few miles down river from Redinger, around the horse shoe bend, another neighboring reservoir called Kerschoff Lake (elev 971′) has a developed campground.

campSmalley Cove Campground NFS

Contact:
Bass Lake Ranger StationNFS
559-877-2218

https://www.fs.usda.gov/


Poppy Stompers

California Golden Poppy

The official state flower of California is the POPPY

Spring usually means it’s warming up, to a great wildflower season in California. Time to get outdoors more! Hike, bike and picnic near the wildflowers and see some poppies.

poppy fields

California Golden Poppies can be found throughout the state, in small patches near the roadways, rolling hills behind vineyards, in high desert flats (where wind gets whipping) or even out near a ranch, with oak hills and fields of golden orange.

POPPIES can blanket hillsides, resulting in a show stopping event – which can be deadly on freeways? N of L.A. interstate 5 (the Grapevine) TEJON PASS (Lebec, Gorman, Junction 138) >> Please pull to nearest exit and stop the car. (It will be safest and well worth the 10 minute stretch break.)

Golden poppies can be found all over California. Flowers like lupine and owls clover can often be found nearby. Wildflowers may only last a few weeks, so go enjoy them while they last.

Bright yellow, gold, deep orange – or any shade in between!

best places to find poppies

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

Table Mountain @ Cherokee Road
North of Oroville, CA

wine country

Wine Country NorCal

Alexander Valley Road

Railroad Tracks @ Santa Rosa, CA
Napa County
Sonoma County

Santa Rosa Tracks

CENTRAL CALIFORNIA

Kern County

Fort Tejon State Historic Park @ I-5
Cerro Noroeste Road & Klipstein Canyon
Carrizo Plain National Monument BLM
Kern River Canyon
S of Walker Basin @ Caliente Bodfish Rd
North of Tehachapi, CA

Santa Lucia Mountains
Rock Front Ranch
Schoolhouse Canyon
Cottonwood
Hwy 166, West of New Cuyama, CA

Figueroa Mountain Road
Los Padres National Forest
East of Santa Ynez, CA

Pine Flat Reservoir
@ Kings River, Sierra National Forest
East of Fresno, CA

East Bay San Francisco
The rural hills out east are the best places to find poppies in the Bay Area.

Mojave Desert Preserve
Providence Mountain SRA
Interstate 40
East of Barstow, CA

Central Coast California

Gold Country Hiking

Gold Country California

Auburn, CA
Central California Reservoirs
Located all around most rivers w/ dams (reservoirs) poppies can easily be found along highways, rural roads and on oak hillsides.

 

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

Boulder Creek Road (dirt)
Descanso to Julian, CA
San Diego Mountain Foothills

SoCal poppies

Lancaster Poppy: Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve

Poppy Hotline (661) 724-1180

Remember, stay on the trail!  Getting a picture of that one really nice poppy will crush all the plants along the way, and compact the ground leaving lifeless bare dirt for the next year or longer.  If someone else has started a trail, do not add to the damage.  Please be a responsible park visitor and leave the park as nice as you found it.

Or you can avoid the crowds & tour buses at the Poppy Park to head off on your own adventure. All along both sides of high desert Hwy 138 you can find fields of California Poppies, from the small town of Neenach, CA east to Hwy 14. Plus the hills of Gorman are usually full of color.

Gorman @ I-5
Gorman CA – Interstate 5 @ jct Hwy 138