Aspen Groves are easy to recognize with their thick stands. White trunks with dark knots, slender, with oval shaped leaves. Growing in a network of roots, which are found lining creeks, alpine lakes, or spilling out from higher elevations, along scenic canyons.
The unique round leaves which can turn spectacular colors in the fall season. The fluttering and flapping of the oval-shaped, thick, green leaf is a sure sign of summer. When breezes get cooler, Autumn is only a few weeks away and as quick as the cold comes in, what a short and special show they put on.
California Fall Colors
Aspen trees can be found at higher mountain elevations in California, usually above 4000′ – all the way up to about 10,000′ or higher, depending on the mountain range and local water flows. Groves have an extensive root systems underground, so they often withstand wildfires and can come back after the rest of the forest is gone.
Beavers build dams in creeks around aspen trees, fishermen and campers love to camp next to aspens, and lovers carve their initials into their white bark. These trees do indeed take a beating, from all angles, winter weather included… so stop from cutting them!
summer and autumn
These deciduous trees are naked half the year, typically from November to April, as winter buries them in snow and ice. Time is of the essence, limited to Summer and Autumn – to enjoy their shade and the beauty of the groves. Scenic meadows and fishing creeks are just an added bonus for searching out the aspen.
Aspens can be found in hidden canyons, primarily along the Eastern Sierra US Hwy 395 and surrounding mountain lakes. Some Sierra Passes have decent displays of color as well – like Carson Pass Hwy 88 and Yosemite’s Tioga Pass Hwy 120.
Below is a list of Total Escape’s favorite aspen areas of California
Held in the hills above Redding in the mountain town of Burney. The impressive volcanic Lassen forests, with small town events like Burney Basin Days draws tourists from near & far.
Parade, fireworks, craft fair, breakfast and lunch, car show, bed races, horseshoe throwing competition and a cornhole tournament. Plenty of great camping all around this location. The few local motels fill up fast during summer months.
5k run/walk on Saturday and a Kids Banana Split Eating Contest. Enjoy a day filled with fun, food, live entertainment, and exhibits. The event benefits the National Academic Youth Corps, which provides art and educational programs for young people in Sacramento, as well as over a dozen other worthy local charities.
Three weekends of fun, music and merriment. An authentic re-creation of an English Summer Faire. Visit an exciting, vibrant village where you can experience a joust, strolling entertainers, stage performances, beautiful handcrafts, delicious food and drink, children’s area and the spirit of the days of William Shakespeare and the Renaissance.
41276 Park Ave.
Big Bear Lake, CA 92315
The Camarillo Fiesta Street Fair is renowned for the wide variety of entertainment and attractions. Big, local event which includes carnival rides, a street fair, petting zoo, concerts, and even an art show.
Below are developed campgrounds in California that have walk-in camp spots available. Vehicles are parked and you must carry your gear into the camp site (usually a short distance, but can be up to a half mile).
California Campgrounds with more than a 1-mile trek are not included in this list below. Areas such as – Catalina Island, Crystal Cove SP, Angel Island SP, Point Reyes National Seashore, indeed have many hike-to camps, but most are measured in miles (one way).
walk in campsites are perfect for –
people who wish not to see cars @ camp
people who prefer less noise while camping
physically fit folks, who want exercise
backpackers, who plan to hit the trails soon
avid hikers, who may be out day hiking
cyclists, just passing through
mountain bike campers
one nighters, travelers who only stay one night
late comers to the campground
(hint: these are usually the last campsites to fill up)
Walk in campsites are often located away from car campers & RVs. Some camp sites may have more privacy, tucked away in trees, while others have shared community area with fire pits and/or barbecues. All camp sites will have picnic tables and a some kinda toilet nearby. Bear boxes may be available for storing food properly. Sharing these food storage boxes with neighboring campers is common practice.
Campgrounds with walk-in sites range in elevation from sea level marshlands to high altitude alpine lakes. Most of these camps listed below are located inside developed campgrounds with overnight fees. Many are small campgrounds, while others are large hubs of activity. Some may be smaller campgrounds, with just a few camp sites. The most popular places can be reserved, with the links provided.
Many parks can also have day use fees, so know where you park and what time span is allowed. Ask the campground host if needing assistance. Some campgrounds lock their gates at sunset and do not permit entry at night. Others may not allow campers to check in anytime after sundown. Know their rules before you make reservations.
If you plan on not making camp reservations; make sure to have a plan B or C choice camp – in case your desired campground is already full. Many popular destinations can fill up fast (by noon in the summer).
Walk in campgrounds are considered ‘tent camping‘, as opposed to ‘car camping‘, which is literally camping next to your vehicle. This type of hike-in camping may also be referred to as ‘trailhead camping‘, as many ideal hikes begin at these prime locations. Boat-in, bike-in or hike-in camp sites are also available at some of these locations.
The NorCal event Lassen County Fair is held in Susanville California. Carnival rides, destruction derby, ranch rodeo, arts & craft vendors, food, & plenty local music too. This whole Northern California region is awesome for summer camping & fishing, so make a week of it & enjoy the natural scenery, outdoor recreation & this annual county fair.
This event is held twice a year & sponsored by the local Chamber of Commerce. Held in Downtown Lodi, this is a one-day event focusing on food and vendors.
The Street Faire takes up a 14-square block area of Lodi. Over 500 vendors participate in this bi-annual event, selling antiques, arts & crafts and commercial items.
While shopping, visitors can satisfy their appetite with their choice from 25 food vendors offering everything from hamburgers, to hot dogs, sausages, to pizza. Mexican, Chinese and Filipino dishes are also available for those craving a more international fare. And, no faire is complete without sweet treats and cold drinks.
The annual Century Bike Ride is held each year in the shadows of Mount Shasta & Mount Lassen. This rural event, located in the volcano lands of California, is limited to 500 riders. Early registration is strongly suggested. Pancake breakfast before the race & a big dinner afterwards.
200K, 100 Mile, 100K, and 25 Mile Rides
Event will showcase local farm products like beer, beef and wild rice. Live music, local artists will have displays.
Summertime warms up and being outdoors is THE plan. The Russian River Jazz & Blues Festival is held annually near the redwood forests of Guerneville, California. Located of event is Johnson’s Beach – right on the Russian River. This is a great opportunity to camp out in the inland, North Coast region. Plenty beach parks & campgrounds nearby.
July 4th marks the busiest summer week in California. It’s mid Summer for most school kids. The golden state has its biggest increase of visiting tourists during this month too, along with the local residents traveling on seasonal road trips. Plenty of traffic, be warned.
Camping July 4th means EVERYBODY and their GRANDMOTHER will be outside this weekend. The majority of big family camp-outs and social BBQ events take place — on this very summer holiday weekend. Backpackers and serious car campers are on the road well ahead of time – headed for wilderness destinations.
Stay away from the biggest campgrounds and tourist traps, unless you are into that. Head for the back country for optimal seclusion, flowing creeks and coolest lakes.
City Fireworks & Parade Events can be found on various city web sites or chamber of commerce sites, which you can easily access through Total Escape.
Fourth of July is also known as Independence Day, with celebrations in almost every major city & some notable small towns. City parades, firework displays, live music, streets fairs, BBQs, crafts, beach bon fires & in certain beach towns, total utter chaos. Below is only a sampling of popular July 4th events within California. Firework shows are so common that we are not listing most of them.
Bluegrass Festival. Hot air balloons, vendor booths, & lost of music & food. Two day lineup of traditional and progressive Bluegrass bands brings together music lovers from all walks of life. 40+ years running.
Weaverville Chamber of Commerce & E Clampus Vitus (ECV #62) present NorCal’s summertime CarShow in Weaverville, a highlight of the Trinity River region. This classic auto display is held at a beautiful small town location & it’s been running for years. Event festivities spread out between the SuperMarket parking lot and Lee Fong Park, near downtown Weaverville, California; Camping & fishing are superb in these forests at this time of year. Make a long weekend of it!
Enjoy raffle prizes, Clamper breakfast, raffles, vendors, VFW Tri-Tip Lunch, Music, Shuttle Service to Historic Downtown Weaverville beginning 10 am Saturday.
This auto show event may have been previously referred to as “Car Show in The Park”
5 years running on the Central Coast. Held in downtown Paso Robles City Park, in north San Luis Obispo County.
Producers from all over California, Olive Oil Tasting, Culinary Row, Wine & Beer Tasting and now with lavender!
Now this event has been combined with the Lavender Festival (and moved to July)