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The Best Camping in California

Looking for the best camping in California? We've got you covered with the top trails, trips, hiking, backpacking, camping and more around California. The detailed guides, photos, and reviews are all submitted by the Outbound community.

Top camping spots in and near California

  • Mariposa County, California

    Sunrise Lakes to Clouds Rest

    4.7
    18.93 mi / 1775 ft gain
    Start out at the Tenaya Lake Trailhead, where you can head directly onto the trail for Clouds Rest or you can branch off after 2.7 miles to Sunrise Lakes. This allows you to break up the hike, spend a night relaxing and help you have an early start back on the trail. Once re-connected to the Clo...
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  • Big Sur, California

    Sykes Hot Springs via Pine Ridge Trail

    4.2
    18.96 mi / 7339 ft gain
    The trek to Sykes Hot Springs is about 10-miles one way along the Pine Ridge Trail. This is a great backpacking trip, but can be done as an out-and-back hike from the campgrounds at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park if you're really moving. The trail is moderately challenging, you'll cross the river t...
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  • Orick, California

    Tall Trees Grove, Redwood Creek, Emerald Ridge Loop

    4.4
    4.41 mi / 1043 ft gain
    Day 1: Check with the Rangers station before heading up for best camping opportunities. Assuming you've checked with the rangers for approval...if there are openings, off of the main road, there are side streets with access to the beaches. Pull into one of these areas and drive down as far as you...
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  • Apple Valley, California

    Deep Creek Hot Springs

    4.2
    1.82 mi / 922 ft gain
    Deep Creek Hot Springs is nestled along the Mojave River at an elevation of 3,000 feet in the San Bernardino Mountains. This year-round mineral water retreat consists of three pools the size of large hot tubs, that range in temperature from around 96 degrees in the first pool to 102 in the third....
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  • Big Sur, California

    Clifftop Camping & Hot Springs in Big Sur

    4.7
    Campsite:There is nothing quite like driving or biking along US-1, the Pacific Coast Highway. Make sure you get a chance to do the drive during the day so that you can see all that Big Sur has to offer. Be careful when pulling off especially onto the shoulder and never stop on a curve in the road...
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  • Greenfield, California

    Adventure at Arroyo Seco

    4.7
    This off-the-beaten-trail adventure has a little bit of everything for everyone, and is as challenging as you make it. Many just make it about a mile down to the river for a leisurely day of relaxing, swimming, sunbathing, and enjoying a few cold beverages. Others embark on a 7+ mile adventure up...
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  • Pioneer, California

    Camping at The Pots

    4.2
    This fantastic camping or chilling spot has beautiful granite pools and slides of all sizes. The area consists of a river flowing over a granite slab creating pools some of which are over ten feet deep. The water cascades down the granite in small water falls. The area is located next to Silver L...
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  • Bridgeport, California

    Travertine Hot Springs

    3.9
    After you’ve bagged an Eastern Sierra peak, you deserve a little soaking to soothe your aching feet and tired muscles. Luckily, our great Mother Earth provides what you need. Travertine Hot Springs sits only a few dirt miles from highway 395. Before you head out, grab some local brews from the g...
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  • Sunol, California

    Little Yosemite via Canyon View Trail

    4.0
    3.01 mi / 705 ft gain
    Please note this is a fragile ecosystem and watershed. There is NO swimming allowed in Alameda Creek and trespassing is prohibited on Water Department lands that are not accessible to the public. You can learn more about the restrictions and the area at ebparks.org.  After entering the kiosk you...
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  • Altadena, California

    Eaton Canyon to Idlehour

    4.2
    10.99 mi / 3291 ft gain
    Idlehour is nestled deep in the Angeles National Forest, so it feels like you're in the heart of some untapped wilderness instead of six miles away from a bustling metropolis. The trail camp is accessible by foot through a variety of locations, but the most popular route is through Eaton Canyon, ...
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  • Big Sur, California

    Cone Peak in Big Sur (Sea to Sky Backpacking Route)

    4.4
    19.72 mi / 7484 ft gain
    While you can make a day-hike out of it by driving up the gorgeous Sur-Nacimiento Road from Highway 1 to the Coast Ridge Road and take a 2 mile trail to the summit with 1300' of elevation gain (4 miles roundtrip), the more adventurous types do a Sea to Sky, starting at Kirk Creek Campground and u...
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  • Echo Lake, California

    Backpack to the "Waterfall Camp" in Desolation Wilderness

    4.6
    10.5 mi / 840 ft gain
    Although this hike can be done as a day hike, it is an awesome place to camp. There is a lot to explore and you will want to spend as much there time as you can. The easiest way to start this hike is to start at the Echo Lakes. There is ample parking above the marina and you even have the option ...
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  • Mono County, California

    Hot Creek Geological Site

    4.8
    Hot Creek Geological Site is a must see when you are in the Mammoth Lakes area. It is just West of Highway 395 and only minutes form the town of Mammoth Lakes, which has great food, a ski resort, world class mountain biking, and a brewery. Bishop is about 40 minutes South which is well known for ...
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  • Petrolia, California

    Backpack The Lost Coast: Mattole to Black Sands Beach

    4.8
    25.05 mi / 653 ft gain
    This is an absolutely stunning 25 mile thru-hike on the northern part of California's coast. To accomplish this hike, you'll either need to bring 2 cars or use a shuttle service. It's recommended that you drop one car at the Shelter Cove Trailhead (40.0455053,-124.0778196) and either use one of t...
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  • Big Sur, California

    Explore the Big Sur River Gorge

    4.7
    1 mi
    If you are in the Big Sur area during the summer, exploring the Big Sur River Gorge is a must! The gorge is located in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, and your closest parking will be day use parking lot 3. The trailhead to the gorge can be found at the northeast end of Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park C...
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  • McCloud, California

    Hike to Middle McCloud Falls

    4.8
    1.5 mi
    Just 4 hours north of San Francisco, McCloud Falls offers a quick hike and swimming hole for those looking for something less crowded than Burney Falls. McCloud Falls has 3 tiers, but the middle section offers the best views by far. To get here, park at the Fowlers Campground which is roughly 5 m...
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