About Heart of the Wild Group Camp
We are sad about Highway 1, BUT>>>the good news is you can still get here!
Still accessible via Route 101! You can get here by taking the road that goes through Fort Hunter Liggett military reservation. Getting to Heart of the Wild is an adventure in and of itself (think long windy, dusty backroads), but it's well worth it! This huge camp area is perfect for large groups (up to 15) and is at the edge of a large meadow ringed about by mountains.
It's ideal for people who want to enjoy nature and quiet time. If you are looking for a party spot to be loud and get crazy, don't come here. I'm a full time resident for over 44 years and have no interest in hosting people who aren't ready to be mellow, quiet, and respectful of the wild and of my neighbors. Quiet time at night.
There is a large fresh water pond for swimming (the only swimmable pond in the Big Sur area), and redwood groves within walking distance on a loop trail on the property. Basic cooking utensils and dishes are available, with picnic tables and prep tables. Bundled firewood is for sale. Bring drinking water. Be aware that you are required to pack your trash out with you, so leave room for that in your planning. Great mixed oak and madrone firewood is $7 a bundle.
Due to safety considerations, the rope swing is NO LONGER AVAILABLE.
- Listing type: Private
- No. of sites: 1
- Accessible by: Drive
- Accommodation: Tent Only
- Check in after: 2PM
- Check out before: 12PM
- Cancellation policy: Moderate
- On arrival: Meet and greet
- Minimum nights: None
- Accepts bookings: 12 months out
The vibe at Heart of the Wild Group Camp
If you stayed here and have some insider info for us, let us know!
The camp is huge and amazing. Betty was very helpful. :)
The kitchen was almost fully stocked with everything we needed.
Be prepared for the 6 miles of dirt road drive (recommend a 4wd or a truck) and the flies. The flies disappear once it gets dark.
Overall it was great, I would come back. The host is really nice and friendly, she gave us peaches and plums from her garden, it seems like a full working farm. It’s clean, with strong amenities - a full blown kitchen and working toilet. The site is in relatively close proximity to the owner’s house.
Heart of the Wild is all about seclusion, privacy, silence, shooting stars, redwoods, sunsets on the ocean, and goats. A music festival that hosted up to 400 people was used to take place there for a few years. And you'll have this large meadow for yourselves, as well as the old stage, which is pretty good to pitch a tent on!
The pond is at 3 minutes walking down the hill. There is also a nice 2-hour hike through the forest that you can do from the property. Thank you, Betty, we had a blast!
We had a really amazing long weekend at Heart of the Wild camp! Betty responded immediately after booking and met us upon arrival to her property to explain a few things. The space itself is perfect for a big group as no one else is around and you have so much room to have fun. The spring fed pond/lake was awesome and we brought plenty of floats to beat the midday heat and is a 2 min walk downhill. Other things we did were play bocce through the goat field, have some epic volleyball matches at the court down the road (bring plenty of beers in the cooler as it's a bit of a walk back to camp), set up badminton, and horseshoes in her pit. The camp kitchen has some cookware and utensils but we brought our own grill to cook breakfast and BBQ'd directly on the large fire pit both nights. Also, there is literally nothing but her house around the area so the stars on a clear night are unbelievable!
Some things to note: coming from HWY 1, the winding paved road takes 30-45mins on its own and then you drive on a rutted, dusty dirt road for another 30 minutes. We had 3 trucks and 3 cars do the trip and it was definitely not the easiest in the cars....like you might-get-stuck-up-there not easy. Additionally, this time of year the bugs were pretty awful. We had one person count 65 bug bites on her body the day after we got back and that was with plenty of bug spray, citronella, and a huge fire! Most of the property gets hit with the rising sun and has no morning shade so you will be up right at the crack of dawn, if not before by the goats that yell early. Another pain point was having to pack our own trash out for $300 per night as a group of 15 creates a lot of bulky recycling/waste.
Other than those quirks, it is an absolutely amazing place with space to breathe and fun to be had. Don't expect to the pace of life to move quickly and do not miss the stunning sunsets from in front of Betty's house! I'd definitely go again but would probably not return without a 4x4 truck or SUV.
Had a blast here. Its quite a ways from Big Sur but depending on your goals for the trip the combination of kitchen, bathroom, shower and pond are totally worth it. We only decided to leave for the day one time because we had such a good time there. The views from the top of the hill cannot be beaten. Betty was very nice and helpful but left us to ourselves just the right amount. My only recommendation is to not attempt to dump trash at Mill Creek since a ranger almost gave us a hefty fine.
...what a special place
We met capacity at Betty's group camp (and two more friends at Betty's cottage) and were very pleased with what amenities were offered. The size and beauty of the lake exceeded expectations. Awesome host, fun rope swing into the lake, and lots of space for tents, cars, and cooking!
I would definitely bring a group here again!
Heart of the Wild is AMAZING!!! Private lake, great rope swing, beautiful views, and awesome host Betty. OH! And baby goats. It doesn't get better. Such a special place for a group to really connect in the nature. We were here for my best friend's birthday party and it was perfect. Can't wait to come back!!
Betty was very nice and accommodating. As soon as we got there, she let us use her satellite phone to contact other vehicles coming up about some important details. I think our experience was a little different because of the rain and fires within the past year, which have kept Betty from opening her property for camping. We were the first group of the year at the campsite.
Most important detail - the road. Because of all the rain this year, the 5-6 miles of dirt road to get to the property are no joke. In fact, they're probably impassable if wet. We had all sedans driving up and definitely bottomed out a few times, even with careful driving. We asked about the roads and she said they were passible but be careful in sedans, which is true. We made it, but I probably wouldn't do it again. There were a few times we had to just charge it. The roads are very hilly dirt and rutted out pretty good. Drive an SUV.
The other note - the looks. I think because we were the first group that had been up there in the last year or so, the campground was just looking a little run down. There's a lot of junk strewn about that could easily be cleaned up with a couple of good days of cleaning. Trails could be cleaned up, etc. The refrigerator in the little half kitchen doesn't work. All that said, the property is in a really beautiful part of Big Sur, and it is very remote. It's a pretty neat experience. The half kitchen with running water is money for cooking. The legit toilet in the outhouse is money. And the drive along the South Coast Road (the dirt part) gives you great views of the ocean. We didn't really dabble in the pond because the water was so cold, but I can see how that would be really great in the summer too. Awesome rope swing! If you know what you're getting into, this could be a really great place for a large group camping outing.
Betty was extremely friendly and helpful. Swimming in the lake and rope swinging made it one of the coolest camping trips i've had in a long time. As long as you use bug spray you shouldn't have a problem with the mosquitos. The bathroom was super convenient. If you're bringing rafts, be sure to bring a portable pump because it's hard to carry big rafts down the trail to the lake. Bring sunscreen, we spent all day at the lake and I got super sunburned after falling asleep on my flamingo raft for a few hours.
Wonderful, magical place to stay... We went with a group of girls scouts who loved the place... A big fire ring with a grate for cooking, a kitchen area for cleaning up, a stage.... Views are magical, goats kept everyone busy, but best of all... Our own, private watering hole!
Betty was a lovely host, and even escorted us back for a part of the way back.
Parts of the dirt road are very very steep, I will come again, but with a 4x4...