Stanislaus National Forest

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About Stanislaus National Forest

You must know about Stanislaus. Must. It is absolutely epic. With virtually the same appeal as the nearby Yosemite minus the crowds, Stanislaus is perched up in the high Sierra landscape. It stretches across 4 counties, has 78 lakes, 800 miles of rivers and streams, instagram-worthy swimming holes and waterfalls, lava tubes, caves, granite walls, and of course the amazing mountainscape. Sound cool yet? Yeah, you should probably pack your bags. We certainly are.

Campgrounds in Stanislaus

Wa Ka Luu Hep Yoo (Wild River) Campground

1. Wa Ka Luu Hep Yoo (Wild River) Campground

As you plan your visit, please check out the official campground webpage on the Forest Service website to find information on seasonal closures,...

Michelle
Michelle: This was a fun campsite. A little tricky finding the road that lead to it but it was a nice gem. There wasn't many people there...
98 Saves
Lake Alpine Campground

2. Lake Alpine Campground

100% Recommend (3 Campers)

Nestled amongst the wooded conifer forest west of Lake Alpine, this campground is your easy access point to a good time. This place is close to all...

Daiva
Daiva: It is an amazing campground. Bears do come to check the garbage containers sometimes:-)
25 Saves
Highland Lakes Campground

3. Highland Lakes Campground

Get stoned on the high country at Highland Lakes Campground. Sitting at 8,500 feet in the sky, this camp is a sight for sore eyes. The deep blue...

Birgit
Birgit: Can be very cold and windy.
18 Saves
Sand Bar Flat Campground

4. Sand Bar Flat Campground

Sand Bar Flat Campground is a forested site on the middle fork of the Stanislaus River. It features a beautiful fishing spot where anglers can cast...

16 Saves
Pinecrest Campground

5. Pinecrest Campground

100% Recommend (9 Campers)

Pinecrest campground is in high-demand, and for good reason. Located on scenic Pinecrest Lake, this is known as the Beverley Hills of the Sierras....

Jaymie
Jaymie: Seriously. This place is packed for a reason. I grew up coming here and the only thing that has changed is the water level and...
15 Saves
Dimond O Campground

6. Dimond O Campground

Tally-ho, it’s Dimond O Campground, the closest digs to Yosemite National Park and Hetch Hetchy Reservoir (Big Oak entrance). Open to both tent and...

14 Saves
Backpacker's Camp Campground

7. Backpacker's Camp Campground

You don’t have to be a backpacker to really dig this spot, though it may help. Backpacker’s Camp is tent only and primitive, and doesn’t allow any...

13 Saves
River Ranch Campground

8. River Ranch Campground

Part public and part private, River Ranch Campground is located on a meadow at the confluence of Basin Creek and the North Fork Tuolumne River....

Pierre
Pierre: I was worried about getting a spot there on a Saturday evening but we ended up having the whole campground by ourselves. It's...
12 Saves
Utica/Union Reservoirs Campground

9. Utica/Union Reservoirs Campground

Two is always better than one! Don’t believe us? We dare ya to prove us wrong on your visit to the Utica/Union Reservoirs Campground. Not only do...

Kristina
Kristina: FYI if you have any questions about this campground the direct phone number to the Calaveras Ranger station is actually...
11 Saves
Cherry Valley Campground

10. Cherry Valley Campground

You’ll be smarter than the average bear (or person) if you choose to kick it in the mixed conifer forest at Cherry Valley Campground. Typical sites...

Michelle
Michelle: So this is an interesting site. The drive is extremely long and windy. It would be a nice view except the whole area went...
11 Saves
Stanislaus River Campground

11. Stanislaus River Campground

There’s a Lil Sumptin’ Sumptin’ for everyone at the Stanislaus River Campground. Between easy access to hiking trails, plenty of forest to trek...

10 Saves
Hull Creek Campground

12. Hull Creek Campground

When you feel like the traffic in your brain is worse than the traffic on your commute, it’s about time you #findyourselfoutside. What can be...

9 Saves
Lost Claim Campground

13. Lost Claim Campground

Recommended for tent camping only due to some rough terrain, Lost Claim Campground is fit for Derek Zoolander’s latest look “rustique. ” Amongst a...

5 Saves
Lodgepole Overflow

14. Lodgepole Overflow

Decided to go camping last minute only to find all the campgrounds full? Only open when the Alpine Lake basin is full, this spot is a life saver...

5 Saves
Lumsden Bridge Campground

15. Lumsden Bridge Campground

Lumsden Bridge Campground offers picturesque camping beside the Tuolomne River. It’s a great place to catch some whitewater, take a dip in the...

5 Saves
Fraser Flat Campground

16. Fraser Flat Campground

Gotta love that riverside camping. The sound of clear water rushing by, birds of prey soaring overhead, and trout splashing around in perfect...

5 Saves
Cascade Creek Campground

17. Cascade Creek Campground

Cascade Creek Campground is as classic a piece of the Sierras as you’ll ever see. Sites are walk-in and perched between forests of cedar and pine,...

4 Saves
Beardsley Dam Campground

18. Beardsley Dam Campground

Fresh mountain air, tall trees and a nearby fishing lake. Ahh—that’s what we call camping. Find all of this and more at Beardsley Dam Campground,...

4 Saves
Herring Creek Campground

19. Herring Creek Campground

The fresh smell of conifers, dusty roads, and fine mountain views will greet you when you arrive at Herring Creek Campground. Setup your tent close...

Joleen
Joleen: Herring Creek is very family friendly with a community atmosphere. Road is paved, with peaceful, although close campsites. ...
3 Saves
Big Meadow Campground

20. Big Meadow Campground

Big Meadow Campground is spacey, dreamy, and scenic as a Mother Nature. Smack dab in the midst of Calaveras Ranger District, you will bask your...

3 Saves
Lumsden Campground

21. Lumsden Campground

In the mood for something wild and scenic? Head to Lumsden Campground on the Tuolomne River. There is ample hiking, swimming, and rafting nearby....

3 Saves
South Fork Campground

22. South Fork Campground

Looking to get your internal clock on river time while out on the scenic South Fork of the Tuolumne River? Head on over to the popular South Fork...

3 Saves
Deadman Campground

23. Deadman Campground

Aside from its cool name, Deadman Campground offers a quiet, wooded experience along the Stanislaus River. It’s got on-site comfort basics like...

3 Saves
Silver Valley Campground

24. Silver Valley Campground

Just East of Lake Alpine, this campground is close to a lot of recreational fun. There are a plethora of activities to choose from, such as...

Ginger
Ginger: On July 28 at 2 PM Rosalyn Sasxenmeier age 71 walked away from her campsite and has not been found I understand that hundreds...
2 Saves
Pioneer Trail Group Campground

25. Pioneer Trail Group Campground

Situated in the Pinecrest Basin, Pioneer Trail Group Camp is great for camping with up to 100 of your nearest and dearest. With grills, fireplaces,...

2 Saves
Black Oak Flat Campground

26. Black Oak Flat Campground

Feeling like you’ve already explored most of the epic-ness that is Stanislaus National Forest? Mosy on over to Black Oak Flat Campground, also...

2 Saves
Hermit Valley Campground

27. Hermit Valley Campground

Alright, so we’re going to be straight up with you camper—Hermit Valley Campground isn’t your pamper-me-in-the-woods kind of site. These grounds...

2 Saves
Spicer Reservoir Group Campground

28. Spicer Reservoir Group Campground

Why come to an awesome place alone when you can bring your friends, your fam, and all your neighbors? At Spicer Reservoir Group Campground you can...

2 Saves
Baker Campground

29. Baker Campground

Get your fill of camping goodness at Baker Campground in Stanislaus Forest. With campsites a’plenty—some even have views of the rushing Stanislaus...

2 Saves
Mosquito Lakes Campground

30. Mosquito Lakes Campground

If fishing has been on your mind all week, then this spot is the one for you. Taking Friday off would be your best bet for securing a spot at this...

2 Saves
Pacific Valley Campground

31. Pacific Valley Campground

Pacific Valley is beautiful! How can it not be?! The Sierra Nevada do not disappoint. This campground is situated in an alpine meadow and forest,...

2 Saves
Mill Creek Campground

32. Mill Creek Campground

Noted for a stand of beautiful aspen trees, Mill Creek Campground is located in a mixed conifer forest. There is a small stream on the grounds, and...

2 Saves
Spicer Reservoir Campground

33. Spicer Reservoir Campground

Kiss the city goodbye. A stay at Spicer Reservoir Campground won’t have you missin’ it, and that’s a promise! With lake views that would trump your...

2 Saves
Pine Marten Campground

34. Pine Marten Campground

Headed to Lake Alpine and in need of place to camp? Then you’ve come to the right place! Pine Marten is one of the many campgrounds in the area,...

2 Saves
Silvertip Campground

35. Silvertip Campground

Located a little under a mile West of Lake Alpine, Silvertip Campground is your spot to be close to the lake, but not to the people. Tie on a few...

2 Saves
Niagara OHV Campground

36. Niagara OHV Campground

This area of the Sierra National Forest is also primed for off-roading fun. If that’s your thing, stay at Niagara OHV Campground. You can scope out...

Trials
Trials: This is a pretty cool campground. It's fairly remote without many facilities that seem to keep the crowds away even on...
2 Saves
Meadowview Campground

37. Meadowview Campground

Want the group camping without the group camp price? Check out Meadowview Campground, where the sites are big enough for 3 tents and an EZ-up. Find...

1 Save
Clark Fork Campground

38. Clark Fork Campground

If you couldn’t quite squeeze into one of several little first-come, first-served campgrounds in Stanislaus National Forest, or if you just need to...

1 Save
Sweetwater Campground

39. Sweetwater Campground

Sweetwater Campground is recovering from the Rim Fire, so use caution when dealing with trees and wildlife weakened from the natural destruction....

1 Save
Fence Creek Campground

40. Fence Creek Campground

Oh California, you never disappoint with your plethora of riverside campgrounds, and Fence Creek Campground is no exception. Located on the Clark...

1 Save
Eureka Valley Campground

41. Eureka Valley Campground

On the banks of that mighty Stanislaus River, you can revel in the nightly moonlight glow of Eureka Valley Campground. The campground provides a...

1 Save
Brightman Flat Campground

42. Brightman Flat Campground

With secluded campsites nestled in between groves of cedars and pines, Brightman Flat Campground is truly a piece of good old fashioned Sierra...

1 Save
Herring Reservoir Campground

43. Herring Reservoir Campground

Grab the fishing gear and head the Herring Reservoir Campground. Campsites are in a mixed conifer forest, and offer views of the Herring Reservoir....

1 Save
Niagara Creek Campground

44. Niagara Creek Campground

Niagara Creek Campground is located in a mixed conifer forest about 15 miles from the Summit Ranger Station. The creek itself seems like no big...

1 Save
Boulder Flat Campground

45. Boulder Flat Campground

Get wild at Boulder Flat Campground. Feel right in the heart of the Sierras as you camp surrounded by cedars and firs—not to mention the epic...

Clark Fork Horse Campground

46. Clark Fork Horse Campground

Accommodating equestrian folk, Clark Fork Horse Camp is on the rough side but still a good deal, offering nearby opportunities for fishing and...

Bloomfield Campground

47. Bloomfield Campground

Need to dip out of the city for a weekend? Look no further than Bloomfield Campground. Although the sites are not fully stacked with amenities,...

Dardanelle Campground

48. Dardanelle Campground

The best part of waking up is the sweet smell of conifers in the morning. But don’t worry, there’s on-site potable water for your campfire coffee,...

Pigeon Flat Campground

49. Pigeon Flat Campground

A small site along the banks of the Stanislaus River, Pigeon Flat Campground is the perfect camp for exploring the geological wonder that is the...

Sand Flat Campground

50. Sand Flat Campground

Six miles from the junction of Clark Fork Road and Highway 108 is Sand Flat Campground. There are several peaks in the area to explore including...

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19 Reviews

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Drop some Stanislaus knowledge on us.
Hipcamper Jaymie

Seriously. This place is packed for a reason. I grew up coming here and the only thing that has changed is the water level and amount of people. The beaches might get packed but just a short hike around the lake will have you secluded in no time. They have movies in an outdoor theater for the whole family, pretty clean bathrooms, and a variety of loops to choose from. We usually stay furthest away from the lake—it's a little quieter back there. But really, any site you get is going to be worth the trip.

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Hipcamper A
A

Pinecrest is one of the most popular camping areas, so if that’s where you want to be, make reservations early!

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Hipcamper A
A

For amazing views of the surrounding landscape, check out Donnell Vista Point. It’s a must-see, if you’re gonna be there.

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Hipcamper Joleen

Herring Creek is very family friendly with a community atmosphere. Road is paved, with peaceful, although close campsites. The creek is serene, and usually slow enough for small kids to play in the area closest to the sites. Farther down are somewhat deeper pools for more of a swim. Altogether a relaxing place to spend some summer nights!

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Hipcamper Joleen

A great place to camp if you like amenities! This is a popular summer vacation spot and fills up fast. Some campsites are a short walk across the street and you're at the sandy shore of Pinecrest Lake. There's a well stocked store, snack shack, boat rentals, art gallery, flush toilets and there's even nightly movies at the amphitheater! The walk around the lake is easy, and a great way to escape the crowd and grab a private spot. You can also hike to Cleo's bath from the lake trail, check out the view, and watch the water rush over the cliff!

Hipcamper Trials

This is a pretty cool campground. It's fairly remote without many facilities that seem to keep the crowds away even on weekends.

There's plenty of hiking opportunities although there are no hiking only trails (easy to get lost). I simply followed the creek next to the campground and explored the granite slabs without venturing too far. There are 2 ohv trails leaving the campground that could be used for hiking too as they are not too traveled.

Most of the ohv trails are easy on a dirt bike with an occasional moderate/difficult section allowing beginners to reach most areas.

Hipcamper Pierre

I was worried about getting a spot there on a Saturday evening but we ended up having the whole campground by ourselves. It's huge! The sites across the little bridge are the best, they are shady, bordered by a creek, and there is an outdoor kitchen area. Just don't forget trash bags as it's a "pack it in, pack it out" campground.

Hipcamper Michelle

This was a fun campsite. A little tricky finding the road that lead to it but it was a nice gem. There wasn't many people there so it was easy to find a quiet site in the back. We were there in June so the water wasn't to bad. We hikes over the bridge and down to a little sandy area. I had little kids so it was safe enough considering the water is pretty fast. I do remember it being a pretty dirty campsite. Sounds silly but the kids were covered in dust and dirt.

Hipcamper A
A

Are you addicted to coffee? If you’re camping near Pinecrest Lake, you can walk to an awesome coffee stand, the Serene Bean about two miles from the lake.

Hipcamper A
A

If you’re planning to hang out near some lakes or rivers, have some sturdy water shoes! The rocks are slippery, folks.

Hipcamper A
A

Lake Alpine is a great place for kayakers, and you can rent there if you don’t want to lug your own kayak out here.

Hipcamper A
A

If you love the stars, bring your telescopes! With no pesky lights from nearby cities, the night skies are dark and clear out here.

Hipcamper Kristina

FYI if you have any questions about this campground the direct phone number to the Calaveras Ranger station is actually 209-795-1686. The ranger also recommended speaking with the Ebbett's Pass Sports 209-795-1686 about the latest information on fishing. I hear they stock Union Reservoir with rainbow trout :)

Hipcamper Ginger

On July 28 at 2 PM Rosalyn Sasxenmeier age 71 walked away from her campsite and has not been found I understand that hundreds of people searched and still nothing please if anyone knows anything about this area let us know if there's anything further that can be done to search for her she's not the type of person to just walk away on your own please someone help

Hipcamper Michelle

So this is an interesting site. The drive is extremely long and windy. It would be a nice view except the whole area went through a fire. We were there in June of 2016, i assume it happened in that year or the year past. We got to the campground to find that there was no water. The faucets were dry. Have 5 kids this was a problem but the camp host was great and brought us jugs of water. We drove down to the lake and were able to get a nice spot before the crown to swim and hang out. Definitely wouldn't go back but, it was an experience.

Hipcamper Nathan

Fun little lake for fishing and laying out on the beach!

Hipcamper Daiva

It is an amazing campground. Bears do come to check the garbage containers sometimes:-)

Hipcamper Jason

Bring a canoe or kayak, some of the best places are only accessible by water.

History of Stanislaus National Forest

The Stanislaus National Forest, created on February 22, 1897, is among the oldest of the National Forests. It is named for the Stanislaus River whose headwaters rise within Forest boundaries. The Spanish explorer Gabriel Moraga named the river "Our Lady of Guadalupe" during an 1806 expedition. Later, the river was renamed in honor of Estanislao, an Indian leader.

The archaeological record indicates that people lived in the Sierra Nevada since 9000 BC. The Central Sierra Me-Wuk were the most recent Native American occupants of this area. They lived in permanent villages and temporary camps, often located near springs or along small creeks.

During the gold rush, the area that would become the Stanislaus National Forest was a busy place, occupied by miners and other immigrants, homesteaders and ranchers, dam builders and loggers. Ditches were built, providing water to the mines. Several railroads were constructed to haul logs out of the woods. Evidence of these activities still exist.