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Whaleback Ridge Campgrounds

· Calistoga, Sonoma, California
34 acres hosted by Dan C.
1 lodging site · 1 RV/tent site · 1 tent site
Recent Hipcampers say this Hipcamp is romantic.
Amazing views
Hipcampers say this spot has amazing views.
Off-leash friendly
Pets can be off-leash at some sites.
Welcome! We offer 3 options on our land, just 10 minutes from beautiful Calistoga, mud baths, the community pool ($8) and of course the restaurant and fun bar scene. I teach at SF State, and spend my summer vacations visiting our family land and running hipcamp, amidst various travel plans. I am proud of our little camp for being an affordable option in Calistoga with gorgeous views and peaceful nature settings. Whaleback Ridge has 2 main sites that overlook “the Whaleback”, named by my great-great grandparents who settled here 100 years ago. The top of the Whaleback is the far edge of our 34-acre property, and is accessible by trails (hiking map will be sent to you upon booking). The sites, overlooking this ridgeline through the trees, are called the Shaded Oak and the Married Manzanitas - both are very rustic and outdoorsy. The Married Manzanitas site has the additional option of staying in a cozy Tent Cabin set up with a futon bed, desk and loveseat - called the Married Manzanitas Cabin. Cabin is almost finished but ready to stay in; it has full canvas walls and finished inside, but not all wood panels have been finished on the exterior (giving it more of a tent feel for summer). Each main site is very private, and all sites share access to the "Hilltop 360 View Station" where you can find the outdoor kitchen (with appliances available to use in the shed), WiFi (most of the time), a NEWLY REBUILT shower/tub combo, and a propane grill or campstove for cooking, as well as plates, utensils, spices, etc. *Note: over the last two years, we've made many changes and upgrades. See most recent pictures towards the top, and in the Site Descriptions, for the most accurate idea of what we offer. TWO AVAILABLE SITES: 1. Shaded Oak: small RV/trailer accessible, this is a back-in site for RVs - cars have a 3- or 4-point 'turnaround' by the Keep Going sign (mind the trees). There is also one designated flat spot for tents, but easily 1-2 more flat spots, including the flat spot to park RVs, trailers, cars, etc. *For trailers, the back-in is slightly challenging; we recommend you drive to the top of the driveway (the Hilltop 360 View Station where the main house is), and turn around for easier maneuvering. This site has a table, chairs, garbage can with bags, dish soap and a 5 gallon water jug for a "handwashing" station (this is well water, not harmful to drink but not "spring" water). When Married Manzanitas is vacant, you have the option of the more private, lower shower in the Married Manzanitas site (Dan will let you know if that site is vacant; otherwise shower is available at the Hilltop 360 View station). All sites have their own compost toilet and garbage bin - for more info, see Site description or the Info Doc I will send upon booking. 2. Married Manzanitas: tent or open star camping only, with mainly walk-in access to the site (about 40 yards). Driving in with 4WD or high clearance vehicles is definitely do-able, and optional, at your own risk of scratches. You'll have a large table, chairs, flat spot for tent with a tarp available, your own compost toilet "throne" (see details in Site Description/Info Doc). This site has a dishwashing and handwashing station, as well as utensils, dishes, and a small one-burner camp stove available in drawers under the sink. *There is a private propane heated shower at this site marked by the red shade cloths, and is exclusive to Married Manzanitas campers when rented. This shower is fed by a hose - You might need to walk to the hilltop station to turn on the hose, if you use it more than once. Note: The Married Manzanitas site is the only one that doesn't accommodate a trailer or RV, since it is walk-in, 2WD vehicles with some clearance, or 4WD accessible. SHARED: Hilltop 360 View Station is across from the main yellow house at the top of the hill. When you reach the hilltop, stay left towards the Welcome sign and small yellow shed. Behind the yellow shed, you will find shared access to electricity, a sink, our newly rebuilt shower/tub combo (see pics), the other larger outdoor tub, propane grill, campstove; inside the shed you'll find the microwave, mini-fridge, coffee maker, utensils and dishes, and lots of games! The Shared Kitchen is outside, however many of the supplies and appliances (coffee machine, microwave, toaster, mini-fridge with freezer) are inside the shed. Use the appliances inside, then take any dishes, utensils, pots and pans, etc. to the stainless steel counter with sink. Please wash and return anything you use back to the shed (or leaving them in the drying rack is fine). There is also a treehouse deck (made from recycled redwood from our old deck) and a swing:) *Please note: much of our hipcamp is made of recycled redwood from when I rebuilt our deck, and leftovers from other big projects (like concrete fiber siding), and/or supplies from Dan and Mariah's wedding - and we're proud to be recycling these materials into new projects for the hipcamp (like the treehouse, some of the shower), so that you can enjoy the scenery and serenity of our land. OTHER GUIDELINES: *Everyone is welcome to drive or walk to the Hilltop, where the main house is; just don't knock on the door or disturb the family living there. Dan stays in the White cabin when visiting, but please contact by text. Park anywhere between the yellow shed and small white 'cabin' near the water tank. For hiking, keep walking past the white cabin to access the main hiking trail to the Whaleback Ridge (past the compost toilet, look out for the first left to access the main fire road to the Whaleback (map will be sent to you in a google doc). *You may not need the Hilltop Station if you're using the lower shower and/or self-contained in your RV, but it is there if you would like to use it. *Feel free to wash/rinse any dishes you want to use FIRST, as dust, etc. is likely to accumulate up here. *After use, please clean, dry and return anything you used to avoid a $10 cleaning fee. *Both bathtubs are available for soaking, for an extra $10 per stay (add 'Extra' at booking or contact Dan if you decide to use it later). *Other Extras available at booking (or contact Dan if you're already camping): bicycles ($10 each per stay); kayak and all gear ($15); tennis rackets/balls for court in town ($10 per day for all); 4 person tent ($10); clean sheets for the Tent Cabin bed ($10, in case you don't bring your own sheets or sleeping bags). Games are free to use - please replace as you found them. *We have an old dog! She is a husky-akida mix (her name is "Beautiful") and she will bark at first. She makes friends quickly; feel free to meet her and show you're friendly, then ignore her and/or play with her! But please don't feed her human food, and watch your food (!). If you bring pets, they should be fine! If yours is at all questionable with new dogs, please just introduce them slowly at first, and then they should get along famously. Throwing a toy or stick should work, or if available, give her a dog treat. *Dan should be around most of this summer! I stay in the white cabin when I visit, and I'm available by TEXT (through the hipcamp app). In emergencies or stuck cars, our tenant/host at the main house can usually help with his truck - after work hours - for a $15 emergency help fee if he's available, and has graciously done so before. But remember, Dan is the main point of contact by text. If you need WIFI to send a text, you can connect at the Hilltop 360 View Station. Wifi Info is on the google doc that I will send to your phone or email upon booking; I recommend downloading the doc to your phone in case you don't have service:) *For hiking, you can explore most all parts of the property NORTH of the driveway/camps. You can get to "The Whaleback" most easily by walking to the "Hilltop 360 View Station" and walking left, past the white Coral Cabin, about 25 yards then taking your FIRST left trail and following the main trails which will cover the edges of our 34 acres, about 30-45 min. hike to the top of the ridge. If you reach the small pond, you've gone too far past the FIRST left trail. The other way to access this trail is through our "Fern Gully", which is Northeast of the Shaded Oak and/or Whaleback View Cabin (past the compost toilet and then 'right,' down the wash will get you to our dried up streambed, then right again following the streambed will eventually get you to the main trail). These trails are tame enough, but at spots they do get overgrown, and it is wilderness. -rattlesnakes, ticks, and poison oak - long pants and hiking boots recommended. *Steer clear of the neighbors down the hill - the first house you see when you drive up the driveway. Please do not approach the lower house or invade their privacy. It is my cousin and I like to be as respectful of their space as possible. *When you book, a google doc with much of this information, and other tips, will be sent to you which you can download as a PDF on your phone to keep available when you lose WiFi. *This is a beautiful, serene, and peaceful spot! We invite you to come contribute to that energy.
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104 ratings · 82 reviews
Heidi G.recommends
June 3, 2024
Shaded Oak tent and sm RV site
Dan was quick to respond as we were needing to camp that night. The bug spray provide was much needed when we arrived at dusk. The gas firepit was a nice addition to our evening. Loved that our dog could be off leash. Had a lovely time.
Quiver W.recommends
June 1, 2024
Shaded Oak tent and sm RV site
Beautiful spot, easy to find and convenient! Dan was very welcoming and friendly :)
Kate S.
May 27, 2024
Married Manzanitas Tent Campsite
We really enjoyed camping under the Manzanitas, and watching and listening to the birds. The one flat area in the site was big enough to accommodate our “barn” of a tent and stayed mostly shaded all day. We put a camp lantern pointing upward into one of the trees, and didn’t miss having a fire at all. Upon arrival, Dan very kindly brought us a big cooler of water, some bug repellent, and disinfectant wipes, which we really appreciated. And while we didn’t avail ourselves of any of the hilltop kitchen amenities, it was nice to know they were there. Things to note: Dan had asked us to message him if we had questions, but service was extremely spotty, so that wasn’t really an option for us when we did have questions. There were a lot of Foxtails and Poison Oak on the trail and right around the camp, so while our dog was welcomed, we found it not to be a super “dog friendly” experience on the whole because of that. And if you are a person who needs your bathroom and shower to be a totally private and isolated nature experience, this is not the spot for you. While it didn’t keep us awake, in general we could hear the sounds of other people nearby most of the time, and often had them passing through our camp.
Georgina G.recommends
May 20, 2024
Married Manzanitas Tent Campsite
Camping with a tot and a doggo
The site is absolutely beautiful. Dan is an incredibly responsive host and went the extra mile to accommodate our needs as a family with a small child and Doggo. The site is very private and secluded but is close to the amenities of Calistoga. A great home base to explore Calistoga and all that it has to offer.
Crystal W.recommends
May 15, 2024
Married Manzanitas Tent Campsite
Exactly what I needed
Perfect camp spot for the night. Under the stars and in the woods. We only stayed one night so I can’t comment on the amenities like the toilet or kitchen area. There is a nice table and chairs to hang out! Be careful of the big tree branch on the right side coming in, definitely did a number on my car. Soooo close to Calistoga!! Got to get some lovely dinner and walk around downtown. Really awesome affordable option in wine country. Would stay again!
Tom G.
April 29, 2024
Shaded Oak tent and sm RV site
Springtime camp.
The site was "funky" as described by the host. The place could be improved with the inclusion of an outhouse and a real picnic table. It is lovely spot in the oak trees and is very quiet. We enjoyed our visit.
Calistoga, Sonoma, California, United StatesTraditional, ancestral territory of Wappo and Miwok First Nations according to To respect the Host's privacy, the precise address of this land will be provided after booking
Hosted by Dan C.Joined in May 2021
Response rate: 100%
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