I booked Madrone Tree Hill because I was looking to camp near Apple Hill since I wanted to take in all that Apple Hill has to offer, but didn't want to drive 6 hours in one day. Instead we drove up Saturday afternoon, grabbed dinner at Smith Flat Hill. (Highly recommend this restaurant!)
We stayed at camp 7. The campsite was well marked and a decent way away from other campsites. You can still see other sites and hear them but they aren't right on top of you. The site itself was really nice with a picnic table, fire pit, water bucket, and flat well maintained ground. The bathroom was just a campsite over and also had a wash table with a sink.
Overall I really enjoyed this campsite. Just enough privacy where you could enjoy your own space and yet enough people around not to feel frightened since the sites are down a pretty long road. Pro tip for those traveling during the fall season: This campsite is within walking distance (10 minutes) to Rainbow Orchards where the best apple cider doughnuts and hot/cold apple cider is sold. Walk over in the morning and grab some freshly made treats.
Gordon was a great host even though we didn't get to meet and was quick to respond to messages and left a packet of Apple Hill information.
My recommendation for the camp would be some sort of grate to put over the fire to cook since that was the only thing we couldn't do. Granted we ate outside the camp, but would have liked the option. If you need to cook, just ensure it's things that you can cook on a skewer.
We stayed at Yosemite Base Camp over the 4th of July weekend for 3 nights.
We stayed in camp 4.
Rather private with each campsite being relatively far enough from one another to feel like you have your own space. You can see some of the other sites, but they don't feel intrusive.
Porta potty is clean and well maintained and down the hill far enough to make sure you don't feel like you have the spot next to the bathroom.
Fire pits are available and each camp has their own. Camp 4 technically has two, almost looking like it was two different campsites. This would be a good option for families who want to separate the teens from the parents with a separate fire ring. There are grills you can place above the ring to cook.
Picnic tables are available at each site which is a really nice touch since you can keep a lot of your belongings off the ground and have a place to prepare food.
No mosquitos. I brought bug spray as a preventative, but the camp really was not an issue with mosquitos.
Close enough to Bass Lake and Yosemite for day trips. We did both and very much appreciated how easy it was. Bass Lake is about 15 minutes away. Yosemite is about 1.5 hours or 1 hour if you leave at 4am like we did. (Highly recommended if you are hiking)
Close enough to stores if you need to pick something up or restaurants if you need a break from cooking over the fire.
Beautiful property with plenty of space and enough wildlife to keep you intrigued by what's going on around you.
Cons (some are not cons, as much as they are notes to consider)
No potable water (this is stated, do you know going into it, but still bringing your own water to do dishes is a bit harder)
Fire wood is not provided (or at least wasn't to our camp) but there are smaller sticks and logs around to scrounge up.
Camp 4 did not have much shade which became hard in the 90 degree heat. Not really so much as a +/- but important to note if you need shade.
No bear boxes to keep food away from animals. You need to bring either a cooler or something else to keep everything in. The animals (not bears) will come and they will tear up everything looking for food.
The road is definitely not great for any of the camps. A 2WD car will NOT make it up there. Do not try, but there is designated parking that worked out just fine. The walk up is tiresome, but really you're camping so, you kinda have to accept that you're going to do some work.
The camps are not marked well. Although driving to the camp is easy and well defined on a map, the actual campsites are not very well marked (just a green stick in the ground with a number on it). There definitely could be better signage since we had to hunt around a bit when we first arrived.
Dogs across the way are definitely noisy, but didn't bark all day. Usually only when someone came home to the house across the way. They would get pretty excited. If you like dogs, it probably won't bother you. If you aren't a fan, it will take you out of the camping environment.
Overall, I would recommend this camping spot if you want to get away for a long weekend and would like to explore Yosemite or Bass Lake.