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Old 05-17-2019, 8:18 AM
Whiterabbit Whiterabbit is offline
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Default Family camping recommendation in Sierra Nevada in May

We go camping up by Lake Alpine up highway 4 every year for memorial day. There are near zero people (like 5 in an entire campground), the road to Tahoe is closed so no traffic, and we can go to a groomed campground so we get at least pit toilets (which is nice for my two small children). But still totally uncrowded. We just have to deal with the cold (40's at night, not bad) and no water, which is no problem. It's pretty swanky, and we love it.

Well, hwy 4 at that elevation is under 5 feet of snow now, and no amount of rain and 70 degree weather during the day is going to melt all that by next weekend.

We still want to go camping!

Any recommendations lower down the sierra, so we can still go into NF lands? Eastern Sierra is out because it's a 6.5 hour drive (Lake Alpine is 4 hours, that's Ok enough for a great campsite for kids...). We checked 108 at Pinecrest area camping but it's 10 degrees colder than hwy4 areas (so probably covered in snow also anyways). I'm worried about rain and mud in forest lands on the coast side of the central valley, they tend to be so so well traveled, maybe crowded.

Can't seem to reserve anywhere, it's memorial day weekend afterall (which is weird, lake alpine is a ghost town on this weekend, we have loved it in the past). Dunno if the kids are ready for BLM camping down hwy25, and a little worried about the mud there too since it's more chaparral, so less forest floor to soak up the rains coming next week.

Getting stuck. Any suggestions for empty campgrounds with at least some minor amenities for families? (really just toilets, vault is fine). Not looking to make this trip a distributed camping trip.
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Old 05-17-2019, 9:17 AM
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Carcassonne Carcassonne is offline
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I was going to suggest Hull Creek (off 108), but that area seems to be closed right now. It is a good place if you have green stickered ATVs or motorcycles. Not that great for fishing.

Diamond-O use to be good, but the Rim Fire in 2013 burned everything to a crisp, and the campsites cost too much ($26 a night).

Beardsley Dam might be OK. I have not been there in a while. The elevation of the dam is 3400 feet, so there shouldn't be any snow at the campsite, but the road going to the dam starts above Pinecrest at 5800 feet so there might be snow at the top of the road.

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Old 05-17-2019, 9:24 PM
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Everything thats open will be packed. Too many high alpine campgrounds closed because of snow will funnel everyone lower. Imagine your predicament x1000s.

Not to mention everything above 5000ft is looking at 6-18in of new snow over the next 7days.

Last edited by FatCity67; 05-17-2019 at 9:28 PM..
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Old 05-18-2019, 5:53 AM
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I'd suggest hitting the Northern coast of Ca FortBrag area. Again with the snow in the Sierras everyone is going to be looking for places to go.
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Old 05-18-2019, 11:18 AM
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Go to the east side of the Sierra's. A bit longer drive but there are some neat spots.

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Old 05-20-2019, 11:36 AM
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Uh, you might try Bear River Campgrounds, Ruck-a-Chucky or Mineral Bar. Not sure of their status for Memorial Day though.
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Old 05-20-2019, 11:39 AM
edgerly779 edgerly779 is offline
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Lots of snow so plan accordingly/ Like rent a motorhome.
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