Newb trying to find where to go. (2 Viewers)

Joined
Jan 9, 2021
Messages
7
Location
NorCal
Hi everyone,

I am new this and new here. I have gone camping in national and state parks and such, but I would like to get out away from others. I have a stock GX and should be getting my RTT installed next week. I want to get out but really have no good ideas of where I can and cannot go.

What I want to find is somewhere I can just drive out and camp at a random spot along a river, stream or lake. I live near San Jose, Ca and would like to find some trips that keep in NorCal for now. I ordered “GUIDE TO CALIFORNIA BACKROADS & 4-WHEEL-DRIVE TRAILS” today but I’m not sure if that’s going to give me what I want or not and I have no idea how long it will take to get here. My goal is to just get out, get away and hike to do photography away from others for now. Though I have a 4wD i would prefer nothing too crazy until I have proper recovery gear and can make plans with others.

Do any of you have suggestions on where I can go or have pointer on good resources I can start looking through.

thanks,
Dave
 
Joined
Jan 9, 2021
Messages
7
Location
NorCal
I didn’t see good thread options when I did a search but I did see a somewhat similar thread from a few months back. However, I feel that was centered more on the trail driving as opposed to finding a remote location(s) to camp for a few days. I am just unclear where I can go for a nice off-road drive and find a cool place to stop for a day that’s not an official campground.
Thanks again.
 

Road Apple

SILVER Star
Joined
Nov 28, 2011
Messages
781
Location
Santa Cruz, CA
Hi Dave,

I live just over the hill from you in Santa Cruz. There’s a few places to camp and wheel fairly close. Big Sur has a short trail on the north end called the North Coast road, but it’s closed for COVID. Hollister Hills OHV is a fun place to start wheeling, but the camping doesn’t sound like what you’re looking for.

To find “random spot along a river, stream or lake”, you will need to drive up into the Mendocino forest, which largely is now burned or head to the Sierras. Not much in between that I’m aware of. People tend to hold on to their secret spots and don’t post them online, else the hordes of people will descend upon it. Camping has become so popular during COVID that our parks and open space are getting loved to death. The best places I’ve found for random camping on open spaces away from people are in Colorado and Utah. I get a map out, look for trails near water and start exploring. I have started joining 4x4 TLCA club events to meet people and wheel in a group that support each other when someone breaks down.
 
Joined
Jan 9, 2021
Messages
7
Location
NorCal
There are tons of places in the Sierras you can camp next to a river or lake at .

Pointers on how to find them would be appreciated. I know there a spots (I have seen plenty of videos) but I don’t know how to tell where I can just stop and make camp and where I am only allowed to drive through on the road. I am trying to make sense of what’s allowed and not allowed in places.
Thanks
 

Firemedic831

Supporting Vendor
Joined
Nov 24, 2017
Messages
330
Location
Oregon
Meadow lake is a nice spot . You can access it by forest roads. And camp
Rt on the lake . It is the end of the Fordyce trail so you could hike down the trail and watch rigs . The turn off is off of hwy 89 . Eagle lakes. Is on the other end of the Fordyce trail And you can camp on the river or go in a little and camp at the lake . Loon lake is a nice spot to camp. Or ice house reservoir . That is the start of the Rubicon trail .
 

cme4lyt

SILVER Star
Joined
Jan 2, 2010
Messages
1,363
Location
Walnut Creek, CA Bay Area
The “Cal Backroads & 4 wheel drive trails’ book is a great place to start and you will not be disappointed. That was my ‘bible‘ about 5 years ago when I started getting serious and was a great starters guide. I’ve probably done about 60% of the NorCal/hwy 395 trails so I’d be happy to page through it over the phone if you want and give you the highlights ?

Regards, Jonathan
 
Joined
Sep 5, 2009
Messages
5,726
Location
Bishop, Ca
Pointers on how to find them would be appreciated. I know there a spots (I have seen plenty of videos) but I don’t know how to tell where I can just stop and make camp and where I am only allowed to drive through on the road. I am trying to make sense of what’s allowed and not allowed in places.
Thanks
Google is your friend. Look up the forest or area you want to go and look at the rules and regulations. Below is a link to the Stainslaus National Forest.


Here is a link to camping on BLM land:


I recommend joining a club or group in your area, Introduce yourself, tell them you are new to this and I'm sure someone will take you under their wing.

Good luck and remember to Tread Lightly and Drown, Stir, Fell you camp fires!
 
Joined
Jul 26, 2008
Messages
1,216
Location
hanford, ca
Go into the Clubhouse section of MUD, and find/contact various club in the areas which you are interested in.
Any of those local clubs are a good start. Can't beat local knowledge.


PS, try to do research on where all the fires happened, as some of those areas may be off limits for remediation work.
Additionally, the spring thaw in those areas could cause havoc with the roads/streams/wild life.
 

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