A camping weekend in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park was the last adventure of our summer break. It took us about 3 hours too long to get there, because you know, Bay Area traffic sucks. It sucks in general and even more on a Friday afternoon. Nevertheless it was worth it as Camping in California is one of the best ways to experience the stunning nature of this state.

We arrived at the campground late at night. We set up the beds in our van and stowed the stuff in the tent. Finally we sent the girls to bed and had a nightcap sitting by the fire. 

Camping in California is convenient.

That is, if you have a reservation.* The campsites mostly offer a fire pit, a table with benches and depending on the location a huge bear proof food locker. The sites are spacious and often in the best locations of the National and State Parks.

Waking up at the campground is already something special. You might be tickled by the first rays of sun, or woken up from people chatting and laughing, or smelling the first campfire of the day. My daughter brought me a coffee into the van before taking off to fish with her daddy. My older one and I started our fire and enjoyed the morning sun, the smell and the views of the forest.

Sequoia NP has a great shuttle service.

We camped at Dorst Creek Campground which is only a few miles away from all the sights in Sequoia KC National Park. The shuttle picks you up at the campground and takes you to the main stops. There are several shuttle lines connecting the campground, Lodgepole Visitor Center and campground, Wolverton, General Sherman Main Parking, the Giant Tree Museum, Moro Rock and Crescent Meadow. It’s super easy to get around, but you can also hike everywhere. Pick up a detailed hiking map at one of the visitor centers. After we checked out all the big trees, we hiked up to Tokopah Falls.

Camping in California

Camping in California

The trail to Tokopah Falls starts just beyond the Marble Fork Bridge in Lodgepole Campground. It is an easy 1.7 mile (2.7 km) one-way walk along the Marble Fork of the Kaweah River to the impressive granite cliffs and cascading waterfall of Tokopah Canyon. Tokopah Falls is 1,200 feet (365.8 meters) high, and is most impressive in early summer, but be careful around the water!

I will definitely come back. 

On Sunday we climbed up Moro Rock, explored Crescent Meadow and the Giant Tree Museum. Afterwards we went fishing and biking. Both nights** we taught our girls our favorite card game “King & Asshole” (comparable to the card game “President”) and it was so much fun!

We also got lectured twice by the Bear Management about proper food storage and appropriate behavior when encountering a bear. A group of mule deer scared the heck out of me when they started playing right next to our table. I couldn’t believe that the Dutch family next to us just ate outside for a short time and then went straight back into their RV. They didn’t even have a fire and missed out on all the magic of camping in the woods!

Camping in California

And you know what I probably love most about camping? The sky full of stars. Being far away from the light polluted Bay Area sky, you can see thousands of stars. And regular shooting stars too, it is just incredibly beautiful. I can’t find the right words to describe it. Go camping in California and see it yourself!

* At reserveamerica.com and recreation.gov you can book sites 6 months in advance. I highly recommend to make reservations as soon as possible.

**We stayed until Monday morning and left early. It took us only 4 hours to drive home.

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