French Camp Campground – A quiet campground

Camping in the High Sierras is not as easy as it once was, however this fact offers one the ability to explore and remove oneself from their comfort zone.  French Camp campground was the result of just this fact for me and as result, I found a little gem in the High Sierra.  

Fishing Rock Creek at French Camp, High Sierra, CA
Fishing Rock Creek at French Camp Campround, High Sierra, CA

On our last trip, we planned on visiting and exploring the High Sierra.  Immediately, we planned on returning to Convict Lake.  Perhaps Lake Mary or Twin Lakes Campground in Mammoth Mountain however all of these campgrounds where sold out for our time period. I did not want to relocate our campsite during the course of our trip.

Each campsite had quite a bit of room and the undergrowth was such that you did have a bit of privacy. There was a lot of trees to offer shade on a warm June day. Each location had a table and fire ring. The soil is sanding and this old campground has quiet a bit of soot and charcoal mixed into to it from years of fires. This could mean an interesting and frequent clean up period with children.

The flush bathrooms were centrally located and cleaned on a regulate basis. Rock creek ran along the northern side of the campground and allowed for easy creek access for fishing.

French Camp , like many High Sierra Campgrounds does have California Black Bear from time to time. During our stay, there was bear activity. One report had a bear come into camp while a family was having dinner. This bear apparently helped itself to several rolls while the family looked on.

French Camp Campground is just one a string the campgrounds along Rock Creek. The campground host at French Camp was a very personable man, who did a great job keeping the place clean and greeting the campers.

Mid Hills Campground, Mojave National Preserve

Located in deep in the heart of the Mojave National Preserve there is an abundance of campsites to suit everyone.  The Mid Hills campground was an after thought on a recent trip in March, 2018, however the location and charm of this spot make it a new favorite destination.

Mid Hills Campsite in the Mojave National Preserve March 2018 after a rainstorm.

Mid Hills Campsite in the Mojave National Preserve March 2018 after a rainstorm.

In March 2018, I decided to take my son on our first father and son camping trip, just the boys.  We scoured maps and picked destinations and points of interest.  He was very excited to hike the Ring Trail and we opted over-night at Hole in the Wall campground.

I picked him up from school with the Jeep loaded and we drove down Nipton Road deep into the isolated areas of the Mojave.  We arrived at Hole in the Wall campground and with the sun starting to set discovered that the campground was full of motor homes and jeepers.  No place to camp.  We opted for ‘Plan B’ and headed north.

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Camp Phallus – New York Mountains

Located in Caruther’s Canyons of the New York Mountains, Camp Phallus is named for a “unique” rock formation visible from the campsite. The campsite offers a central base camp location to the Old Mojave Road and the higher elevations may offer a nice break from the heat in the warmer months. We drove down to Goffs on our trip.

Our campsite from a distance in Caruthers Canyon
Our campsite from a distance in Caruthers Canyon

 This is a primitive site, no posted sights, just a series of short trails to isolated sites, each of which can support several vehicles. All of the sites that I have seen appear to be quite large and capable of several vehicles. One of the campsites offers table top bench under a large tree which was an Eagle Scout project. Good work!

There are no restrooms at Camp Phallus in Caruthers Canyon
There are no restrooms at Camp Phallus in Caruthers Canyon

Camp Phallus beautiful place to camp and it offers cooler temperatures during to summer months due to its 5500 ft of elevation. There was deer in the area, and when we went in March, it was quite cold at this higher elevation. A nice campfire took the chill off.

My son and I waking up in the morning
My son and I waking up in the morning

This was my sons first camping trip and he did great. He loves to go camping despite the fact he threw a high temperature at night and we needed to head home early. The camp ground was clean, remote and vacant and we vowed to return again.

Afton Canyon Campground

The Afton Canyon Campground offer amazing access and camping for the Old Mojave Road, surroundings areas of the Mojave. The dry, desert campground is found in the heart of the Mojave desert at 1640 feet in elevation and  is a great place for birding and wildlife due to close proximity to the Mojave River which is briefly above ground in this area.

Afton Canyon Campground, Mojave, CA
Afton Canyon Campground, Mojave, CA
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Goblin Valley Utah

A Goblin formed from a soft limestone, water and time offer a unique hiking experience. Photograph by James L Rathbun

Goblin Valley is located in Utah is a state park and campground which is adjacent to eroded flood plain. Formed by water, time and a soft sandstone, erosion sculpted the limestone into unique rock formations which some have stated appears to be goblins.  The Goblin Valley itself is a day use hiking area which allows one to get lost in the maze of spires and rock formations.

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