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  1. #1
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    California hiker biker campsite list?

    Maybe it's me but I cannot find a list or map showing these sites. We are currently riding the Pacific Coast and would like to have this info. So your help would be great!

  2. #2
    Bike touring webrarian
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    Visit the on-line Bike Touring Archive at www.biketouringtips.com

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    Thanks! That will work.

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    I could not find a map a few months ago when I was there. I ended up sorting thru the guidebook looking to see which parks had hiker biker sites, then creating waypoints in the GPS app on my tablet (MapsWithMe) so that I could plan out where to stay more than a day or two ahead. Took a few hours to do so but in the end I was glad I spent those hours.

    I also used this link to create a list so that I could double check to make sure my list was accurate.
    Hike or Bike Campsites

    I recommend you avoid Del Norte, Mill Creek Campground, we were led to believe that it would be a 200 foot drop in elevation to get there, but it was more like 600 feet. That meant that we spent a long time cranking up an 8 percent grade the next morning to regain that 600 feet. Plus the hiker biker site was very unimpressive, insect colony living in one of the food lockers, the park staff appeared to use the area as their ash disposal area, we were told a bear cub liked to frequent the site, etc. Many of the sites in the campground were very nice, but the hiker biker site was obviously chosen by someone that hated hikers and bikers.

    I created a new list from the link above right now, pasted it below. I do not know when I post this if the names below will be active links or not.

    Park Name Region County
    Angel Island State Park San Francisco Bay Area Marin
    Austin Creek State Recreation Area North Coast Sonoma
    Benbow Lake State Recreation Area North Coast Humboldt
    Big Basin Redwoods State Park San Francisco Bay Area Santa Cruz
    Bothe-Napa Valley State Park North Coast Napa
    Brannan Island State Recreation Area Central Valley Sacramento
    Carpinteria State Beach Central Coast Santa Barbara
    Castle Crags State Park Shasta Cascade Shasta
    Castle Rock State Park San Francisco Bay Area Santa Cruz
    Caswell Memorial State Park Central Valley San Joaquin
    China Camp State Park San Francisco Bay Area Marin
    Clear Lake State Park North Coast Lake
    Colusa-Sacramento River State Recreation Area Central Valley Colusa
    Cuyamaca Rancho State Park San Diego County San Diego
    D. L. Bliss State Park High Sierra El Dorado
    Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park North Coast Del Norte
    Doheny State Beach Orange County Orange
    El Capitán State Beach Central Coast Santa Barbara
    Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park North Coast Humboldt
    Half Moon Bay State Beach San Francisco Bay Area San Mateo
    Hearst San Simeon State Park Central Coast San Luis Obispo
    Hendy Woods State Park North Coast Mendocino
    Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park San Francisco Bay Area Santa Cruz
    Henry W. Coe State Park Central Coast Santa Clara
    Humboldt Redwoods State Park North Coast Humboldt
    Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park North Coast Del Norte
    Lake Perris State Recreation Area Inland Empire Riverside
    Leo Carrillo State Park Los Angeles County Los Angeles
    MacKerricher State Park North Coast Mendocino
    Manchester State Park North Coast Mendocino
    McGrath State Beach Central Coast Ventura
    Millerton Lake State Recreation Area Central Valley Fresno
    Morro Bay State Park Central Coast San Luis Obispo
    Mount San Jacinto State Park Inland Empire Riverside
    Mount Tamalpais State Park San Francisco Bay Area Marin
    New Brighton State Beach San Francisco Bay Area Santa Cruz
    Palomar Mountain State Park San Diego County San Diego
    Patrick's Point State Park North Coast Humboldt
    Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park Central Coast Monterey
    Point Mugu State Park Central Coast Ventura
    Portola Redwoods State Park San Francisco Bay Area San Mateo
    Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park North Coast Humboldt
    Refugio State Beach Central Coast Santa Barbara
    Richardson Grove State Park North Coast Humboldt
    Russian Gulch State Park North Coast Mendocino
    Salt Point State Park North Coast Sonoma
    Salton Sea State Recreation Area Deserts Riverside
    Samuel P. Taylor State Park San Francisco Bay Area Marin
    San Elijo State Beach San Diego County San Diego
    Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area Inland Empire San Bernardino
    Sinkyone Wilderness State Park North Coast Mendocino
    Sonoma Coast State Park North Coast Sonoma
    Standish-Hickey State Recreation Area North Coast Mendocino
    Sunset State Beach San Francisco Bay Area Santa Cruz
    Topanga State Park Los Angeles County Los Angeles
    Turlock Lake State Recreation Area Central Valley Stanislaus
    Van Damme State Park North Coast Mendocino
    Last edited by Tourist in MSN; 08-09-14 at 10:15 AM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Doug64's Avatar
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    Lime Kiln SP hiker/biker site, Big Sur. It looks like a strange site, but it has one of the best views and was as quiet as any we used on the coast. Limekiln SP

    Last edited by Doug64; 08-09-14 at 10:56 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
    Lime Kiln SP hiker/biker site, Big Sur. It looks like a strange site, but it has one of the best views and was as quiet as any we used on the coast. Limekiln SP

    That's good news! I've seen some posts here to the effect that it was closed. I guess that too many people can't occupy the site, though.

  7. #7
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    When I stopped at Limekiln a couple of weeks ago they turned me away saying they had no hiker/biker sites anymore. It was only another couple of easy miles to Kirk Creek campground, which had wonderful hiker/biker sites.

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    Senior Member Doug64's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Galoot View Post
    When I stopped at Limekiln a couple of weeks ago they turned me away saying they had no hiker/biker sites anymore. It was only another couple of easy miles to Kirk Creek campground, which had wonderful hiker/biker sites.
    That is a change from when we were there in 2012. The California State Parks seem to be in a state of flux as far as hiker/biker sites go. They were having problems with transient folks, and were closing some of the hiker/biker sites in 2012.

    Sorry for the outdated info.

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    Manchester hiker biker site was an open field, cold water only and no showers. We moved to the nearby KOA, much better facilities including laundry and showers for not much more money.

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    That seems a good list for the coastal area, but they left out some inland mountain parks that have nice HB sites:

    MacArthur-Burney Falls
    Donner Memorial
    Grover Hot Springs (stay in day use area, ranger will unlock bear box for you)
    Calaveras Big Trees
    San Jacinto (Idyllwild)

    Also on or near the coast route are some city or county parks with HB sites, such as the Veterans Memorial in Monterey, Gualala, Stillwater Cove, and Doran Regional (Bodega Bay) in Sonoma County on the north coast, and Cachuma Lake in Santa Barbara County. You can also probably dry camp on the beach for not much in the Oceano State Recreation Area, but it would no doubt be very busy, noisy, windy, and otherwise unpleasant. Does anyone know of any other HB sites along the coast other than these?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Galoot View Post
    When I stopped at Limekiln a couple of weeks ago they turned me away saying they had no hiker/biker sites anymore. It was only another couple of easy miles to Kirk Creek campground, which had wonderful hiker/biker sites.
    What was the water situation at Kirk Creek. Last time I stopped there the water was labeled as unsafe to drink and I've heard that sometimes it was turned off completely. Fortunately I had plenty to last me through my stay there and until I got to Gorda the next morning.

  12. #12
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    Refugio State Beach was my favorite stop on the whole Pacific Coast. Beautiful site right on the beach. My least favorite was Manchester State Park. If I was going to do the trip again I would stay in the KOA next door. Not much more expensive and much nicer. If you get to an area without a state park look to see if there are any county parks. I stayed in a couple that were quite nice.

    Raybo's link above is excellent.
    Last edited by Norsman; 08-13-14 at 01:15 AM.

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    The ACA seems to be trying to get a no-turn-away policy in many states,

    Bike Travel Best Practices for State Park Campgrounds | Adventure Cycling Association
    but then the campground staff may not be aware of it (see comments) Almost any state park in California could easily allow HB overnight camping in the day use areas at no extra cost (as does Cuyamaca State Park, the reddit list is wrong, and you could fit 100 tents in the picnic areas there). I've also seen and talked to many cyclists that have been rather nastily turned away from "full" HB sites (still had plenty of space in there) along the SoCal coast. One was very unhappy after having ridden 98 miles through the hottest day of the year (105 F right on the beach) and was told "it's only another seven miles to the next HB site, but we can't say you won't be turned away there, too!"

    It seems to be related to how busy the parks are, and how many idiots and yahoos the staff have to deal with each day. Pretty soon, they just say "No!" to anything. When I've ridden up to the inland Socal state parks, the rangers have been very interested in my ride, and seemed happy to see me and show me the HB sites.

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    I actually had a California park staffer say to me that hiker bikers do not bring in as much revenue as RVs. I also had an Oregon park staffer say to me that during her 10 plus years with the park system, no hiker or biker had ever been turned away.

    Overall, I felt like the State of Oregon was happy to have me visiting their parks. I did not get that welcoming feeling from California.

    Oregon published a great map for their coast route which they mailed to me at home before I left for the trip.

    20IMGP1259_OR.jpg

    And those shoulders in California... ...

    20IMGP1408.jpg

  15. #15
    Senior Member klmmicro's Avatar
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    As if California should be turning away any source of revenue...I have been turned away from San Elijo after riding down there for a "test camp". Was told it was full, though I could clearly see that it was practically deserted. Guess they did not think a local might choose to use the facility. Called the parks director and explained what had happened...nothing changed as far as I know. We do have a lot of transient folk here in San Diego county, so I can understand their concern, but when clean cut rider with a fully pannier'd cycle shows up, use some common sense already!

    I have utilized the H&B site at Doheny and have never been turned away. They actually seemed interested in the bicycle tourists arriving there. Guess it is dependent upon the particular park's staff and what they regularly have to deal with.

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    Quote Originally Posted by klmmicro View Post
    As if California should be turning away any source of revenue...I have been turned away from San Elijo after riding down there for a "test camp". Was told it was full, though I could clearly see that it was practically deserted. Guess they did not think a local might choose to use the facility. Called the parks director and explained what had happened...nothing changed as far as I know. We do have a lot of transient folk here in San Diego county, so I can understand their concern, but when clean cut rider with a fully pannier'd cycle shows up, use some common sense already!

    I have utilized the H&B site at Doheny and have never been turned away. They actually seemed interested in the bicycle tourists arriving there. Guess it is dependent upon the particular park's staff and what they regularly have to deal with.
    I stayed a Saturday night at the San Elijo site about a month ago, and was the only person there. However, it's now $10 per person, (they now have a table and fire ring, woohoo) so a full site would bring in $80. I don't think a full hookup RV site would bring in as much, so maybe that smug staffer would like to check their math.

    On the plus side, the parks home page now has HB info on the first page:
    Hike or Bike Campsite
    There is a limited opportunity for individuals to utilize a hike or bike campsite at San Elijo State Beach. The shared site is available on a first come, first served basis. Registration is permitted after 4PM and occupants must vacate the site no later than 9AM the following morning. The hike or bike site is available for one night only and is designed to permit the individual a stop over point prior to continuing on their hike or bike journey. A nominal per person fee is charged and must be paid prior to entering the campsite.

  17. #17
    Senior Member User1's Avatar
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    Talking to a traveling biker one time, we got on the topic of the book Bicycling The Pacific Coast by Tom Kirkendall. He mentioned that the first version of the book was a good resource cause it shows some of the B&H sites that are no longer around (closed). I just saw that the book is going for $4 w/shipping at Amazon (for refer).

    Anyone have any knowledge or checked out some of the closed spots?

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    Quote Originally Posted by User1 View Post
    Talking to a traveling biker one time, we got on the topic of the book Bicycling The Pacific Coast by Tom Kirkendall. He mentioned that the first version of the book was a good resource cause it shows some of the B&H sites that are no longer around (closed). I just saw that the book is going for $4 w/shipping at Amazon (for refer).

    Anyone have any knowledge or checked out some of the closed spots?
    I would think that it would make a poor resource if you're counting on a HB spot that's no longer there, as was the poor guy that rode 105 miles in 105F heat. The HB sites at San Onofre, San Clemente, and South Carlsbad State Beaches have been eliminated, and IMO for very little cause. I guess they had too many transients squatting there permanently night after night--I witnessed this myself at San Clemente--and were afraid of lawsuits from homeless rights groups if they tried to get them to leave. So they just took the lazy bureaucratic way out by closing the sites instead of trying to fix the issue.

  19. #19
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    We get a carton of the ODOT Pacific coast route every year , CalTrans may have something similar for their portion of the coast ..

    but as so many take Electronics, their downloads may do.

  20. #20
    Senior Member klmmicro's Avatar
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    Looking at the California State Park's own websr have it.ite, there are lots of parks that used to have HB that no longer offer them. You could always rent a normal site, though reservations for those can range out to months...sometimes years! Guess not enough people bike California's coast any longer. Well, it won't matter. Soon we will have a 100 billion dollar train that will transport one from some small farming town in the central valley to some small town in the high desert. That takes the sting out of it some.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stevepusser View Post
    That seems a good list for the coastal area, but they left out some inland mountain parks that have nice HB sites:

    MacArthur-Burney Falls
    Donner Memorial
    Grover Hot Springs (stay in day use area, ranger will unlock bear box for you)
    Calaveras Big Trees
    San Jacinto (Idyllwild)

    Also on or near the coast route are some city or county parks with HB sites, such as the Veterans Memorial in Monterey, Gualala, Stillwater Cove, and Doran Regional (Bodega Bay) in Sonoma County on the north coast, and Cachuma Lake in Santa Barbara County. You can also probably dry camp on the beach for not much in the Oceano State Recreation Area, but it would no doubt be very busy, noisy, windy, and otherwise unpleasant. Does anyone know of any other HB sites along the coast other than these?

    I would avoid Veterans Memorial in Monterey. I was there about a 1.5 weeks ago and was full of what looked as homeless people and it is a steep climb from lower part of city. I was lucky to get a offer from a local to camp in back yard. There is also a hostel in town that maybe worth making an advanced reservation.

    The HB in Oceano is terrible. Very near Hiway 1 and would even cause tent to move from vehicles driving by.

    The Refugio SP was one of the nicer site on coast. I liked the city parks in smaller towns on the NT more than most of CA coast HB sites.

  22. #22
    Senior Member User1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevepusser View Post
    I would think that it would make a poor resource if you're counting on a HB spot that's no longer there, as was the poor guy that rode 105 miles in 105F heat. The HB sites at San Onofre, San Clemente, and South Carlsbad State Beaches have been eliminated, and IMO for very little cause. I guess they had too many transients squatting there permanently night after night--I witnessed this myself at San Clemente--and were afraid of lawsuits from homeless rights groups if they tried to get them to leave. So they just took the lazy bureaucratic way out by closing the sites instead of trying to fix the issue.

    The conversation was in regards to the whole campsite being closed, not just the B&H sites.

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    Quote Originally Posted by User1 View Post
    The conversation was in regards to the whole campsite being closed, not just the B&H sites.
    They were planning to close certain parks due the state's financial crisis in 2012, until it was discovered that the Parks department had $54 million in reserves squirreled away in hidden accounts. So they were letting parks get rundown and closing them, while piling up huge surpluses at the same time. Anyway, I don't think any state parks listed in the book are gone, but that won't help you when the ranger tells you it's full and there's no HB sites.

    California state parks budget officials for years unable to explain surpluses - State Parks funding - The Sacramento Bee

    Of course, the surpluses are easily explained by CA having camping fees far over what most other states charge.

  24. #24
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    We camped a few nights ago at Guluala . The raccoons were so bad they ripped open food lockers knocked a bike over and were quite vicious. One guy stayed up all night to keep them at bay. As we rode further south we heard that this park had a reputation for this problem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tandem Tom View Post
    We camped a few nights ago at Guluala . The raccoons were so bad they ripped open food lockers knocked a bike over and were quite vicious. One guy stayed up all night to keep them at bay. As we rode further south we heard that this park had a reputation for this problem.
    no raccoons at the Gualala Beach Inn. Jacuzzi tubs, and fluffy bathrobes that felt great after a wet ride from Ft. Bragg.

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