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Family camping in the mountains not too far from ventura

Original Post
krispyyo · · Ventura, CA · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 65

Hey everyone, I posted awhile back about cool spots to camp near ventura. That was an awesome thread with some excellent recs, we tried many of them and enjoyed.

I have a week off coming up and am wanting to take the fam camping in the mountains somewhere. Looks like Yosemite campgrounds are all booked, so looking for other options. Here's what I'm looking for:

- mountains within 5 or so hours of Ventura

- Family friendly: swimming holes, hot springs, cool stuff for little kids, etc

- Some bouldering would be cool

- Beautiful and quiet

- I've heard Kern river area by the needles is awesome, plus I'de like to at least check out the needles, won't be climbing walls with the fam though. Any recs for specific nice campgrounds? Quaking aspen? others? 

Thanks for the help

Guy Keesee · · Moorpark, CA · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 310

Quaking Aspen is nice... lots of trees, shade in a beautiful setting, better than Peppermint CG, not as dusty. If your kids are little ... less than 10 they will have a good time... shallow water, swimming in Peppermint creek.  

Also if you ask at the Pondraosa they should be able to direct you to the "Alder Creek Slides" ..... they be close by and right now I bet they are in prime condition and they are one of the best swimming places you can find.... a big ass natural water slide with air at the end!

Bouldering.... I don't know of any. If you do the hike out to the Needles (not really recomended for young kids) 2.5 miles one way... take the climbers trail past the location of the burned out lookout... past the first bit of rockclimbing.... heading to the main notch. You can find some really fine bouldering in a shady flat spot. 

I was able to find a place to take them horse back riding down in Springdale..... it has been a few years so check out on the web. 

Sequoia National Park is also fun... but its a national park, so always jammed. Some cool tourist caves but the long twisty road to get their will have your kids barfing way before you arrive at the caves. 

Kings Canyon.... almost the same as Sequoia but its hotter than heck. 

Shuteye Ridge has the best water slides I have ever found... but they can be hard to locate, much like everything up their..... a good guide book for the swimming would be a big hit but the locals keep most good ones on the down low to keep the rif raf out. 

Have fun.... some of the best times I had camping with my little kids was at Quaking Aspen, just a campfire, some smores and my wife. 


AndrewArroz · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 10

Pretty sure the Lone Pine area is less than 5 hours from Ventura. Alabama Hills. Whitney Portal. Cottonwood lakes....

phylp · · Upland · Joined May 2015 · Points: 621

Drive a little farther and get just what you want at Oh Ridge Campground on June Lake. Gorgeous views. Good bouldering right there. Beautiful beach on the lake. Hot springs not too far. Fun stuff like Obsidian Dome and Mammoth Crater that are very short hikes in from parking, easy to take kids to. 

krispyyo · · Ventura, CA · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 65

Hey Guy, thanks again for the good info! I hope you ended up finding another good orthopedic doc! 

Thanks to all who replied for your input, this is super helpful for planning our trip. 

Guy Keesee · · Moorpark, CA · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 310

krispyyo .....  how do you like Ventura? 

looking for a TR on this Family Vacation. All the info about places to on this thread are spot on .... go to each and every one, some of the best California has to offer. 


Fat Dad · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 60

I like Quaking Aspen alot.  Like Guy says, no bouldering to speak of but nice hiking, good Sequoia groves nearby, good mt. biking.  Short hike to the top of nearby Dome Rock offers great views of the Needles.  

People don't think of LA as having nice camping, but I like Buckhorn CG off the Angeles Crest Hwy.  around 7,000' so it's cool, close to Horse Flats (with good bouldering).  

I was up at Whitney Portal a couple of weeks ago.  Great scenery, streams, nice waterfall and a fishing pond.  Limited but decent bouldering.  Good burgers at the Store.  

Edited to insert pictures.  

Guy Keesee · · Moorpark, CA · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 310

Buckhorn is fabulous....almost like sitting in Sequoia....  there is climbing at Buckhorn.... not on MP. Just go down stream from the CG....   down in a grotto you will see bolts. Taco Del Rio is responsible for these. Its pretty good on a hot day.

Also this is about 3 miles from Buckhorn..... a poor substitute for willie.


Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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