” I don’t need therapy. I just need to go camping.”
June is National Camping Month, a four-week celebration of reconnecting with mother nature and ourselves. In honor of National Camping Month, I decided to share some of my favorite camp spots.
1. QUAKING ASPEN CAMPGROUND
Situated in the Giant Sequoia National Monument, this seasonal campground provides an escape from the summer heat. At 7,000 feet, Quaking Aspen serves as a base camp to explore the Sequoia groves.
2. ARIZONA HOT SPRINGS, ARIZONA
Located on the Colorado River, this campground can be accessed by kayak or by hiking a three-mile trail down from Arizona State Highway 93.
Hidden away in a colorful slot canyon, the spring forms several soaking pools averaging 112 degrees Fahrenheit. With endless opportunities to soak, swim, and camp, Arizona Hot Springs remains one of my favorite winter camping spots.
3. LOCUST POINT, ARIZONA
In the North Kaibab Ranger District, the remote Rainbow Rim Trail hugs the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. The trail connects five overlooks: Timp, Parissawampitts, Fence, Locust, and North Timp. If you are looking for a remote camping experience with sensational views, Locust Point is your destination.
4. LOST COAST TRAIL, CALIFORNIA
Stretching twenty miles through the Kings Range National Conservation Area, the Lost Coast Trail is a premier coastal backpacking trail.
Sea Lion Gulch is my favorite camp spot on the trail. Consider the views, imagine the coastal breeze, and expect to be serenaded by sea lions throughout the night.
5. MOJAVE NATIONAL PRESERVE, CALIFORNIA
There are so may different shelters to use when camping. A hammock between two trees, the simplicity of a tarp, a two-pound ultra-light tent, a backpacking tent, the bomb proof four- season tent, or even the traditional bulky Coleman car camping tent. At the end of the day, I prefer cowboy camping.
The Mojave National Preserve is one of my favorite places to sleep under the stars. Located between Los Angeles and Vegas, the Mojave’s 1.6 million acres guarantees sand and solitude.
6. BACKCOUNTRY YURTS, ARIZONA
Yurting is backcountry winter glamping at it’s best. Yurt’s bridge the gap between roughing it and camping in comfort. These portable round tent type structures offer the security and warmth of being protected from the elements while still preserving one’s connection to the environment.
The ultimate winter yurt experience can be found at the Arizona Nordic Village for $50 a night.
7. SHADOW CREEK, JOHN MUIR TRAIL
In 2013, I hiked the John Muir Trail. A torrential four-day rainstorm was the highlight of my first week.
Wet, cold, and desperately looking for a place to set up camp, I threw my pack off and claimed Shadow Creek as home for the night. Little did I know, there was a masterpiece waiting to my discovered behind camp.
8. BUCKSKIN GULCH, ARIZONA
Considered to one of the longest slot canyons in the world, Buckskin Gulch lies within the Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness Area. In 2011, I spent five days exploring Buckskin Gulch before following the Paria River to Lees Ferry.
This camp spot felt like a raised platform bed within an amphitheater of ever-changing light.
9. SANTA CRUZ ISLAND, CALIFORNIA
California’s archipelago, the Channel Islands, is considered to be one of America’s most remote national parks. Campers arrive by boat, then explore the islands by foot or kayak.
Santa Cruz Island is a sixty-minute boat ride from Ventura, California. Nature lovers should allow a few days to explore the sea caves, snorkel the kelp beds, and hike the island trails.
10. YOSEMITE PERMIT OFFICE
In 2013, I made numerous attempts to obtain a John Muir Trail permit via the advanced lottery system. Unsuccessful, I decided to apply for a walk-up permit. To ensure I was first in line, I cowboy camped on the backcountry permit’s office front porch. The highlight of my night was a fellow hiker applauding my dedication as he walked by.