The Best Campgrounds in the Shasta-Cascade

The Best Campgrounds in the Shasta-Cascade

By California.com
August 07, 2020

Roll down your windows, put your hands up, and let the summer breeze ruffle your hair as you make your way to freedom: the untouched, undiscovered Shasta-Cascade. Breathe in the sweet smell of pine trees and wildflowers, and let this peaceful part of NorCal enchant you. With access to several of California’s most gorgeous lakes and rivers—plus beautiful valleys and forests—you’ll attain nirvana while camping in this region. Pitch a tent or lay out in the RV bed; whichever style suits you, the Shasta-Cascade has you covered.

Top Spots for Camping in shasta

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The Village at Childs Meadow

What better way to unwind than with the scenic vistas of Mount Lassen in front of you? Photo courtesy of The Village at Childs Meadow.

Location: 41500 CA-36 East, Mill Creek

Amenities: Firepits, picnic tables, hot showers, and laundry machines

Activities: Hiking, biking, horseback riding, fly fishing, water sports, and golfing

Reservations: Reservation needed in advance

Sites: 7 private tent sites, 17 back-in and 5 pull-thru RV sites, 19 inn-style rooms

Dogs allowed: Yes, but on-leash

Relax with gorgeous vistas of Mount Lassen while the summer scent of Jeffrey pines encompasses you at The Village at Childs Meadow. Aside from boasting scenic surroundings, this campsite also offers an abundance of activities. Horseback ride at Highlands Ranch Resort to experience the thrill of moving in sync with an animal twice your size; book a horse corral stall at the campgrounds for your noble companion, and pitch horseshoes at the community pits.

Lassen Volcanic National Park also invites you to hike and play in NorCal’s unparalleled nature. Rent a mountain bike at the campground’s shop to explore the trails on two wheels. Or, head out to Lake Almanor to lounge in the sun and relax in the warm water; strap on your water skis or hop in a canoe to explore the far corners of the lake. After working up an appetite, go to the Highlands Ranch restaurant for scrumptious Caprese and prawn scampi dishes. If the weather acts up, move to the Childs Meadow Inn’s renovated rooms for a good night's sleep.

Antlers RV Park and Campground 

Wander through the majestic Shasta-Trinity National Forest while staying at Antlers Campground. Photo courtesy of Antlers RV Park and Campground.

Location: 14358 Antlers Road, Lakehead

Amenities: Picnic table, lockers for storing food, fire ring, grill, tent pads, flush and vault toilets, and drinking water

Activities: Swimming, boating, water skiing, and fishing

Reservations: Reservation needed in advance during peak season; first-come, first-served during off-season.

Sites: 45 private tent sites, 60 RV sites

Dogs allowed: Yes, but on-leash

When it comes to Shasta Lake camping, it doesn’t get much better than the Antlers Campground, where you can set up camp on a bluff above the Sacramento Arm of Shasta Lake and satisfy your desire for solitude.

Recharge in nature and wake up surrounded by pine, oak, and manzanita trees. For an action-filled day, leave this tranquil world behind and head lakeside for a lovely boat ride or rejuvenating swim. The Lake Shasta campground also makes it possible to enjoy a game of basketball, ping-pong, or volleyball for competitive fun. Bask in the sun and savor the delicious pancake breakfast at the snack bar (located on the deck) before hitting the road and heading home. 

Trinity Lake KOA

After exploring the gorgeous Trinity Lake, spend a night around the fire making s'mores at your campsite.

Location: 60260 CA-3, Trinity Center

Amenities: Firepits, bathrooms with hot showers, laundry facility, boat slip rentals, fishing tackle and bait, general store, gourmet coffee bar, ice, kayak rentals, snack bar, pavilion, playgrounds, propane, and Trinity mercantile gift shop

Activities: Fishing, hiking, biking, mini-golfing, and watersports

Reservations: Reservation needed in advance.

Sites: 77 private tent sites, 122 RV sites, 20 cabins

Dogs allowed: Yes

At Trinity Lake, stepping out of your tent seems like stepping into a fairytale. The shores are lined with forests and surrounded by mountains. Breathe in the alpine breeze and look out over the lake as you enjoy a cup of freshly brewed coffee. Is there a better way to spend your morning? The vistas from Trinity Lake KOA are captivating. If you tire of tents, the campground also offers a glamping option.

Rent a Corcl raft—for a special spinning and racing experience in flat waters—or bike on the nearby trails. Play a round of mini-golf or bocce before hitting the Mini-Kat Snack Bar for a juicy cheeseburger or slice of pizza. (Top it off with a banana split drizzled with butterscotch, chocolate, and strawberry sauces.) Spend your evening chillin’ by the bonfire—don’t forget to pack crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows for the ultimate midnight snack. 

Castle Lake Campground

Take a dip in Castle Lake to cool off under the hot summer sun before preparing for a bonfire under the starry night sky.

Location: Castle Lake Road, Dunsmuir

Amenities: Fire rings and vault toilets

Activities: Hiking, swimming, fishing, and flat-water kayaking

Reservations: No reservations required

Sites: 6 tent sites

Dogs allowed: Yes, but on-leash

Head to the majestic 12,232-acre area known as the Castle Crags Wilderness to free your mind and escape to one of the best campgrounds in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest: Castle Lake Campground. With over 300 varieties of wildflowers, the surrounding landscape is dotted with color and illuminated by the sun.

Far away from modern life, this primitive campground allows you to truly feel wild and free. When you’re not hiking to the summit above Heart Lake—where you can admire vistas of Mount Shasta and Castle Lake—or swimming in fresh alpine lakes, just kick back and unwind by your tent. Watch the horizon change from blood orange, to crimson, and finally purple before the stars start to sparkle high in the sky. 

Indian Well Campground 

Trek through the unique landscape of Lava Beds National Monument before relaxing in your tent at Indian Well Campground.

Location: Lava Beds National Monument, Tulelake

Amenities: Picnic tables, fire rings, cooking grills, restrooms with water, sinks, and flush toilets

Activities: Hiking and caving

Reservations: On a first-come, first-served basis

Sites: 43 sites for tents, trailers, or RVs (up to 30 feet long)

Dogs allowed: Yes, but they must be on-leash. (Pets are not permitted in caves, trails or in buildings.)

While at the Indian Well Campground, witness awe-inspiring sunrises, caves created through volcanic eruption, Native American rock-art sites, historic battlefields, and desert wilderness. Traverse through the wildflower-covered landscape and spot indigenous animals, who accentuate the magic of the caves. For a more adventurous experience, pack up your outdoor gear and go wild with tent camping.

McCloud Bridge Campground

While in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, make sure to splash around in the refreshing waters of the McCloud River.

Location: Fenders Ferry Road, Lakehead 

Amenities: Picnic tables, drinking water, raised fire rings, tent pads, bear boxes, and vault toilets

Activities: Fishing, hiking, boating, and paddling

Reservations: On a first-come, first-served basis.

Sites: 14 campsites for tents, trailers, or RVs

Dogs allowed: Yes, but on-leash

The McCloud Bridge Campground is a top spot for Shasta-Trinity National Forest camping. An old ranch site as well as unattended fruit trees, sweet pea flowers, and berry bushes still growing on the property provide an authentic backdrop for your camping experience. Take a dip in the McCloud River during the day, and let the rushing sound lull you to sleep serenely at night. Visit the Hirz Mountain Lookout atop Hirz Mountain for mesmerizing views of Mount Shasta and Mount Lassen, with the McCloud River winding its way through the landscape.

Fowlers Campground

Just a short distance away from the Fowlers Campground are the majestic falls of the McCloud River.

Location: Fowler Public Camp Road, McCloud 

Amenities: Picnic tables, water spigots, grills and fire rings, tent pads, food lockers, and vault toilets

Activities: Hiking, swimming, and fishing

Reservations: Reservations needed in advance

Sites: 37 sites for tents or RVs (up to 30-50 feet long, respectively)

Dogs allowed: Yes, but on-leash

Surrounded by ancient forests, Fowlers Campground is the place for revitalization. Just a stone's throw away from the scenic McCloud Waterfall Trailhead, the campsite is the perfect starting point for your adventure in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. Hike a short distance to admire all three falls—Lower Falls, Middle Falls, and Upper Falls—of the McCloud River. Frolic about next to the 50-foot plunging falls, and let the water’s raw power heal your soul and calm your mind. 

Christie Campground

Whether you're craving a swim, a kayaking expedition, or a relaxing sunbathing session, Lassen National Forest has it all.

Location: Eagle Lake Road, Susanville

Amenities: Firepits, picnic tables, grills and fire rings, and satellite TV access

Activities: Hiking, biking, swimming, fishing, kayaking

Reservations: Reservations needed in advance

Sites: 69 RV and tent sites

Nestled in the untouched landscape of Lassen National Forest, Eagle Lake is the third-largest natural lake in California. Direct water access makes the spacious, waterfront Christie Campground a paradise. Go for a kayak ride and discover the lake’s inlets. A bike path begins at the campground and is great fun for OHV and mountain bikers.

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