Friday, May 4, 2012

Wishon Campground :: Sequoia National Forrest

Last summer we discovered the Sequoia National Forest - only a 3 hour drive from us (after a foiled attempt at going to Mountain Home in June).

This last weekend we made a return trip up to the same area because it was a warm weekend, perfect for camping in April. We were hoping to go to Belknap again, or maybe even Mountain Home State Forest, but with a call to the local ranger (we always call in advance now) we learned that the Belknap doesn't open until Mid-May - no matter the weather! And Mountain Home, doesn't open until Memorial Day weekend, or after.

We found out there was one campground open in the area: Wishon Campground.

We figured up in the Sequoia National Forest we couldn't go wrong - and we were right! Wishon Campground is great. We camped in a thick canopied oak grove with a mixture of conifer and oak covered mountain sides surrounding us. A good sized creek runs through the campground running into the Tule river, offering fishing, swimming... and even rock slides a little down the road! We didn't go to the swimming holes or rock slides, but we could see them from the road that leads up to the campground. I bet it's great later in the season when it's hot - we heard it gets pretty busy up there in the summer months.

We met some local Portville folks up there. They were pretty surprised that we drove all the way up there to camp at Wishon. Sounds like Wishon is the "local" thing to do. Makes sense, but this is as local as it gets for us! We don't exactly have large beautiful rivers flowing through oak groves and redwoods right around the corner in good ol' Altadena.

A view on the road to Wishon.

JW checking out the first section of the campground. 
There is also a cabin that can be rented at the entrance of the campground, it looked simple and comfortable.

When we arrived on Friday afternoon there were only a few other people in the campground, but late Friday night the place was almost filled. Seems that the warm weather called everyone up the mountain. During the summer this place is packed (we hear), but in those summer months I think we will be finding ourselves a little higher up, seeking a little relief from the heat in the shade of giant sequoias.

The campground itself sits at 4,000 feet and is open year round. It's set up in three loops. The first 5 or 6 sites are just off the road at the entrance, and the last 25 or so are on the other side of the river in the loops. The latter sit in a beautiful oak grove. Some sites are closer to the river then others, but the peaceful murmur of the river can be heard throughout the campground. The sites along the edges of the campground offer the best seclusion.

This camp site wins coolest fire ring. Notice the t-shaped arm bar over the fire ring,
it was adjustable and had hooks to hang pots and dutch ovens! 

There is a really nice 1/4 mile self-guided nature trail that informs on the local environment. JW had a blast on this, but then again, any place with lots of rocks, trees, dirt and water is like heaven for him.

Great little hike. Perfect for little ones. 

Manzanita in bloom.

There were little informative signs along the nature trail which was pretty cool,
but a couple of them seemed out of order.. which made for a confusing hike?!

There are also some amazing places to see in the area. There are six giant Sequoia groves in the area: Wishon, Silver Creek, Burro, Maggie Moutain, middle Tule and Upper Tule Groves. On Saturday we tried to drive to the 100 Giants  (some of the biggest, oldest trees alive in the world!), only to find that the last stretch of the road wasn't plowed yet (heard the plow broke down!).

Great little spot to stop and relax in Pierpoint Springs. Friendly people and good beer to boot!

This campground also wins a prize for coolest bugs. The crazy looking white centipede was bioluminescent. At night away from the camp fire light the ground glows green, and the glowing spots move! In a ten by ten foot area I found 5. Call me strange, but I was so intrigued that I put my face about 10 inches or so from them at night, it was one of the most amazing things I have seen.

We forgot TOYS for JW. I thought dirt and rocks were enough,
but he found an umbrella and fly swatter in the car to play with... 

 Realities of camping with a toddler. 

One of our go-to bean dishes.

Our new camping bowls!  Wood dosent break easy and it's light.

From Highway 99 near Baskersfield, turn east on 190. Travel on 190 through Springville to Wishon Drive/M208. Turn left on Wishon Drive and travel about 4 miles. The entrance to Wishon Campground is on the right


  1. We're going to stay at the cabin in two weeks and are wondering what comes with the firepit. Thanks for your photo. Looks like we need to bring more. :-)

  2. What campsite did you stay in? I would love to have the fire ring with the arm for my dutch oven!

  3. Just stumbled onto your post as I was searching for info on Wishon. Excellent post and lovely photos. Thanks!

  4. Awesome post and awesome blog! We're going to be at Wishon in about two weeks, around the same time as you went last year, so it was awesome seeing a little preview of what we'll be heading into!

  5. We should be going to Wishon Campground for the Labor Day weekend. Your pictures are great, thank you for your posts it really helps when you're visiting a place for the first time, just to have an idea how it would look.