Maps To Free Campgrounds Near Our California Rivers

A word about free camping: Free camping is generally found in more rustic, less developed but nevertheless, beautiful campgrounds on public lands managed by the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Pay or fee camping, which is found on Park Service and private land as well as on Forest Service and BLM land, generally offers more amenities such as toilets, potable water, trailer pads and often hot showers.

CA River & Camp Locations: Northern   Central   Southern-Central   Southern

  • Kern
  • Kaweah
  • Kings
  • Merced
  • Tuolumne
  • American
  • Yuba
Kern River - Southern Central California
Kern River Google Maps Link
View Google Maps of Free Campgrounds along the Kern River

Kern River: Free Camping

Sequoia National Forest and Bureau of Land Management lands along the Kern River provide fabulous, free camping!

Keyesville – BLM Free Camping

The lovely, secluded lands and side roads in this area along Keyesville Road (except those marked private) are BLM lands open to the public and available for free camping for up to 14 days at a time. No toilets or other facilities are provided. Fire permits are required for campfires – Be sure to honor fire closures when they are in effect. Please leave no litter, and try to leave your campsite cleaner than you found it.

The Keyesville area makes a convenient place to roll out your sleeping bag or sleep in your vehicle the night before meeting your Whitewater Voyages trip leader at the Whitewater Voyages Kern Outdoor Center in Frandy Park in Kernville.

For more information contact the Lake Isabella Visitor Center at 760 379 5646, the BLM in Bakersfield at 661 391 6112, or Whitewater Voyages at 800 400 7238.

Black Gulch South – Free Camping

A slice of paradise with numerous campsites right on the Lower Kern River in Sequoia National Forest. Many are accessible with 2-wheel-drive, some require 4-wheel-drive. Few toilets or other facilities are provided. Fire permits are required for campfires – Be sure to honor fire closures when they are in effect. Please leave no litter, and try to leave your campsite cleaner than you found it.

A great place to camp before and after your rafting trip with Whitewater Voyages – allow about 40 minutes to drive from here to the Whitewater Voyages Kern Outdoor Center in Frandy Park in Kernville.

For more information contact the Kern River Ranger District office in Kernville at 760-376-3781, the Lake Isabella Visitor Center at 760 379 5646, or Whitewater Voyages at 800 400 7238.

Whitewater Voyages Kern Outdoor Center inside Frandy Park

Welcome! This is the staging area and meeting place for all Whitewater Voyages trips on the Kern River. Our Kern Outdoor Center (which is often called "K" "O" "C") features shaded check-in and meeting areas, changing booths, toilets, nearby showers, our local office, and a store offering t-shirts, trip photo sales, rental wet suits, sun screen, hats, books and more. Please allow enough driving time to arrive on time for your trip. We look forward to sharing a fabulous river voyages with you!

Upper Kern – Free Dispersed Camping (9 Sites marked)

Sequoia National Forest lands (outside of the fee campgrounds) along the Upper Kern River offer numerous idyllic free riverside campsites. Most are accessible with 2-wheel-drive, some require 4-wheel-drive. Few toilets or other facilities are provided. Fire permits are required for campfires – Be sure to honor fire closures when they are in effect. Please leave no litter, and try to leave your campsite cleaner than you found it.

The Upper Kern is a great place to camp before and after your rafting trip with Whitewater Voyages – the meeting spot for all of our Kern River trips is the Whitewater Voyages Kern Outdoor Center in Frandy Park in Kernville.

For more information contact the Kern River Ranger District office in Kernville at 760-376-3781, the Kernville Chamber of Commerce at 760 376-2629, the Lake Isabella Visitor Center at 760 379 5646, or Whitewater Voyages at 800 400 7238.

Brush Creek – Free Camping

A dramatic setting and what some describe as a powerful earth energy vortex make Brush Creek Camp a soul-stirring place. Located at the confluence of Brush Creek and the Upper Kern, Brush Creek Camp has toilets and trash recepticles. Fire permits are required for campfires – Be sure to honor fire closures when they are in effect. Please leave no litter, and try to leave your campsite cleaner than you found it.

The Upper Kern is a great place to camp before and after your rafting trip with Whitewater Voyages the meeting spot for all of our Kern River trips is the Whitewater Voyages Kern Outdoor Center in Frandy Park in Kernville.

For more information contact the Kern River Ranger District office in Kernville at 760-376-3781, the Kernville Chamber of Commerce at 760 376-2629, the Lake Isabella Visitor Center at 760 379 5646, or Whitewater Voyages at 800 400 7238.

Southern Sierra Escape | Jungle Run | Big Water Run | Dazzler | Snap, Crackle & Pop | Thunder Run | Forks of the Kern Wilderness Juggernaut

Kaweah River - Southern Central California
Kaweah River Google Maps Link

View Google Map of Three Rivers Hideaway on the Kaweah River

Note: Unfortunately, there are no free campgrounds near the Kaweah. There are, however, a number of paid campgrounds   one of which is our meeting point:
THREE RIVERS HIDEAWAY
.

Kaweah Whitewater Voyages
Meeting Site
Three Rivers Hideaway

All Whitewater Voyages Kaweah River trips meet here. Meeting time for both one- and two-day trips is 9:30 am.
For more information contact
Three Rivers Hideaway at 559 561 4413 or threerivershideaway.com or call
Whitewater Voyages at 800 400 7238.

Sequoia Shooter | Sequoia Gateway

Kings River - Southern Central California
Kings River Google Maps Link
View Google Maps of Free Campgrounds along the Kings River

Kings River: Free Camping

Sierra and Sequoia National Forest lands along the Kings River abound with great free campsites. Many are accessible with 2-wheel-drive, some require 4-wheel-drive.

For more information contact the Kings River Ranger District office at 209 855 8321 or call Whitewater Voyages at 800 400 7238.

Whitewater Voyages Kings River Base Camp

The meeting point and staging area for all of our Kings River trips, our idyllic Kings Base Camp features free parking, shaded dining, sandy beach camping, volleyball, the best swimming calm in the world, a store with shirts & wet suits, horse shoes, Koob – the game of the Vikings, toilets enhanced with inspiring, philosophical quotes, a richly entertaining self-guided nature walk, free wet suits for all trip participants, and much more.

Please note: Because the Forest Service limits the number of people we can have in our Kings base camp at one time, only participants of trips in progress may camp in our base camp. Fortunately, free dispersed camping along the Kings River on lovely beaches and river banks is plentiful nearby upriver.

North Fork Confluence – Free Camping

The dramatic confluence of the North Fork Kings and the main Kings offers free camping and rich natural beauty. No toilets are provided. Fire permits are required for campfires – Be sure to honor fire closures when they are in effect. Please leave no litter, and try to leave your campsite cleaner than you found it.

When camping here before your raft trip, allow time to drive downriver to our Kings Base Camp.

Kirch Flat Campground – Free Camping

Kirch Flat Campground in Sierra National Forest offers free camping right on the Kings River. Campsites are first come, first served. Toilets are provided. Fire permits are required for campfires – Be sure to honor fire closures when they are in effect. Please leave no litter, and try to leave your campsite cleaner than you found it.

A great place to camp before and after your rafting trip with Whitewater Voyages – Kirch Flat Campground is just 2 minutes from our Whitewater Voyages Kings Base Camp a short distance upriver.

Mill Flat Campground – Free Camping

Mill Flat Campground in Sequoia National Forest offers free camping at the confluence of Mill Flat Creek and the Kings River. Campsites are first come, first served. Toilets are provided. Fire permits are required for campfires – Be sure to honor fire closures when they are in effect. Please leave no litter, and try to leave your campsite cleaner than you found it.

When camping here before your raft trip, allow time to drive downriver to our Kings Base Camp.

Gravel Flat – Free Camping

Gravel Flat Campground in Sierra National Forest offers free camping, toilets and a wide-open natural setting on the Kings River. Fire permits are required for campfires – Be sure to honor fire closures when they are in effect. Please leave no litter, and try to leave your campsite cleaner than you found it.

When camping here before your raft trip, allow time to drive downriver to our Kings Base Camp.

Camp 4 1/2 – Free Camping

Camp 4 1/2 Campground in Sequoia National Forest offers free camping, toilets and a lovely setting right on the Kings River. Campsites are first come, first served. Fire permits are required for campfires – Be sure to honor fire closures when they are in effect. Please leave no litter, and try to leave your campsite cleaner than you found it.

When camping here before your raft trip, allow time to drive downriver to our Kings Base Camp.

Pirate's Cove – Free Camping

A big eddy on the Kings River, Pirate's Cove features picturesque sandy beaches and wonderful free camping. No toilets are provided. Fire permits are required for campfires – Be sure to honor fire closures when they are in effect. Please leave no litter, and try to leave your campsite cleaner than you found it.

When camping here before your raft trip, allow time to drive downriver to our Kings Base Camp.

Hermit's Hole – Free Camping

Hermit's Hole offers an especially lovely setting, toilets and great free camping right on the Kings River. Fire permits are required for campfires – Be sure to honor fire closures when they are in effect. Please leave no litter, and try to leave your campsite cleaner than you found it.

When camping here before your raft trip, allow time to drive downriver to our Kings Base Camp.

Mule Rock – Free Camping

A great place to watch boaters run challenging Mule Hole, Mule Rock makes a great camp. No toilets are provided. Fire permits are required for campfires – Be sure to honor fire closures when they are in effect. Please leave no litter, and try to leave your campsite cleaner than you found it.

When camping here before your raft trip, allow time to drive downriver to our Kings Base Camp.

Oak Flats – Free Camping

Oak Flats offers great free camping and a lovely setting right on the Kings River. Fire permits are required for campfires – Be sure to honor fire closures when they are in effect. Please leave no litter, and try to leave your campsite cleaner than you found it.

When camping here before your raft trip, allow time to drive downriver to our Kings Base Camp.

Joy Ride | Mega Joy Ride | Ride the Glide | Mega Ride the Glide

Merced River - Central California
Merced River Google Maps Link
View Google Maps of Free Campgrounds along the Merced River

Merced River: Free Camping

BLM and Forest Service campgrounds along the Merced River offer great free camping before and after your river trip with Whitewater Voyages.

For more information contact the BLM in El Dorado Hills at 916) 941-3101 or call Whitewater Voyages at 800 400 7238.

Sand Pit – Whitewater Voyages Meeting Site

Known as the "Sand Pit," this large sand/gravel/dirt parking area is 1.5 miles east of Cedar Lodge on thew south side of Hwy 49. Meet your trip leader here for you Merced river trip with Whitewater Voyages.

McCabe Flat – BLM Camping

A primitive BLM campground right on the Merced River, McCabe Flat features a beautiful setting but has few amenities. Thought by some to be the location of a powerful earth energy vortex. Accessed via the bridge at Briceburg and Bull Run Creek, this Bureau of Land Management site is open to the public and available for camping for up to 14 days at a time for $10 per night/ 8 people per site and offered on a first come first served/self registration basis. Fire permits are required for campfires – Be sure to honor fire closures when they are in effect. Please leave no litter, and try to leave your campsite cleaner than you found it.

Willow Placer – BLM Camping

A lovely, primitive, BLM campground right on the Merced River, Willow Placer has toilets but few other amenities. Accessed via the bridge at Briceburg and Bull Run Creek, this Bureau of Land Management site is open to the public and available for camping for up to 14 days at a time for $10 per night/ 8 people per site and offered on a first come first served/self registration basis. Fire permits are required for campfires – Be sure to honor fire closures when they are in effect. Please leave no litter, and try to leave your campsite cleaner than you found it.

Railroad Flat – BLM Camping

A lovely, primitive, BLM campground right on the Merced River, Railroad Flat has toilets but few other amenities. Accessed via the bridge at Briceburg and Bull Run Creek, this Bureau of Land Management site is open to the public and available for camping for up to 14 days at a time for $10 per night/ 8 people per site and offered on a first come first served/self registration basis. Fire permits are required for campfires – Be sure to honor fire closures when they are in effect. Please leave no litter, and try to leave your campsite cleaner than you found it.

Indian Flat Campground

Indian Flat Campground is a privately owned campground which offers great camping – with toilets and tables – right on the the Merced River. Fire permits are required for campfires – Be sure to honor fire closures when they are in effect. Please leave no litter, and try to leave your campsite cleaner than you found it.

For more information contact Indian Flat Campground (209-379-2339) or call Whitewater Voyages at 800 400 7238.

Cranberry –Forest Service Camping (877-444-6777 for reservation)

A primitive,paid, forest service campground right on the Merced River, Cranberry Flat features a beautiful setting but has few amenities. Accessed via the bridge at Redbud and Incline Road, this site is open to the public and available for camping for up to 14 days at a time. Fire permits are required for campfires – Be sure to honor fire closures when they are in effect. Please leave no litter, and try to leave your campsite cleaner than you found it.

Dirt Flat – Forest Service Camping (877-444-6777 for reservation)

A primitive campground right on the Merced River, Dirt Flat has few amenities. Accessed via the bridge at Redbud and Incline Road, this Forest service site is open to the public for a fee and available for camping for up to 14 days at a time. Fire permits are required for campfires – Be sure to honor fire closures when they are in effect. Please leave no litter, and try to leave your campsite cleaner than you found it.

Dry Gulch –Forest Service Camping (877-444-6777 for reservation)

A rustic campground right on the Merced River, Dry Gulch is not free and has few amenities. Accessed via the bridge at Redbud and Incline Road, this forest service site is open to the public and available for camping for up to 14 days at a time. Fire permits are required for campfires – Be sure to honor fire closures when they are in effect. Please leave no litter, and try to leave your campsite cleaner than you found it.

Yosemite Wildwater | Foam Dancer

Tuolumne River - Central California
Tuolumne River Google Maps Link
View Google Maps of Free Campgrounds along the Tuolumne River

Tuolumne River: Free Camping

Stanislaus National Forest lands near the Tuolumne River provide wonderful, spectacular, free camping before and after your river trip with Whitewater Voyages!

For more information contact the Groveland Ranger District at 209-962-7825 or call Whitewater Voyages at 800 400 7238.

Ferretti Road Hilltop Free Camping Meadow

This open hilltop free camping meadow in Stanislaus National Forest is just 1/4 mile from our Tuolumne trip rendezvous at Casa Loma Store. Although no facilities are provided, this meadow makes a very convenient place to roll out your sleeping bag or sleep in your vehicle the night before meeting your Whitewater Voyages trip leader at Casa Loma Store just down the hill. This is open, undesignated Forest Service land where anyone can camp free for up to 21 days. Campfire permits are required for campfires – be sure to honor fire closures when they are in effect.

Directions: Go 7.5 miles east of Groveland on Hwy 120 and go left at the Casa Loma Store on Ferretti Road about 2000 feet to top of hill. Go left on dirt road about 100 feet to open hilltop free camping meadow.

Top of Lumsden Road

Stanislaus National Forest land adjacent to the top of Lumsden Road is open to the public to camp free – and is one mile from our Tuolumne trip rendezvous at Casa Loma Store. Although no facilities are provided, open spots next to Lumsden Road (just off Ferretti Road) make a convenient place to sleep in your vehicle the night before meeting your Whitewater Voyages trip leader at Casa Loma Store just one mile away. This is open, undesignated Forest Service land where anyone can camp free for up to 21 days. Campfire permits are required for campfires – be sure to honor fire closures when they are in effect.

Directions: Go 7.5 miles east of Groveland on Hwy 120. Go left at the Casa Loma Store on Ferretti Road about one mile to Lumsden Road, which is marked by a sign on the right saying "Lumsden Road – Tuolumne River – 5 miles." Go right a 100 feet or so and pull well off the road onto one of the wide spots.

Lumsden Campground

Lumsden Campground is a lovely, free, riverside Forest Service campground with toilets, tables and great fishing. First come, first serve. Trailers and RV's not recommended. Campfire permit required for campfires – be sure to honor fire closures when they are in effect.

Directions: Go 7.5 miles east of Groveland on Hwy 120 and go left at the Casa Loma Store on Ferretti Road about 1 mile. Then go right on Lumsden Road for 6 very rough, very slow miles down into the canyon. Allow 45-60 minutes for the drive in and out. Be sure to allow enough time to meet at our rendezvous point at the Casa Loma Store!

South Fork Campground

A pristine, free, Forest Service campground near the confluence of the South Fork of the Tuolumne and the main Tuolumne River, South Fork Campground has toilets, tables and great fishing. First come, first serve. Trailers and RV's not recommended. Campfire permits are required for campfires – be sure to honor fire closures, which are often in effect in late summer.

Directions: Go 7.5 miles east of Groveland on Hwy 120 and go left at the Casa Loma Store on Ferretti Road about 1 mile. Then go right on Lumsden Road for 6 1/2 very rough, very slow miles down into the canyon. Allow 45-60 minutes for the drive in and out. Be sure to allow enough time to meet at our rendezvous point at the Casa Loma Store!

Lumsden Bridge Campground

Lumsden Bridge Campground is an idyllic, free, Forest Service campground on the right on the Tuolumne River with toilets, tables and great fishing. First come, first serve. Trailers and RV's not recommended. Campfire permit required for campfires – be sure to honor fire closures, which are often in effect in late summer.

Directions: Go 7.5 miles east of Groveland on Hwy 120 and go left at the Casa Loma Store on Ferretti Road about 1 mile. Then go right on Lumsden Road for 7 1/2 very rough, very slow miles down into the canyon. Allow 45-60 minutes for the drive in and out. Be sure to allow enough time to meet at our rendezvous point at the Casa Loma Store!

Tuolumne Classic 1 Day | Tuolumne Classic 2 Day | Tuolumne Classic 3 Day

American River - Northern California
American River Google Maps Link
View Map of Free Deluxe River Park Adventure Campground on American River

American River: The Ultimate FREE Camping Opportunity for Whitewater Voyages Guests the night before and the night after their Whitewater Voyages river trip with us.

Find out more about our Deluxe River Park Adventure Campground or call Whitewater Voyages at 800 400 7238.

South, Middle, North American Forks – Free Camping

For Guests of Whitewater Voyages rafting the South, Middle or North Forks of the American River, the really big news in free camping is our 7-acre, amenity-filled River Park Adventure Campground. Our deluxe river-beach campground located in Coloma just off Hwy 49 on the South Fork American River (just 40 minutes east of Sacramento) offers our rafters free camping the night before and night after their trips with us.

South Fork Fun Run | Middle Fork Blaster | North Fork Thriller | American Combos

Yuba River - Northern California
Yuba River Google Maps Link
View Google Maps of Free Campgrounds along the Yuba River

Yuba River: Free Camping

A number of lovely, densely wooded Tahoe National Forest campgrounds provide free camping right on the North Yuba River. The meeting point for Whitewater Voyages raft trips on the Yuba is just upriver from the Hwy 49 Fiddle Creek Bridge.

For more information contact the Yuba River Ranger District, 15924 Highway 49, Camptonville CA 95922, (530) 288-3231 or 478-6253 (voice), (530) 288-3656 (TDD) or call Whitewater Voyages at 800 400 7238.

Whitewater Voyages Meeting Point – Just upriver from Hwy 49 Fiddle Creek Bridge

Meet your Whitewater Voyages trip leader here for your raft trip on the Wild and Scenic North Yuba River. This wide spot in the road is just upriver from the Indian Valley Outpost, the Fiddle Creek bridge, and the intersection Hwy 49 and Cal-ida Road.

Fiddle Creek Campground – Free Camping

Fiddle Creek Campground is a lovely, free, riverside Forest Service campground with toilets, tables and great fishing. First come, first serve. Campfire permit required for campfires – be sure to honor fire closures when they are in effect. Please leave no litter, and try to leave your campsite cleaner than you found it.

Indian Valley Campground – Free Camping

Indian Valley Campground is a lovely, free, riverside campground in Tahoe National Forest with toilets, tables and great fishing. First come, first serve. Campfire permit required for campfires – be sure to honor fire closures when they are in effect. Please leave no litter, and try to leave your campsite cleaner than you found it.

Rocky Rest Campground – Free Camping

Rocky Rest Campground is a lovely, free, riverside campground in Tahoe National Forest with toilets, tables and great fishing. First come, first serve. Campfire permit required for campfires – be sure to honor fire closures when they are in effect. Please leave no litter, and try to leave your campsite cleaner than you found it.

Ramshorn Forest Service Campground – Free Camping

Ramshorn Campground is a lovely, free, lushly forested campground in Tahoe National Forest with toilets, tables and great fishing. First come, first serve. Campfire permit required for campfires – be sure to honor fire closures when they are in effect. Please leave no litter, and try to leave your campsite cleaner than you found it.

Maytag Whirl | Shangri-La | Class V Alive | North Yuba Combo

To check availability and / or make your reservation, either call our friendly and helpful staff at 800-400-7238
or Use our new On-line Reservation System

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Whitewater Voyages
11252 Kernville Road, Kernville, CA 93238
Call Toll Free: 800-400-7238
The Leader in California White Water Rafting Trips Since 1975

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