July 20, 2020 Update: as far as I know, all campgrounds opened up mid-July. However, the Covid numbers in California are currently on the rise, and there is talk of some things having to modify or close again. We’ll see. Meanwhile, there is a real issue with campers boondocking on federal lands and leaving garbage and human waste – which has started to result in some closures in both California and Oregon (from what I’m seeing on social media – take it with a grain of salt). Girl Campers following my Northern California Girl Camper page report the camp grounds are full, but it’s good to get out there. Stay safe. Stay well. Original story starts here:
If you want to camp next to the Sacramento River, there are two campgrounds I called today that are open: Woodson Bridge RV Park in Corning and River Reflections RV Park in Oroville. If you just need to be in your RV and GO SOMEWHERE, Almond Tree RV Park is open in Chico – no river, but they have a nice clean swimming pool.
Woodson Bridge has restrooms and showers, and they are working hard to clean every couple of hours with super cleaner. River Reflections also has restrooms and showers, and clean regularly. They prefer everyone use the bathrooms in their RVs.
Both discourage tent campers at this time, but you can talk to them if you think they might make an exception for you.
You need to make reservations in advance. In fact, River Reflections is full right now and people are being allowed to stay longer due to the stay-in-place order, but you could get your name on a list. Woodson Bridge had some available spots when I talked with them today. Almond Tree also had some available spots at the time of this writing.
If you just can’t stand it any longer and want to get out, try calling the privately-owned campgrounds in your area. You have a 50/50 shot: I called six places today, and two were closed due to the virus and one was open, but full for the next four weeks. However, I still came up with three options, and the same might be true in your area.
I know many Girl Campers are choosing to stay in place and camp in their yards, or get creative with indoor forts, and those are wise options at this time.
I will share we’ve had recent issues in our mountain community with people who are frustrated about the campgrounds being closed, and they just find a place to park and think they can camp there. NO. That’s not okay! Sierra Pacific and PG&E, as well as our local Park Ranger have been contacted to help monitor illegal camping and ask people to leave.
Along those same lines, people are still hiking on state park lands, but parking further away from trail heads since the state parking lots are closed. If you do this, you should be careful and consider vandals. Unfortunately, the bad people know why people are parking in certain areas and realize they will likely be gone for a good amount of time. I did talk to the Park Ranger at the kiosk at Lime Saddle Marina, and three vehicles were vandalized just today; broken windows and stolen items, and one truck had something stolen from under the hood.
One more thing: when I called the campgrounds today, they were being bombarded with calls and encourage you to go to their websites first to make reservations.
I wrote to Governer Newsom today and addressed the all-or-nothing approach to the decision to close all California State Parks. This was done, in part, because of people in Southern California flocking by the thousands to the beaches. Northern California is a very different scene and I think the three regions (Southern, Central, and Northern) should be considered individually. Unfortunately, we can’t count on people to follow social distancing guidelines, so I can see both sides.
Whatever you choose to do, I hope you stay safe and stay well.
Article written by: Catherine Goggia, Northern California Chapter Guide
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UPDATE 4-30-2020 Since posting this story, people in comments have let me know about additional open campgrounds. I am told the KOA’s in Nevada are open. Danielle Hipsher runs Rivers Edge RV Park in Red Bluff, and she let me know they are open. Sacramento West RV Park is open. Durango RV Resort in Red Bluff is open (looks really nice on the website, btw). JGW in Redding is open. Again, I encourage you to call around; there might be more open campgrounds in your area than you realize.
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