Dispersed car camping near Big Meadow (Sequoia NF)

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Loseyourself
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Dispersed car camping near Big Meadow (Sequoia NF)

Post by Loseyourself » Thu Jul 09, 2020 5:24 pm

I'd like to go to the Big Meadow area soon. Or really anywhere off of Sherman Pass. I was planning on mid-week but now looks like I can only go Sat-Monday.

I know the actual Big Meadows camp is fully reserved except for first come, first served sites. That's fine, as I'd rather do dispersed camping somewhere nearby. I'll be arriving mid afternoon at the earliest, so can't count on first come, first served sites.

Am I likely to find a dispersed camping spot in mid-summer on the weekend? I've got a high clearance 4wd, so I can handle forest service roads.

Is it as simple as driving up Cherry Hill Road (22S12) or another FS road, and then finding a spur, driving on that spur until I find a clearing that already been used as a dispersed site? Are sites plentiful, or will I be driving around a lot before I find something?)

(If any can point me toward a cool site, maybe near a stream, I'd be eternally grateful. I'll be taking my kids camping for the first time. Doesn't have to be near Big Meadows, but somewhere off of Sherman Pass would be good, I think.)

If that area is closed, please let me know. I've been digging through the FS.USDA.GOV site and don't see any indication that dispersed camping is off limits.

Many thanks.








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Re: Dispersed car camping near Big Meadow (Sequoia NF)

Post by druid » Fri Jul 10, 2020 10:40 pm

There are many, many dispersed camping sites all along Big Meadow Road itself on the way to the campground. Many were already occupied by late afternoon on a weekday in late June this year. We turned off the main road past the campground onto a dirt FS road (easily accessible in a Subaru), drove a few hundred yards, quickly found a campsite with an existing fire ring and didn't have anyone even drive by the entire half day or so we were there.

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Re: Dispersed car camping near Big Meadow (Sequoia NF)

Post by creekfeet » Sat Jul 11, 2020 12:20 pm

Did some dispersing camping with my fam out there two weeks ago. You should have zero issues finding a spot. Should you decide you'd actually like to stay in the Big Meadows campground, it was far from full during the week I was there. As for dispersed camping near a creek, a lot of the dispersed camping is away from the water, but there are a few sites near Big Meadows Creek that aren't in the campground itself. There's an excellent campsite right at the beginning of the meadow that's pretty easy to spot from the main road. If you don't have to be near water, there's some incredible spots up the road to Buck Rock past the official campground. You can pretty much just get lost on any spur road out there and stumble into a great campsite.

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Re: Dispersed car camping near Big Meadow (Sequoia NF)

Post by Loseyourself » Sun Jul 12, 2020 10:44 pm

druid wrote:
Fri Jul 10, 2020 10:40 pm
There are many, many dispersed camping sites all along Big Meadow Road itself on the way to the campground. Many were already occupied by late afternoon on a weekday in late June this year. We turned off the main road past the campground onto a dirt FS road (easily accessible in a Subaru), drove a few hundred yards, quickly found a campsite with an existing fire ring and didn't have anyone even drive by the entire half day or so we were there.
creekfeet wrote:
Sat Jul 11, 2020 12:20 pm
Did some dispersing camping with my fam out there two weeks ago. You should have zero issues finding a spot. Should you decide you'd actually like to stay in the Big Meadows campground, it was far from full during the week I was there. As for dispersed camping near a creek, a lot of the dispersed camping is away from the water, but there are a few sites near Big Meadows Creek that aren't in the campground itself. There's an excellent campsite right at the beginning of the meadow that's pretty easy to spot from the main road. If you don't have to be near water, there's some incredible spots up the road to Buck Rock past the official campground. You can pretty much just get lost on any spur road out there and stumble into a great campsite.
Many thanks to you both.

Might I ask if north of Sherman Pass is 'better'? I'm looking for elevation and getting out of the 'semi-arid' forest. Or is the terrain about the same to the north too?

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Re: Dispersed car camping near Big Meadow (Sequoia NF)

Post by bobby49 » Sun Jul 12, 2020 11:17 pm

Isn't Sherman Pass 25 miles or so south of Sequoia NP, outside the park?

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Loseyourself
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Re: Dispersed car camping near Big Meadow (Sequoia NF)

Post by Loseyourself » Mon Jul 13, 2020 9:15 am

bobby49 wrote:
Sun Jul 12, 2020 11:17 pm
Isn't Sherman Pass 25 miles or so south of Sequoia NP, outside the park?
Maybe as the crow flies, but longer by car. But more importantly, my understanding is dispersed camping isn't allow in the NP (but obviously is in the NF).

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Re: Dispersed car camping near Big Meadow (Sequoia NF)

Post by wildhiker » Mon Jul 13, 2020 1:36 pm

Yes, the original poster's request is very confusing. The "Big Meadows" in the Sequoia National Forest that most of us know about and that the responders all seem to be referring to, is located just north of Sequoia National Park, off the Generals Highway. Sherman Pass highway is very far to the southeast, and connects the Kern River to the Sierra east side, threading between the Domelands and South Sierra Wilderness Areas. There are lots of meadows along that Sherman Pass highway route, but I don't see any labelled Big Meadows. I think the original poster needs to clarify his request.
-Phil

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Re: Dispersed car camping near Big Meadow (Sequoia NF)

Post by Loseyourself » Mon Jul 13, 2020 4:31 pm

OP here,

Sorry for the confusion. I didn't realize there were multiple Big Meadows.

Here's the best site I can find for Big Meadows (Kern Plateau) that I'm referencing.

http://www.totalescape.com/outside/sigh ... w-sequoia/

This should open up Google maps with a pin drop at Big Meadows.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/35%C2 ... 18.3490961

Since I'm coming up from the south, I wasn't trying to go all the way north to the SEKI NP. Plus, the NF is more friendly to dispersed camping. I'm just looking for a spot to let the kids sleep under the stars, wade in a creek (if there's water), watch the campfire (if allowed. Seems like at elevation it might be. I will verify before.)

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Re: Dispersed car camping near Big Meadow (Sequoia NF)

Post by druid » Mon Jul 13, 2020 9:16 pm

Loseyourself wrote:
Mon Jul 13, 2020 4:31 pm
OP here,

Sorry for the confusion. I didn't realize there were multiple Big Meadows.

Here's the best site I can find for Big Meadows (Kern Plateau) that I'm referencing.

http://www.totalescape.com/outside/sigh ... w-sequoia/
Yes, that's a different Big Meadows than the one I was referring to. I've never been to the Sherman Pass area, so I can't help you there.

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Re: Dispersed car camping near Big Meadow (Sequoia NF)

Post by gary c. » Tue Jul 14, 2020 8:43 am

I've had no problems getting a site at Horse Meadows CG twice in the last two months. Very nice CG and all 1st come 1st served. We even went there the weekend before the 4th on a Thursday and snagged 4 camp sites. Where the pavement ends on the Cherry Hill road is a dispersed camp site called Poison Meadow. A very pretty spot but sometimes you have to share with others because it is a very big area. Like others have said any spur road will get you to a place you can camp. Be sure and double check about fire restrictions in the area. I believe that the entire forest is closed to fires right now except in designated campgrounds like Horse Meadow.
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