Monday, September 27, 2021

Camping among the redwoods

During our last summer in San Francisco, I went camping with my friend S. in Butano State Park near the coast just south of the city. Ken and I had been camping a few times in the adjacent Big Basin Redwoods State Park, but there was a twist at Butano. The sites where we camped were walk-in sites. No cars allowed. We parked on a paved road not too far from the sites and carried all our gear in, then took the car to a parking lot for the duration.

That's my tent on the right, S.'s tent is partially hidden by a redwood tree on the left.
Butano State Park, California, August 2002.

It was pretty cool to be in a redwood forest without the sight or sound of cars all around. The drive-in sites on the other side of the campground were much more occupied with campers and RVs, but the walk-in sites were virtually empty. It felt like we had the place to ourselves.

Ken and I did a lot of camping in California (and a little in Nevada and Utah) during our time in San Francisco thanks to our friend S. We saw a lot of places we might never have seen otherwise. I miss those trips. Sleeping on the ground, not so much.


  1. What a beautiful spot. I love camping, but require flush toilets. SG prefers a 2-room tent -- but ends up in a hotel.

    1. I'm with SG :)
      I love the sound of the birds chirping early in the morning, and having a fire going for coffee and all that... but not the sleeping on the ground part, or the rest of the issues.

    2. Judy:
      That’s exactly the way SG is. Although his problem is he doesn‘t like the dark, nor the woods. Other than that, he’s a phenomenally skilled camper. (And he loves to cook over an open fire.)

  2. Those redwoods are really majestic. You feel so small when they tower above you!

  3. Walk-in sites are the best, for all the reasons you mentioned.
    Our most recent camping trip in June 2019--perhaps our last--was to Calaveras Big Trees. The redwoods were magnificent.

  4. mitch, this place had "pit" toilets. No flushing.

    judy, I think my camping days are over, but I loved it as a kid and into my 40s.

    chm, so true!

    chris, I camped in Calaveras Big Trees twice. It's an amazing place, and one of those I probably wouldn't have known about if not for our friend.

  5. Primitive campgrounds were our style back when were were newlyweds! We loved it because the campgrounds were not crowded and they were very quiet at night! Camping as an adult when visiting my parents were more refined: campgrounds offered warm buildings with warm showers and flushing toilets!!! The best part though, for our young daughter were the weekend evening events with a camp ranger explaining interesting fauna and flora details like how a whale skeleton looks and it's size! Camping now? Not so much. Too many weirdos out there and I do not believe in guns! Also - we are tent-campers like you were!

    Camping in the Redwoods would have been a delight! Your place looks fantastic.


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