Welcome to our (very personal) reviews of the campsites we have visited. If you arrived here from a link on our travel blog, Semi-True Tales of Our Life On the Road, you can click here to read all of our campground reviews.

If you would like to know more about me, or contact us, click on "Who are We?" (to the right). For more information about what you can expect to find in these reviews, click on "About These Reviews". Finally, a note about the photos: hover your cursor over a photo to read the caption, or click the photo to enlarge it.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


This outdated review has been removed.  Please click here to read our review dated November 29, 2011.

Friday, May 9, 2008


Our Opinion: Recommend, but beware the road noise. Tall trees, river, close to Truckee and recreational opportunities.

Date of Stay: May 7th and 8th, just before it opened for the season on May 15th.
Weather During Stay: Blue skies, sunny, low 60’s. Lows at night were below freezing.

Sites: 65 no-hookup sites (about a dozen are tents-only) - no water, no electric, no sewer and NO DUMP. Separate small loop for tent campers. Vault toilets. One water spigot for each loop. Sites vary in size, many are long enough for a 40’ rig. Sites are fairly level; each site has a picnic table. Tall pines may interfere with roof-mounted satellites in many of the sites. Roads and spurs are paved. Photo shows site 9, in the "always open" loop.

Rate: $18/night, half price with Golden Age pass. We paid ZERO because the season had not yet begun (one loop is open all year, water is turned off).

Phone/radio/TV: Strong Verizon phones signal; aircard on Broadband. Didn‘t check TV antenna and didn‘t turn on the TV satellite. Local NPR on 88.1.

Elevation/Landscape/Terrain: This is a wooded, flat campground about a mile south of Truckee (heading to Tahoe City) at 5,900 feet, in a canyon between the Truckee River and Hwy 89. Views are of tall pines, the Truckee River, and mountains on both sides of the canyon.

Lighting/Noise: Totally dark at night. Lots of road noise from Hwy 89. I don’t know how the tent campers stand it. Double-pane windows cut the noise to a reasonable level at night. Traffic dies around 10 pm; the commute started by 6:30. Quite noisy sitting outside.

Favorite Sites: We would choose a back in near the river; orientation would depend on the season. Most are level. The "pull-throughs" here are actually "pull-outs", a wide spot in the road where you pull over to one side. This would put our slides WAY too close to passing traffic, so we would avoid these sites.

Hiking/Walking: Walk the loops of the campground, or a short trail on the edge of the river. Otherwise, drive to one of many trailheads in the area.

Comments: A pretty campground on the banks of the Truckee River. Proximity to Hwy 89 means lots of road noise; this is not a secluded campground that invites lazy days outdoors. A short drive to Truckee, with restaurants and restaurants.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


Our Opinion: This is a return visit to Mono Vista RV Park. It appears to be the only game in town if you want hookups in Lee Vining, and it is a pleasant stop due to grass, trees, and location. Pricey, well maintained; we recommend it if you want to spend time in the area.

Date of Stay: May 5th and 6th, 2008

Weather During Stay: Partly cloudy when we arrived, with temperatures in the lower 60’s - perfect for hiking in this arid, high altitude area. Low’s in the mid-30’s.

Sites: 23 FHU, pull-throughs (30 and 50 amp) and back-ins (30 amp only) with cable TV. 24 sites with W and E (30 amp) only (no cable TV in these sites). Lots of variety in site size and grade. All the pull-throughs are suitable for big rigs. Roads are paved, sites are gravel and/or grassy. Site width is typical for a commercial park. Trees are trimmed, but may interfere with roof-mounted satellites Picnic tables at sites. Some shade from the trees. Good water pressure. Electric voltage at our site was so high we switched from 50 amps to 30 amps, which had voltage in the “green” range. For the price we paid, this should not happen.

Rate: With taxes, we paid $35/night, which seems high for this park - but there aren‘t any other choices. No credit cards, cash or check only.

Phone/radio/TV: Strong Verizon phones signal; aircard on Broadband, 3 to 5 bars. About a dozen TV stations on cable TV. No local NPR. They advertise WiFi, but we didn’t try it.

Elevation/Landscape/Terrain: This is a slightly sloping park on the northern end of Lee Vining at 6,770 feet. Views from the pull-throughs are of the other rigs, trees, grass, neighboring businesses (gas station) and, in the distance to the east, Mono Lake. Some sites have prettier views than the pull-throughs do.

Lighting/Noise: Nice low lighting. No appreciable road noise at night, until traffic starts up on Hwy 395 at daybreak.

Favorite Sites: No favorites here. The pull-throughs are 50 amp FHU with cable and grass (nice features), but the views are lousy compared to some of the W/E only sites (site 18). On this visit, we are in site 8 - see our view in this photo.

Hiking/Walking: A trail from the northern edge of the park goes towards the road to the great visitor center, an easy walk. From the visitor center, a 1.6 mile trail heads into Lee Vining. Loop back to the RV park on the town sidewalks for 6,000 steps total.

Comments: Lots to do here! Two visitor centers, one near Mono Lake, the other in town (also has a nice selection of books, including current fiction). Hiking and interesting geology all around Mono Lake. Toomey’s Whoa Nellie Deli in the Mobil gas station on Hwy 120 just west of the junction with Hwy. 395 has great food. Hwy 120 is the Tioga Pass road into Yosemite, when it is open. Mono Vista RV park closes for the winter; re-opens on April 1. Mono Market is amazingly well stocked with standards and some exotics (tofu, black rice, Thai sauces, good meats and cheeses, organic broth, and a small amount of fresh vegetables - oh, and wine and hard liquor).

Monday, May 5, 2008


Our Opinion: Rave. Boondocking doesn‘t get any better than this.

Date of Stay: May 3-4, 2008

Weather During Stay: Partly cloudy. Highs in the upper 70’s. Some wind. Low’s in the upper 40‘s.

Sites: No developed sites. Dispersed camping only.

Rate: Free. 14 day limit (BLM).

Phone/radio/TV: No Verizon phone or aircard, but both work three miles down the hill in Lone Pine. Nothing to block satellite. Didn‘t bother with antenna. . Satellite radio only. The NOAA weather radio doesn’t even work!

Elevation/Landscape/Terrain: Elevation is just under 4,600’. View is of blooming wildflowers, the Alabama Hills and beyond to Mt. Whitney and the eastern Sierra, still snowcapped, to the west; dry Owens Lake to the east, with the towering Inyo Mountains beyond.

Lighting/Noise: No night lighting whatsoever. So dark it was scary. No moon, so tons of stars; it would be fun to camp here with a full moon, too. Noise during the day from passing traffic on Movie Road (paved where we are)… and the wind, birds, and insects.

Favorite Sites: Dispersed camping available along dirt roads throughout the Alabama Hills. Because of our size and weight, we selected a reasonably level site just off the paved portion of Movie Road. I took the top photo looking to the southwest; the bottom photo was shot looking northeast.

Hiking/Walking: Step outside and head off on the dirt tracks and trails of the Alabama Hills, or drive in any direction to more challenging hikes. From where we are parked, strike out on the first dirt road to the left (across from the Alabama Hills sign) and head towards Mt. Whitney. At the top of the hill, turn right and loop back around to Movie Road. This loop is about 5,000 steps.

Comments: Perfection. We are snuggled into the rock formations of the Alabama Hills, facing Mt. Whitney and the backbone of the eastern Sierra. Lone Pine is a few miles away, with groceries, restaurants, and the new Movie History museum. The Interagency Visitor Center is 5 or 6 miles away, with information on all the sights to see in the area. Mining ruins and ghost towns around Owens Lake. Manzanar Internment Camp is just up the road on Hwy. 395.

Friday, May 2, 2008


Our Opinion: Recommend. If you are an Elk and in the Ridgecrest area for some reason, this is an excellent stop at a great price for a 50 amp FHU site.

Date of Stay: May 2, 2008

Weather During Stay: Partly cloudy. High 82 degrees, calm winds. Low forecast to be in the 50‘s.

Sites:14 FHU sites. Site 1-4 and 6 are 30 amp only. Sites 5 and 7 are 50 amp only. Sites 8-14 are 15/30/50 amps. Water and sewer at all sites. Sites are graveled, typical width, level pull-throughs (though backing in was easier for us). Sites 1-7 face west (bottom photo); sites 8-14 face north. Space available for drycamping. We were in site 10 (top photo). Only two other rigs are here tonight.

Rate: $10 FHU, $7 drycamping.

Phone/radio/TV: Strong Verizon phones signal; aircard on Broadband, 4-5 bars. No obstructions to block TV satellite. Probably several TV stations on antenna, but we didn’t bother. Local NPR on 88.1.

Elevation/Landscape/Terrain: Flat, level parking area at 2,280’ elevation. Views of local residential neighborhood and lodge.

Lighting/Noise: Very low lighting. Typical residential noise (kids and dogs playing). Very quiet at night.

Favorite Sites: All sites are essentially the same, except a few have young trees. Face north when it is warm, west when it is cold.

Hiking/Walking: Sidewalks. Northing interesting.

Comments: Convenient. A much-better-than-average Elks RV parking area in a small city in an arid environment. Good stop to stock up on supplies for a trip north on Hwy 395.

Thursday, May 1, 2008


Our Opinion: Neutral. If you are an Elk and need a place to overnight, it is a convenient stop at a reasonable price for a 50 amp FHU site

Date of Stay: May 1, 2008

Weather During Stay: Blue skies, very windy (25-35 mph with a Wind Advisory), sunny, upper 70‘s. Low forecast to be in the 50‘s.

Sites: 9 FHU sites with 15/30/50 amps. Sites are long, reasonable width, reasonably level and graveled. All pull-throughs; no need to unhook towed vehicle. Sites face NW. Plenty of space available for drycamping.

Rate: $15 plus tax for FHU: $16.50. Drycamping is $8 plus tax

Phone/radio/TV: Strong Verizon phones signal; aircard on Broadband, 5 bars. No obstructions to block TV satellite. Several TV stations on antenna, including a PBS station. Local NPR on 89.5.

Elevation/Landscape/Terrain: This is a gently sloping RV parking area on a bluff overlooking I-40 and Needles. Views of distant homes, businesses and arid mountains. Elevation is 560’

Lighting/Noise: Low lighting, no problem at all; muted noise from I-40 at night.

Favorite Sites: All sites are essentially the same, except Site 1, which seems almost an afterthought.

Hiking/Walking: Sidewalks fronting rather new neighborhoods.

Comments: Convenient. A typical Elks RV parking area in an arid environment. Friendly people in lodge. Works for us!