Antique Water Wagon
My Shady Campsite
KCL Primitive Campground
My Campsite at Sunset
KCL Primitive Campground
Your Guide Don at the Carrizo Plain National Monument Entrance
The Carrizo Plain National Monument (805-475-2131) seems like an almost undiscovered rare camping and natural sightseeing jewel. One of the sunniest places in California I think this place is best enjoyed in springtime, the place is just too hot and inhospitable for five months out of the year from June through October. It is located quit a distance from Hearst Castle (106 driving mi southeast of the visitors center; about 70 driving miles from San Luis Obispo, CA) but I found it a nice alternative when spring break and nice weather caused it to get to crazy on the coast. When I visited in early April 2014 it was quiet and peaceful and the weather was comfortable for camping, sightseeing and such.
As far as camping goes the park has two primitive but very nice campgrounds one in the north, Selby Campground and the one I occupied KCL Campground about 12 miles further to the south. Both campgrounds are fee free, have pit restrooms, plus horse corrals and phenomenal views of the plains and the campsites come with pull in parking and all have top of the line picnic tables, and fire rings. Selby Campground has running water too but offers little shade or privacy except it is located a few miles off the main road. KLC Campground where I stayed has useful lantern stands and a couple of handicap friendly with approachable tables and raised tent spots. The main reason I picked the KCL Campground was because it had large trees that offered some shade then I also discovered that that the trees are rarity in the area and a magnet for the areas large bird population. The many birds offered round the clock spectacles and serenades and even in the middle of the night great horned owls which have nests in the trees were a hoot! The birds will wake you up before daybreak which is one of the best times to catch a view of the many rare and not so rare wild animals that inhabit the California “Serengeti”; like pronghorn antelope, tule elk, coyote and rattlesnake. But there is much more to do in this relatively new (2001) and large park (246,812 acres) than wildlife viewing and bird watching.
The Carrizo Plain is the largest single native grassland remaining in the Golden State; It's home to the highest concentration of endangered species in California. The wildlife viewing can be done from your camp, car, or the trails which there miles & miles of; there are also many miles of jeep roads that will aid in your exploration of this 50 mile long park.
The natural history museum at the Goodwin Education Center is worth a visit and my suggestion is to take the free four hour long tour which is offered on weekends which will give you a great introduction to the park, the Soda Lake and get you in to view the incredible ancient Indian painted rock, these petroglyphs are not to be missed.
Remember to gas up before you go this is a remote area, the nearest public phone is in California Valley and there is no cell service in the Carrizo Plain. It is a good distance to supplies and gas which is available in Taft, Maricopa and Santa Margarita.
Find this trail on the CUSTOM MAP: Camp, Hike and Picnic Near Hearst Castle San Simeon California.
Information about Campgrounds and sightseeing Carrizo National Park (805-475-2131) at the Official BLM Website
Carrizo Plain National Monument reviews at yelp
Carrizo Plain National Monument reviews at TripAdvisor.com
Sara leads park tour|
Indian Painted Rock
Ancient Indian Painted
Rock With 1885 Graffiti
Temblor Back Road Trip
town of Taft from ridge
Wallace Creek dogleg
the Santa Andreas Fault