Camping and Sightseeing Carrizo Plains National Monument in the Springtime, SWEET & PEACEFUL!

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Antique Water Wagon
Click on Campground Water Wagon Thumbnail for a larger picture of this antique water wagon and sign on the main Soda Lake Road that marks the entrance to the KCL HDQ Campground.
Campground Entrance

My Shady Campsite
Click on Campground Campsite Thumbnail for a larger picture of this nice campsite at the KCL free campground.
KCL Primitive Campground

My Campsite at Sunset
Click on Campground Campsite Sunset Thumbnail for a larger picture of this nice campsite at the KCL free campground with pretty desert sunset colors.
KCL Primitive Campground

Photograph of me, Donald George Smith greeting you from the Carrizo National Park Sign by the main entrance to the park; click this handsome camper photo to visit the larger picture.
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.

Carrizo Plain Aerial Photograph: Shows the expansive plain from the Soda Lake, the Santa Andreas Fault and bordering Temblor Mountains to the south end of Carrizo Plain National Park; click for a larger Carrizo Plain San Andreas Fault picture.

Click Map Icon for a Map of Campgrounds, Hiking Trails, and Picnic Spots near Hearst Castle San Simeon California; custom Google Map for central California  tourist visitor information. Find this trail on the CUSTOM MAP: Camp, Hike and Picnic Near Hearst Castle San Simeon California.

Official US Breau of Land Management seal: click for San Carrizo National Park information from official BLM website, visitor and State Park contact information, campsite reservations etc. Information about Campgrounds and sightseeing Carrizo National Park (805-475-2131) at the Official BLM Website

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Sara leads park tour
Click on Indian Painted Rock Thumbnail for a larger picture of this sacred Indian sight and a tourist group tour led by archiologist Sara.
Indian Painted Rock

Ancient Indian Painted
Click on Sacred Indian Rock Defaced Thumbnail for a larger picture of this antique 1885 grafitti.
Rock With 1885 Graffiti

Temblor Back Road Trip
Click on town of Taft in distance thumbnail for a larger picture of tiny town from the ridge of the Temblor mountains.
town of Taft from ridge

Wallace Creek dogleg
Click on San Andres Fault Thumbnail for a larger picture of this nice campground with running water.
the Santa Andreas Fault
Looking Down on KCL
Click on campground landscape thumbnail for a larger picture of shady campground called the KCL Campground.
Fee Free Campground

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Selby Campground
Click on Selby Campground Thumbnail for a larger picture of this nice campground with running water.
Running Water In Camp

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