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“Amazing Campground~Great for Everyone!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Dorst Campground

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Dorst Campground
Seven-and-a-half miles northwest of Lodgepole Visitor Center, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park, CA   |  
Hotel amenities
Long Beach, California
Senior Contributor
39 reviews 39 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
“Amazing Campground~Great for Everyone!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 19, 2011

Dorst Campground is really in the middle of the forest. My family and I stayed 4 nites, drove in from the coast on Sunday nite and left early Thurs. morning. We were in a 26 ft. R.V. and stayed in campsite 15. Since this campsite is on the outskirts of the campground we had no problems with noise from other campers. This site involved backing in to the site with our RV, but definitely big and long enough for a bigger RV if needed. Dorst Creek was right in the back of our campsite, so it was really relaxing hearing the water. Plenty of room on the western side of the campsite to play frisbee or even set up a badminton net if you are into that. Would also be great for horseshoe's too! The downside of this campsite is that it has a direct western sun evening exposure, so if you don't have an awning or canopy it can make your RV or trailer a little hot.
All in all this is a beautiful campground. We did see a bear down by the stream right behind our campsite. We found out later that the bear's name is Sandy. So if you see a blondish brown bear with a very large ear tag, thats Sandy. We were told that Sandy really likes to raid your campground when you are not around, So please use the bear boxes if you are tenting, or in a tent trailer. Otherwise, if you are in an RV like we were, just make sure when you leave your RV at your site, you close all windows, and vents, put up the front privacy curtains and close all shades. What a bear can't see, they won't go after, but if they can see anything up in the drivers area that looks like food (leftover trash from McD's for instance) they will break your windows and then you will have a bear in your trailer~Not fun at all~
One last thing, if you are up to a beautiful hike, at the backside of this campground is the Muir Trail that goes to a lovely grouping of Giant Sequoia's. It's 2 miles in and 2 miles back over the same trail, thats 4 miles in total. About 1/2 way is a great rock overlook, that really gives you an ontop view. Quite a nice place to eat your lunch. This trail is marked Moderate in all the review books, but because of the high altitude and if you are not in good shape, I would take it slow. Make sure that you look for bear and deer while you are walking. We saw two male mule deer with full antler! Have a good time! Look for my review here in TripAdvisor under Sequoia National Park~I give a complete description on the Shuttle System that I think would be quite helpful to everyone!

Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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35 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (2)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
1 review
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 24, 2011

Dorst creek campground might be the best campground in the giant forest. We were there for 5 days and only saw one bear the entire week. We were worried because of prior reviews, but the rangers told us they had problems with bears last year. Nothing this year.

  • Stayed July 2011
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
Senior Contributor
39 reviews 39 reviews
31 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 19, 2011

Reserved for a quick one nighter over July 4 weekend .Snagged the last night using reserve.america online reservatoin system about two weeks beforehand.

The campground is very open and spread and large. Noise travels and sadly, so too do people's TVs, radios, and the like making my camping less than peaceful at times. Our campsite was literally on top of the one beside us. Plus we had little to no shade at all. Not a huge deal cause we were mostly out of the site playing, but I noticed this was true for many of the sites in the area.

Expect a decent campsite - very family friendly and oriented so noise is a problem as is poor bear safety practices with food, etc. The rangers themselves were MIA outside of check-in. Bears came in and caused a ruckus. Did not effect me too much, but was never comfy knowing I slept across from the dumpster and with poor bear safety by many in the campsite this will never die down...

All in all the best part of staying here reinforced to my wife why backpacking is always better than car camping! So Dorst had that win!

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Montreal, Canada
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 16, 2010

We stayed there only one night because there was no more place at the Lodgepole campground. We didn't have any bear that night, but when we registered, the girl told us there were lots of bears at this campground (and I didn't see anyone else working there...). We've liked to have a large tent site so that our tent was not near the bear locker. This campground is a bit far from the main attractions and there is no shower... so we had to go to the Lodgepole to have a shower. It's good for people without car because a bus goes from the Lodgepole to Dorst campground every 30 minutes.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calgary
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 10, 2010

Great location for the campground - not too far from the free Sequoia parks shuttle service and Kings Canyon. Cooler temperatures at Dorst campground than some of the other campgrounds (i.e. Potwisha campground) where it can get up to 100F.
Despite lectures from rangers, novice campers leave food out in the open – and hence bear raids happen every night. Campers band together to scare the bears away – each time this occurred (every night for our 4 night stay there) there were no rangers in sight. The bears are after the food not the humans, as long as you keep your campsite clean you should not have a problem. But still quite scary, especially our last night when there was a bear raid every hour on the hour from midnight till 4am.

Stayed August 2010, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
somewhere
1 review
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 26, 2010

To be fair, Dorst Creek Campground is very beautiful. There are campsites that back into lovely meadows full of wildflowers in July and creeks that hiss all night long. There are woods and stands of trees and creeks to wade in, and rocks to climb for the kids or their parents. The housekeeping is good enough but nothing to write home about, and the rangers are friendly, although not spectacular.

Dorst is situated between Lodgepole, in Sequoia NP, and Grant Grove, in Kings Canyon NP and is fairly accessible to both. SNP has a convenient shuttle bus that takes you to Lodgepole and the major attractions, so if that is all you're interested in, you can save a lot of gas.

Dorst has some particularly awful campsites. As we drove in on Sunday afternoon, we saw tents cheek-by-jowl. It looked like a tent condominium complex in places. Some have little parking lots below the sites, and you have to haul your gear up a hill. There is one site in H Loop (203, I think) that has no shade, no level ground, is the path people take to the restroom, and the firepit was literally 10 feet from the dumpster. Check the map carefully. There are some nice ones, too. We had 205, which was incredible.

Now, about the bears. When we registered, the ranger told us they had had 13 cars broken into in 2 weeks, and there were also mountain lions known to be in the area. She said she "wouldn't go to the bathroom alone at night," which is fine if you have the bladder of a 22-year-old. We had to lock up EVERYTHING, including the stove, our backpacks that smelled of the food we'd carried all day, my purse (gum), the cooler, the dishpan, and anything else that might have come in contact with food or had a strong odor. I had to carry the dishwater uphill to the restroom to dump it in the toilet. I had to plan day trips around meal times, or what we could carry, because we couldn't leave the cooler in the car while we traipsed around. It was a pain in the neck.

We saw bears in and around the campground every day. There were horns honking and people shouting, air horns, and even shotgun blasts at some point every night for a week. And the noise had to go on for a long time before the bears were discouraged enough to go away. Note that I didn't say "frightened." In my personal bear encounter, a bear broke into the bear box on the campsite next to ours, and my neighbor and I shouted, honked horns, screamed, and blew a whistle while the bear stood there, deciding how to get past these pesky humans to get at all that food it had freed from the box. These bears are over-populated, totally accustomed to humans, and not easy to scare off.

When this wasn't going on, the campground was peaceful. Lots of families with kids.

I have camped alone in the past, but would never do it here. SNP doesn't have enough to offer for a second trip, or even a full week of camping, except its wilderness trails. I would never backpack here, except for maybe with a large group.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Jose, California
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2010

As you may notice, the happy reviews of 2003 give way to frightened reviews by those who recently camped and Dorst. We are seasoned bear campers...I'm 46 years old with two kids age 9 and 11. NEVER have I encountered so many bears at Sequioa as this year. In a five night stay between the campgrounds and hiking we saw 10 bears total! On the first night, one went right down the road between our campsites (we vacationed with another family) and was small and wandered off as soon as we made noise. But the second night a 7 foot black bear, untagged (called "wild" by the park volunteer at Lodgepole whom we gave the description to) broke into our minivan by pulling off the back window that had been left adjar. I had mistakenly overlooked three packs of gum I had left in my kleenex box and he had smelled it and was trying to get to it when my friend camping across the way scared it off by yelling and running towards it. Before that I had activated my car alarm and had blown a bull horn three times to no avail. Only human voices and presence was able to scare it off.

While I admit my mistake, I also have noticed that campers at Dorst are on their own. No rangers or bear techs patrol any more at night due to budget cuts. Only on the weekends do they sometimes come by. NIght after night car alarms go off all over the campgrounds and you sit wondering when your turn is coming. Even if you don't have a few sticks of gum hidden/forgotten in your car they come into the campsite anyways to see what they can find. It's out of control and the park has no plans to deal with it.

One night a family of very small children was visited by a bear and they screamed at it for several minutes before it would leave. This was the night after our break in and this family was just down a small hill from us. I put the kids in the van and went to the pay phone to call 911 feeling unsafe. The payphone was DEAD! So we drove to Lodgepole and called 911. Nothing happened...by 9 am the next morning a sweet 20something volunteer, who helped the elusive bear techs, of which there are only TWO left, came by to see what had happened the night before. She explained the budget cuts and said "we really don't know why Dorst has such a bear problem or why the Dorst bears are so aggresive and unafraid of humans". Her only explaination was that Dorst was only open two months out of the year as it is an overflow/afterthought to Lodgepole. So the bears aren't used to sharing with humans. So, picture yourself camping in the back country with your small children and that's the mixture you get at Dorst...that is also the protection you get from the Park Service....so if you are comfortable with that...go ahead and have a good time!!! Just check your car two and three times over before your head hits that pillow!!!!

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Dorst Campground

Also Known As:
Dorst Campground Hotel Sequoia And Kings Canyon National Park
Dorst Campground Hotel
Address: Seven-and-a-half miles northwest of Lodgepole Visitor Center, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park, CA
Location: United States > California > Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
Hotel Style:
Ranked #7 of 18 Specialty lodging in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Dorst Campground has 204 campsites. ... more   less 

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