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“Nightmare Camping Trip”
Review of Florence Lake

Florence Lake
Ranked #6,063 of 8,866 things to do in California
Attraction details
Bonsall, California
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Nightmare Camping Trip”
Reviewed August 23, 2012

Trapped by US Forestry Fire Trucks on a one lane road, I have never felt so frustrated as my efforts to leave the Florence Lake area on the Sierra National Forest in California two weeks ago. Already nervous from 3 incidents with Rattlesnakes and Bears on the first day of our camping trip, we then endured a lightning storm that was the scariest of my life. Watching as two forest fires started from the lightning strikes, we began packing up our campsite three days early as the fires got bigger. Realizing we might get trapped by the fires, we left Florence Lake only to encounter a 3 hour delay when some 50 fire trucks came in to fight the fire, using the one lane Kaiser Pass Road. I will never venture over the top of Kaiser Pass again, never!! Do yourself a favor and stay at Huntington Lake instead.

16 Thank hawk204
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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17 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Malibu, California
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Would you like some cheese with that?”
Reviewed August 12, 2012

City folk should stay home. If you don't know how to back up your own car, STAY HOME. Yes, the 90 minute drive from Huntington Lake on a one-lane pothole-riddled cliff-hanging road can be harrowing the first time. Supplies, weather, and pests can be unpredictable. Call ahead and roll with changes. This is not a one-day destination - have time for flexibility and relaxation. Why be uptight out here?

This is as remote as it gets for car camping. Burro Meadow (modified to satisfy profanity filter) is at the base of the dam along the river. The only burros we saw were camped nearby or driving the road. Just kidding. The store was open regularly 8-6 every day, and was well-stocked. No alcohol sales so BYO. The south fork of the San Joaquin was brisk and refreshing. We saw plenty of fish, but were unsuccessful (the kids). If you stay at Burro Meadow, hike to the end of the road to the dam outlet. We heard rumor of a rock/moss water slide up Hooper diversion, but didn't get a chance to check it out.

During our 3-night stay there were no bears, no rattlesnakes (I have plenty at home), and no mosquitos. On the other hand we had, two very loud helicopters flying over low every 5 minutes to dip in the lake for the nearby fire, a full day without water at the campground, no fish were biting (we saw plenty), the pack station never returned our phone calls and was non-committal about availability when we walked-in, and the lake level was down by 30' or more. Did we have a fabulous trip? You betcha.

On the way home, take the detour to mono hot springs. Skip the "bathhouse" at $20 a pop and walk through the campground, across the creek, and up the hill. You might have to wait your turn in one of the muck-lined concrete tubs, but your long drive home will be more pleasant.

Visited August 2012
22 Thank mtnmama457
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Horrible,Do not come here!!”
Reviewed February 11, 2012

The road and the rain and the snakes and the bears and no fish ruined the trip. The road sucked and the rattlesnakes thrive up there. The road is covered in potholes and it is one tiny lane. This is a place I will never visit again! If I had to come again I would only stay for 5 minutes. This place sucks!
P.S. No bathrooms and if you go in the forest a rattlesnake will bite you.

Visited July 2011
7 Thank Mark B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Modesto, California
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“The camp Host was great-the store and boat rental a joke!”
Reviewed August 9, 2011

We have camped here for 3 years. Two weeks before our trip we reserved our usual 2 boats for a day and confirmed the reservation the day before. We waited 2 hrs for a "just repaired" not tested- boat and one that wouldn't start. We were told "they did us a favor". We got our $140.00 back. The store is never open. Ruined a day of vacation.

Visited August 2011
1 Thank April M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, CA
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Remote and amazing”
Reviewed July 2, 2007

It's hard to reach and the 1 hour trip up a one lane mountain road is pretty hair raising, but if you are looking for a remote camping destination with amazing scenery, this is the best place we've found. We stayed at the Jackass Meadow (yes, they have real jackasses in the meadow) Campground for 4 nights. They have running water and latreens, and the sites are relatively large. Bring everything you need because there is one small store at the lake and it doesn't have much.

6 Thank nearbyrd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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