CP Campground Review – Baker Creek, Big Pine, CA
A pretty, but somewhat mixed-quality county park ~1 mile from Big Pine, CA on Hwy 395 in Eastern CA.
- Site Quality = 2/5
Very, very mixed site quality here. Up-front I would say this is a campground better suited for smaller rigs (30-foot or less), trucks or tenters, although there are a few nice sites for bigger rigs. The campground is an elongated shape, located on Baker Creek and has several semi-separated (fenced-in) areas which each contain between 5-15 sites. Mostly it’s a dirt-based campground intermixed with trees and water. All sites are basic cleared-out areas next to the creek (back-in or pull-in) with no hookups, but they vary significantly in size, levelness and separation. A select few sites are large and spacious enough to fit a 40-foot RV, whereas other sites are extremely unlevel, heavily tree’d and/or are barely big enough to fit a car. A few sites have decent separation, whereas others are directly next to each other with no separation at all. Most sites have fire-pit, grill and picnic table (but not all), plus interior roads are rather bumpy and trees are not trimmed or maintained (big rigs need to be careful). The positive side is that a FEW sites are really quite nice, plus they are all located next to the running creek and trees, so the surroundings are quite pretty. If you can nab one of the “prime” sites it’s nice, otherwise it’s quite a squeeze.
- Facilities = 2/5
Very basic facilities here, just pit toilets and nothing else. The pit toilets are kept nicely clean and there are several dispersed around the campground. Also on-site trash, but NO water or dump.
- Location = 5/5
Location is really the best thing about this campground. You are located right on Baker Creek, amongst trees with a view of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the background. Big Pine is only ~1 mile away, yet the campground feels incredibly quiet and relaxed. You are also very close to the drive to Big Pine Lakes for hiking in the mountains.
- Pet Friendliness = 5/5
Excellent location for doggie & paws. The campground is entirely dog-friendly and surrounded by LOTS of open land for hiking. There are rough trails to the south of Site #13 and a bridge over the creek by site #24 which leads to a large, open space (and small mountain) behind the campground.
Overall Rating =3.5
BONUS ALERT = Camp next to running water!
Summary: So, we chose this campground mostly for location and for that purpose it worked out. It’s only ~1 mile from Big Pine (a place we wanted to go hiking, and try the BBQ) and contains 40 or so camping spaces loosely spaced around Baker Creek. On the positive side the setting is really nice. Almost every site has water running next to it, with lots of trees around and views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the background. So far so good. The bad news is that site quality is VERY inconsistent. They are all dirt, no hookups and a mix of pull-in or back-in. A few sites are nicely large and spacious, but many are very uneven and/or only large enough to fit a car. Some have good separation, whereas others are right next to one another and have no privacy at all. Interior roads are also rather bumpy and trees are not maintained or trimmed. For this reason it’s a tough place for big rigs. We found ~4 sites that could comfortably fit us whereas the rest were better-suited for 30-foot or smaller campers (trailers, truckers or tenters). Also, my understanding is that this is a popular fishing campground so it’s highly utilized during the fishing season, plus the fact that it has lots of trees and shade would make it very popular in summer. Given that sites are very close together in some areas this would result in very tight quarters when it’s full. Since we came here in the off-season (there were only a few other campers in the entire campground) and we were able to nab one of the largest, nicest sites around (#13) we had a very pleasant stay. Our site was very private, our view was nice, we had the sound of running water in the background, we were next to a small lake and almost no-one else was around. However given the mixed site quality and layout, I am certain our experience would have been very different (if we could even get a site?) in high season. Also, given how many other camping options there are in the area this does not make my top list. Bottom line, we might stop here again in low season, but would avoid it in high season.
Extra Info: Decent/stable cell signal -> 2 bars of Verizon LTE and 2 bars of ATT. Camping sites cost $10/night (NO hookups). 40 sites all first-come-first-serve (no reservations). Separate walk-in tent camping area. Several on-site pit toilets but NO water, shower or dump.