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Mineral King Labor Day Weekend?

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Mineral King Labor Day Weekend?

Postby mattxbart » Sun Aug 26, 2012 4:33 pm

Hi, my fiance and I are looking to camp for 3 nights at either Atwell Mill or Cold Springs campgrounds in Mineral King. We are level 1 campers, looking to do some moderate to strenuous day hikes and enjoy the scenery. We have never been to this area before but are excited to just "go for it" and see what happens.

We do not have reservations, as they do not accept them at these locations. My plan is to drive up Friday morning from LA, arrival time to the park would be approximately 1PM-2PM. What are our options if the campgrounds are full? My guess is that we would have to drive back out of the park and pitch a tent off the road somewhere, then try to score a campsite the next morning.

I would appreciate any input or some strategies to make our adventure fun and safe.

Thanks!
Matt



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Re: Mineral King Labor Day Weekend?

Postby RooPhillip » Mon Aug 27, 2012 10:23 am

Hi mattxbart,

If you got there early Friday afternoon I'd be shocked if both campgrounds were already full. Cold Springs is smaller but WAY better than Atwell--I'd head up there first and take my chances on finding a site, knowing the larger Atwell CG back down the road is a pretty safe backup. Cold Springs also has some very nice "walk-in" camp sites that rarely fill up except when it's super-busy up there. If I were you I'd just enjoy the drive up that crazy road, and not worry too much about getting a campsite. :)

The MKRS phone # is 559-565-3768. If you try calling Friday while you're still in cell range they can probably give you an idea how busy the campgrounds are. They are usually very helpful.

Have fun! Lots of great hiking up there--send me a PM if you want more info.
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Re: Mineral King Labor Day Weekend?

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Aug 27, 2012 10:59 am

We'll be up there backpacking. It will be gorgeous.

Remember it's national park not national forest, so camping in pullouts along the road is not legal within park boundaries. I don't recall a lot of opportunities to do that, either.

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Re: Mineral King Labor Day Weekend?

Postby SSSdave » Mon Aug 27, 2012 11:27 am

mattxbart wrote:... if the campgrounds are full? My guess is that we would have to drive back out of the park and pitch a tent off the road somewhere...


Hope you get a camping spot and as noted you probably have a good chance to because not many people want to drive up that road, because otherwise...

Besides what AlmostThere noted within the park along roads, it is not a legal option on the Mineral King road because areas along the road west of the park boundary are not national forest as you may be thinking but rather are private lands with NO TRESPASSING signs. And the thick dry semi chaparral vegetation and terrain steepness are not going to allow someone to park and illegally meander off from the road.

http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=36.44832,-118.78289&z=15&t=T

Also notice how there is a rather long distance of very twisty roads from Atwell to the boundary. And it gets worse if one continues back to Three Rivers and SR198. Such communities that make a living off tourists staying in their pricy lodging sites long ago made it impossible for those on the cheap to circumvent their spider web. I'm pretty much an old expert at avoiding staying in commercial lodging and that area is one of the most difficult areas in the Sierra to deal with. The only cheap solution is to drive all the way past Giant Forest up SR180 to the Big Meadows dirt road where there are vast areas of dispersed camping. But that is far enough from Mineral King that considering the cost of gas, one might as well just try and find a motel.
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Re: Mineral King Labor Day Weekend?

Postby mattxbart » Mon Aug 27, 2012 2:59 pm

Thank you all for the helpful advice! I won't be worrying now as I navigate the road to Cold Springs... The whole point of my choosing Cold Springs was to get out of RV/Trailer range so this sounds great.

I'll be sure to call ahead while still in cell range to get the scoop and find alternative accommodations. Thank you RooPhillip for that phone number.

-Matt
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Re: Mineral King Labor Day Weekend?

Postby sparky » Mon Aug 27, 2012 4:52 pm

If its full try south fork. There are roads around there that are out of the park, but tgeres also lots of private land.
There is a million ways to be human, all are worthwhile.

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