Pathloom Picks: Best Campsites of 2020
Our Staff picks some of our favorite campsites visited this year
Sawyer River Trail, White Mountain National Forest - Photo Credit: Bryan Donoghue
Happy Holidays from the Pathloom family! 2020 hasn’t been easy for anyone, but here’s to us all for making the most out of the toughest of situations! For us, and for many of you, our escape from this year’s sheer insanity involved getting out into the middle of nowhere, pitching a tent, and soaking up every last drop of nature we could possibly take in.
We’d like to share with you some of the Pathloom staff’s favorite sites we camped at in 2020. However, we thought we’d switch it up a bit from the traditional list and give you our favorite sites for each time of day. Do you love a good sunrise? Check out our “Morning” picks. Prefer to stay up late and see a night sky filled with stars? We’ve got you covered there too, scroll down to the “Night” section! Whatever makes the particularly perfect campsite for you, we’ve got you covered!
Please bear in mind that the majority of our staff was based on the US West Coast this year, and thanks to the pandemic we weren’t able to travel all that far. So our apologies if this list is a bit western-US-oriented! If you’ve got some recommendations (and pictures!) for your favorite campsites in other parts of the country, we’d love to hear about them! Send an email to email@example.com , or click here to check out our story submission guidelines!
Without further ado, here are Pathloom’s Picks for our favorite campsites of 2020!
Grand Teton National Park, WY - Photo Credit: Sierra Jones
Best for the Morning:
Silver Fork American River (backcountry site), Kyburz CA: “Riverside camping surrounded by tall pines and firs, waking up to the sound of the flowing river. Great for water activities and swimming!”
Finnon Lake Campground, Placerville CA: “The best morning I had camping this year was at Finnon Lake in Placerville. There’s nothing better than seeing a brilliant sunrise reflecting off the surface of the water as you jump in for a morning swim. Throw in a bald eagle swooping low across the lake, fishing for breakfast about a hundred feet away, just for good measure.“
Leigh Lake (backcountry site), Grand Teton National Park, WY: “The best views of the Teton Range, and we were able to witness the ’smoky’ lake effect with the morning evaporation. Also a great spot to jump into the lake for a morning dip!”
Cave Springs Campground: Sedona, AZ - Photo Credit: Bryan Donoghue
Best for Mid-day:
Memorial Park Campground, Big Sur, CA: “Great hiking access to Cone Peak and other smaller trails nearby. Tons of swimming holes to relax by during the day.”
Cave Springs Campground, Sedona AZ: “Plenty of tree cover to stop that Arizona sun from frying you to a crisp, plus the site is less than a mile walk from the West Fork trailhead - often considered to be one of the most beautiful trails in the country.”
Jenny Lake Campground, Grand Teton National Park, WY: “A great place to base yourself in the park. It’s a small, secluded campground in the forest, with easy access to lots of trails to explore around the lake.”
Bryce Canyon National Park, UT - Photo Credit: Bryan Donoghue
Best for the Evening:
Death Valley National Park (backcountry site), CA: “Spectacular sunsets over the wide valley, with 360 degree views of the surrounding mountains. The night sky made for an epic meteor shower viewing!”
Sunset Campground, Bryce Canyon National Park, UT: “The sunset splashing pastel shades across the hoodoos, goblins, and other unique rock structures that make up the Amphitheater was without a doubt the most alien thing I have ever seen on the planet.”
Chesler Park (backcountry site), Canyonlands National Park, UT: “Lots of slot canyons and trails to explore. The way the sunset reflects off of the desert rocks is unbelievable!
Gregory Creek, Shasta Lake, CA - Photo Credit: Bryan Donoghue
Best for the Night:
Panther Meadows Campground, McCloud CA: “The highest elevation campground on Mount Shasta. The views are amazing, and the night sky opens up like no other! Sitting by a campfire at 7,500 feet, roasting marshmallows, and just letting the night sky take you over.”
Gregory Creek (backcountry site), Shasta Lake CA: “Hours away from anything resembling a major city, the utter lack of light pollution and sparse tree cover lakeside gave us a 360 degree view of an impossibly bright starscape.”
Chesler Park (backcountry site), Canyonlands National Park UT: “Chesler again! Canyonlands is a Dark Sky park, so be sure to check out the stars at night!”
Happy holidays everyone! Stay safe and healthy so we can see you at one of these campsites sometime soon!
Check out these other articles by Pathloom which you may find helpful:
All Hands on Deck! Seeking Stories From The Trail
How to Recreate Safely During the Coronavirus Pandemic
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