goose lake campground

Duck, Duck, Goose!

Camp at Goose Lake in the Lakes Basin, Sierra Nevada

Camp at Goose Lake in the Lakes Basin

{2024 NOTE: Goose Lake is currently closed due to snow, but is tentatively scheduled to open on June 14, 2024. Check ahead before going by calling the Blairsden Graeagle Ranger Station: (530) 836-2575. } Tip: Looking for a campsite tonight? Try Campsite Tonight! It’s an app that searches both public & private campground systems to let you know what’s available. 

Well, are you feeling lucky? Roll the dice and try to get a first-come, first-served campsite at one of the Lakes Basin’s lakeside campgrounds. And try to get Goose Lake. There are just 13 sites, and almost all of them are on the lake.

Some sites are located closer to the highway, but it’s a small price to pay ($20 a site, to be exact) and the traffic is usually tame at night. No motorized boats are allowed on the lake, so lounging is quite peaceful. There are three entranceways to Goose Lake Campground, and they come up quickly one after the next.

If you get a site, set up camp and some hammocks and chairs and relax or take a dip in the lake. We didn’t see a single goose at Goose Lake, but we saw several ducks. That's Plan A. But you'll need a plan B, C, D, and E. If Goose Lake Campground is full, try Snag Lake or Gold Lake or Lakes Basin Campground. There’s also Sardine Lake Campground. FYI, there’s no cell reception in this area (for that, you’ll have to hike to some peaks, and even then it’s spotty at best). Good luck!

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST: In the episode "Secret Sierra" Weekend Sherpa co-founders discuss camping at Goose Lake and their explorations of the Lakes Basin.

Camp at Goose Lake in the Lakes Basin

TIP: Checkout for campsites is noon, but people vacate many of the campsites by 10 a.m. Arrive early for best chances.

2024 NOTE: Goose Lake is currently closed due to snow, but is tentatively scheduled to open on June 14, 2024. Check ahead before going by calling the Blairsden Graeagle Ranger Station: (530) 836-2575.

Goose Lake camping is $20 per night. Pay at the information kiosk at the northern entrance. There is dispersed camping in the area, but no campfires are allowed and you need a permit for gas stoves. Also, be prepared for campfires in designated campgrounds not to be allowed during periods of high fire danger. Bring your own water, there is not water at this campground.

Trending Stories NorCal

View all Stories
  1. Golden Gate's Blue Heron

    Golden Gate Park’s Blue Heron Lake is home to birds of many feathers, turtles lounging on rocks, visitors from afar, and locals who love this urban oasis in San Francisco. Try the "Boats and Breakfast" rowboat or pedal boat deal.

    View
  2. Cañada Collage

    This 4.3-mile loop through Cañada Del Oro Open Space Preserve showcases all the highlights of the season, thrumming with wildlife and wildflowers.

    View
  3. Hike Mount Tamalpais into Muir Woods

    Muir Woods Through the Backdoor

    A backdoor entrance into Muir Woods? Hike a tranquil trail that starts in Mount Tamalpais State Park and quietly leads into Muir Woods, letting you avoid the busyness of the main parking area.

    View
  4. Hike Kortum Trail on the Sonoma Coast

    GOAT Coastal Hike + Sunset

    GOAT (greatest of all time) Sonoma Coast experience? Hike the Kortum Trail, wine taste on a patio overlooking the Russian River, and catch a sensational sunset at, yep, Goat Rock Beach.

    View

Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Camp at Goose Lake in the Lakes Basin

    Duck, Duck, Goose!

    Try to get a first-come, first-served campsite at one of the Lakes Basin’s lakeside campgrounds. We love Goose Lake Campground, where there are just 13 sites and no motorized boats.

    View
  2. Fancy Camp

    Wanna go rugged on the coast, minus the whole pitching your own tent and sleeping on the ground bit? Mendocino Grove is spot-on for upgrading your roughing-it experience, with beautifully appointed tent-cabins set across the bluffs overlooking Mendocino Bay.

    View
  3. A Splash of Whiskeytown

    Located just 8 miles west of Redding and surrounded by mountain peaks, Whiskeytown National Recreation Area is nearly 40,000 acres of all things outdoors: waterfalls, campgrounds, beaches, hiking trails, and a beautiful crystal-clear lake at the center of it all.

    View
  4. Bucks Up!

    Come on in, the water is beautiful. Whether you like swimming, kayaking, stand-up paddling, or heading out on a bigger boat, Bucks Lake is a high mountain haven that’s easy to access, blissfully uncrowded, and surrounded by sandy beaches, picnic areas, pines, and aspens.

    View