Duck, Duck, Goose!

Camp at Goose Lake in the Lakes Basin, Sierra Nevada

Camp at Goose Lake in the Lakes Basin

Well, are you feeling lucky? Okay, not the best question to ask in 2020. But if you’re willing to roll the dice and try to get a first-come, first-served campsite at one of the Lakes Basin’s lakeside campgrounds, make a Plan A, and have a Plan B, C, and D. And try to get Goose Lake, where there are just 14 sites. 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. 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.

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. Hiker on the SCA trail in Marin Headlands with view of the Golden Gate Bridge

    Headlands Over Heels

    People come from all over the world to get a glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge. Get a dramatic and novel view of the bridge without all the people on this moderate 6-mile hike in the Marin Headlands.

    View
  2. Hiker at Healdsburg Ridge Open Space Preserve hiking amid lupine wildflowers

    Hidden Wilds of Healdsburg

    When you arrive at Healdsburg Ridge Open Space Preserve, you may wonder what could possibly be tucked behind a subdivision. But within minutes of hiking in this 155-acre preserve, the beauty reveals itself: majestic oak trees, wetland, spring wildflowers, and wowing views of the Mayacama Mountains and Russian River.

    View
  3. Hiker on a trail with beautiful green hills and wildflowers on the grasses at Carr Ranch in Contra Costa County

    Carr Ranch

    Can’t decide between an epic hike or a relaxing nature walk? The 8.3-mile Carr Ranch Trail loop in the East Bay’s Contra Costa County is the perfect hike for rugged adventurers with a soft side.

    View
  4. Two women at the entrance of the Lavender Labyrinth at Bees N Blooms in Santa Rosa

    Lavender Labyrinth

    Labyrinths are meditative meanders. Add fragrant organic lavender and you're at Bees N Blooms at the foot of Taylor Mountain near Santa Rosa, experiencing their “ancient pathway of peace” and more.

    View

Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Urban Hike to the Shakespeare Bridge in LA

    Shakespeare Bridge + Secret Garden

    Romeo, Romeo, we all know how this goes, but do you know how to go to the Shakespeare Bridge and secret gardens? We’ve got the online do-it-yourself hiking route for you.

    View
  2. Hiker overlooking Bear Gulch Reservoir at Pinnacles National Park near Monterey

    Pinnacles of Spring

    Why hike at Pinnacles National Park? Spring's a beautiful time of year here. And you might spy the magnificent California condor soaring while you gain soaring views from the High Peaks Trail.

    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. Hikers by the reservoir at Triunfo Creek Park near Thousand Oaks

    Triumphant in Triunfo

    Go on a hike with a peaceful reservoir, charming meadows, and beautiful spring blooms at Triunfo Creek Park near Thousand Oaks.

    View