Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument
Guide

Introduction

The Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument is one of the most beautiful wildernesses to go RV camping on BLM land in California. The Berryessa Snow Mountain was only designated in 2015 as a national monument and is perfect for boondocking on BLM lands in a totally unspoiled landscape where there are endless outdoor recreational activities. As well as being a natural beauty spot, the entire area is rich in the history of the Native Americans, the gold rush era, and the logging industry. Set out to explore the three-hundred thousand acres of the monument, and you'll discover range after range of forested mountains, lakes nestling in deep valleys, rivers, creeks, and bubbling hot springs.
Pitch up in your RV in one of the recreational areas at any of the fifteen plus campgrounds and primitive sites, or find your own private dispersed campsite and you'll be ready to enjoy one of the best RV vacations of your life camping on BLM land. Set out to go hiking on the many trails running through the Cache Creek Wilderness, the Snow Mountain Wilderness, or the Indian Valley and as well as breathtaking scenery everywhere you turn, you'll come across historic homesteads and spot some magnificent wildlife. Kayakers looking for a whitewater thrill will find it on Cache Creek, but if you prefer flying to floating, there are several hang-gliding launch spots distributed throughout the monument.
Clear Lake, Lake Berryessa, and the Indian Valley Reservoir all offer superb boating, fishing, and water sport opportunities. Meanwhile, in the Mendocino National Forest that borders the monument to the north, there are enough incredible OHV trails to keep any off-roader happy. The Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument is one place in California where you can go camping on BLM land and truly forget the existence of civilization.

RV Rentals in Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument

Transportation

Driving

Anyone living in Sacramento, San Francisco, or Yuba City is truly blessed as the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument is just over two hour's drive from all three cities. From San Francisco, you can make the trip more scenic if you take the CA 12, which cuts between the Sugarloaf Ridge State Park and the Trionne-Annadel State Park, the former of which has a stunning waterfall well worth stopping to take a look at.
Most of the recreation areas and campgrounds are concentrated on the east side of the BLM lands. The I 5 runs right down the entire length of the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument on that side, and different areas of the monument are easily accessed via various county roads leading off from the I 5.
If you're aiming at RV camping on the BLM lands on the west side of the monument around Clear Lake or the Berryessa Lake in the south, you'll be spending quite a bit of the trip on minor roads though they are all well-maintained so you should have no problems getting to your chosen campsite. If you're making your way to the Indian Valley Recreation Area, you'll need to negotiate Walker Ridge Road, which is a graded gravel road that can be tricky in a big rig or after heavy rainfall.

Parking

Public Transportation

Campgrounds and parking in Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument

Campsites in Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument

First-come first-served

Indian Valley Recreation Area

The Indian Valley Recreation Area is located in the north-eastern region of the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument. The main campground there is the Blue Oaks Camp, which has six primitive campsites for RVs furnished with grills and picnic tables. There are no utility hook-ups or drinking water available on the campground, though a vault toilet has been installed.
If there are no pitches left at the campground, you can pitch anywhere within the recreational area so long as you stay on the designated tracks and maintain a three-hundred yard distance from any natural source of water like creeks or springs. The Blue Oak Campground can be reached along Walker Ridge Road off Highway 20. Walker Ridge Road is surfaced with graded gravel and can be difficult to negotiate in a large rig or when it's been raining.

Knoxville Recreation Area

Pitch up in your RV in the Knoxville Recreation Area, and you'll have a choice of a campsite in the semi-primitive Hunting Creek Campground or at one of several totally primitive sites with no amenities whatsoever. The Hunting Creek Campground is a remote campground surrounded by wooded hills and accessed via gravel surfaced tracks off Hunting Creek Road. There are five pitches for RVs, all without utility hook-ups. There is no drinking water on-site, so all campers need to take their own supply. Vault toilets have been provided at the entrance to the campground.
The primitive overspill campgrounds are little more than dirt pull-ins under trees that are not suitable for large rigs. Camping is not restricted to the campgrounds in the Knoxville RA, but campers should take care to stick to the previously used tracks and not drive over grounds that are not designated as roads.

Seasonal activities in Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument

In-Season

Cache Creek Lavender Festival

If you're RV camping on the BLM lands of the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument at the beginning of June, make a visit to the Cache Creek Lavender Festival. The festival is a two-day event held on a lavender farm and celebrates all things lavender. Pick lavender from the fields, taste food products flavored with lavender, get involved in lavender oriented workshops, and learn about the plant's therapeutic qualities while enjoying day-long live music. It's a fun, interesting, and very different family day out.

Boating & Water Sports

Clear Lake is sixty-eight square miles of natural lake, which lies just outside of the western perimeter of the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument. Pitch camp in your RV at the Cache Creek Wilderness, you'll be ideally located for accessing the ramps on the lower southern section of the lake and have an entire nineteen miles of open water to navigate in front of you.
For kayakers and rafters in search of adventure, Cache Creek runs out of Clear Lake and through Cache Creek Canyon, cutting through the heart of the monument, offering over twenty exciting miles of whitewater grade II and III thrills. Lake Berryessa is a reservoir that nestles at the southernmost border of the BLM property and is a top spot in Napa County for jet skiing, water skiing, and recreational boating.

Hiking

Whatever type of terrain you enjoy hiking over, you'll find it in the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument. In the north-west of these extensive BLM lands near the Wolf Creek Visitor Center, there are trailheads to several different hikes. In the Snow Mountain Wilderness, there are over forty miles of trails running through meadows, forests of fir, and along rocky ridges.
To see the wilderness in all its glory, head over to the Robert Louis Stevenson State Park and make the challenging five-mile hike up Mount St Helena. If it's a clear day, you'll be able to see right across the wilderness as far as Mount Shasta in the north of the state, which is a staggering two hundred miles away.

Off-Season

Hunting

There's first-class hunting for many types of both big and small game during the appropriate seasons in the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument. The Cache Creek Wildlife Area in the central section of the BLM managed property provides hunters with the opportunity to stalk bear, deer, wild pig, or turkey as well as many other species of bird.
All hunters should be aware of the hunting regulations for the state of California and take care that there are no other humans within range when shooting. Recreational shooting at fixed targets is also permitted in the monument so long as the adequate precautions and safety requirements are adhered to.

Wildlife spotting

The Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument is a prime place to spot wildlife in a habitat almost totally undisturbed by humanity. No matter what time of the year you go, take a good pair of binoculars, and you'll see several species of eagle soaring high on the thermals as they search for food. You could spot mountain lions stalking their prey on the rocky ridges and black bears plus many other smaller mammals foraging in the forested areas. Deer, elk, and coyotes are common sightings, as are otters in the monument waterways.

Off-Roading

The Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument is a paradise on earth for off-roading. If that's what you're going RV camping at these BLM lands for, you'll want to roll your rig into the Knoxville Recreation Area. There you'll be able to ride or drive over fifty-one miles of trails running through multiple different terrains in a total of twenty-four thousand acres.
More trails can be accessed from the Wolf Creek Visitor Center, and there is an extensive network of trails for off-roading in the Mendocino National Forest.