Wakaluu Hep Yoo Campground Review

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wakaluu hep yoo campgroundLast weekend my family and loaded our camping van for a weekend scouting mission to check out Wakaluu Hep Yoo campground in the Stanislaus national forest.  It's located near Dorrington, California on CA highway 4 near Ebbets Pass.  It's a beautiful campground at 4960 foot elevation set in a conifer forest right on the river with 49 campsites. The area is officially called Sourgrass. It's prime fishing right on the North Fork of the Stanislaus river near Dorrington, California. You can make it to the campsite in less than 3 hours from the Bay Area.   Our main purpose was to make sure this it fit the bill for our up coming church family camping trip and to write a blog post about it for other campers.

We always take longer traveling time as we like to stop off at Ebbets Pass Sporting Goods in Arnold to get free fishing tips from Bill. We buy worms, flies, lures, hooks, license, and everything else that we don't feel like buying at Walmart. Bill's prices are as good or better than most big box stores plus you get all of his experience. He knows all the hot spots to fish and camp.  You can get all the gear that you forgot like combo rod and reels, propane fuel, camp stoves, sleeping bags, tents, inflatable rafts, etc.

Arnold has some great stores to get everything that you need for your trip. I stopped at the local IGA to get a bottle of wine for the weekend. My wife looked around at the local thrift store for bargains.

When we arrived at Wakaluu Hep Yoo campground, we were shocked that nobody was there. It was early Friday afternoon and the campground should've been at least half-full. After circling around the campground we discovered that the water was shut off and was not going to be fixed for several weeks. Charlie, the campground host explained that the campground was empty because there was no water.

Fortunately for us, we always bring our Big Berkey gravity fed water filtration unit as our primary water source. Additionally, we carry another 5 gallon Coleman water jug and carry two 2.5 gallon MSR water bags.

Even though there was a $10 discount to camp here, we decided to take our chances and disperse camp in the national forest for free.

Wakaluu Hep Yoo Campground Review (Wild River)

I wish I could write a more colorful review of this campsite. When the water is up and running, it's a 7 on a scale of 10 in terms of scenic beauty. When you add flushing toilets, showers, and garbage collection, you cannot beat it! At least half of the sites are near the river. There is plenty of shade for the typical hot summer days at this elevation. Most decent national forest campgrounds have inched up to $24 and that does not include showers. This place is supposed to be around $24 with showers.

You can hike up the nearby 4 wheel drive trail that borders the Stanislaus. A few of my friends spent 4 days last year back packing in the area and talked so much about the beauty of the area that I had to make a special myself to camp here.

Most of the day use area people come here to fish. The Stanislaus River is stocked with rainbow and brook trout. The water is icy cold as it comes from Spicer Reservoir that is fed from mountain lakes. We drove almost all the way to Ebetts pass and there was still a fair amount of snow. Hence, all the water that flows from the top is cold.

The river is cold and fast moving.  There are some decent swimming holes for swimming.  If you have children, be very careful and never let them venture far from shore as this is a class 5 river for rafting.  My wife said that she is concerned about young children and that parents should keep children away from the river.  I agree.

Mosquitoes were a problem just before sun set.  We saw standing water in some areas suggesting that there were recent rains.  By the time we were tucked away in our van sleeping, the bugs went by-by for the night as skeeters don't like cold weather!

Wakaluu Hep Yoo Campground Amenities

  • 49 campsites
  • Flush toilets
  • River access
  • Trout fishing
  • Hot showers
  • Lots of shade
  • Nearby groceries
  • Paved road
  • Fire pits
  • Picnic tables
  • River rafting(use caution  as this is a class 5 river)
  • Sun bathing

Sourgrass Day Use Area

We drove across the bridge and parked in the day use area right next to the river. We got out our fishing poles and almost immediately started fishing for dinner. The setting was so beautiful next to the rushing river with plenty of shade that I could not resist getting out my camping chair to relax for a few minutes with a fresh cup of coffee.

After drinking a cup of fresh brewed Guatemalan coffee, I rigged up my fly rod and headed to the river. This was my first attempt at fly fishing by myself. It was mostly for practice. After snagging my line and breaking the leader, I switched over to my spin casting rod with a hook and a salmon egg. I caught 2 trout and my wife caught one very large trout with her fast cast. Another fisherman gave us a decent sized trout so we could each eat one for dinner.

By the time 6 o'clock rolled around, we decided it was time to look for dispersed campground and settled onto the night. We drove less than 1 mile away and found a beautiful spot secluded in the woods.

My boys quickly gathered enough would to fuel our StoveTek wood-burning stove and dinner was ready within the hour. Nothing beats fresh cooked trout when you're camping. By 9 PM, we had the dishes put away and our sleeping area all set up in the van. By 9:30 PM, we were all fast asleep.

You can hike up the nearby 4 wheel drive trail that borders the Stanislaus. A few of my friends spent 4 days last year back packing in the area and talked so much about the beauty of the area that I had to make a special myself to camp here.

Most of the day use area people come here to fish. The Stanislaus River is stocked with rainbow and brook trout. The water is icy cold as it comes from Spicer Reservoir that is fed from mountain lakes. We drove almost all the way to Ebetts pass and there was still a fair amount of snow. Hence, all the water that flows from the top is cold.

The fishing was the best we have ever had as a family.  My youngest son, Zach caught 5 trout on Sunday morning.  All of us managed to catch enough fish for 3 full meals.

Wakaluu Hep Yoo Campground

This is definitely a campground that I will come back to for fishing and relaxation given the fact that I can get here in 3 hours.

1 COMMENT

  1. You are almost making me want to learn to fish. Please note the key word . I will encourage others to though……….
    Bookmarking this page for my upcoming RV trip:).

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