Mountain Home Demonstration State Forest will open for camping on Thursday, June 18, 2020. To help stop the spread of COVID-19, there are some changes that will be implemented at our campgrounds and day-use areas.
The State of California recognizes the importance of outdoor activities and exercise during this challenging time of COVID-19. As such, CAL FIRE Demonstration State Forest staff are working with local officials on a regionally-driven approach to increase access to camping and recreating.
While stay-at-home orders may be modified, it does not mean things are going back to normal. It is critical that Californians continue to stay close to home, practice physical distancing, and avoid congregating with others outside their immediate household to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, CAL FIRE is asking that visitors and campers at Demonstration State Forests adhere to the following guidelines to keep you and our staff safe:
- Stay Clean:
- Bring and use your own soap, disinfectant supplies, hand sanitizer, paper towels, and toilet paper.
- Bring plastic table cloths for picnic tables that can be disposed of or taken back home for washing.
- Pack out what you pack in:
- Pack out all trash wherever possible to minimize the amount of trash staff must dispose of at the campsite, trailhead, or other facilities.
- Practice Physical Distancing:
- Maintain a physical distance of 6 feet or more
- Do not gather in groups larger than currently recommended by the local county.
- Camp Safely
- Leave it at Home –Just bring what you need while camping.
- Only one household should occupy a campsite.
- Only TWO passenger vehicles will be allowed per campsite.
- No more than SIX people may occupy a campsite.
- Outside visitors are prohibited at campsites.
- Group campsites remain closed.
- Stay Informed:
- Visit CA GOV for the latest information on COVID-19.
- Check the local city and county reopening guidelines for additional regulations and safety procedures.
- When arriving at a Demonstration State Forest for camping or other recreation activities, be sure to follow any posted signs or verbal direction from CAL FIRE staff.
We expect that our facilities and campgrounds will be unusually busy this summer, especially on weekends, so plan your trip accordingly. We also expect that increased cleaning and sanitation measures will put an additional strain on our limited staff. Therefore, Hidden Falls, Moses Gulch and Methuselah Campgrounds will remain closed.
As always, our campgrounds are available on a first-come-first-served basis and sites may not be available when you arrive. Reservations at our campgrounds are strictly prohibited. Please practice physical distancing and follow the COVID19 guidelines posted around the Forest and verbal direction by CAL FIRE staff. With your cooperation, we can ensure that the campgrounds remain open during this challenging time.
Tulare County COVID-19 Information: https://covid19.tularecounty.ca.gov/#covidcontent
Area: 4,807 acres
Elevation: 4800 - 7600 ft.
Precipitation: 42 inches per year
Temperature: Max: 78 - 45 F - Min: 45 - 20 F
Mountain Home Demonstration State Forest (MHDSF) is located in Tulare County in the Southern Sierra Nevada range, 22 miles east of Porterville, California. Mountain Home has several of the largest and oldest giant sequoia trees in the world with some reaching 240 feet tall and 27 feet in diameter. Many of these specimens are more than 2,000 years old. In 1946, the State of California acted in an effort to conserve the huge redwoods on the Mountain Home tract that John Muir called "the finest in the Sierra," and purchased the land from a logging company. The result has been the preservation of more than 5,000 old-growth giant sequoias through active management of the mixed conifer forest that surrounds them. The giant sequoia flourishes among ponderosa pine and sugar pine, white fir and incense-cedar.
The local Native Americans used this area in the summer to camp, hunt and gather food. An interpretive exhibit at Sunset Point leads visitors through an archaeological site with evidence of occupation dating back 8,000 years. The California Department of Fish and Game stocks three ponds in the area with trout for public fishing. Two of the ponds are located at Balch Park (owned and operated by Tulare County) while the other, Hedrick Pond, is part of Mountain Home. The Wishon Fork of the Tule River is also popular with anglers. Backcountry lakes can be reached by foot or by horse. Overnight camping in the Golden Trout Wilderness requires a wilderness permit that can be acquired at the USFS Tule Ranger District office in Springville. Guide service and rental horses are available at the pack station located near the Shake Camp Campground. Informational brochures with maps of one to two mile interpretive hikes and a motor tour are available at the forest headquarters. Off-highway vehicle use is limited and not recommended. The forest is closed during the winter.
Campsites are open from May through October, depending upon snow conditions. There are 5 public campgrounds with campfire rings, tables and bear-proof food lockers provided. Campgrounds have potable water and pit toilets. Camping at MHDSF requires a camping permit and payment of a fee. Permits and payment information are available at the entrance to each campground. Pets are welcome but must be controlled by the owner at all times. Horses and pack animals are not allowed in campgrounds but may be kept in the public corrals near Shake Camp. Hunting is permitted under applicable State game laws and regulations.
Camping at Mountain Home
Mountain Home Demonstration State Forest operates 5 campgrounds with 96 individual campsites and 1 group campsites. All campsites except the group campsite are available on a first-come first-served basis. Reservations for the group campsite can be made by calling the forest at (559) 539-2855. Please see the Mountain Home Base Map for the location of each campground.
Hedrick Pond Campground
Hedrick Pond Campground has 14 campsites and one additional site (with RV water hookup) for a camp host. The campground is situated around Hedrick Pond, which is stocked by the Department of Fish and Wildlife with trout in the summer. The pond is a popular attraction for anglers often resulting in the campground being full nearly every weekend; as well as, a high number of day-users fishing the pond. Few of the campsites are suitable for trailers or RVs.
Frasier Mill Campground
Frasier Mill Campground has 49 campsites and one additional site (with RV water hookup) for a camp host. The campsites are organized into five loops, each with vault toilets and water spigots. One of the campsites is ADA compliant and is available by reservation only. The campground is situated among several small creeks and is well shaded by a grove of large second-growth giant sequoia. Although this is the largest of the five campgrounds, it is not uncommon for it to be full on the weekends in the summer months. Some of the campsites are well suited for RVs and trailers.
Shake Camp Campground
Shake Camp Campground has 15 campsites and one additional site (with RV water hookup) for a camp host. Four of the campsites are located adjacent to public corrals near the main campground and are intended to be used exclusively for equestrian campers. There are three vault toilets in the main campground and two additional vault toilets near the corrals. The campground is immediately adjacent to a major trailhead into the Golden Trout Wilderness, and surrounded by trails on the State Forest. This campground is quite popular with hikers in the summer and hunters in the fall. Few of the campsites are suitable for RVs and trailers.
Hidden Falls Campground – CLOSED FOR 2020 CAMP SEASON
Hidden Falls Campground has eight campsites. Currently, there is no campsite specifically for a camp host. There are two vault toilets and two potable water spigots. Each campsite is hike-in only; no trailers or RVs are allowed. A parking area is available and will accommodate 8 to 16 vehicles. The campground is situated on the banks of the Wishon Fork of the Tule River and provides more of a wilderness-style camping experience. This campground area is very popular with day-users as it provides excellent river access and water play opportunities.
Moses Gulch Campground – CLOSED FOR 2020 CAMP SEASON
Moses Gulch Campground has 10 campsites and one additional site (with RV water hookup) for a camp host. Due to the narrow and winding road to reach the campground, RVs and trailers are prohibited (an exception is made for a camp host). The campground is organized into two loops of five campsites each. Each loop has two vault toilets and at least two potable water spigots. The campground is situated near the Wishon Fork of the Tule River, and several of the campsites in the upper loop have excellent river access. This campground area is becoming increasingly popular for day-users as it provides close access to the Tule River.
Methuselah Group Campground – CLOSED FOR 2020 CAMP SEASON
Methuselah Group Campground can accommodate up to 100 campers (or more with a special use permit). There is no electricity or water at this campground, although plans to provide running water are ongoing (see below). The campground has two vault toilets, three fire rings, an amphitheater, and a barbecue pit. A large parking area can accommodate 50 or more vehicles. The group camp is situated adjacent to a meadow with many hiking trails in and around the camp. The campground is available by reservation only.
For More Information
California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection
Mountain Home Demonstration State Forest
P.O. Box 517
Springville, CA 93265