Duck, Duck, Goose!
Camp at Goose Lake in the Lakes Basin, Sierra Nevada
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.
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.
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