Skip to Content

The 3 Best Camping Areas Around Whiskeytown, California

Whiskeytown, California, is the perfect place to swim, kayak, fish, and relax. This also makes this unique place great for camping. 

best camping whiskeytown 1

What are the best places to go camping in Whiskeytown?

There are several great camping sites ideal for pitching a tent in Whiskeytown, any of which are located within the Whiskeytown Recreation Area. They include:

  • Brandy Creek Primitive Campground
  • Dry Creek Group Campground,
  • Oak Bottom Campground

No matter which campground you choose, you’ll have guaranteed scenic views of Whiskeytown Lake and the beautiful Mount Shasta looming in the distance. I have loved camping around this area for years, and I’m happy to share my outdoors experiences around this one of a kind area. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why camping at Whiskeytown is such an amazing experience. 

The Best Camping Areas Around Whiskeytown

Camping in the great outdoors is an incredible experience. 

But, if you’re looking for something a bit closer to home, then Whiskeytown National Recreation Area in Northern California may be just what you’re looking for. 

With its pristine lakes, diverse wildlife, and stunning views of Shasta Vally, Whiskeytown has a lot to offer campers of all levels while not being too far from major points of humidity like Redding and Shasta Lake. 

Brandy Creek Primitive Campground

best camping whiskeytown 1 1

Open: April to October

Facilities: Campsites come with a picnic table, a bear-resistant storage locker, and a fire pit. 

In addition, each site has its own vault toilet. Drinking water and electricity are not available.

Brandy Creek Primitive Campground is situated on the lake’s edge with picturesque mountain views. As part of the Whiskeytown National Recreational Area, it is well-kept with excellent amenities. 

Here, you will be surrounded by natural beauty and outdoor adventures galore. From swimming to fishing and boating to horseback riding, there’s so much to explore here.

The thickly forested backcountry and excellent trail system offer great hiking and mountain biking opportunities.  

It has access to its own beach area, perfect for relaxing under the sun or taking a dip in the lake!  

Notably, the Brandy Creek Trail goes through this campground, leading to some beautiful waterfalls. 

Oak Bottom Campground

Open: Year-Round

Facilities: Each tent campsite has a table, fire grate, and bear-proof storage locker. There is one shared restroom on site. RV sites do not have hookups, tables, or fire grates. 

The Oak Bottom Tent and RV Campgrounds sit along Whiskeytown Lake’s shoreline and offer breathtaking views from every site. 

It also provides access to miles of trails for hiking and mountain biking and plenty of opportunities for fishing, swimming, kayaking, and canoeing.

The tent sites have minimal amenities, and the RV sites are on dirt rather than asphalt. All of this to say, you’ll be fully off the grid. 

best camping whiskeytown 2

Dry Creek Group Campground

Open: June to October

Facilities: There are two designated group sites. Each one contains several large tables, barbecue grills, a fire pit, vault toilets, and bear-proof storage lockers. There is also drinking water available. 

Located near the San Gorgonio Wilderness area, the Dry Creek Group Campground offers stunning views and plenty of activities to keep you entertained. 

With its lush landscapes and crystal-clear streams, it’s easy to see why this is a popular spot among outdoor lovers.

As the name states, this campground is great for large group trips. If you’re feeling adventurous, plenty of trails nearby offer breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. And if fishing is more your speed, there are two ponds on-site stocked with rainbow trout, perfect for catching dinner.

This spot is also great for water activities. Boats may be launched at Brandy Creek Marina and moored alongside your site at Dry Creek.

About Whiskeytown

Location

Whiskeytown is an unincorporated community located in Shasta County. Named after the gold miners who settled in the area in search of fortune during the California Gold Rush, Whiskeytown has a rich history and beautiful natural surroundings.

Whiskeytown is centered around Whiskeytown Lake, which lies about 8 to 20 miles west of Redding, California, depending on which part of the lake you stay on. 

Weather

The National Park Service, has summarized the weather patterns in the Whiskeytown National Recreation area as “an adventure.” Summers are dependably hot in this Mediterranean Zone climate, with winters being typically cool and wet. 

The Best Time Of Year To Camp In Whiskeytown

Campgrounds within the Whiskeytown National Recreation Area is open from April to October each year. 

Oak Bottom Campground is operated outside of the system and is open year round, but be aware that you’ll need to pack for the weather over winter months. 

History

best camping whiskeytown 3

Whiskeytown was originally established as a mining camp during the 1840s when gold was discovered nearby. 

By 1847, it had grown into one of the largest settlements in Northern California, with an estimated population of 500 people—many of them immigrants from China and other parts of Asia. 

The settlement quickly earned its nickname “Whiskeytown” due to its penchant for hard drinking and brawling. 

Today, Whiskeytown is known for its unique culture and natural attractions. The town is home to numerous historical sites, including old mining camps, abandoned homesteads, and even an old stagecoach stop. 

In addition to these historical sites, the area is extremely popular with outdoor enthusiasts. Activities include camping, fishing, boating, hiking, and swimming.

Topography

In addition to its vibrant history and culture, Whiskeytown is surrounded by some truly stunning natural beauty! On one side lies the imposing Mount Shasta, a 14,000-foot peak that towers over everything else in sight.

On another side lies Lake Shasta, a vast reservoir with hundreds of miles of shoreline perfect for any outdoor enthusiast.

Both areas provide ample opportunities for exploration and adventure, with plenty of trails winding through breathtaking mountain passes or along serene lake shores.

*It is important to note that the Whiskeytown area and associated campgrounds are prone to wildfires and flooding. At publication, parts of the recreation area are closed due to the Carr Wildfire. Check the National Park Service for current updates. 

Key Takeaways

  • Whiskeytown is the perfect Califonia lakeside camping experience.
  • The Whiskeytown National Recreation Area is home to three of the best campgrounds.
  • It is possible to camp year-round in this location. 
  • There are plenty of activities here, including fishing, hiking, biking, and kayaking.