We’ve been on a few camping trips to Sugarloaf Ridge State Park in Kenwood, CA. Sugarloaf is a California State Park. We have stayed at sites 28 and 48.
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We have stayed at a few different sites at Sugarloaf State Park.
Sugarloaf Campsite #28
Parking our 20 foot trailer in campsite 28 was no problem. The site wasn’t very level but it was more than long enough to accommodate the trailer and truck easily.
The campsite was massive! It was the largest space we’ve ever had at a California State Park. The initial site was large, but then there were basically three levels. From the top initial level of camp you could walk down to another plateau that was about half the size of the top level. Then, below the second level is a third and final level with a creek.
There was so much space to explore. And though we did have neighbors on one side of us they were pretty far away. Because of the direction our site was angled we didn’t see any other sites or any other campers. It felt like we had a private creek.
It is worth noting that this particular site was listed as a “premium” site. Not all of the sites are this large.
Now, the downside to this is that the trailer felt very far away. Where the trailer was parked was on a small hill so it started to feel like a hike every time we went back to the trailer. Plus, because of the position of the trailer we couldn’t put out our outdoor rug or set up a seating area too close to the trailer. Since there weren’t too many trees at the top level we wanted to use the awning but it was hard to get the shade to reach where it was level enough to put chairs.
The campground had absolutely no cell service. I didn’t have enough to send or receive even a text message the entire time. There was WiFi available at the Visitor Center but we didn’t try to connect to that on this trip. It was pretty far from our site so we would have had to walk up to the Visitor’s Center to use it.
Sugarloaf Campsite #48
Parking our 20 foot trailer at site 48 was trickier than we had expected. Due to the angle of the site compared to the curve of the road and the location of the boulders in the site across from us, it was a little difficult to park the trailer. After seeing the site we went around the loop again and lined it up better then got it parked.
The site had a decent amount of space (though nothing like site 28). And there was access to the creek below. One side of the site has a natural barrier from water runoff going to the creek. The other side of the site is pretty close to site 49. We had actually reserved both 48 and 49 but the group that was going to camp in 49 couldn’t make it. Having both of those sites together was nice and made it feel much more private than it would otherwise.
The downsides are that the site feels very busy. It’s right near the entrance so there are cars entering and exiting frequently.
Another interesting upside about site 48 is it’s close to the Visitor Center. There is a creek and a parking lot in between the site and visitor center so it doesn’t feel too close, but the plus side is that the site is close enough to use the free WiFi. We were able to connect to WiFi with no problem while sitting in the trailer at the site. That was unexpected but was a nice surprise.
The campground also has the Robert Ferguson Observatory. This is a fun experience for the kids to get to learn and observe stars. We also found that the campground in general is also a great spot to view the stars. The kids enjoyed getting to see some constellations.
We were there in April and July and it was pretty warm both trips. It got to the low 90s during the day in July. Down near the creek where it was shaded it was still comfortable. Even on the warmer days it did still cool off in the evenings.
The campground is a great spot for the kids to ride their bikes.
Other than riding bikes, the primary activity we did while there was play in the creek. The kids really enjoyed playing with the stones in the water and trying to create paths of water to race their “boats.” They would find small pieces of bark and put them in the water like a boat and when the boat got stuck they would adjust that part of the water. This kept them occupied for hours.
We also attended the campfire program. There were songs, good information about the creek and campground, and even a skit that the kids got to participate in. That was pretty exciting for them.
The Dog-Friendly Hiking
The campground itself doesn’t have any dog-friendly hiking. There are a few hikes right at Sugarloaf (even one that goes to a waterfall) that sadly don’t allow dogs. To find a dog-friendly hike we would have had to leave the park and we weren’t interested in doing that during our trips. Luckily, our dog seemed happy hanging out near the creek.
We didn’t end up getting any local beer during either trip. We brought some with us instead. If you wanted to get some beer there a good option would be to go to TIPS Roadside for some beer and dinner. It’s located at the end (or beginning depending on your direction) of the road you take to get to the park.
Sugarloaf Ridge was a fun short getaway. We were happy with the privacy and space (especially in the premium sites). And even though there were no dog-friendly hikes, we had a great time playing in the creek right at camp.
Sugarloaf Ridge State Park
2605 Adobe Canyon Rd, Kenwood, CA 95452
Can reserve online at reservecalifornia.com. Reservations open 6 months ahead at 8am PST.