Buckeye Flat Campground was not the run of the mill family-friendly campground like we expected, as it was bare and more off-the-beaten path.Though it wasn’t expected, the campground ended up having some surprise amenities that made our trip so much more enjoyable.
After entering the National Park (and making quick photo Opp. stops) we drove about 6 miles up the mountain until we were prompted by the campground sign to take a right. Taking us into a valley, the road was small and filled with tight turns with a sheer cliff and a river flowing rapidly beneath us. The road felt more like a service road than a road to a campsite. Once we finally made it down into the valley, we arrived at the campsite which was conveniently shady due to the tree cover.
The first thing we noticed when we got out of the car to set up camp was the sound of the river below us – and the ridiculous amount of small bugs flying around that we would have to contend with for the next three days. 20 feet below our campsite was a river flowing rapidly – which we would come to find out was ice cold. After setting up camp, we made our way past two campsites and through a small trail to where we were greeted with a sign warning us of the river’s speed and danger.
Obviously, we forewent the warning and went to the river to explore – and of course to tan (Jacqueline’s request).We sat down a towel to lay in the sun and test the rapidly flowing waters. After dipping our feet in a few times, Jacqueline mustered up the courage to jump in to a small pool that seemed to be flowing slow and safe enough to to baske in. After seeing it was safe and the temperature was bearable, I followed suit. Though the water was from the snow melt, thus freezing, the day’s temperature was about 85-90 degrees so we dried quick and the water was slightly less shocking the following times we got back in to cool off.
After basking in the sun for a few hours and jumping in and out of the freezing water, we decided to explore a bit farther down the river where its speed and power seemed to pick up ten-fold. We made our way down the river banks, crawling and climbing across and up the slippery rocks and through sections of mud until we were about 5 feet from the powerful torrent. Across from us we could see a calm pool of water that we wished was accessible and above us, looming in the expansive background was a mountain with a huge rock formation that looked like a castle you would see out of Game of Thrones.
Overall, the scenery that our campsite provided was amazing and its access to this basically untouched river was a huge addition to the great experience that Sequoia National Park granted us. After our exploration of the river and seeing the sublime power it held, we made it back to our campsite to make dinner.
We had just bought a camp stove so we were super excited to use it and it worked great. We lived off of turkey burgers, grilled cheeses, and scrambled eggs with avocado throughout the weekend and it was perfect. After dinner each night, Jac and I would engage in a friendly game of scrabble, in which I won of course (But Jac is getting much better each time we play).
Minus the incessant bugs and the mosquito that got into our tent and ate me alive, Buckeye Flat Campground was a awesome place to camp, especially if you like your campsites more secluded and less riddled with young kids screaming and playing all day. If given the opportunity, I would definitely go back here to camp as well as recommend it to those that are okay with roughin’ it a bit. The campsite did have flushable bathrooms but there were no showers and it was a tent only campsite. This place is awesome and definitely different that most campsites I have stayed at so far. Though it may not be for everyone, that is what I think gives it its charm. Half of the year it is First-Come-First-Serve, but from May- September it is reservation only, so if you are interested in experiencing what Jacqueline and I did, you can make a reservation here.