September 22, 2012 by chriszumtobel
We had planned on going to Yosemite. A solid five nights and four days to finally take advantage of the fact that we live just over three hours away from a beautiful national park. But sadly, due to some concern over the Hanta Virus and the fact that it was our first extended trip in the big blue bus (pictures later), we had to settle for camping a little closer to home.
After quite a bit of research, we set off for Lookout Campground just north of Verdi, CA because of its proximity to Reno and an appealing price tag (6 dollars a night). But this turned into a short-lived trip as we were quick to realize the eight miles of dirt road was 8 miles too much of rocky, off-roading for the bus and we were sadly forced to turn around and regroup…
After more research, we stumbled across Sagehen Campground: a free campground just north of Truckee off the 89. We set off again that same night and slept on the side of the road rather than tackle the dirt road in the dark. Never before have I seen the stars so clearly. It felt as though we were enclosed inside them and we could not only see but feel the curvature of the earth.
We saw the sign for Sagehen Campground and made the left turn onto another dirt road towards the campground. This one ended being in much better shape than the one to Lookout Campground and other than a couple of rough spots was doable even in the bus! The 4 mile ride took us about 30 minutes and we were amazed how far we felt from civilization when we arrived.
It was wide open and beautiful and we had 11 campsites with picnic tables and fire pits to us and one other family. There was an abundance of hiking and biking around and a peaceful little creek just a stone throw away.
If you want a weekend of solitude and peace, I cannot recommend Sagehen enough! On our way out we spotted a sign by the bathroom saying that fires had just been banned in the area (oops) but stoves are allowed in the sites! It is only a little over an hour from Reno and it feel like you are in the middle of nowhere, its free, and there were only about three other groups there over the whole weekend! If you are looking for amazing (and free) camping near Reno, look no farther than Sagehen!