Buckeye Creek Campground and Hot Springs, Ellens Take
A short distance from Bridgeport, CA is the quiet Buckeye Creek Campground nestled next to Eagle Creek and Buckeye Creek. The sites are beautifully shaded by Jeffrey and Lodgepole pine trees. When we entered the campground we were welcomed by the camp host. He was friendly and gave us the general information about the campground, pit toilet and potable water locations, fee drop boxes, and the location of the creeks and hot springs).
The campsites are huge and spread apart.
We drove a bit and chose a site near the creek. All of the sites were spacious and spread apart which was nice. The campsites included a fire ring with grill, picnic table, and a big parking spot. The pit toilets were pretty clean, but the water pressure coming out of the faucet outside was extremely slow. You are able to purchase extra firewood from the camp host for a $7 a bundle but there was tons of small branches and kindling lying around the forest ripe for the pickings.
Morning hike at Buckeye Creek Campground
After we set up camp we drove down to the Buckeye Hot Springs parking area. It’s a hike-able distance from the campground, but we were eager to check it out so we opted to drive. The hot spring comes out over a huge boulder which sits above the creek. It falls into a pool that sits beside the creek allowing you to hop from the hot springs pools into the creek and back… just like a cold plunge at a spa! There were a few (nude) locals maintaining the pools and moving rocks around to keep the cold creek water out of the hot pools. We soaked and chatted with a few other visitors before heading back to camp to make dinner.
The campground was quiet all night. There were practically no bugs. It was wonderful. We enjoyed hiking along the creek, inspecting fallen trees, pinecones, rocks, and sticks with our toddler. This campground is definitely ideal for relaxing and a great place to bring kids of any age.
Buckeye Creek Campground and Hot Springs, Troys Take
Our love of adventure but lack of time off work (haha) often leads us to remote, out of the way short adventures. Buckeye Creek Campground fit the bill. I have been coming down this way for many years but never had the opportunity to stop at this little slice of High Sierras heaven. After a quick discussion on we committed to going for a quick trip with our daughter Willow who had just turned 3 thinking this would be a great first “real” camping trip. She had been on trips and stayed in cabins and hotels but this would be her first true tent experience.
Take the turn off, you won’t regret it.
Ellen and I have driven past the turn-off to Buckeye many times while heading to one of my favorite spots in the area, Travertine Hot Springs, and I was aware there were some more nearby. Put kids near hot water and it instantly makes fun… again, another positive in the plus column.
So Thursday afternoon at work, with the hankering to get out in the wilderness and away from the realities of modern life, I called my wife and told her, “Get packing. We’re camping at Buckeye this weekend!”
After a mad rush to grocery store, reorganize and load all of our assorted gear — we are bringing a 3 year old and dog after all — left us scrambling all evening to be prepared to leave the next day. Friday morning came and suddenly I am sick, well more like I had a bad case of Longing for Campingitis, so I had to call in a PTO day.
By noon we were off, bright eyed and excited to hit the open road. The journey from Reno to Buckeye takes about 2.5 hours, of course longer if you have a dog and kids. There are some nice spots to stop along the way though, we usually will stop in Carson City for any last minute items and pit stop at one of many pull outs and recreational areas along the Walker River for a restroom break for the kids and pets.
The scenery is gorgeous, typical High Sierras to foothill deserts interspersed with lakes and rivers and some damn nice canyons. The turn off road, ironically, Buckeye Creek Road is right before you come down the hill into Bridgeport proper (coming from Reno).
The dirt road is fairly well maintained although narrow. I would be hesitant to take a large RV up but we did see some. A short fifteen minute drive brings you from the Sierra desert to the trees, with the campground situated between both Eagle Creek and Buckeye Creek (Buckeye Creek is larger).
Take the Buckeye Creek Campground Turn!
My first thought as pulled in was OMG its empty! And the second thought, these campsites are huge! There were two other campers in our section of the campground (there are two, a lower and upper loop). The lower loop where we stayed abuts Eagle Creek whereas the upper loop is adjacent to Eagle Creek.
The camp host was pretty friendly and had a dog, off leash, which to me means good things. Now, a bad dog off leash is a bad thing but good dogs off leash is a great thing at a campground… and to know your camp host wasn’t going to bust our balls was encouraging from the start.
Ellen and Willow playing on Eagle Creek
As Ellen said, they have firewood for sale, no ice though so be prepared for a quick drive into town for anything you might have forgotten… just make sure its not too late, Bridgeport doesn’t always play by their own rules and hours may vary haha.
The campground and hiking in the area is great for kids. But the hot springs not so much. Its doable, and we did it but it was fairly sketchy. The walk down the hill (er, baby cliff) is nerve wracking even for me and the hike up isn’t any less sketchy. Now this is carrying a 30lb toddler so it made it a bit more cirque du soleil feeling than usual.
Side note… boondocking in the BLM desert just outside Travertine Hot Springs is a much better choice for the kid friendly hot spring getaway (post on that to come soon).
I loved this campground and had no real complaints. It just feels isolated, quiet… that might be the lack of cell service too though. Some other campers pulled in later into the evening and the campsites did fill up by 9ish Friday night so plan accordingly. For a kid and dog friendly campground you couldn’t ask for much more.