China Camp Campground

a red truck parked in the woods next to a picnic table

key: paved dirt

use ctrl + click to control 3D camera

  • GPX file:
  • Track Length: 7.4 miles. Tassajara Rd itself extends to 13 miles of dirt from Jamesburg to the Tassajara Mountain Zen Center.
  • Track Duration: 47 mins.
  • Difficulty Rating: EASY
  • Track Conditions: Dirt, mostly well-graded. Some shelf roads. Single lane track, be prepared to deal with (rare) oncoming traffic. Several tight corners and long vehicles are not advised. Impassable when wet.
  • Recommended Vehicle: 4WD or AWD is recommended. Tassajara Rd is impassable or closed when wet.
  • Camping: We stayed at China Camp Campground. China Camp has vault toilets, no water, and no electricity. Each campsite is provided with a table and a fire ring. Follow notices for allowed fires (seasonal). There are other campsites off Tassajara Rd.
  • Notes: We stayed in and would recommend camp spot #5 out of the 10 camping spots at the campground.
  • Website:

30 miles west of Greenfield in Monterey County California, via Arroyo Seco and Carmel Valley Road, is an entrance into Los Padres National Forest via Tassajara Road. Beyond Jamesburg, Tassajara Road is unpaved and at the Los Padres National Forest boundary becomes a USFS road. From Jamesburg, the road climbs some 2,600 feet to an elevation of 4,300 feet at the USFS China Camp Campground entrance, some 7+ miles distant. The campground itself is about 100 feet below the entrance and consists of 10 camping spots each suitable for at least one vehicle (bearing in mind that four-wheel drive is recommended for access to Tassajara Road beyond Jamesburg).

We booked ahead at (link above) and paid $20 per night for our spot, with a single vehicle. Fees may be paid on-site for unreserved stays, which are on a first-come, first-serve basis.

We visited mid-week in the middle of June and had the entire campsite to ourselves.

The campsite itself is primitive, with no water or electricity. There are two vault-style toilets. The camp is surrounded by ancient Oak trees which provide plenty of welcome shade (though not helpful for solar power!)

Bears have been spotted in the area, and (in June at least) remember to bring plenty of bug spray (you’re in a forest!)

Tassajara Road terminates at the Tassajara Mountain Zen Center and hot springs, some 13+ miles distant from Jamesburg.

Mount Junipero Serra is clearly visible in the view southwest from the China Camp entrance, across the Ventana Wilderness. To the west are panoramic views across the valley formed by the Miller Fork of the Carmel River.

Check out the other tracks in our Off The Beaten Track series.

Follow us on Mastodon at or sign up for a Mastodon account on our overland-themed Mastodon instance at!

Gear we use:

As Amazon Associates, we earn a commission from qualifying sales.