Open Year-round
Reservations possible?
RV Hookups
Potable water
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Chico Flat Campground is a no-fee dispersed camping area about a 5.9 mile drive from the town of Kernville.

There are two distinct entrances to the campground - the lower has a wide lot and would be better for groups, while the upper is laid out upon a loop road, and gives campers who are willing to walk a short distance access to a better array of sites with more distance between them and their neighbors.

There is no fee to camp at Chico Flat, though there is also very little in the way of improvements offered. The campground is made up of dirt roads and parking - both generally accessible to passenger vehicles. Sites are unmarked and unnumbered, usually taking the form of a small pullout on the loop road, and campers can set up tents wherever they would like. A few large trees in the campground offer great shade, though the best spots might take a short walk as they don't lie immediately beside the dirt road.

The Kern River flows just downslope of Chico Flat, though this section is mostly rapids so there is not a good spot for swimming or wading at the campground.

Those looking for features lot potable water or fire pits or even trash cans should stick to some of the other nearby campgrounds, however those who are set up to go without the amenities and pitch a tent in a defined area and wake up to great views of the surrounding mountains will find an ideal spot in Chico Flat.

There are outhouses at the campground. Current restrictions limit camping to at least 350 feet away from the river at this spot.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)



Rarely full

Parking Pass


Price per night (basic site)

0.00 $ (0.00 €)


Can put some distance between you and your neighbors.


No water.

Pets allowed

Allowed with Restrictions

Managed by

Forest Service


Vault toilet
Near lake or river



Total number of sites


Lodging type

Bed + Breakfast

Maximum trailer length

20.00 ft (6.10 m)



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