Navy Camp Campground, on the north shore of Lake Pillsbury in the Mendocino National Forest, is operated by the Pacific Gas and Electric Corporation. The campground is situated near Gravelly Valley Airport's runway, but don't expect to be barraged by overhead jets landing. The little air strip services small planes and averages less than 3 flights a day. The campground is well away from the air strip on a small peninsula. Keep your eyes open for tule elk in nearby meadows.
Navy Camp Campground has 20 sites which can accommodate tents or small RVs or trailers (up to 22 feet). There is good shade from pines and oaks. When lake levels are high, campers can easily walk to the water's edge. Campsites are arranged in one large oval loop, with those at the far end having nice views of the water.
Off Simmons Road at Lake Pillsbury, 26 miles north of Highway 20 via Potter Valley Rd., Eel River Rd., and Elk Mountain Rd. For some route-finding tips, see Directions below.
Mileage and driving time from gateway city:
Santa Rosa - 95 miles, 2:08
Number of Sites:
Open - Closed:
Mid-April through mid-September
Max. People per Site:
6 (including children)
Vehicles per Site:
2 ($3 fee for 2nd vehicle)
on leash, always attended
(916) 386-5164 or Upper Lake Ranger District at (707) 275-2361
First come, first served
Maximum RV/trailer Length:
$16 per night (pets $2 per night)
2:00 PM, check-out Noon
Navy Camp Campground Amenities
Picnic table, food locker, grill, fire ring; no hook-ups
Vault toilets, tap water
Attractions near Navy Camp Campground:
Keep an eye out for tule elk in nearby meadows. Head out fishing and boating at Lake Pillsbury. Go to Lake Pillsbury Resort for its swim beach, marina, and boat rentals. Find nearby boat launch ramps. Explore local hiking trails. Hike into the Snow Mountain Wilderness and visit the Bloody Rock historic area.
Once you have made the turn at Potter Valley, signs become scarce. Four miles beyond Potter's Valley the road suddenly splits, either road looking as likely as the other, and no sign to indicate which way to go. Actually, either way works. Left is more gradual. The two roads meet again at the bottom of the hill.
After crossing a bridge over the Eel River, turn right. (Again, no signs). The next dozen miles are on gravel road high on the north side of the Eel River. The road on the south side of the river is filled with ruts, bumps, and pot holes. Unless you like 4-wheeling, avoid it.
General Camping Information
Opening and closing dates of campgrounds are only estimates, usually dependent on snow conditions. Not all campsites can accommodate trailers or RVs of all lengths. Check carefully on the website when you make your reservation to be sure your vehicle will fit your campsite.
In order to prevent the spread of invasive insects, obtain firewood from the local area of the campground.
Designated Accessible sites are usually reserved for people with disabilities who have a vehicle displaying an accessible parking placard or license plate.