Red Rock Canyon State Park (Kern, CA) -- Picnic tables, fire pits, restrooms; some sites shaded by hoodoo-type rock formations. This is a scenic location; however, at $25/night, this campground seemed overpriced for sites with no hookups or a dump station. Also, this is a California State Park, so the National Parks & Federal Recreational Lands Senior Pass discount does not apply.
Dispersed camping on BLM land outside of the park is FREE; and you may be able to get more information on this at the Ranger Station/Visitor Center near the campground entrance. However, this was closed when we were there.
GPS Location: 35° 22.397'N 117° 59.462'W
Suggested alternate campground (approximately 30 miles southwest of Red Rock Canyon SP Campground):
Brite Lake Campground (Tehachapi, CA)
Very nice County Park 6 miles from downtown Tehachapi and a little off the main highway, which makes this a hidden gem. Well-maintained dirt roads inside park. Most sites are pull-through and relatively level. Flush toilets and showers are functional, but old and not very clean. Very quiet and almost empty in off-season. Appears to be mostly day use by locals. Limited TV, strong cell and good 4G mobile broadband service.
Fees: Day use and fishing passes $5, tent camping/RV sites (dry camping sites with no hookups) $15, water and electric $20, full hookups $30. Dump station ($5 fee for non-campers).
Cute animal and fish wood carvings on signs throughout park. Dump station has full-size bear peaking out from behind outhouse door. Small reservoir has trout and catfish (limit 5 fish total per day). Easy, scenic walks around lake on top of dam and on interior park roads.
Brite Lake - Tehachapi Valley Recreation and Park District
GPS Location: 35° 6.169'N 118° 32.395'W
1. Camping fees were accurate as of November 2012.
2. When we camped at Brite Lake in 2012, the park was almost empty. This location is almost unknown to campers, other than locals.
3. If you go through Tehachapi, make sure to stop at the Apple Shed Restaurant & Gift Shop. On Saturday night, during dinner, they had a live blue-grass band. Members were locals, but lots of fun! Also, lots of interesting local arts & crafts items, tourist souvenirs, and fudge.