CheKaKa Campground Guide: Essential Tips, Strategies, and Gear Recommendations

Embark on a camping adventure at the now-closed CheKaKa Campground, located on the serene southwest shore of Lake Mendocino, just 5 miles north of Ukiah. Operated by the Army Corps of Engineers, this campground offers a peaceful retreat with proximity to the Joe Riley Day-use area, Coyote Valley Dam, and a plethora of outdoor activities. Before you set out on your camping journey, consider these top tips, strategies, and gear recommendations to make the most of your CheKaKa experience.

Map & Reservations

Top Tips for First-time Campers:

  • Location Awareness: While none of the campsites offer direct lake views, they are conveniently located within walking distance of Lake Mendocino. Embrace the tranquility and enjoy easy access to the lake’s shores.
  • Seasonal Opening: CheKaKa Campground is open from May through September. Plan your visit during this period to experience optimal weather conditions for outdoor activities and exploration.
  • Reservation Process: Ensure a hassle-free camping experience by making reservations in advance. Walk-in campers can conveniently pay by credit card over the phone or use the online reservation system.
  • Cashless Check-in: Cash is not accepted at the campground, so be prepared to pay using credit cards when checking in. Familiarize yourself with the payment process to streamline your arrival.

Top Strategies for Optimal Camping Experience:

  • Daytime Arrival Advantage: Plan your arrival during daylight hours to easily navigate the campground. This allows for efficient setup, exploration of nearby attractions, and a seamless start to your camping adventure.
  • Strategic Seasonal Choices: Consider visiting during the summer months to take advantage of longer days and pleasant weather. Engage in water activities, explore trails, and attend campfire programs during the extended daylight.
  • Group Camping Opportunities: While CheKaKa is a small campground, it’s ideal for intimate gatherings. Plan a group camping experience to enjoy shared moments in the heart of nature.
  • Lakeside Exploration: Take full advantage of the campground’s proximity to Lake Mendocino. Explore nearby attractions like the Joe Riley Day-Use Area, Coyote Valley Dam, and the Shakota Trail for a well-rounded outdoor experience.
  • Essential Packing: Pack camping essentials, including insect repellent, sunscreen, and clothing suitable for varying temperatures. Don’t forget comfortable hiking shoes for exploring the adjacent wilderness.

Recommended Camping Gear:

  • Picnic Comfort: Enhance your camping experience with a portable picnic set, complete with a picnic table, fire ring, and lantern post available at each campsite.
  • Illumination Essentials: Light up your campsite with LED lanterns for a cozy ambiance. Bring additional lighting to ensure visibility during the evening.
  • Sleeping Comfort: Invest in a high-quality sleeping bag and pad for a comfortable night’s sleep. Pack warm layers for cooler nights and consider bringing a cozy blanket.
  • Daytime Exploration Gear: Equip yourself with a reliable backpack for daytime adventures. Include water shoes for lakeside exploration and a waterproof bag to protect valuables during water activities.
  • Explore Our Gearlist: Optimize your camping experience by checking our gearlist account for specific recommendations on camp cooking equipment, sleeping systems, overlanding setups, backpacks, and clothing.

Check out our Gearlist for the gear we use for trips like this

Our Gearlist account lists all of the gear we use. Discover our top picks, where to snag them, and stay informed with our regular updates.

CheKaKa Campground, though now closed, leaves behind memories of its serene location on Lake Mendocino. By following these tips, strategies, and gear recommendations, campers can ensure a memorable experience in the heart of nature.