Kirch Flat Campground is a great place to camp surrounded by rolling, oak-covered foothills and spectacular river canyon and mountain views of the Sierra Nevada. It offers beautiful rapids and scenery from the Kings River and a variety of activities including rafting, fishing, and hiking. Be sure to bring your own supplies and watch out for rattlesnakes and poison oak.
At approximately 1,000 feet in elevation, Kirch Flat Campground resides on a large flat area on the river’s edge of the scenic Kings River and is surrounded by rolling, oak-covered foothills and spectacular river canyon and mountain views of the Sierra Nevada. Though it can be very hot in the summer months, Kirch Flat Group Campground is a great place to camp during the spring and fall months and is popular with San Joaquin Valley residents, fisherman, day users, and whitewater enthusiasts who come to enjoy many challenging rapids and beautiful canyon scenery of the King’s River.
A good amount of shade is provided by oak and pine trees throughout the area; however, there is no running water or cell service at the campground. Campers are encouraged to bring their own garbage bags, always keep a clean campsite, and keep trash and food packed up so wildlife is not tempted.
The nearest services are in Sanger, a decently sized town about 45 miles (1 hour 20 min.) away, with all essential services (i.e., gas, supplies, groceries, restaurants, etc.). Although there is no cell phone coverage at the campground, there is a location with cell phone reception approximately 10 minutes away or the nearest pay phone is at Balch Camp, a PG &E community about a 10-minute drive.
Watch out for rattlesnakes and poison oak. Poison Oak abounds in this area. Please avoid plants with three leaf clusters: "Leaves of three, let it be!"
The Kings River offers an enjoyable ten-mile rafting run with Class III and IV rapids. Rafting season is usually from late April to mid-July depending on river runoff. No permit is required to raft the river. The Kings River is a 1 1/2 hour drive east of Fresno towards Pine Flat Reservoir via the Trimmer Springs Road. Put ins are available at Winfrey Mine and Garnet Dike up river from Kirch Flat Group Campground.
There are several commercial outfitters that are permitted with the Sierra National Forest, for commercial trips on the Kings River. Please contact the High Sierra Ranger District for more information.
A short walk from the Group Campground puts you on the edge of the Kings River, cooling off from the heat or working the water's edge fishing are popular activities. Please always use caution as the rivers current can be stronger than realized.
There are several hikes available in the area, including hiking up the Kings River to the wild and scenic portion of the river. To get the trail head, continue driving upriver from the campground past Garnet Dike put in, shortly after the vault toilet there the road ends at the trailhead.
Area Amenities: Tent camping only, picnic tables, toilets, parking, fire rings, pedestal grills
Fees: Currently in the fee proposal process. Reservation fee is $8, with a site fee pending as it goes through the process.
Open Season: Year round
Maximum length of stay = 14 days
Maximum vehicle length = 25'
Maximum group size = 50
Restroom: Vault Toilet
Operated By: Sierra National Forest
High Sierra Ranger District
29688 Auberry Rd
P.O. Box 559
Prather, CA 93651
California Relay Service 711
The Kings River as it pours out of Kings Canyon and into the foothills is the big draw to this area. Upriver from the campgrounds and developed recreation sites, the river is designated by congress as wild and scenic. At the campground, the river is just about to enter Pine Flat reservoir, however there is no motorized boat access from the reservoir.
The Sierra Nevada foothills are incredibly beautiful in the spring as the grasses green up and the native orange California poppies paint the hill sides, along with other wildflowers.