Campground Review: Ah-Di-Na Campground

by Shasta Cascade on September 14, 2009

Attention Readers: Thank you for making this article the most popular on my website. I get hits every day from all around the USA. I had no idea there was so much interest in Ah Di Na. Please leave a comment so I can learn more about your interest, ie does it has to do with fly fishing, or is it the camping? Thank you!

Ah Di Na Sign

Near McCloud, CA – The beautiful and remote Ah Di Na Campground is located about seven miles south of McCloud Reservoir, and is well known as one of the few places for the public to camp and access the lower McCloud River for fly fishing or kayaking.

With the exception of the Nature Conservancy McCloud Preserve located nearby, most of the remaining lower McCloud flows through private property before it flows into Lake Shasta twenty-two miles downstream.  Members of the public can walk or float down the river, but are not allowed  go above the high water mark.

Ah-Di-Na is also unusual in some other ways:  during the summer or early Fall, an alert visitor during the might notice the apple and pear trees full of fruit and wonder why fruit trees are growing in the middle of nowhere.  Continue exploring, and you’ll quickly find the remains of a huge fireplace, and a series of foundation holes in the ground where buildings once stood.  Clearly, this is not your usual rustic back country campground.

Ah-Di-Nah was founded in 1896 by the Whittier family of San Francisco as a hunting and fishing retreat. It passed through other owners before being acquired by the Hearst Family in 1936. The Hearst Family donated the site to the Shasta-Trinity National Forest in 1965.

Nearly eighty years ago, Ah-Di-Na was a thriving villa with such amenities as marble tubs, telephone lines, and an electrical generation system.  Unbelievably, the retreat was purposely burned to the ground in 1958 by the owners because it was no longer frequently used, and was becoming a target of vandals.

Intrepretive Map

Intrepretive Map

Today, Ah Di Na is a national forest service campground with sixteen spaces.  The fee is $10 per night.  The camping area surrounds a grassy meadow, and a cedar fence lines the road.  An interpretive map gives directions for a self-guided hike to explore the old ruins.

The campground is accessed by a gravel road from a signed road junction just before the dam at Lake McCloud.

Caution: the gravel road is in fair condition, but there are some extremely rough areas with the type of small sharp rock that could potentially pop a tire on a freeway-type car if you’re going too fast.

From the lake, the gravel road immediately climbs in elevation, giving spectacular views of the lake through the trees. At the top of the ridge, there is locked gate off to the right for the Bald Mountain Jeep Trail. Bald Mountain is a 4,697 ft hill that looms over Ah Di Na. It’s not the tallest ridge in the area, and it’s only the first in a series of mountain ranges that fold around the McCloud River on it’s way to Lake Shasta.

As you head over the hill and start to descend, you’ll come across a point where the Pacific Crest Trail crosses the road. Go a little further and you’ll come across the entrance for Ah Di Na, which takes off to the left.

Even though the campground is only three miles downstream from Ash Campground, the route by road is about a seven mile journey that meanders over a hilltop before descending to the campground area. I wasn’t in a hurry, so I took the route at a careful 15 mph.

At the time of our September ’09 visit, only two of the camp sites were taken, leaving plenty of solitude.  The only downside to our visit was the presence of thousands of mosquitoes, which started to attack us as we exited the car.  Once we started walking around, things got better.   Be sure to bring bug repellent.

Lower McCloud River

Lower McCloud River

If you happen to be in the area, a visit to Ah Di Na is certainly worth your time.

Panorama of Lower McCloud River at Ah Di Na:

Driving video of road somewhere around Ah Di Nah:

Further Reading:
US Shasta-Trinity Park Service Site

Mt Shasta Gazette Overview

Campground Review from Fly Fisherman

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Bill Forward January 28, 2014 at 5:46 pm

I talk about an experience on the McCloud I had forty years ago in an up coming Sierra Fisherman article. I was wonder if may use photo:

It shows the type of water I was fishing that day

Biswanath August 13, 2015 at 10:00 pm

I just looked at the ieenrntt info about Summersville. I lived there for about 4 years. It sounds like the area has grown so much. I really thought it would. I had a little boat with I think a 25 horse moter and the owners of the marina were very good to me. I had a really good friend there named Joe and our relationship was kind of growing, but I got a promotion in my job and moved away. But I have never forgotten and the good times I had there. Thank you all.

Albert Fritz August 3, 2016 at 4:44 pm

I visited Ah Di Na campground twice in the early 1990,s to fly fish the lower McCloud, both trips included a day on the regulated Nature Conservancy tract. On my second trip I camped alone for five days with only one other campsite being occupied on the weekend – several graduating highschool senior football players being treated to a weekend camping trip by their coach.
The highlight was a black bear who foraged a berry thicket opposite my campsite each night about nine of the clock. He stopped by my tent site the first night checking out my locked, closed SUV tailgate, but I scared him away with load shouts as I poked my head out of the tent. He ambled through every night, but never again stopped to investigate me, my tent or car, but always stopped at his berry patch. The boys in the next site were amazed to see their first bear in the wild, when they visited me their first night in camp.
The sad part of my trip revealed itself when I packed and laft Ah Di Na. At a campsite nearest the entrance I found strewn garbage and refuge left carelessly, and obviously inviting a bear to search for food among human trash. I only hope that bear had a chance to be relocated, and not destoyed on account of some selfish, thoughtless campers.

JJ. September 10, 2016 at 9:37 pm

How do you make reservations at Ah-Di-Nah?

T&S April 22, 2018 at 2:28 pm

We were out for on a weekend drive when we came across the campground. It was so nice to see the placards and read up on the history of the area. Then to come home and look up more info. We will be back to stay longer. Its a beautiful area
We love to find new and out of the way places like this to go, the less people the better, no big motorhomes and generators running all night

John July 11, 2018 at 11:58 am

I’m heading back to Ah Di Na this year without my fishing buddy (and his truck). I have a Honda Fit hatchback….
How do you think it would fair on that road?

US Kayaker June 11, 2020 at 7:10 am

Thanks for sharing this campground. The pics look amazing, and I’m sure the river is even better in person. Hopefully I can get my kayak up there to enjoy the beautiful nature!

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