Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park - A hidden Gem in California

Updated: Jul 8, 2019

Colonel Allensworth Campground

When we were looking for a place to stay on our way to Death Valley National Park, there was a sign off Hwy 99 that read Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park. When Kristen looked it up it sounded like it had campsites and was part ghost town. It sounded fun. We got off at the exit and followed the signs to get there, down old farm roads and roads that were not the best for hauling a travel trailer. We drove 20 or so miles down roads it seemed impossible for a state park to exist on when suddenly, this square appears on the navigation map showing an actual park. We pulled in and were blown away by the detailed ghost town before us. We found that there were indeed campsites. There were no power sites, but water was available. There was a dishwashing site, bathrooms, and our favorite thing to find on the road, showers! The ground was interesting, squishy and white from the alkali as this area used to be part of the largest lake in America before it was drained and used for irrigation. The place was eerily deserted, which gave it that special charm. We were the only ones camped there in early October, so we stayed there a week. The cost was around $14 per night.

Story of the Allensworth town

The town itself was the biggest charmer. The historians rebuilt some of the buildings in the town in an exact replica of its placement, design, and function as it once was. The town is important as it was the first town operated, funded, and founded by African Americans. The town has a self-guided tour. We unhitched our bikes and rode around for the tour, taking pictures, and looking inside the buildings. They have a coronation ceremony held each year where they open the buildings and have tours through them. You can also contact the park rangers who can walk you through the inside of them. The place is a hidden gem in California that everyone should experience. Not only for the importance of African American history, but for the historical accuracy and dedication put into maintaining a piece of history that you can stay at in an RV.

One of the porches and the view of the dried up lake

Some information to remember is that the max length of a trailer allowed is set at 27 feet and 35 feet for a camper/motorhome. I saw a giant class A there that seemed to fit just fine. I'm saving much of the history so that anyone who goes there can follow the guided audio tour or signs that are at each housing location. Remember, the best way to view the town is on bike!

Touring the town on bikes

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