Carmel Valley is a great base camp location for anyone interested in exploring Monterey, Carmel/Pacific Grove, or Big Sur. For those who like to camp, Saddle Mountain Ranch Campground is a great place to call home for a few days while in the area.
Like most private campgrounds in California, it’s not cheap but Saddle Mountain does provide a clean, well-furnished camping area that is great for those looking for more than a boondocking area to pitch a tent or park their rig for a night. The property is a short drive from the highway and is up in the hills above Carmel Valley. The campground is built around a beautiful large pool area looking down on the valley.
There are tent sites, cabins, and an area with full hook-ups for those with trailers or vans. In the era of remote work, this is also a legitimate candidate for those looking to get some work done while on the road, as their Wi-Fi is good and cell service is functional. I think where this campground really shines is for families with kids wanting to get away for a weekend to an outdoor space that will safely keep the kiddies occupied enough that you can actually read that book you’ve been wanting to, or talk to your significant other for more than a minute. At the campground, there are several play areas for kids, ample games, a ping pong table, and that magnificent swimming pool!
I have just two small knocks on this place, one, although the tent camping area is fairly spacious and separated, the area for RV’s (trailers & vans) and the cabins is very tight, you’re literally on top of your neighbors. Probably not an issue during the weekdays and off-peak dates, but you’ve been warned if you book a date during peak traffic dates. The second “nit” I have with Saddlebrook is it’s up in the hills above the valley and to get there and to the campsites requires traversing fairly steep roads. This is a non-issue for anyone tent camping or staying in the cabins, but I think it is a non-starter for anyone with a large RV or a long trailer. We successfully pulled our 19 ft trailer up the hill and parked it in a tight spot, and I noticed a few others with slightly longer trailers had made it too. If you have a large rig, I would call the Saddlebrook office before booking just to discuss egress.
When all is said and done, I would definitely stay here again, as the amenities are great, it’s clean, the location is beautiful and convenient, and I’ll take the outdoors to a stuffy, overpriced hotel 9 times out of 10.