You can be a cheapskate and still enjoy beautiful and fun camping near Fresno. One amazing opportunity to do this and get your exercise on and get your camping on is the Lost Lake Recreational Area which is park of the Fresno County Parks system. This area is location on the San Joaquin River in Fresno County. It is just two miles below the town of Friant and a short drive from the Friant Dam and Fresno. You can reach this hiking area in less than an hour as it is just about 24 miles northeast of the edge of Fresno. The area includes about 38 acres of lake land and several primitive areas where you enjoy enjoy nature in its pristine state.
There is both a day use area for exercising during the day only and a camping ground area if you want to extend the fun. The area includes not just hiking areas but also softball fields, volleyball courts, nature study centers, playgrounds, and much more. There are even restrooms which are not always common in camp sites. If you want to help make the place even better there are even opportunities to volunteer at the Lost Lake Park. You can contact the Friends of Lost Lake Park if you want to volunteer. The campgrounds are relatively nice and they are in the process of renovating the campgrounds too. The general hours during the summer which goes from about April 1 to September 30 is around 7 am to 10 pm. The winter hours which is about October 1 to March 31 is from 7 am to 7 pm. Typically if you are camping you need to check in prior to the close of the park.
Although it is inexpensive it is not free. There is an entrance fee for vehicles. The entrance fee is in addition to the cost for camping for those that go camping. The entrance fee is approximately $5 per vehicle. You can save money if you walk or jog in, however it is a very long walk or jog. An alternative if you are planning to come frequently is to purchase an annual pass which is about $40. The rate for camping is about $18 a night. There is typically a discount for seniors which is about $5 a night. There is also typically a discount for discount veterans which is about $9 per night.
You can reach this place from Fresno by driving north along Highway 41 and taking the Friant Road exit. You can then continue east on Friant Road and continue past Woodward Park. You continue for about 12 miles all the way to Lost Lake. The park entrance will be on the left side of the road. you know you have past it if you reach the town of Friant. The picnic area is to the left of the entrance and the campground is to the right of the entrance. The address is 16385 N. Friant Road in the town of Friant.