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It sounds like this is a first trip? Definitely go to Miguels, the center of the universe. Great food, cheaper camping, tons of open space out back to choose a secluded tent site if you want. For your climbing needs, it sounds like you would prefer going down to Muir Valley to start...they have put up a new online guide to download of all the new easier routes that were unfortunately ignored and not put in the new costly editions of the guidebook in print. Much info about your climbing needs can be found at Miguels and at Muir parking lot. Land of the Arches is like 5 minutes away if you want to camp closer to Muir, I hear it's OK, but have never stayed there. And you would miss out on all the great food and evening fun at Miguel's if you skip out on staying there.
jonnyc1003 wrote:Miguels is good as it's super cheap ($2/night/person), $1 showers, great food (breakfast, lunch and dinner) on site, free Wi-Fi. Plenty of picnic tables to cook on and a sink for cleanup. Very centrally located, within about 20-25 minutes of almost every crag. Some caveats are that it will probably be super busy, even finding a parking spot can be a bitch. Shower/bathroom cleanliness is definitely questionable, you can't camp next to your car.
Linda's is generally much quieter, showers are included in camping price which I think is $5/night/person, much more privacy. Cleaner showers/bathrooms. Has a pavilion with picnic tables for cooking, though the sites also have picnic tables. Free Wi-Fi (at the office, next to the bathrooms). 15 min to the southern region, ~30 to Muir. If you want to climb in DBNF North of the Mt. Parkway (Funk Rock, ESBR, Military, Left Flank) however, you're looking at around a 45 min drive.
Can't speak for Land of the Arches, though I've heard good things (no dogs though).
Correct me if I am wrong, but I thought showers were $1.50 at miguels, and the wi-fi is not free, either. At least that was the case as I last remember it.
To the orignal question. I usually end up at Land of Arches. better location if you are climbing in Muir or Southern Region. Pine Crest and Lago Lindas are much closer to the southern region and are much more quiet. LoTA is also quiet. I think showers and wi-fi are included in prices for all three, hence why it is more.
Miquels is definitely for the younger crowd and partiers. It still has a special place in my heart, but I prefer to stay elsewhere when I can.