Camping near Mammoth Lakes
Camping is king during the summer months here in mammoth lakes and across the eastern high sierra. In this section of the website, we will take a look at many of your camping options within 20 minutes of the town of mammoth lakes.
New and Old Shady Rest Campgrounds
Here in the town of mammoth lakes, you can camp at the new and old shady rest campgrounds.
The setting for these campsites is in a dense Jeffery pine forest. Mammoths’ afternoon winds blowing through these trees provide a nice relaxing camping atmosphere.
Most people camping at Shady Rest use these sites as a launching point to go explore the Eastern Sierra.
Shady rest campgrounds are located right next to the Mammoth Lakes trail system. The trails can take you via a walk or bike ride to parks, vistas, mammoth creek, downtown, and the Volcom skate park.
The USFS visitors center and amphitheater are also right next to the Shady Rest Campgrounds.
Look for highs in the 70s and 80s during the summer months and 60s and 70s in the fall months. Snow in most years moves in a closes things down by Thanksgiving. Both new and old shady rest campgrounds have hosts on-site that are happy and eager to help you.
These sites have no power, but they do have water, a table, and fire pits. There are bathrooms that get cleaned twice a day on the grounds as well. If you need a shower you can go across the street to the Mammoth Mountain RV Park.
Mammoth Mountain RV Park
If you want full hookups you will want to try out Mammoth Mountain RV park just across the street from the Shady Rest Campgrounds. Use this link for more information. http://www.mammothrv.com/
Both these campgrounds have great access to town, the USFS outdoor theater, and the visitors center. We also recommend you bring your bike and ride for miles on paved roads and trails, right out of the campground.
The Mammoth Lakes Basin
Offers 5 different campgrounds. Some of the spots are reservation only and some are first come first served. This area is bear country and you better follow the rules and store your food in the lockers provided at each campsite.
Even in broad daylight bears will come up and eat all your food. Use caution and be bear aware. Keep food in the locker unless you are eating it NOW.
#1 Cold Water Camp Ground
This campground offers a massive loop of campsites to choose from. If you’re bringing any type of camper or trailer bring extra leveling blocks, many of these tight campsites are way off level. It’s amazing to see some of the spots RVs are getting leveled on in this loop.
The cold water campground is within walking distance of the old Mammoth Mining town. Great place to walk and check out some mammoth history. The campground is also at the trailhead to duck pass. Endless day hiking right out of your campsite.
The area has two creeks flowing and the bugs can get very thick, be prepared or you will get eaten alive.
All sites have a table, fire ring, semi-level dirt area for a tent, and parking for an RV or 2 cars. There are bathrooms that are cleaned daily in the campground. Water is available but not for RV hookups.
RVs larger than 25 feet will have limited options in this campground. I have seen a few spots with 31 footers, so it can be done.
Some of the sites here can be reserved and many are first come first served.
#2 Lake Mary Campground
This area has two loops one for smaller campers trailers and tents and one that can accommodate some of the larger RVs. Our crew will be up in this area once it opens to get the low down on what size RV you can get in the upper loop.
Lake Mary Campground gives you direct access to the lake and to Pokenobe lodge. The lodge features a small store with some food items and a marina with fishing and pontoon boats. You want to bring your gear and food to the small store if just for backup if you forget something.
#3 Lake George Campground
This is a small campground that offers up some of the best-paved drive-in camping views in the Mammoth Lakes area. Overlooking the lake with crystal crag and the mammoth crest just in front of you it is stunning here. It’s also cold at night and you’re going to get afternoon winds coming off the mammoth crest.
The fishing just below the camping sites can be very productive at times. When it’s slow work your way around to the big rock on the backside of Lake George for some hookups. There are boat rentals available at the lodge that sits right of the day-use parking area.
#4 Twin Lakes Campground
You get 3 different campgrounds all located next to each other on the sides of twin lakes. The City Campground offers up 10 sites that are within 10-15 feet of the lakes. The back loop offers up around 80 sites with many of them right on the lake.
The upper loop is not on the lake but it’s only a 2 min walk down to the water This loop has about 30 sites some level some way off level. I think the clue in the lakes basin is to take extra gear to level your campers and RVs.
These campgrounds have access to the twin lakes store with boat rentals, limited food, and supplies. Just a 5 min walk down the road and you can eat a 5-star meal at the tamarack lodge.
Great food and great times, they also rent boats out of tamarack lodge.
Other Area Campgrounds
Located about 3 miles out of town on the Sherwin ranch road, this campground is set in a great high country forest setting. During mid-June, it’s camping headquarters for the mammoth Motocross so be advised that it gets a bit noisy during that time. The rest of the camping season is quiet and peaceful in this mostly flat campground.
From your campsite, you have easy access to fishing, mt biking, and some great hiking. You also have 5 mines from the town of mammoth lakes where you will be able to get food and supplies. Map
Convict Creek Camp Ground
This is one popular place to camp. With the scenic beauty, the creek, and the lake you can not go wrong. Add in the Convict lake resort and you have 5-star eating, food, and supplies.
They also have a full marina with a launch ramp for you private boat owners. We met a guy who was camping here and went fishing on the creek near the lake, the result was a 15-pound trout. They have a picture of it at the convict creek store. This campground is run by the USFS and not the Convict Lake resort.
Browns Town Owens River
Access to some great fishing. If your looking to camping in the pines this is not the place as it’s located on open land about 10 miles from the forested areas like mammoth lakes.
Big Springs Camp Ground
Located 15 miles north of Mammoth this campground is located right at the headwater of the Owens River. This is almost dry camping with primitive toilets and a couple of water outlets on site. You get a table and fire pit. and a semi-level site.
Reds Meadow Area
Offering up a bunch of campgrounds in this area is a great camping experience. Bring everything you need since it’s a 25-minute drive back to mammoth lakes.
Shady Rest in Mammoth Lakes and The Mammoth Mountain RV Park both offer Dump Stations. It costs around $5-10 to dump your full tanks. Talk to the host at Shady Rest or the crew in the Office at the RV park for more information. In Bishop, Browns Town Campground can take care of you.
If you have a large rig in excess of 28 feet use the dump station at the mammoth mountain RV park or at the new shady rest. 40 footers must use the mammoth mountain RV park for dumping.
In Mammoth Lakes, The RV Park and Chevron can get you filled up fast. For large rigs use the RV park as the propane pump at chevron can not accommodate you easily.