Ultimate Guide to Camping In Mammoth Lakes

Sep 01, 2022

One of the best ways to experience the great outdoors is to pitch a tent and sleep outside under the stars. With more than 800 campsites in the Mammoth Lakes area, the region is a top destination for camping. You’ll find campgrounds near popular hiking trailhead, along the lake shores, on the creeks and rivers, and tucked beneath tall mountains.

Mammoth Lakes Basin

Located close to town in the Mammoth Lakes Basin, there are five campgrounds with lakes and trails in the backyard. In the Lakes Basin you’ll  find six lakes that are road accessible, numerous trailheads, two marinas with boat, kayak, and SUP rentals, and a paved bike path. The Mammoth Lakes Trolley access the region, so if you want to leave your campsite you don’t even have to drive. All campsites can be reserved online at Recreation.gov.

The Twin Lakes Campground is the largest campground in the region with 94 lakeside campsites on Upper and Lower Twin Lakes near Tamarack Lodge. There are trailheads close by and the Lakes Basin Path travel trough the campground.

Coldwater Campground is situated in a pine forest above Lake Mary on the south end and near the Coldwater and Emerald Lake trailheads. Emerald Creek and Coldwater Creek run on either side of the campground, which has 74 campsites.

The Lake George Campground is one of the smaller campgrounds in the Lakes Basin with 16 sites and is located on the lake. The nearby TJ and Barrett Lakes trailhead is a popular hiking destination.

Lake Mary Campground is on the eastern shore of Lake Mary. The campsites are in a lodgepole pine forest on the other side of the road from the lake, but offer great views. With only 10 campsites, Pine City Campground is the smallest in the Lakes Basin and located on the western shore of Lake Mary. This is the only campground in the Lakes Basin that does not have a reservation system, firs-come, first-serve.

Reds Meadow Valley

Please note: The road to Reds Meadow Valley will be closed for the 2023 season, so this fall is a unique opportunity to see this area. The mandatory shuttle runs through September 5, 2022. After that time, visitors can enter in their own vehicle. Starting on October 1, 2022, please be prepared for up to 30 minute delays due to tree work along the road. The road will close for the season on October 11, 2022. The road is slated to reopen, weather dependent, Late May – June 2024.

Located on the west side of Mammoth Mountain in the Middle Fork San Joaquin River drainage, the Reds Meadow Valley has a ton of things to do and see and there are six campgrounds. The road to access the valley is prohibited to vehicles. Day-use visitors need to take a shuttle bus, however campers are allowed to drive. All campsites are first-come first-serve basis. Ask for more information about campsite availability at the entrance station at Minaret Vista when you arrive.

With 54 campsites, Reds Meadow Campground is the largest in the valley and one of the most popular. This campground has free hot spring showers that are open to visitors from any of the campground.

The Minaret Falls Campground has 24 campsites near the river where Minaret Creek cascades into the San Joaquin River. It is a great spot for waterfall viewing during peak run-off. This is a popular spot and it fills up quickly.

The campground at Pumice Flat is located on the river and is a popular area for fly fishing. This is one of the smaller campgrounds, but it also has a group campsite that can be reserved online.

Upper Soda Springs Campground is another riverfront campground and has 29 campsites. It is located near a hiking trailhead that accesses the River Trail and is a popular spot for fishing.

Agnew Meadows campground is near the Agnew Meadows Pack Station and a major trailhead for the Pacific Crest Trail. The campground is on a bluff overlooking the river. There is a group campsite and a horse-camp that can be reserved online.

Campgrounds in Mammoth Lakes

If you want to camp, but still be located in town, there are a number of campsites within walking distance to town amenities. The only RV Park with hook-ups is also located within town.

The New Shady Rest and Old Shady Rest campgrounds are located as you enter town in the pine forest behind the Mammoth Welcome Center. Between the two campgrounds there are 141 campsites that are conveniently close to shops and restaurants, and the shuttle stops.

The Mammoth RV Park is the only private campground in the area that offers full and partial hook-ups, as well as tent sites and cabins The park is open year-round and is located across from the Mammoth Welcome Center when you first drive into town. Amenities include hot showers, laundry, heated pool and spa, and a water fill and dump station.

Sherwin Creek Campground is located just a couple miles south of town on Sherwin Creek road. It is close to mammoth Creek and near the Sherwin Lakes Trailhead. There are 85 campsites that are nicely shaded in the pine forest.


For up-to-date campground reports, including walk-in availability, go to our campground report. To make reservations visit: Recreation.gov

Monica Prelle

Monica Prelle is an outdoors, wine, and travel writer who would rather be running, climbing, or mountain biking. See more of Monica's posts here, read more of her work at monicaprelle.com and connect on twitter @monicaprelle

More Blog Posts By Monica Prelle

More Posts

Like this