The Best Mammoth Lakes Area Campgrounds

There some really sweet campgrounds up in the Sierra Nevada, but this article is all about the best Mammoth Lakes area campgrounds you should consider camping at this summer.

At 7,880 feet in elevation, Mammoth Lakes is located in the Eastern Sierra Nevada and is most famous for its world-class ski resorts (Mammoth Mountain and June Mountain). The town is truly a year-round destination offering winter and summer sports including cross-country skiing, down hill skiing, snow boarding, camping, backpacking, hiking, mountain biking, exploring historic sites, hunting with a night vision scope, as well as boating and fishing in its many lakes and streams. The town also has a variety of music and other festivals throughout the summer months.

The Mammoth Lakes area also offers a number of excellent campgrounds to spend your next camping vacation. All of the campgrounds are located in the Inyo National Forest. This article will profile 14 of the best Mammoth Lakes area campgrounds that are situated in or near the town. These 14 campgrounds have a grand total of 657 campsites (give or take a few) and has photos of each and every campsite.

Big Meadow (11 campsites)
Besides having a really big meadow in the area to stroll through, Big Meadow campground offers wonderful views of Rock Creek and the surrounding Sierra Nevada mountains. It’s a small campground, but the campsites are really nice and within walking distance to some nice fishing in Rock Creek. Big Meadow is first-come first-serve (no reservations). Drinking water and flush toilets are available.

Coldwater (79 campsites)
Coldwater campground is up by Lake Mary in the Mammoth Lakes Basin and offers easy access to some nice backcountry trails like Duck Lake Pass Trailhead.  From this trailhead you can also check out the the ruins and structures from the Consolidated Mine. Mammoth and Coldwater creeks also flow by the campground and offer some nice fishing. The campground takes reservations and is open early June through September (weather permitting). It has drinking water and flush toilets.

Convict Lake (88 campsites)
From Convict Lake campground you’ll have a great view of the lake and canyon. The 88 campsites are reservable and you can pitch a tent, use a trailer or RV. The campground has paved roads/parking spurs, flush and vault toilets, drinking water and vending machines. A general store is nearby to stock up on supplies. Boats are available to rent and a bait shop has all you’ll need to land a prize trout. And there’s a boat ramp here if you have your own boat!

Devils Postpile National Monument (19 campsites)
Devils Postpile Campground is one of a few campgrounds located in Reds Meadow Valley and is about 13 miles west of Mammoth. The 21 campsites are first-come first-serve and can accommodate trailers and RVs up to 30 feet in length. It’s a popular campground and you can easily hike to the columnar basalt features that are 6o to 70 feet high. Rainbow Falls is about a mile or so down the trail. It drops 101 feet and 17 inches into a beautiful pool. The mist forms a beautiful rainbow if conditions are just right.  Devils Postpile campground has drinking water and flush toilets. A camp store, showers and cafe are located at nearby Reds Meadow campground.

Lake Mary (51 campsites)
Lake Mary campground is the most popular in the Mammoth Lakes Basin area – mostly because it is located right on the lake. The campground is nice, but we think other campgrounds in the area are better. The campsites are a little tight here – not much privacy, but at least you can skip on over to the lake and throw a line in the water. Lake Mary campground has drinking water, flush toilets, lake access, a marina and boat rentals.

Minaret Falls (23 campsites)
Minaret Falls is another beautiful campground located in the Reds Meadow Valley and along the San Joaquin River. There are 26 first-come first-serve campsites here and each can accommodate a tent, trailer and small RV. It’s a quiet and peaceful campground – perfect for accessing the many backcountry trails and fishing the rivers, lakes and creeks. As with all Red Meadows Valley campgrounds – this usually opens in mid June through September.

New Shady Rest (95 campsites)
New Shady Rest is right in the town of Mammoth Lakes and offers 97 campsites for tents, trailers and RVs. Most sites are large and have some nice privacy. The campsite numbers start at 68 and go though 165. The campground is popular because of its proximity to town and a short drive to Mammoth Lakes Basin. It’s a great basecamp for enjoying the various music festivals during the summer months.  The campground has drinking water, a dump station and vault/flush toilets.

Old Shady Rest (51 campsites)
Old Shady Rest is next to New Shady Rest campground. It has 51 campsites set among large and mature Jeffrey Pines. This too is popular because it’s in town and close to all the restaurants, shops, festivals and activities in the area.  The campsites are reservable and it’s recommend you reserve well in advance of your planned stay. The campground has drinking water, vault/flush toilets and an RV dump station.

Pine Grove (10 campsites)
You’ll fine Pine Grove campground located at 9,300 feet just below Rock Creek Lake. This small campground is generally one of the latter to open because of its higher elevation, but it usually is open from mid-June through September. It’s first-come first-serve and offers a great place to access backcountry trails and fish the Rock Creek Lake and streams in the area. The campground has drinking water and vault toilets.

Pumice Flat (17 campsites)
If you want to be lulled to sleep at night by two babbling creeks and the San Joaquin River, then Pumice Flat campground may just be the ticket.  The campground has 17 mixed-use campsites that are a pumice-stones throw from the river and creeks.  Pumice Flat is one of a few campgrounds in Reds Meadow Valley. The campground is first-come first-serve and has water and vault toilets. You can also get a hot shower up by Reds Meadow campground.

Reds Meadow (56 campsites)
Reds Meadow campground is the largest of the campgrounds in Reds Meadow Valley. It has 56 campsites, a camp store, cafe, hot showers, flush toilets and drinking water. It’s walking distance to the San Joaquin River and Devils Postpile National Monument. Firewood is also available for sale here. In addition to hiking, backpacking, fishing and wildlife viewing, you can saddle up and ride horses through the commercial outfitter at Reds Meadow. Tents, trailers and RVs work here, but keep in mind the road down to the Reds Meadow Valley campgrounds is narrow (one lane) and has a few tight turns.

Tuff (35 campsites)
Tuff campground is along Rock Creek and is named for the ‘Tuff’ rock formations that are scattered around the campground. It’s one of the best Mammoth Lakes area campgrounds because its a great place to play tuff-and-seek, as well as hike, mountain bike, fish, climb, picnic, stargaze and enjoy the wildlife. The campground has water, vault toilets, a dump station and firewood for sale. It tends to open a little earlier than most – late May through September.

Twin Lakes (95 campsites)
Twin Lakes campground is set on the shores of Twin Lakes, providing easy access to the lake where you can boat and fish. The 95 campsites are spread out among a forest of lodgepole pine and can accommodate tents, trailers and RVs. The campground has water, and flush toilets. A camp store is nearby. The campsites are reservable and have a table, fire ring, grill and bear/food storage locker.

Upper Soda Springs (29 campsites)
This first-come first-serve campground has some delicious soda water . . . actually just regular drinking water and vault toilets. It is right along the San Joaquin River and close to many hiking trails. You can grab a hot shower up at Reds Meadow if you’re so inclined. The campsites can accommodate tents, trailers and RVs.

And as a parting shot – and reminder – keep your food locked up in those bear lockers!

Hope you enjoyed the article on the best Mammoth Lakes area campgrounds!


Camp Ranger
The best Mammoth Lakes Area Campgrounds
The best Mammoth Lakes Area Campgrounds

12 Replies to “The Best Mammoth Lakes Area Campgrounds”

  1. Thanks for a look at All the CGs around Mammoth Lakes!! Very useful, especially with all the photos!!

  2. can you please direct us to a campground that you know of that allows us to swim and perhaps also allows us to camp right on the water that we will swim in? Thanks very much!

  3. Do you know which lakes in the mammoth area do NOT allow swimming? Can you swim in Twin Lakes?

    • Hi Sarah,

      You can swim in all of the lakes in the Mammoth Lakes basin/area. These include Twin Lakes, Lake Mary, Lake Mamie, Lake George and Horseshoe Lake. The water will be a bit chilly though. Horseshoe Lake is popular with families. It has a beach and not motorized boats are allowed. The water tends to be a little warmer too.

  4. Just curious why you didn’t mention a campground called Mammoth Mountain RV ?

    • Hi Judy,
      Great question. We focused on the ‘Public Campgrounds’ up in Mammoth Lakes. Mammoth Mountain RV is sure nice though. We may try and swing in there to get photos later this year.

  5. Hey, do you know if camping at Devil’s Postpile is currently allowed? Thanks!

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