Onion Valley Campground Inyo National Forest California

Onion Valley Road
Indpendence, California 93526
760 937-6070
Lat / Long:

36.77472, -118.34556

Onion Valley Campground has 30 single-family campsites and  sits at an elevation of 9,200 feet offering breathtaking views of the mountain peaks of the Sierra Nevada. The campground is usually open mid-May to mid-October and is very close to Independence Creek and the John Muir Wilderness. The Kearsage Pass Trailhead is also 1/4 mile from the campground. Hikes/backpackers without a campsite reservation must park at the trailhead parking lot.

Campsites can accommodate tents, trailers and small RVs. Seven of the campsites are walk-to, tent-only campsites (16, 18, 19, 20, 21, 24 and 25). Each site also has a table, food storage locker, fire ring and grate. The campground has drinking water and flush toilets. Firewood is also available for sale from the campground host. Overflow parking is available. There is no cell service at the campground.

Onion Valley Area Recreation

Outdoor recreation in the area includes hiking, backpacking, mountain biking, fishing, stargazing and wildlife viewing.

Grays Meadow Campground (Upper & Lower) is about 7 miles down the road from Onion Valley Campground.

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Best Campsites


Campsite Types
  • ADA
  • RV
  • Tent
  • Trailer

Mid May – Mid October



# of Campsites:


  • BBQ Grills
  • Campsite Tables
  • Cell Service - None
  • Comfort Station
  • Drinking Water
  • Equestrian trail
  • Fire Pit
  • Fire Rings
  • Firewood Available
  • Food Storage Locker
  • Golden Age & Access Passports accepted
  • Grills
  • Overflow Parking
  • Pets OK
  • Restrooms (Vault Toilets)
  • Wood
  • Backpacking
  • Biking
  • Bird Watching
  • Creek
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Horseback riding
  • Nature Trails
  • Photography
  • Picnicking
  • Stargazing
  • Walking Trails
  • Wilderness Area
  • Wildlife Viewing

Onion Valley Photos

Onion Valley Comments & Reviews

Visited Onion Valley Campground lately? We'd love to hear about your adventure. Did you find us useful? Did we forget something? Anything our community should know before heading out to Onion Valley?

18 Replies to “Onion Valley”

  1. Charles Raynaud says:

    We will be camping one night at onion valley then heading to kearsarge pass trail for a resuply meet on the jmt. Is a permit reguired

  2. Sambieni says:

    Appears the campground now closed for most of the summer. Anywhere close proximity for dispersed camping at elevation? Need to acclimate for kearsarge pass the next day.

    • Sorry to hear Onion Valley is still closed – probably still due to the snowpack. CampsitePhotos.com does have almost all of the campgrounds photographed in the Eastern Sierra. Unfortunately there isn’t a (drive to) campground at elevation near Onion Valley / Kearsarge Pass. Of course there is Whitney Portal (some walk in sites may be available), but that’s a 50-60 mile drive (to the south). Horseshoe Meadows is another option (off of Whitney Portal road) at about 10K feet, but that’s a bit further to Onion Valley.

  3. Heading up to Onion Valley in early October. Does anyone know if water is available at the campground or do I need to bring in?

  4. krystle dawn says:

    HI ! We were wondering if we needed a permit to camp on the trail at onion valley. the camp ground id full and we were thinking to camp in between the lakes on this trail… is that possiable and would we need a permit ?

    • Hi Krystle,
      You are correct that you’ll need a backcountry/wilderness permit to spend the night on the trail and/or in designated backcountry campsites. The Inyo National Forest issues those permits and you can click HERE for more info.

  5. Hoyt Temple says:

    Considering deer hunting this area in late October of this year, will the campground still be open? Is there water? We will be in a tent with heater. Not familiar with this area at all, any comments would be much appreciated.

    • Hi Hoyt,
      Onion Valley campground may still be open in late October (depending on weather), but I recommend calling the ranger district to double check at: 760 937-6070

  6. How far do you have to walk for walk-in sites? Can we drive our car up and unload?

  7. Can I park at the campground overnight for 5 nights while backpacking with a wilderness permit in the area? I will only be staying at the campground the first night.

    • Hi Jacob,
      If you want to park your car in the campground, you need to have a reserved/paid for campsite for all nights your vehicle is at the campsite/campground. If you’re planning on staying at the campground one night, you’ll need to park your vehicle over at the Kearsage Pass Trailhead parking lot (about 1/4 mile from the campground).

  8. I just booked a site for Onion Valley and am very excited for this trip. However, I was wondering a few questions: 1) Besides my vehicle, there will be one more vehicle coming, but I know that the campsite only allows for max 1 vehicle. Is there a place where the second vehicle could park during the day? My parents won’t be staying the night, so they just need a place to park their vehicle during the day.

    2) Can we use a small propane stove? I am aware there are some fire precautions being taken right now, so just want to check what we can/cannot do at this site at the moment. Thank you!

    • Hi Itzel,
      Onion Valley campground is in a beautiful canyon and you should have a great time! You can park an extra vehicle (for the day) at the Kearsarge Pass Trailhead parking lot. It is about 500 feet from the campground.
      At this time campfires are allowed in the campsite fire pit/ring. You can also use a propane stove at the campground.

  9. If our group has two cars, is there space to park the second car?

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