Sierra National Forest

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About Sierra National Forest

The Sierra National Forest is more than 1.3 million acres of stunning mountains views, heavily wooded campgrounds, and flourishing wildlife. What better place to enjoy a lazy day by the lakeside, relax in hot springs, get your adrenaline pumping on a whitewater trip, and hike into some incredible vista points overlooking the mountains? There’s an endless amount to do and see in the Sierra!

Campgrounds in Sierra

Dinkey Creek Campground
Jeff
Jeff: Pay showers are available just outside of the camp at the general store.Wasps (AKA meat bees) can be...
Mono Hot Springs Campground
Fresh Off
Fresh Off: Be sure to take the 1 mi hike to Doris Lake - it's a great place to swim - warmer than the river! -...
Mammoth Pool Campground
Escape to paradise in the Sierra Nevada Mountains where adventure and relaxation combine to create a...
Vermillion Campground
Have you ever gazed upon an Ansel Adams photograph and thought, I’d like to see that one day? Well now...
Chilkoot Campground
Chill at popular Chilkoot Campground, relaxing in a shady grove of cedars, firs and pines. With both...
Kirch Flat Campground
Kirch Flat Group Campground sits on a large, sandy flat on the banks of King’s River, popular for...
Badger Flat Campground
Take a spin out on Kaiser Pass Road and enjoy some high elevation camping at Badger Flats Campground....
Dirt Flat Campground
Heather
Heather: My secret spot in the Yosemite area! You used to not need a reservation but now you do... cheaper and...
Summerdale Campground
Beat the heat at Summerdale Campground, a popular destination just a mile and a half from Yosemite,...
Billy Creek, Upper Campground
In the heart of the Sierra Nevadas, between Yosemite and Sequoia national parks, lies this lakeside...
Deer Creek Campground
Your backyard just got a whole lot bigger! Popular Deer Creek Campground, located on the rolling...
Little Jackass Campground
When the world is being a big you know what, you can always escape to Little Jackass Campground. These...
Catavee Campground
Guadalupe J
Guadalupe J: Cold at night - bring extra blankets, they have a bar and store for some essentials you might have...
College Campground
A rustic, low-traffic, tent-only site on Huntington Lake spanning open grassy areas and clumps of...
Jackass Meadow Campground
Susan
Susan: Actually, this campground does accept reservations. Check the forest service website.
Swanson Campground
Swanson Campground sits in a forest of dense pine trees. Shaver Lake is a short hike or drive away, so...
Placer Campground
Looking for a mammoth camping experience? Head to Placer Campground located near Mammoth Pool. At...
Soda Springs Campground
Looking for a long drive from almost anything? Head to Soda Springs Campground tucked in to the sweet...
Soquel Campground
Rob
Rob: Nice when not crowded; right on stream. Good fishing. Trail runs along creek to next campground. Nice...
Rancheria Campground
With camping options for land-lubbers and water enthusiasts alike, Rancheria Campground boasts more of...
Sample Meadow Campground
Anne
Anne: Sites are generously sized for multiple tents, and spaced out such that you might not see other...
Dry Gulch Campground
Roman
Roman: We had a great 4 night Easter weekend camp in 2016. The site is really nice, clean and well kept. The...
West Kaiser Campground
Ahh… crowd free High Sierra Camping! That is what you will find at West Kaiser Campgrounds’ primitive...
Forks Campground
Pierre
Pierre: Great place to camp, site 006 is huge! However we were disappointed to see how low the lake was, and...
Dorabelle Campground
Why not spend the weekend on the lake? Grab your spouse and kids and head to Dorabelle Campground near...
Whisky Falls Campground
Whiskey Falls Campground. Oh yes, you read that right, need we say more? Yes, actually we should....
Fresno Dome Campground
Mac
Mac: Oh my! There are quite a few hidden gems around this campsite. The dirt roads here have spotty...
Whiskers Campground
Whiskers campground is the perfect place to camp off the beaten path, enjoy starry skies, and partake...
Smalley Cove Campground
Close to the Kerchoff Reservoir is the quaint Smalley Cove Campground. As you nestle into groves of...
Sweetwater Campground
The federal government got something right when they named this campground. At Sweetwater you’re...
Bolsillo Campground
Located on the thrilling Kaiser Pass Road, Bolsillo Campground is the perfect spot to kick back and...
Ward Lake Campground
Get ready for some high elevation cabrewing (beer drinking and canoeing) at Ward Lake Campground!...
Fish Creek Campground
Ready to snuggle up in the shadow of the Sierras, tucked away in your own little valley on the banks...
Willow Placer Campground
Willow Placer Campground is a first-come, first-served campground just outside of Yosemite National...
Sawmill Flat Campground
Sawmill Flat Campground sits in a shady forest of pine, cedar, Manzanita, and bear clover. This...
Gigantea Campground
Sarah
Sarah: We did not camp here, but we camped nearby at Swanson Meadows. We were going to camp at Gigantea if...
Lower Chiquito Campground
Lower Chiquito Campground offers cozy sites along Chiquito Creek. Nestle into the shade of cedar and...
Rock Creek Campground
Pitch your tent and take a dip! At Rock Creek Campground in the Sierra National Forest, one of the...
Nelder Grove Campground
Rob
Rob: A good source of info for this historic grove is at http://www.neldergrove.org. Go on weekends when...
Greys Mountain Campground
Like the sound of diving into cold mountain streams and fishing for Bass in the Sierra Mountains? Head...
Spring Cove Campground
Fan of America? Or at least our national symbol? Visit Spring Cove Campground and you might just be in...
Trapper Springs Campground
Grab the power bait, marshmallows, and some brew cause we’re going camping! Trapper Springs Campground...
Bretz Mill Campground
Bretz Mill Campground sits along Big Creek in a shady forest of pine and oak. You’re in bear country...
Lupine Cedar Bluff Campground
These are actually two campgrounds side-by-side, Lupine and Cedar Bluff. Both are a stone’s throw from...
Portal Forebay Campground
Portal Forebay Campground is the perfect respite for your High Sierra adventures! Campsites are...
Buck Meadow Campground
Buck Meadow Campground in the Sierra National Forest offers sandy meadow camping at the confluence of...
Voyager Rock Camping Area
Voyage Rock Camping Area is the OHV hotspot of the Sierra National Forest. Campsites are located on...
Big Sandy Campground
Casey
Casey: This price is incorrect. It is $26.22 a night, $28.22 on holidays, and you must have cash or check.
Railroad Flat Campground
On a last minute trip to Yosemite and looking for some camping? You might luck out at the first-come,...
Jerseydale Campground
Grab your stallions y’all cause we’re camping on horseback at Jerseydale Campground. The campground is...
Upper Chiquito Campground
Nestle into Upper Chiquito Campground located on the east fork of Chiquito Creek. Epic swimming holes...
China Bar Camping Area
Got a boat? Want to do some epic camping on Mammoth Lake? Head to the boat-in only China Bar...
Kinnikinnick Campground
Fresh Off
Fresh Off: A nicely wooded campground. Site #23 has tons of space so it's a great spot if you need to set up...
Wishon Point Campground
One of the more cushy, accommodating options in the area, Wishon Point Campground gives you...
Billy Creek, Lower Campground
Stunning lake views at your door. Tent opening. Same thing. Check out Billy Creek Lower Campground in...
Kelty Meadow Campground
Pines and cedars form a natural hotel for you and your horse at Kelty Meadow Campground, a...
Black Rock Campground
Black Rock Campground is shaded by cedar and pine and Black Rock Reservoir is nearby. There are great...
Mono Creek Campground
Auntie
Auntie: Nice campground a short walk to the creek and a 10 min drive from mono hot springs with vault toilets,...
Lily Pad Campground
Looking for a lake view? You’re in luck! Lily Pad Campground is located on Wishon Reservoir, and all...
Redinger Campground
Getting a bit too hot in Fresno? Come beat the heat at Redinger Campground on Redinger Lake. Campsites...
Marmot Rock Campground
Anne
Anne: The PG&E page for this campsite says it doesn't have drinking water or bear boxes, but it has both...
McCabe Flat Campground
A well-kept campground secret close to Yosemite National Park, McCabe Flat Campground offers quaint...
Granite Creek Campground
Rebecca
Rebecca: I love Granite Creek CG and highly recommend it, but be advised, there is only one restroom, and it's...
Clover Meadow Campground
Clover Meadow Campground offers quaint camping sites in an open meadow that is surrounded by the...

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Hipcamper Fresh Off

Be sure to take the 1 mi hike to Doris Lake - it's a great place to swim - warmer than the river! - and there are lots of places to jump off of rocks into the water (because who doesn't love to do that?!)

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Hipcamper Anne

The PG&E page for this campsite says it doesn't have drinking water or bear boxes, but it has both drinking water (centrally located) and swivel-clasp-secured cabinets (one per campsite). Firewood is available for purchase from the hosts at Trapper Springs.

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Hipcamper Jeff

Pay showers are available just outside of the camp at the general store.Wasps (AKA meat bees) can be aggressive when water is scarce.

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Hipcamper Anne

Crowded on the weekends, so I recommend arriving mid-week or early-ish on Friday to secure a spot. If you prefer peace and quiet at your campsite, might be best to avoid weekends altogether.

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Hipcamper Roman

We had a great 4 night Easter weekend camp in 2016. The site is really nice, clean and well kept. The camp host Kelly was very friendly and helpful. We read the reviews on Yelp. Did not have Mosquito problems (maybe to early in the year;end of March) or other issues. The sites 1 and 4 are very secluded. Far enough from other campers. 3&4 are kind of together but with enough room in between. The camp sites are right next to Merced River so you have the white water noise all the time. The street to Yosemite is on the other side of the river, due to the white water sounds we did not really hear cars. We where not disturbed. Worst case bring ear plugs if you want to avoid nature sounds. Will come again.
Other
-Clean vault toilets
-Water spigot

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Hipcamper Michelle

This was by far one of my favorite site. We camped at site 8. It kept us pretty secluded and away from the noise of the campground. The sites are so close together that you want something on the outside if your looking for a peaceful camping trip. I had small children so the rock slides were pretty dangerous. However there is a nice little swimming pond behind site 3 if you take the little hike back.

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Hipcamper Hipcamper
Hipcamper

Mammoth Pool is absolutely gorgeous, perfect for swimming, fishing, and boating; fun in all seasons.

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Hipcamper Fresh Off

A nicely wooded campground. Site #23 has tons of space so it's a great spot if you need to set up multiple tents.

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Hipcamper Auntie

Nice campground a short walk to the creek and a 10 min drive from mono hot springs with vault toilets, fire rings and picnic tables. Byo water. Site 10 is nice and more private.

Hipcamper Rob

Nice when not crowded; right on stream. Good fishing. Trail runs along creek to next campground. Nice dogwood, snowplants, corn flowers and azalea in the spring. An osprey hunts in the stream right near camp.

Hipcamper Pierre

Great place to camp, site 006 is huge! However we were disappointed to see how low the lake was, and also not swimming-friendly: so much mud...

Hipcamper Sarah

We did not camp here, but we camped nearby at Swanson Meadows. We were going to camp at Gigantea if Swanson was full. We still visited Gigantea to check it out. It is far back on McKinley Road which is great for privacy and quiet. From Swanson, we could hear light traffic from Dinkey Creek Road. However, Gigantea is far away from everything, so less road traffic noise is great. The campground is VERY dense with trees-more dense than I've seen at any campground. I thought that was cool but wouldn't fit our family well with children who want to run. This campground is also pretty far from Shaver Lake-45 min, so if you're wanting Shaver fun, I would stay someone closer. Gigantea was not full on Labor Day Weekend. There's always a spot!

Hipcamper Anne

Sites are generously sized for multiple tents, and spaced out such that you might not see other parties from your own site. That said, don't be surprised if you see some of the local cattle trundling through the campground.

Hipcamper Scott

It takes a crazy, kind of scary drive along a single-lane, dirt, cliffside mountain road to get to Mono Creek, but it's worth it. The seclusion is incredible. The campgrounds are good quality, and the nearby creek is beautiful. There are so many cool trails around, but I recommend the hike to Devil's Tub. It's a gorgeous High Sierra Lake, surrounded by a cirque of mountain peaks. We made a quick stop at Mono Hot Springs on our way out, it was alright. Only one of the tubs we found was actually hot. I'd focus more time on hiking & exploring the Sierra next time.

Hipcamper Mayme

Very nice and quiet campground just above a beautiful river. Has clean toilets, and fire pits, but bring your own water! The drive in is incredibly long and a little scary (single lane, bumpy, cliff side road), but also a little fun :) You pass some beautiful spots along the way. Site is also very close to Vermillion Valley Resort, where there is a shop, cafe, bar and is also a stopping point for those hiking the PCT. You can grab a drink and hear amazing stories from those hikers!

Hipcamper Hipcamper
Hipcamper

See a list of some incredible spots, like the Arch Rock, Nelder Grove, and of course, Mono Hot Springs!

Hipcamper Hipcamper
Hipcamper

Definitely do the Sierra Vista Scenic Byway, a four hour road trip through the forest with panoramic incredible views!

Hipcamper Fresh Off

There are a handful of natural hot springs near the campground. Cross the San Joaquin using the log bridge and head up the hill - there are a few small concrete tubs, or there is a larger, natural bottomed spring about a mile away. The resort store has a map.

Hipcamper Auntie

Nice campground a short walk to the creek and a 10 min drive from mono hot springs with vault toilets, fire rings and picnic tables. Byo water. Site 10 is nice and more private.

Hipcamper Rob

A good source of info for this historic grove is at http://www.neldergrove.org. Go on weekends when the caretaker is there; their family has been here for decades. Excellent redwood hikes out of camp. Walkin sites; steep very narrow road in.

Hipcamper Susan

Actually, this campground does accept reservations. Check the forest service website.

Hipcamper Mac

Oh my! There are quite a few hidden gems around this campsite.

The dirt roads here have spotty signage, but with a bit of navigation skill and some luck you'll find beautiful meadows, epic vista points, and awesome trails.

Drive up 6S10 just a little while further beyond the campsite to the Fresno Dome trail head to hike to the top of the dome for a view that you will not forget.

Hipcamper Anne

As of mid-September 2015, Kaiser Creek was still running enough to provide water for filtering.

Hipcamper Anne

The track from Kaiser Pass Road down to the campground is mostly unpaved and rough at times. Vehicles with low ground clearance not recommended; similarly for 2WD vehicles in wet weather.

Hipcamper Rebecca

I love Granite Creek CG and highly recommend it, but be advised, there is only one restroom, and it's located on the upper Loop. The sites in the lower loop are probably about a 10 to 20 minute walk to the restrooms, so be prepared to dig some holes.

Hipcamper Guadalupe J

Cold at night - bring extra blankets, they have a bar and store for some essentials you might have forgotten. Tucked in the the redwoods feels amazing.

Hipcamper heather

My secret spot in the Yosemite area! You used to not need a reservation but now you do... cheaper and higher availability than the traditional Yosemite sites. You can even take the bus into the park from there :)

Hipcamper Casey

This price is incorrect. It is $26.22 a night, $28.22 on holidays, and you must have cash or check.

Hipcamper Kasey

Great backpacking around Dinkey Lakes

Hipcamper Dexter

Great spot for swimming, hiking and so much to do around the area!

Hipcamper Whitney

This is one of the coolest campgrounds around. You'd never know it existed if you were driving along the highway without a reservation. It has 4 tent spots so you know you're not going to be bombarded with people. The sites come with a tent spot, picnic table, fire pit and a food locker. The host is a great girl and she's got food for sale and knows the land well! You'll want site 1. While all are right on the Merced, this one has the most incredible rock formation that sits over the water -- the perfect place for a glass of wine, watching sunsets or contemplation. Dog friendly but as always, watch for wildlife! I will definitely be back!

Hipcamper Deanna

This place is great .... try and stay near honeymoon pool. I cant wait to go back!

History of Sierra National Forest

This was the second National Forest created in California and the largest at the time. It covered over six million acres (24,000 km2) of the Sierra Nevada and was about four times the average area of typical California National Forests. Originally it embraced parts of eight counties from Tuolumne on the north to Kern on the south and Mono and Inyo on the east. Initially its name was descriptive, but later when the Sierra was divided into different units this was no longer the case.
President Harrison proclaimed the Sierra Forest Reserve on February 14, 1893. Four years later the south half became a separate unit and was named Sierra South during the "forest reserves" era. This designation was dropped after the administrative transition to the National Forests on March 4, 1907. the Sequoia National Forest on July 1, 1908 Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks were established from this south portion of Sierra National Forest. Eastern portions of Sierra NF were used for the Inyo and Toiyabe National Forests; northern portions were used for the Yosemite National Park and the Stanislaus National Forest.
The first timber sale on a California National Forest took place in the Sierra NF by the General Land Office in 1899.