Waterside camping near Lone Pine, California

This small town is a gateway to Alabama Hills, Mount Whitney, and Death Valley National Park.

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River Ridge Ranch -722 acres

12 sites · Lodging, Tents722 acres · Springville, Tulare
Swimming in North Fork Tule River, miles of hiking trails on ranch. River Ridge goes from 1,000' elev. to 3,000' elevation. Hike right on the ranch. We are between Sequoia National Park (about an hour) and the Giant Sequoia National Monument (16 miles to groves up Hwy 190 and no entrance fee). Choose from individual tent sites, group tent sites, tiny cabins or book the 5-acre Compound or the entire ranch. There are 33 giant sequoia groves in our Southern Region of the Giant Sequoia National Monument, some easily driven to, and some remote. Our ranch is a nature preserve and an education demonstration site, teaching sustainable and regenerative land use practices. River Ridge Institute, our non-profit, hosts a variety of events for the public. Please note: you are expected to leave the ranch and kitchen area as you found it, i.e., dishes washed thoroughly and dried and put away, recycling separated from trash, food scraps in compost buckets, sticky marshmallow removed from forks and surfaces (ick!). Thank you. Enjoy: The Kitchen has a cooktop, large fridge, microwave, full dishes and utensils and pots and pans with a big washing area in the back. Propane bbq.. There's a River Barn to use as a remote space and Turtle Cove for swimming (delightful in Summer 2023). Saturday morning Farmer's Market in downtown at 9 AM - Noon. Homesteaded in 1859, owned by the Negus family from 1909-2000. Barbara and I bought it to save it from subdivision and it's now protected by a Conservation Easement and acts as a community center for the arts, music, poetry, gatherings and outdoor education. We're both biologists, so, just ask us. Please see the Rules and Safety section to review our Waiver of Liability.
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Waterside camping near Lone Pine guide

In the heart of the Owens Valley, between the Sierra Nevada and Inyo mountain ranges, the town of Lone Pine is a great base for outdoor adventures and trout fishing. Other highlights include the scenic boulder fields of the Alabama Hills, a backdrop to so many Western movies, the Lone Pine Museum of Western Film, and the Manzanar National Historic Site. Campgrounds can be found around town, near Mount Whitney, along Highway 395, and in nearby national forests and parks.

Where to Go

Lone Pine and Whitney Portal

Just outside of town, Inyo National Forest features several campgrounds with sites for tents and RVs, some with hookups. Visitors looking to tackle Mount Whitney or the John Muir Trail to Yosemite flock to the Whitney Portal Campground. The Forest Service Lone Pine Campground and Bureau of Land Management-run Tuttle Creek Campgrounds are good alternate options for Mount Whitney hikers.

Inyo County, Inyo National Forest, and Sequoia National Forest

North of Lone Pine, county and Forest Service campgrounds can be found along Independence Creek, while backpackers often head further inland to the high altitude Onion Valley Campground in Inyo National Forest. More options exist further north outside the town of Big Pine, while other campgrounds are set up for backpackers heading into the John Muir Wilderness. Bishop offers amenities and several campgrounds, but plenty more can be found at higher elevations along Bishop Creek and Lake Sabrina. South of Lone Pine, find more than a dozen campgrounds around Lake Isabella and along the North Fork of the Kern River.

Death Valley National Park

Lone Pine acts as a gateway to Death Valley National Park, the largest in the continental US, and also its lowest, hottest, and driest point, with a dramatic landscape that varies from rolling sand dunes and massive salt flats to winding canyons and snow-capped mountains. The park offers nine established campgrounds at varying elevations with differing opening dates. The year-round Furnace Creek Campground is the most centrally located.

When to Go

Visitors flock here in early March, when trout season kicks off, around two months earlier than elsewhere in the Eastern Sierras. Summer is also a popular time for visitors looking to summit Mount Whitney, as the Mount Whitney Portal area is closed from mid-October to early May. Motorized boats are permitted on Diaz Lake from mid-May to mid October. Visit in spring and fall for bird watching on Owens Lake.

Know Before You Go

  • Permits are required to hike Mount Whitney. The lottery for permits opens on February 1 each year and closes on March 15. Day hiking and overnight permits are available. 
  • There’s a one-night limit for walk-in campsites at Whitney Portal.
  • Permits are also required to backpack the John Muir Wilderness and the Golden Trout Wilderness.
  • Be bear aware. Do not store any scented items in your tent or vehicle, and use bear-proof containers instead. 
  • Anglers 16 and older must have a fishing license. Be aware of different regulations for various rivers.

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