Don’t waste your day sitting on a musty floral couch with your uncle who swears he partied with the Grateful Dead; instead, gear yourself up for high elevation times in the wilderness by adventuring to one of these, ahem, dope campsites across California! Pack up your gear because the best green goodness is outside, waiting to be explored.
Image via Kārlis Dambrāns on Flickr
1. Grandview Campground Elevation: 8,600 ft.
Grandview Campground is a perfect high in the sky campground with grand views for those who want to chill in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest. Hug yourself a tree or two, there’s plenty of hiking and killer spots to hang your hammock for a cat nap and campsites on the backside of the mountain are a tad windier but the views are worthy, man! Bring your munchies and kick back around the fire.
Image via Hipcamper, Alyx Schwarz
2. Whitney Portal Family Campground Elevation: 8,000 ft.
John Muir often liked to head out into the wilderness oh a whim; explore some of his favorite contemplative spots from Whitney Portal Family Campground this holiday. You’ll have quick jaunts to the John Muir Wilderness, Kings Canyon National Park, and the trailhead to Mt Whitney is so close, you’ll be supa-high on the tallest peak in the US in no time. Right in camp is killer trout fishing, picnicking, views of surrounding peaks and plenty of first-come, first-serve sites for you last minute planners
Image via Hipcamper, Ezekiel Gonzalez
3. Tuolumne Meadows Campground Elevation: 8,600 ft.
If you’ve got a group of bud-dies who are interested in reaching new heights and cooking mad hot dogs with you, pop over to Yosemite National Park for a stay at Tuolumne Meadows Campground. This place is rad because you’re not only able to explore the best of Yosemite (Elizabeth Lake, Half Dome, and Unicorn Peak. Maybe even a double rainbow at one of the waterfalls), but with a plethora of campsites, you’re sure to make new friends along the way. The Tuolumne Meadow is the epitome of the High Sierras, a bowl that will be “packed” with wildflowers, climbing, fishing and lots of incredible space for memories and laughter amongst you and your pals.
4. Horseshoe Meadows Campground Elevation: 10,560 ft.
Horseshoe Meadows Campground has the highest elevation on our list and is a perfect one-night-spot for those wanting experience what it truly means to be “high in the Sierras.” At almost 11,000 ft these walk-in sites are gateways to the Golden Trout Wilderness, Kings Canyon and as if you could get ANY higher, the trailhead for Mt. Langley starts steps from your tent. Just be sure to use the food storage lockers, we don’t need Yogi eating your brownie stash, but you’re sure to be stoked on the killer views of the meadow and surrounding Inyo National Forest while you roast up some tasty treats fireside. Horseshoe Meadows is the perfect up top spot for you to explore. Have you been to Horseshoe Meadows Campground? Be a trailblazer, and upload the first photo!
5. Rock Creek Lake Campground Elevation: 9,600 ft.
Sparkling blue lake, lodgepole pines, the John Muir Wilderness, horseback riding and campsite chillaxin at almost 10,000 feet? Yes, please! Groups, RVs, and those walking walk-in sites along the crystal clear shores will all find a supa-lush accommodations and the nearby town of Mammoth Lakes can cover your cold brew and dinner needs. The trout fishing is as perfect as the Sierra views; Tamarack Trail is the day time challenging trail you’ve been dreaming of and you’ll be rewarded with pristine high alpine lakes! There’s honestly no need to be dazed and confused when you could be out at Rock Creek Lake clearing your head and adventuring your butt off, so c’mon now. Have you been to Rock Creek Lake Campground? Be a trailblazer, and upload the first photo!
Now that you’ve got the low-down on the best “up top” California campsites, it’s time to go out and get high on adventure time! Pack up the tent, give your uncle a snack on the way out the door and head up the mountain. We know there are tons of other amazing places to get high at across the United States, so let us know other top high-elevation campgrounds we should add to this list!
Roxanne Hallisey is a Pittsburgh native and Colorado semi-native, and life connoisseur. Her wanderlust has led her on amazing adventures; chasing sunrises, moments of awe, and lusting over Alpenglow. A writer, Reiki practitioner and meditation fiend, when she isn’t adventuring with her husband she can found snuggling her kitties, practicing yoga or dancing to her own drummer at music festivals. Follow her adventures on Instagram.
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