Nicest campground near Bishop?


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San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Jun 27, 2013 - 04:16pm PT
We're planning to head up and spend some time on the east side and want to find a nice campground to stay at. Nice defined as: scenic and quiet (avoiding the masses of RV gennies), car campable, toilets (basic pit fine). Cheap is nice, but meeting the other requirements is more important.

We'll climb some at ORG if it's not too hot. Otherwise, we'll be up a little higher to try and stay cool (Cardinal Pinnacle and the like). We'd also like to spend a little time swimming/relaxing, so any great spots for that would be appreciated, too!

Not overly familiar with the eastside (mostly just hit and run to the hulk and dinners at whoah nellie), so any other suggestions are very welcome.

Trad climber
Millbrae, CA
Jun 27, 2013 - 04:35pm PT
Closest to Bishop, there a whole string of them (forest service campgrounds) on 168, all the way up to Lake Sabrina, but I've never stayed that far south.

I'm more familiar with the ones all along Rock Creek Road. They are all along the creek and although they do allow RVs, they are pretty quite because of the creek noise. Convenience is all the amazing climbing along Rock Creek Road itself, if the Gorge is too hot, Tom's place at the base of the road if you've forgotten a supply, and the Rock Creek Resort for pie. The Lake itself is gorgeous, although I've never swum in there. People mostly fish it. But it's big - I'm sure you could find a place to swim there.

Close to town, my favorite camping is at Horton Creek. So cheap! BLM so $5 per night. And gorgeous views. But my guess is that it would too hot to camp there by now...

30 mins. from suicide USA
Jun 27, 2013 - 04:38pm PT
Sabrina campground is what youre looking for...14$ a night and there is climbing and fishing at your disposal...20 mins above bishop.

Santa Monica, CA
Jun 27, 2013 - 04:58pm PT
Horton Creek if you don't mind the heat during the day and/or have sunshades. $5 night. Quiet and the spots aren't on top of each other. You can dip in the creek if the cold water doesn't bother you. Great views. Spots have picnic tables and firepits. New pit toilets that are kept clean (hooray). Unless you go at the crack of dawn, the Gorge is going to be hotter than Hell this time of year, even in the shade.

Otherwise I'd go to one of the campgrounds in Rock Creek canyon. There will be mosquitoes up there but it's higher and will be cooler. Very pretty. More expensive but may be worth it. Indoor flush bathrooms at French Camp. Great hiking all around up there too in addition to the climbing. Some (harder) bouldering below the crag along the creek.

Rock Creek campgrounds probably will be more crowded but French Camp, for example, has decent sized spots, trees and there's a creek running through thar too.

I think Convict Lake has a campground - anyone?

You can look at the locations for these places on the BLM and Forest Service websites.


Trad climber
Jun 27, 2013 - 05:02pm PT
Convict Lake has a campground. You can reserve spots on reserveamerica. On the other side of 395 in that same area that you turn off left to to Convict, you can turn right at the green church and camp out around Benton Crags (BLM Land).

At this point (Convict), you're more in Mammoth than Bishop...


Sport climber
Almost to Hollywood, Baby!
Jun 27, 2013 - 06:47pm PT
If you give up the need for pre-made toilets and running water and picnic tables, there are thousands of free spots that are absolutely wonderful.

If you want to pay for running water and flushy toilets, you can't go wrong with most of the USFS places:

More info about legal "disbursed" camping:

San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 27, 2013 - 06:50pm PT
This trip is with the wife who is vastly happier with toilets. I long since learned not to argue with such things.

Any other recommendations for must hits with relatively mild (under an hour) approaches which won't be insanely hot? Moderate(ish) trad preferred, but not adverse to some bolt clipping, too.

Sport climber
Almost to Hollywood, Baby!
Jun 27, 2013 - 07:04pm PT
there is a book for hotsprings on the east side of the sierras. That makes for good non-climber-day explorations and relaxation.


Santa Monica, CA
Jun 27, 2013 - 07:14pm PT
Pine Creek and Rock Creek both have sport and some trad. You will need the Bishop Area Climbs guide book (newest edition) for Pine Creek. I think the Rock Creek crags are in the Mammoth guide (somebody)? If you'd like to buy the book(s) Wilson's in Bishop usually has them.

If you feel like hiking, as I mentioned above there are a lot of trail heads out of Rock Creek (along the road and at the end of the road) that lead to great short and longer hikes and beautiful little lakes worth jumping into. Remember the bug spray's called "Mosquito Flat" for a reason. There are great hikes out of Lake Sabrina, North and South Lake outside of Bishop too.

Big heat wave coming starting tomorrow - you didn't say when you were going but FYI.

Post up a trip report after!

Trad climber
Pebble Wrestling.... Badly lately.
Jun 27, 2013 - 07:19pm PT
A. Swimming and soaking at Hot Creek is now banned.

B. Rock Creek climbs (the Gong Show) are in the Mammoth book. Lots of nice climbing around Mammoth that isn't hot like Bishop this time of year.

Trad climber
Jun 27, 2013 - 09:53pm PT
I can't think of any in the area where you can get away from RV gennies (my peeve as well). At rock creek lake there are walk in sites that offer some relief (distance and the creek for white noise). Head up to the last parking lot. Better to reserve in advance or you could end up screwed.

Go to the Inyo national forest web site to check out where there are campgrounds that have first come, first serve sites.

edit: convict lake has a campground but it is an RV mecca.
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Jun 27, 2013 - 11:40pm PT
How about Big Springs? It's just north of Mammoth. Otherwise Rock Creek and Bishop Creek have a lot of options.

Big Springs is close to Clarks.

Trad climber
SoCal Hodad, surfing the galactic plane
Jun 28, 2013 - 12:07am PT
kinda hot this time of year, if i correctly recall. i framed, joisted and stacked houses all summer there once (Bishop/Big Pine). i recall it hitting 116 (Big Pine) one day. i use to go up to the Milks every night where it was a little cooler. had them all to myself, lol! but i did get heat stroke one day at work. the one and only time in my life. i took off for rock creek and made it to the little dirt parking lot and within a few feet of the creek that i was going to jump into. i opened my door and then blacked out. i woke up around nightfall (about 6 hours later) and was hanging, by my seat belt, outside my open car door.
Dapper Dan

Trad climber
Menlo Park
Jun 28, 2013 - 12:12am PT
Credit: Dapper Dan

This spot is nice , you might want a 4x4 to get there .
looks easy from here

Ben Lomond, CA
Jun 28, 2013 - 12:15am PT
Shoulda gone last weekend. I went climbing in Owens River Gorge for three days, the weather was perfect (well, maybe a bit too hot on some of the SW facing climbs Saturday afternoon) and there was no one else there. We saw only one other group of climbers each day, and even that was just in passing.

The cute one is Mrs. l.e.f.h. &#40;I'll let you figure out which one t...
The cute one is Mrs. l.e.f.h. (I'll let you figure out which one that is).
Credit: looks easy from here

Social climber
Greensboro, North Carolina
Jun 28, 2013 - 12:18am PT
The place you are looking for this time of year is up Pine Creek Canyon right across the road from the Pratt's Crack climbing area. A short drive to ORG, running mountain creek right there. Clean, quiet, cool, beautiful, and about 20 mins drive into Bishop. Bring a puffy jacket and hat for the evenings.
Johnny K.

Jun 28, 2013 - 12:35am PT
Rock creek and Pine creek are top notch.Keep an eye out for bears in broad daylight visiting the campgrounds,they aren't one bit shy.

Taken from Credit:Sibylle

Jun 28, 2013 - 02:24am PT
I stayed at East Fork in Upper Rock Creek last weekend. Second time I stayed there. Very nice for the family. Saw no bears, but I didn't leave my food out either. No bugs either. Creek runs right next to camp. Best sites are non-reservable and in the upper numbers (50+). YMMV.

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
Jun 28, 2013 - 02:28am PT
Clark Canyon

Camp at June Lake campgrounds. Lake to chill by and decent potties. Neaby town to visit. Great cragging at a cooler temp than org.
The Wedge

Boulder climber
Santa Rosa & Bishop, CA
Jun 28, 2013 - 02:46am PT
Rock creek drainage.
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