Camping In Sequoia And Kings Canyon National Park

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Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park are both located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of central California. These two parks sit adjacent to each other and you can easily travel back and forth between them in a single afternoon.

When you arrive, you’ll enjoy a range of temperatures from warm foothills at the base of the mountain to snowy alpine peaks as you rise in elevation. Towering trees, granite canyon walls, and raging rivers are just a few of the things you can experience at these parks.

There are fourteen campgrounds in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park with just over 1,000 available campsites for tents, RV campers, and groups. All of the campsites come equipped with toilets, fire rings, picnic tables, and trash collection. There are also free campsites and overflow campgrounds in the surrounding area which we’ll cover in this article.

At A Glance: The Best Campgrounds In Sequoia And Kings Canyon

  • First-come, first-served: Azalea, Sheep Creek, Moraine, Atwell Mill, Cold Springs, and South Fork
  • Best for RV camping: Lodgepole, Dorst Creek, and Potwisha
  • Best for group camping: Canyon View and Crystal Springs
  • Most secluded campsites: South Fork, Atwell Mill, Cold Springs

camping in sequoia and kings canyon national park

Campgrounds By Location

The campgrounds at Sequoia and Kings canyon are grouped by location. Each area has vastly different environmental conditions so you can have different experiences depending on where you stay.

  • Lodgepole Area Campgrounds are in a central location with quick access to Lodgepole Village, the Giant Forest, Grant Grove, and Cedar Grove. They are the largest campgrounds in Sequoia and located on a free shuttle stop that you can use to get to other areas of the park.
  • Grant Grove Campgrounds are near the big stump entrance so they’re easy to get to. These campsites are nearby Grant Grove Village and the General Grant Tree. Numerous hiking trails surround the campsites and the largest campground is first-come, first-serve only which makes it perfect for last-minute trips.
  • Cedar Grove Campgrounds are some of the quietest. These are located close to the high sierra wilderness and nearby hiking with picturesque views of King’s Canyon.
  • Mineral King Campsites are the highest in elevation and allow tent camping only. The temperatures are cooler and they are the most secluded in the park.
  • Foothills Campgrounds are the lowest elevation and therefore warmer and drier. They are also subject to fire bans in the summer. The vegetation ate foothills more diverse and you’re most likely to see wildlife in this area.

*Seasonal Closures: Due to the weather and high elevation, camping seasons are unpredictable in Sequoia and King’s Canyon. The National Park Service tries to keep campgrounds open as long as possible, but snowfall means that the opening and closing dates vary on a season-by-season basis.

The first campgrounds will begin to open as early as May. The last campgrounds to close can stay open until mid-November. If you plan to camp on the fringe months it’s important to check if camping is allowed before planning your trip around it.

Seasonal road closures are another thing to be aware of. Tire chains are required in the winter months.

Reservations: All of the campgrounds are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. During the peak season (June, July, August) it’s recommended that you make reservations at Lodgepole, Dorst Creek, Sunset, Sentinel, Potwisha, and Buckeye Flat. You can reserve a site through recreation.gov

Water and Bathrooms: Flush toilets are available at all of the campgrounds except for Atwell Mill, Cold Springs, and South Fork which have vault toilets. None of the campgrounds have showers, but you can easily access paid showers from the Lodgepole and Grant Grove Campgrounds.

South Fork is the only campground without potable water.

RV Camping: Sequoia and King’s Canyon are generally friendly towards RV campers. Most sites are big enough to accommodate campers up to 35 feet although there are a few sections of the park that would be difficult to access with vehicles over 22 feet long. Generators are allowed during the day.

  • There are no electric hookups in King’s Canyon or Sequoia National Park.
  • Dump stations are located at Lodgepole, Dorst Creek, and Potwisha campgrounds.
  • You should not drive an RV longer than 24 feet to Potwisha Campground.
  • Campgrounds in the Mineral King area are tent camping only.

Cell Phone Service: None of the campgrounds in Sequoia or King’s Canyon have reliable phone service.

Pets: Leashed pets are allowed in all of the campgrounds but they are not allowed on any of the trails so it’s best to leave them at home or find a dog sitter nearby. If you do want to take your dog for a walk, the Giant Sequoia National Monument is pet-friendly.

Campgrounds In Sequoia And Kings Canyon National Park

general sherman tree near lodgepole campground in sequoia national park
General Sherman Tree near Lodgepole

Lodgepole Area Campgrounds

There are two campgrounds in the Lodgepole area of Sequoia National Park: Lodgepole campground and Dorst Creek campground. Both of these are in a central location with easy access to Lodgepole Village, the Giant Forest, Grant Grove, and Cedar Grove. 

Lodgepole Campground

One of the most popular campgrounds at Sequoia National Park is Lodgepole. It’s located a short, quarter-mile walk from Lodgepole Village which has a gift shop, market, deli, post office, and coin-operated showers and laundry machines. This is an ideal location for campers who want to be within close proximity to modern conveniences.

This campground has 214 tent and RV campsites with potable water and flush toilets; but there is no electricity, dump stations or reliable phone service available.

Lodgepole rests at 6,700 feet elevation so the nights are cool during summer. If you want to see some of the more popular sections of the park, Giant Forest Grove and the General Sherman Tree (the world’s largest tree by volume) are less than 2 miles away. This campground is also within walking distance of miles of hiking trails; Moro Rock and Tokopah Falls trail are some of the most popular.

The campground is a stopping point for the free Sequoia Shuttle which makes stops at the Giant Forest Museum, Wuksachi Lodge and Restuarant, and a few hiking trailheads.

Dorst Creek Campground

Dorst Creek Camground is nestled between Grant Grove and The Giant Forest placing it in an ideal location to visit both Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park. This campground is 9 miles from Lodgepole Village and a stopping point for the free Sequoia Shuttle which can take you to the most famous areas of the park.

A river runs through the Dorst Creek Campground which is a popular spot for fly-fishing. There are also trails that lead to smaller swimming holes from the campground. The Muir Grove trailhead starts at Dorst Creek and ends with a dense and massive grove of Sequoia trees.

Although there’s no electricity at Dorst Creek, there is an RV dump station, flush toilets, and potable water. There is no cell phone service so it’s a good place to enjoy nature without distractions.

hiking through grant grove in king's canyon national park

Grant Grove Campgrounds

There are three campgrounds in the Grant Grove Area: Azalea, Crystal Springs, and Sunset. These campgrounds are located near the entrance of King’s Canyon National Park. Sitting at 6,500 feet you can experience snowy winters and mild summers. Within walking distance, you can get to the Grant Grove Village, Market, Restaurant and gift shops, and the John Muir Lodge.

General Grant Sequoia Grove is a must-see attraction if you stay here. 

Azalea Campground

Azalea Campground is a convenient place to spend the night year-round. All of the campsites are first-come, first-served and can accommodate both tents and RV motorhomes. In the winter months, you can expect deep snow; so bring a shovel! 

Azalea sits at 6,500 feet elevation and is surrounded by tall evergreen trees. It’s also within walking distance of Grant Grove Village, and the General Grant Sequoia Grove. You can find meadows, waterfalls, and tall vistas that make for great photography of the high Sierra nearby.

  • Open year-round
  • All campsites are first-come, first-served
  • 110 tent and RV campsites starting at $18
  • Flush toilets
  • Potable water

Crystal Springs Campground

Crystal Springs is a smaller campground with only 36 individual sites for tents and RV campers. There are two bathrooms with flush toilets but no dump station or electric hookups nearby. Though the campsites sit close together, you’ll be surrounded by giant evergreen trees that make a cool backdrop against the night sky.

This is a good place to go if you’re traveling with friends because there are 14 campsites large enough for groups of 7-15 people. At the campground, you’ll be within short walking distance of Grant Grove Village and many trailheads that wind through groves of Sequoia trees.

  • Typically open May-September
  • First-come, first-served
  • Reservations recommended during peak season
  • 36 tent and RV campsites starting at $18
  • 14 mid-sized group campsites
  • Flush toilets
  • Potable water

Sunset Campground

The largest and most popular campground in the Grant Grove area is Sunset. It’s right down the street from Grant Grove Village so you’ll have easy access to the market, restaurant, and other amenities. Though the campsites are first-come, first-served reservations are recommended during the peak summer months.

Surrounding the campsites you’ll find a mix of large sequoia trees, evergreens, fir, sugar pines, and cedar trees. As the name suggests, a beautiful sunset view can be seen from the back of the campground on clear nights. If you plan to stay at Sunset Campground, don’t forget to hike to the General Grant Tree which is only 1 mile away. Ella Falls is a 50ft. waterfall that is also close by. 

  • Typically open May-September
  • All campsites are first-come, first-served
  • Reservations recommended during peak season
  • 157 tent and RV campsites starting at $22
  • 2 large group campsites
  • Flush toilets
  • Potable water
hiking from campgrounds at cedar grove in kings canyon national park
Hiking trail along King’s Canyon

Cedar Grove Campgrounds

There are four campgrounds in Cedar Grove at King’s Canyon National Park: Sentinel, Sheep Creek, Moraine, and Canyon View. These are located at the end of Highway 180 in a quieter section of the park. Cedar Grove is at 4,000 feet elevation so you’ll experience warmer temperatures and year-round camping at some of the sites. Paved, wide roads make all of these campgrounds are easy to access in a larger RV.

If you enjoy hiking, these campsites have great access to the high sierra wilderness. You’ll also have close-up views of King’s Canyon which is one of the deepest canyons in America. Waterfalls and meadows are within walking distance.

Sentinel Campground

Sentinel Campground is located a short, 1/4 mile walk from Cedar Grove Village. It’s the closest campground in Cedar Grove to the convenience store, gift shop, hotel, showers, and laundry facilities. Sentinel is a good place to camp if you want to be in the middle of everything. There are endless hiking trails surrounding the area in addition to modern conveniences.

The campground itself is dotted with large ponderosa pine and cedar trees. Even though there are no hookups or dump stations, larger RVs can easily reach this area.

  • Typically open May-November
  • Reservations recommended during peak season
  • 82 tent and RV campsites starting at $22
  • Flush toilets
  • Potable water

Sheep Creek Campground

Sheep Creek is a large, first-come, first-served campground with no reservations available. This makes it an ideal spot for last-minute travelers–although you’ll want to arrive early if you’re coming on a weekend or during peak season. Sheep Creek is a quiet campground located at the junction of the Sheep Creek and South Fork King’s River.

Like the other campsites in Cedar Grove, you’ll find modern conveniences such as a gift shop, showers, and laundry facilities within walking distance. A 1/4 mile bike path leads to Cedar Grove Village straight from the campground. Sheep Creek is surrounded by tall trees, convenient hiking trails, meadows, and waterfalls. Mist Falls and the Cedar Grove Overlook are some of the more popular locations nearby.

  • Typically open July-September
  • First-come, first-served
  • 111 tent and RV campsites starting at $18
  • Flush toilets
  • Potable water
hiking to grizzly falls in kings canyon national park
Grizzly Falls near Cedar Grove

Moraine Campground

Moraine is the largest campground in the Cedar Grove area and the furthest from Cedar Village (3/4 mile). Out of all the Cedar Grove campsites, Moraine has the best view of King’s Canyon and the steep granite cliffs surrounding it. All of the campsites are first-come, first-served so you have a good chance of grabbing a spot if you arrive early or during the off-season.

Moraine is another quiet campground surrounded by tall cedar and ponderosa pine trees. Here, you’ll have some of the best access to wilderness hiking trails and views of the river below.

  • Typically open July-September
  • First-come, first-served
  • 121 tent and RV campsites starting at $18
  • Flush toilets
  • Potable water

Canyon View Campground

Canyon View is a small campground designed for groups only. The campsites here can accommodate anywhere from 7-30 people so it’s a great place to stay if you want to experience King’s Canyon with some friends. Located just 1/4 mile walk from Cedar Grove Village you’ll have easy access to shower and laundry facilities, a convenience store and gift shop.

These are all tent sites with no room for RVs or trailers. Canyon View is surrounded by tall trees and close to miles of hiking trails and beautiful views of the meadows, waterfalls, and King’s Canyon.

  • Typically open May-September, reservations required
  • 12 mid-size group campsites (7-15 people) starting at $40
  • 4 large group campsites (15-30 people)
  • Tent camping only
  • Flush toilets
  • Potable water
Camping in the Mineral King area along the great western divide in sequoia national park
Camping in the Mineral King area

Mineral King

There are two campgrounds in the Mineral King area: Atwell Mill, and Cold Springs. The Mineral King campsites are the most secluded in Sequoia National Park. Located at 7,500 feet elevation the only way to reach these sites is to drive up a winding mountain road which is not recommended for RV or trailers.

Because of the high elevation, Atwell Mill and Cold Springs are only open during the summer months. The rest of the year they are covered in deep snow. These sites are both tent camping only.

Atwell Mill Campground

With just 21 tent camping sites, Atwell Mill is one of the smallest campgrounds in Sequoia; it’s also one of the most primitive. The closest amenities with showers and a small gift shop are at the Silver City Resort 1.7 miles up the road. There is no cell phone service or gasoline nearby so you’ll need to plan accordingly.

Despite the lack of amenities, Atwell Mill is a great place to stay because you can really get away from the crowds. The Paradise Ridge and Atwell/Hocket Trailheads begin next to the campground making it a good starting point to hike along some of the highest peaks in the area. You can also quickly access the East Fork Grove of Giant Sequoia trees from Atwell Mill.

  • Typically open July-October
  • First-come, first-served
  • 12 tent campsites starting at $12
  • Vault toilets
  • Potable water

Cold Springs Campground

Because of its location (1.5 hours from the main entrance of Sequoia National Park), Cold Springs Campground is one of the most remote. With a mix of tent camping and walk-in tent sites this is a good place to stay if you’re looking to wake up early and head out on one of the numerous trails nearby.

Sawtooth, Farewell Gap, Eagle, and the Tar Gap trailheads are all close to the campsites and will lead you through some incredible aspen and evergreen trees. The high elevation at Cold Springs keeps the temperatures cool year-round and brings in deep snow during the winter.

  • Typically open July-October
  • First-come, first-served
  • 31 tent campsites, 9 walk-in tent sites starting at $12
  • Vault toilets
  • Potable water
Tunnel Log near campgrounds in the Foothills in Sequoia National Park
Tunnel Log near the Foothills in Sequoia National Park

Foothills

There are three campgrounds in the foothills area of Sequoia National Park: Potwisha, Buckeye Flat, and South Fork. As the name implies, the foothills area is the lowest elevation in the park–just 2,500 feet. Hot and dry summer months means you’re likely to run into fires bans in this area. Winters are cool and wet, you can expect a light dusting of snow.

Buckeye Flat and South Fork are open to tent camping only, while Potwisha welcomes RV campers that are 24 feet or shorter.

Potwisha Campground

Potwisha Campground is open year-round for tent and RV campers. Although there is a dump station, it’s not recommended that you drive a camper longer than 24 feet between Potwisha and the Foothills Visitor Center.

The foothills area is a great place to try and spot wildlife including black bears, mule deer, and bobcats. There is more biological diversity here than higher in the sierras and the campground is surrounded by oak trees and conifer forests. Adjacent to the campground is the trailhead to Marble Falls.

  • Open year-round
  • Reservations recommended during peak season
  • 42 tent and RV campsites starting at $22
  • Flush toilets
  • Potable water
  • Dump station

Buckeye Flat Campground

Buckeye Flat Campground is small; with 28 tent camping sites, flush toilets, and a water spigot. This is a quiet, secluded area surrounded by large Oak trees. The Paradise Creek Trail starts here and it’s also the closest campground to the Middle Fork trailhead.

Buckey Flat is only at 2,800 feet elevation so it’s warmer than many of the other campgrounds in the park. That also means it can suffer from fire bans in the summer. Nonetheless, you can find a variety of wildlife and biological diversity here compared to higher in the mountains.

  • Typically open March-October
  • Reservations recommended during peak season
  • 28 tent campsites starting at $22
  • Flush toilets
  • Potable water

South Fork Campground

The smallest campground in the Sequoia and Kings Canyon area is South Fork. It consists of 10 primitive tent camping sites. There’s no drinking water here so you’ll have to bring your own, but these are the most private campsites in the park.

From South Fork, you can easily access the Ladybug and Garfield Sequoia Grove trails; both of which are multi-mile uphill climbs. You’ll be rewarded with oak and evergreen forests and will hopefully come across some wildlife as well. South Fork can get hot in the summer months, but the winters rarely see snow. Because of the dry conditions, the campground may be subject to fire restrictions.

  • Open year-round
  • First-come, first-serve
  • 10 tent campsites starting at $6
  • Vault toilets

Camping and hiking in kings canyon and sequoia national park, california

Camping Near Sequoia And Kings Canyon

Campgrounds at Sequoia and Kings Canyon are popular and can fill up fast; especially in the peak summer months. Luckily, there are hundreds of nearby camping locations just outside the park that are both paid and free.

Not only is this a good way to save some money, but if you’re traveling with pets there are significantly fewer restrictions to abide by. The Giant Sequoia National Monument surrounds the National Parks and is maintained by the US Forest Service (USFS). There are three main districts that encompass almost 50 campgrounds.

Most of these campsites are basic with vault toilets, fire rings, and potable water. Princess Campground at Hume Lake has a dump station that can be used by anyone in the area. This is also a good location for anyone camping at Grant Grove or Cedar Grove to dump their wastewater tanks.

Discounted Campsites

If you’re an RV camper that wants all of the hookups: electricity, internet service, dump stations and more; consider camping at one of the private campgrounds in the area. We recommend getting a discounted camping membership if you plan to go camping for more than one week out of the year in any location.

Discount camping clubs cost a small yearly fee to join and allows you to save up to 50% on participating campgrounds. Our favorite membership clubs to join are:

Free Camping In The Sequoia National Forest

Free, dispersed camping is allowed in many areas of the Sequoia National Forest and Giant Sequoia National Monument outside of King’s Canyon and Sequoia National Park.

Dispersed camping means there is no potable water, toilets, or trash service. You need to follow leave no trace principles and pack out everything that is brought in. A free campfire permit is required. You can pick them up at one of the many ranger stations in the area.

Dispersed camping areas outside in the Sequoia National Forest:

Four Guardsman Trees in Sequoia National Park

When Is The Best Time To Go Camping?

Mountainous terrain leaves most campgrounds surrounding Kings Canyon and Sequoia in deep snow throughout the winter. High elevation means the camping season can be short and roads can require tire chains sooner than expected.

The best time of year to go camping in these parks are June, July, and August. Of course, that also means the campgrounds are the most crowded during this season. We recommend road tripping a little earlier in the spring if you want to avoid the crowds.

Campsites in the Foothills are at a much lower elevation so they get hot in the summer, but that also makes them a great place to go camping in the fall and winter.

That’s A Wrap!

Sequoia and King’s Canyon are incredibly unique parks with large temperature fluctuations as you journey up the mountains and a variety of wildlife and biodiversity. Hiking and photographing the giant sequoia trees, evergreens, large oaks, and cedars are can’t miss opportunities.

Camping in the parks or nearby is one of the best ways to experience the area.

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