Guide to Camping in Sequoia & Kings National Park

Guide to Camping in Sequoia & Kings National Park

If you’ve ever dreamed of pitching a tent under groves of towering giant sequoias, then camping in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks is a must-do.

These two national parks offer one dozen campgrounds for you to stay at, each of which offers fantastic access to hiking and other outdoor recreation opportunities in the area.

Since Sequoia and Kings Canyon cover such a large area, there are campgrounds interspersed throughout the parks’ boundaries. But, with so many seasonal and year-round options to choose from, it can be hard to know which one is right for your needs.

To help you out, here’s some key information about the best 9 campgrounds in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.

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Campgrounds in Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks

Lodgepole Campground

  • Type : Tent / RV
  • Open : May 20 to October 20 (approximately)
  • Cost : $22 per night
  • Reservation : Yes

Situated in the heart of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, Lodgepole Campground is a popular, family-friendly option for tent and RV camping. It is located just a short drive away from the Giant Forest Grove, home to the General Sherman Tree, along the banks of the Kaweah River.

At the campground, there are 214 tent, RV, and trailer sites during the summer months. Between late May and late September, these sites are all reservable online. If you’re looking to camp in the late fall, there are only 16 tent sites, all of which are first-come, first-serve.

Lodgepole Campground is happy to accommodate RVs in the summer months, though the campground is tent-only in the fall. While there are no hookups at the campground, there is a dump station and a water station.

You can also use a portable generator in the morning and early evening at the campground. Alternatively, you can bring solar panels and a solar generator to provide all-day power to your devices.

Dorst Creek Campground

  • Type : Tent / RV
  • Open : June 15 to September 15 (approximately)
  • Cost : $22 to $60 per night
  • Reservation : Yes

Dorst Creek Campground is located in the north-central part of the parks, in between the Grant Grove to the north and the Lodgepole Visitor Center to the south. The campground’s location is an ideal basecamp for longer stays in the region as it allows good access to all the major areas of Sequoia and Kings Canyon.

Moreover, Dorst Creek has 218 individual sites which are available or tent or RV campers (no hookups available). A handful of these sites are also wheelchair accessible and an additional 4 sites are designated for use by large groups of 15 to 30 people.

From the campground, you can take the free Sequoia Shuttle to Giant Forest for quick access to some great hiking trails. Dorst Creek is also just a short drive from Wuksachi Lodge and Lodgepole Market, which have laundry, shower, and grocery facilities.

Potwisha Campground

  • Type : Tent / RV
  • Open : All Year
  • Cost : $22 per night
  • Reservation : Yes

Nestled along the western edge of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, Potwisha Campground is a great option for year-round camping in a tent or RV.

At Potwisha Campground, there are 42 campsites that are open all year long for visitors to enjoy. During the busy summer months all the sites are reservable, but in the winter, many are first-come, first-served.

That being said, the campground is quite hilly, and only 2 sites are wheelchair accessible. Therefore, some sites are difficult to access for people with limited mobility.

The campground allows daytime generator use, but there are almost always fire restrictions in effect during the summer months. Therefore, a camping stove is a must-have for cooking meals when open fires aren’t allowed due to the hot, dry weather conditions.

Buckeye Flat Campground

  • Type : Tent
  • Open : All Year
  • Cost : $22 per night
  • Reservation : Yes

Buckeye Flat Campground is a year-round camping solution for visitors to Sequoia and Kings Canyon. Its location on the western edge of the park in the foothills of the Sierra means that it’s usually snow-free all year long.

Although campgrounds in the foothills are often very hot in the summer, Buckeye Flat’s 27 reservable tent campsites are mostly shaded by a sizable stand of live oaks. The campground is located along the banks of the Middle Fork of the Kaweah River and offers food storage lockers, camp tables, fire pits, drinking water, and flush toilets for campers.

Near the campground is the Marble Falls Trailhead, which offers excellent hiking opportunities. It is also within a 45-minute drive of most of the park’s southernmost trailheads, including the Giant Forest.

Stony Creek Campgrounds

  • Type : Tent / RV
  • Open : May 20 to September 20 (approximately)
  • Cost : $25 to $62 per night
  • Reservation : Yes – Lower, Yes – Upper

Although they are technically located on Sequoia National Forest land, the Stony Creek Campgrounds are two convenient places to stay if you need a central location to basecamp during your trip to Sequoia and Kings Canyon.

These two campgrounds are located right across the road from each other and they offer summertime camping opportunities for visitors. Stony Creek (lower) offers approximately 50 reservable campsites while Upper Stony Creek has 11 reservable sites.

Within both campgrounds, you can expect vault toilets, picnic tables, and drinking water. There are a handful of walk-in, tent-only, and group campsites, too.

The Stony Creek Campgrounds are also just a short drive to both the Grant Grove area and the General Sherman Tree in Sequoia National Park.

Big Meadows Campground

  • Type : Tent / RV
  • Open : June 15 – September 25 (approximately)
  • Cost : $25 to $54 per night
  • Reservation : Yes

Tucked off to the east of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, the Big Meadows Campground is located in the northern part of Sequoia National Forest. It is a highly popular option for people looking to visit both of the national parks, as well as the Jennie Lakes Wilderness in Sequoia National Forest.

The campground has 43 single campsites, plus 1 double-sized family campsite, all of which are reservable during the summer months. At each site, there is a campfire ring, a food storage box, and a picnic table.

While there are vault toilets in the campground, there is no potable water, so packing plenty of water bottles, as well as water treatment systems is a must for all visitors.

South Fork Campground

  • Type : Tent
  • Open : All Year
  • Cost : $6 per night
  • Reservation : No

For some peace, quiet, and seclusion during your trip to Sequoia and Kings Canyon, the South Fork Campground is a solid choice. This remote and quiet campground is in the foothills of the Sierra along the South Fork of the Kaweah River.

Getting to the campground can be challenging as the dirt road is rough and requires a high clearance vehicle. Once at South Fork, all 10 of the primitive tent-only sites are available first-come, first-serve.

There is no potable water at the campground, so visitors should be prepared with their own. Additionally, South Fork’s location in the southwestern portion of the park puts it in close proximity to the Ladybug Trailhead and the Garfield Grove, which both offer good hiking opportunities.

Cold Springs Campground

  • Type : Tent
  • Open : May 20 to October 20 (approximately)
  • Cost : $12 per night
  • Reservation : No

Located in the Mineral King area in the eastern portion of Sequoia and Kings Canyon, the Cold Springs Campground is a summertime destination for people looking to explore the more remote sections of the parks.

This campground is open during the summer months for tent camping at its 40 first-come, first-served campsites. While 31 of the sites have parking spots, 9 are walk-in only so a short walk of about 100 to 200 yards is required to access these camping areas.

Within Cold Springs, there is potable water available through mid-October as well as vault toilets. Trailheads are just a short distance away at Atwell Mill while supplies and showers are available at the privately-owned Silver City Resort some 2.5 miles down the road.

Atwell Mill Campground

  • Type : Tent
  • Open : May 15 to October 20 (approximately)
  • Cost : $12 per night
  • Reservation : No

The second of two campgrounds in the Mineral King area, Atwell Mill is located at the site of a once-logged grove of giant sequoia trees. This small tent-only campground is only a short drive from the slightly larger Cold Springs Campground, but it offers many of the same amenities.

At Atwell Mill, there are 21 first-come, first-served tent sites, including one that is designated as an accessible site. Each site has a picnic table, grill, fire pit, and food storage box and all sites are within walking distance of potable water.

From the campground, the trails at the East Fork Grove of giant sequoias are easily accessible. However, marmots are very active in the area and have a penchant for chewing through car wiring and hosings, so visitors should cover the underside of their car with a tarp when at camp.

Camping Tips for Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks

A camping trip to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park is sure to be one to remember.

Here are some top tips for making the most of your stay.

  1. Check the weather. Although some of the campgrounds on our list are located in the foothills of the Sierra, most of the park’s campgrounds are in the mountains. Snow can happen at any time and can blanket the roads, making some campgrounds inaccessible. If visiting the parks in the spring or fall, tire chains and a knowledge of how to use them are essential.
  2. Be prepared for the drive. Most of the campgrounds in Sequoia and Kings Canyon are located along very windy roads that can be challenging if you’re driving a long vehicle. Anyone with a vehicle over 22’ is encouraged to enter the parks at Kings Canyon along Highway 180. Meanwhile, much of the Generals Highway and all of Mineral King Road are difficult to navigate. So, campers with large vehicles should choose their campgrounds wisely to avoid these tricky highway sections.
  3. Book early. Summer is very popular in Sequoia and Kings Canyon, especially during June and July. If you’re going to visit the parks during the summer, book reservable sites as soon as your preferred campground is available – usually 5 to 6 months ahead of time to avoid disappointment. While there are many first-come, first-serve sites, these can be hard to secure on busy summer weekends if you don’t arrive early in the morning.
  4. Be fire aware. The High Sierra is especially prone to wildfires during the summer months, so visitors should keep an eye on nearby wildfires before and during their stay. Although this is more of a concern for August and September camping, fire closures and evacuations can happen at any point during the summer and fall. So, check-in with the rangers at any of the park’s visitors centers for more information throughout your trip.
  5. Use the bear-proof containers. When staying at any of Sequoia and Kings Canyon’s campgrounds, you’re required to use the bear-proof containers located at each campsite. Habituated bears are a known problem in the area, so all food, toiletries, and other scented items need to be properly stored to prevent bears from getting into your food.

Gaby Pilson

Gaby is a professional mountain guide with a master’s degree in outdoor education. She works primarily in the polar regions as an expedition guide, though she can be found hiking, climbing, skiing, sailing, or paddling in some of the world’s most amazing places when not at work.