sequoia national park camping

Sequoia National Park Camping: A Guide to the Best Campgrounds in and Around the Park

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Tucked in the mountains of Tulare County, California, Sequoia National Park Camping is world famous for its massive sequoia trees and vast forests. Including the Giant Forest, where you’ll find the world’s largest living sequoia, the General Sherman Tree. The Giant Forest is the largest unlogged grove in the entire park with a well-established network of hiking trails that weave throughout. Depending on what you’re up for, hikes range anywhere from 1 to 2 hours, and there are half-day or longer excursions as well.

There are three different Sequoia Park camping regions, and within these distinct areas there are seven unique camping spots for tents and RVs, as well as cabins for rent. Additionally, there is nearby camping outside of Sequoia National Park offered at several different locations. Many campgrounds at lower elevations are open all year, while campgrounds at higher elevations close for the winter due to weather conditions.

Sequoia National Park Camping—What’s There to Do?

According to park rangers, there are at least forty unique giant sequoia groves in Sequoia National Park. Some of these groves contain just one towering sequoia, while others contain thousands. Sequoias are such a big deal, not only because they are majestically massive, but also because they are rare. In fact, the moist and unglaciated ridges and valleys of the western Sierra Nevada slopes, between 4,000 and 8,000 feet in elevation, is the one place they naturally thrive.

As fabulous as sequoias are, they are far from the only things worth seeing in and around this incredible national forest. Take advantage of the opportunity to see Crystal Cave, where you can follow a series of streams through incredible rock formations. There’s also the famous Tunnel Tree, which has been cut to accommodate passing vehicles. Another popular landmark is Moro Rock, a hike to the top is rewarded with striking views of the park below.

What About Camping at Kings Canyon National Park?

Sequoia National Park borders with Kings Canyon National Park, another incredible national park in the southern Sierra Nevada mountains. Despite the fact they border one another, it can take as long as one-and-a-half hours to drive from one park entrance to the other. Kings Canyon offers its own camping sites for RVs and tents.

See our Ultimate Guide to Campgrounds in Kings Canyon National Park

Where to Stay in Sequoia National Park

sequoia national park camping

Courtesy of: nps.gov

Sequoia National Park is massive, spanning through different terrain and environments. As a result, there are three unique campground areas to pick from: Lodgepole and Giant Forest, Foothills, and Mineral King area. There are two entrances to the park depending on the area of the park you stay in.

Within these three areas of the park there are several campgrounds for tents, RVs and trailers, as well as some cabins for rent. So, what does each area offer?

1. The Lodgepole and Giant Forest Area

Welcome to the Lodgepole and Giant Forest area of Sequoia National Park! This part of the park is right smack in the middle and can be accessed via either park entrance, although it’s about 15-minutes faster to take the Highway 180 entrance at Grant Grove in Kings Canyon National Park. If you approach the park from Highway 198 and take the main entrance, it takes an hour as opposed to forty-five-minutes. It sits at an elevation of 6,700 feet and offers stunning views.

Campgrounds within the Lodgepole and Giant Forest area:

  • Lodgepole Campground (open early spring to late fall)
  • Dorst Creek Campground (open early summer through fall)

2. The Foothills Area

The foothills of Sequoia National Park sits at lower elevations, 2,500-3,000 feet above sea level. Summers in the foothills are typically warm and dry, while winters tend to be wet and cool with the potential for some snow. Campers can embark on a variety of trails that open to oak woodlands, fields of spring wildflowers, and river canyons.

It takes less time to get here from the main entrance, but you’ll need to embark on a 45-minute drive up windy mountain roads to reach the Giant Forest sequoia grove. Keep in mind, vehicles over 22-feet should not drive between Potwisha Campground and the Giant Forest.

Campgrounds within the Foothills area:

  • Potwisha Campground (open all year to tents, RVs and trailers)
  • Buckeye Flat Campground (open for tent camping from early spring to late fall)
  • South Fork Campground (remote year-round tent camping)

3. Mineral King Area

Perched at an elevation of 7,500 feet, the Mineral King area boasts the highest elevations of any other camping sites in the park. This part of the park is only open during the summer. To get here, you must take a narrow and very windy road—don’t say we didn’t warn you! The road is open between late spring and fall. The rest of the park can only be accessed by trail from the Mineral King area.

It is not recommended to bring RVs or trailers up Mineral King Road, hence why they are not permitted at campsites this far up the mountain.

Campgrounds within the Mineral King area:

  • Atwell Mill Campground (open for tent camping in the summer)
  • Cold Springs Campground (open for tent camping in the summer)

Sequoia Campgrounds in the Lodgepole & Giant Forest Area

Lodgepole Campground

Location: Lodgepole and Giant Forest area

Open: early spring to late fall, April 18 – November 28

Fee: $22 per night

More Information: nps.gov/LodgepoleCampground

sequoia national park campingLodgepole Campground is a picturesque place to pitch your tent or park your RV. There are 214 sites for tents, RVs, and trailers, including 16 walk-in tent sites and a limited number of walk-in RV sites. Sites can accommodate RVs up to 42-feet in length. Apart from mid-October through mid-May, there is a dump station and water station available for use. There are no hookups for RVs at this campground. Generators are permitted between 8 and 11 am, as well as 5 to 8 pm.

Enjoy Sequoia National Park RV camping conveniently located just 2-miles from the jaw-dropping Giant Forest sequoia grove, and 21 miles from the main entrance to the park. Lodgepole is one of the more popular campgrounds in the area, and as its name suggests, it’s tucked away in a lodgepole pine forest, 6,700 feet in the mountains.

Amenities include a pay phone, flush toilets, Ranger programs, and a free seasonal (summer only) Sequoia Shuttle that goes to the Giant Forest. Some amenities are available seasonally and based on weather conditions.  In the fall, RV camping is reserved to the large central parking lot where there are no fire rings available.

Reservations: You can make reservations between May 23 and September 25, reservations outside of these dates are first-come, first-served. Learn more or Make Reservations

Dorst Creek Campground

Location: Between Grant Grove and Giant Forest in the Lodgepole and Giant Forest area

Open: June 20 through September 5, depending on weather conditions and water availability

Fee: $22 per night for individual sites, $40-$60 per night for large group sites

More Information: nps.gov/DorstCreek

Dorst Creek Campground offers centrally located Sequoia national park RV and tent camping. It is situated between Grant Grove and the Giant Forest for added convenience. There are 218 individual sitessequoia national park camping available for rent, as well as four sites for large groups—make sure to reserve early, especially if you want a larger group site for 15 to 30 people. There are pull-through sites available for trailers and RVs of any length.

Sleep beneath a sea of evergreen trees at 6,800 feet above sea-level. Camping sites are about 10 miles from the Giant Forest. Amenities include a free Sequoia Shuttle to the Giant Forest, payphones, flush toilets, and Ranger programs. You can access groceries, showers, and laundry facilities 6-miles away at Wukashi Lodge, or 8-miles away at Lodgepole Market.

The free Sequoia Shuttle that runs through the area during the summer makes a stop here. Generators can be used between 8 and 11 am, as well as 5 to 8 pm. Campers must use the dump station at Lodgepole Campground.

Pets are allowed but must be leashed and follow posted guidelines.

Reservations: Making reservations well in advance, as far as six-months ahead of your stay, is highly recommended. You can make reservations online.

Sequoia Campgrounds in the Foothills Area

Potwisha Campground

Location: Foothills area, near the Kaweah River

Open: Year-round

Fee: $22 per night

More Information: nps.gov/potwisha

sequoia national park campingSituated just 4-miles from the Sequoia National Park entrance, the Potwisha Campground is very convenient to access. It is open all year to tents, RVs, and trailers. There are 42 sites in total for tent camping, as well as pull-through sites for RVs and trailers of any length.

Potwisha Campground sits alongside the Kaweah River at 2,100 feet above sea level. From here, it’s a 45-minute drive to the Giant Forest Museum, and 15 minutes to the Foothills Visitor Center. The nearby city of Three Rivers offers grocery stores, fill-up stations, and restaurants.

On-site amenities include pay phones, flush toilets, and Ranger programs. The closest dump station is outside of the park. This campground doesn’t typically see snow in the winter.

Reservations: You can make reservations online. It is recommended to book 6 months in advance.

Buckeye Flat Campground

Location: Foothills area, near the Kaweah River

Open: Early spring to late fall for tent camping  

Fee: $22 per night

More Information: nps.gov/Buckeye

sequoia national park campingLocated at a slightly higher elevation than Potwisha, Buckeye Flat Campground sits peacefully at 2,800 feet elevation. For reference, Potwisha Campground is located about 10-minutes away by car. This tent-only campground offers 28 sites. Parking is limited to one car per site. Buckeye Flat Campground has flush toilets, but few other amenities.

The weather is usually warm and dry in the summer and winters tend to be mild with little to no snow. It is a 20-minute drive to the Foothills Visitor Center, and a 40-minute drive to the Giant Forest Museum.

Reservations: You can make reservations online as far as 6 months in advance of your stay for May 21 through September 26th. All other dates are first-come, first-served.

South Fork Campground

Location: Foothills area, remote camping

Open: Year-round   

Fee: $12 per night between May 23 to October 9, otherwise free

More Information: nps.gov

sequoia national park campingThis remote and primitive campground sits in the foothills on the South Fork of the Kaweah River. Right at this spot, the trees transition from oaks to evergreens. Located at 3,600 feet in elevation, there are 10 sites open to tent camping all year. There is a $12 fee per night to camp here between May 23 and October 9. Outside of these dates, there is no fee because the on-site water system is non-operational.  RVs and trailers are not permitted at this campground.

While no drinking water is available, this campground does maintain flushing toilets. Non-potable water is offered between the end of May and mid-October. This campground backs up to two park trailheads, Garfield Sequoia Grove and Ladybug. Both hikes offer several miles of uphill climbs that snake through gorgeous oak and evergreen forests.

The Giant Forest is around 1 hour and 45 minutes away, and the Foothills visitor center is about 1 hour away. Three Rivers is the closest town with groceries and restaurants. Pets are welcome but must be leashed and follow all posted regulations.

Reservations: Reservations are not available for the South Fork Campground. First-come, first-served.

Atwell Mill Campground

Location: Mineral King area, 19 miles from Highway 198 on Mineral King Road

Open: Summer for tent camping, May 23 – October 31 (approx.)

Fee: $12 per night

More Information: nps.gov/AtwellMill

Situated on the East Fork of the Kaweah River, this region of Sequoia National Park was once used as a logged sequoia grove. Today, it offers 21 tent campsites available on a first-come, first-served basis.

This campground is one-hour away from the nearest town, Three Rivers. It is 1.5 hours away from the main entrance to the park. It is 2.5 hours away from the Giant Forest Museum.

Amenities include potable water (from late May to mid-October), payphones, vault toilets, and a trailhead that grants access to the East Fork Grove of massive sequoias. 1.7 miles east of camp, there’s a shop on private land called the Silver City Resort, it offers some supplies, gifts, a restaurant and showers. There is no gasoline here. You’ll find fill-up stations and more services in the nearby town of Three Rivers, located about 23 miles west of camp.

Atwell Mill Campground is scheduled to be open from May 23 to October 31, there is no water available after October 19.

Reservations: There are no reservations available for this campsite. Atwell Mill runs on a first-come, first-served basis.

Cold Springs Campground

Location: Mineral King area, 23 miles off Highway 198

Open: Summer for tent camping

Fee: $12 per night

More Information: nps.gov/ColdSprings

sequoia national park campingCold Springs Campground offers 40 tent-only campsites available on a first-come, first-served basis during the summer season. It is not open during other seasons. This Sequoia camping spot is about 5-miles away from Atwell Mill, the other option for camping in the Mineral King area.

Amenities include payphones, vault toilets, and potable water between late May and early October. There is no water available as of October 10. There are several trailheads that lead off camp, including one that leads to a giant sequoia grove at Atwell Mill.

For food, gifts, limited supplies, and showers, visit the Silver City Resort located 2.5 miles to the west of camp. 27-miles away is the town of Three Rivers where you’ll find fill-up stations and more extensive services. 

Reservations: You cannot make reservations for this campground. Instead, show up early as sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Sequoia National Park Campgrounds with First-come, First-served Camping

Don’t have reservations? Arrive early to try and score a spot at one of these first-come-first-served campgrounds in Sequoia National Park.

  • Atwell Mill
  • Cold Springs
  • South Fork

Campsites Near Sequoia National Park

Bearpaw Meadow High Sierra Camp

Location: Tulare County, Sequoia National Park backcountry

Open: June through September

Fee: n/a

More Information: visitsequoia.com

sequoia national park campingDon’t have a tent or an RV? You can camp in one of six tent cabins at Bearpaw Meadow High Sierra Camp. Each tent cabin is equipped with wood floors, canvas siding, two twin beds, and bedding. There is a central shower house offering hot water and flush toilets. Daily room rates include a home-style breakfast and dinner for each day of your stay.

Set 11.5 miles into pristine national park backcountry, Bearpaw has been in operation for over 75 years. Perched 7,800-feet atop a granite slab, views overlook the Great Western Divide. In 2016, Bearpaw Meadow High Sierra Camp was added to the list of National Register of Historic Places. Pet fee starts at $25 per night.

Reservations: Book your cozy retreat online

Sequoia RV Ranch

Location: Sierra Nevada foothills, 8 miles from the entrance to Sequoia National Park

Open: Year-round

Fee: n/a

More Information: sequoiarvranch.com

A short 8 miles from the entrance to Sequoia National Park, the Sequoia RV Ranch offers dry camping sites for tents and RVs. They have water and electric sites, premium pull through sites, and deluxe river sites. Spacious and secluded campsites available. Premium sites come with 50 Amp electric service, fire ring, picnic table, cable TV, full hook-up, and pull-through access. River front sites sit right on the river. Basic dry camping sites come with a picnic table, shady area, and fire ring.

When it comes to activities you have a lot of options to pick from. It’s a quick trip over to Sequoia National Park, and there’s a lot to do at the campsite as well. Situated on the rolling Kaweah River, campers can enjoy hiking, biking, rafting and wildlife watching. There’s a spring-fed swimming hole on site, as well as a fishing hole. Plus, the nearby lake offers a chance for water sports like water-skiing and boating.

Three Rivers is minutes away, and Visalia is 30 miles away. Both cities offer a variety of activities, cultural events, restaurants, and seasonal attractions.

Reservations: Get rates and reserve your stay online, or call (559) 561-4333

Sequoia Campground & Lodge (previously Kaweah Park Resort)

Location: Three Rivers, 7.5 miles from the entrance to Sequoia National Park

Open: Year-round

Fee: n/a

More Information: sequoiacampground.com

What used to be Kaweah Park Resort is now Sequoia Campground & Lodge. It is located a short 7.5 miles away from Sequoia National Park, which is around a 13-minute drive.

Reservations: Make reservations by calling (559) 561-4424

Three Rivers Hideaway

Location: Three Rivers, 3.7 miles from Sequoia National Park

Open: Year-round

Fee: Starting at $30 per night

More Information: threerivershideaway.com

sequoia national park campingThree Rivers Hideaway operates as a full-service RV Park and tent campground, they also offer cabins for rent. There are full and partial RV hookup sites, as well as sites with no hookups. There is a designated area for tent camping with a variety of sites, some made for individuals and others catered to larger groups. All sites come with picnic tables and fire rings. Cabin rentals start at $99 per night, no pets allowed in cabins.

It takes around seven minutes to reach Sequoia National Park from Three Rivers Hideaway, although there is plenty to do at this campsite and around the city of Three Rivers. Located on the banks of the Kaweah River, enjoy everything from whitewater rafting adventures to serene hikes that climb up into the lush forested mountains.

Reservations: Reserve your stay by calling (559) 561-4413, or by emailing info@threerivershideaway.com

Stony Creek Campground

Location: Northern side of Hume Lake, southern end of the Sierra Nevada

Open: May 25 to September 22

Fee: Starting at $27 per night

More Information: recreation.gov

There are around 50 campsites available at Stony Creek Campground, which is located just outside Sequoia National Park. Sites come with access to campfire rings, flush toilets, and drinking water. There is direct creek access, and Hume Lake remains a popular attraction for trout fishing, non-motorized boating, hiking, mountain biking, and off-road vehicle fun.

This park is closest to Sequoia National Park but it’s right near the border of Kings National Park, which means easy access to both. Other nearby attractions include Bearskin Grove, the Giant Sequoia Mercantile, the Boyden Caverns, and more.

Campground amenities include flush toilets, drinking water, and an amphitheater. Stony Creek is operated by Sequoia Recreation, a sector of California Land Management.

Reservations: You can book reservations online, or by calling (559) 335-2232

Lemon Cove Village

Location: Tulare County, 25 miles from entrance to Sequoia National Park

Open: Year-round

Fee: Starting at $45 per night

More Information: lemoncovevillagervpark.com

sequoia national park campingLemon Cove Village is a family-friendly RV park located at the base of Sequoia National Park—closest to the Foothills area of the park. This is the only RV park outside of the park that is on the Sequoia Shuttle stop. There are 55 sites here, including tent sites, full hookups (30/50 amp), and partial hookups. Large and level pull-through spaces available.

Kaweah Lake and the Kaweah River are just four miles from camp, and the town of Three Rivers is 16 miles to the north. From active adventures to relaxing, there’s something for everyone here. Nearby amenities include fishing, white water rafting, boating, hiking, and shopping. Interested in the tiny home movement? There’s a tiny home village here!

Pets are welcome. In fact, there’s even a dog park on site. There are newly remodeled bathrooms, showers, and a coin operated laundry room. There’s a pool with covered patio, garden area, and clubhouse with high speed internet. Games like horseshoes are set up around the camp.

Reservations: Reservations are recommended but not required. Walk-ins are welcome. You can make a reservation online or by calling (559) 370-4152.