Camping options are abundant in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. From free off-grid camping spots to resorts with full amenities. When the option is available, we usually prefer free camping on public land. That’s how we found this scenic Mono Lake camping spot right along a creek.
Mono Lake Camping in California
How to Find Free Camping Near Mono Lake
To find a free Mono Lake camping spot, stop in at the Mono Basin Ranger Station & Visitor Center. Ask the ranger for a dispersed camping map of the area. This map will show you where camping is available around Mono Basin. While you’re here, you can also pick up a free fire permit and get updates on current road conditions. Certain roads require four wheel drive, which is good to know in advance. Our camper van would likely get stuck going down a road that’s soft sand.
You can get an idea of what free camping is like at Mono Lake in the video below.
Camping at Mono Lake
The camping spot we found was right along Rush Creek which feeds into Mono Lake. The washboard road was no problem for the van. We event saw a large Class A camped near Picnic Grounds Road.
A few trees offered partial shade and privacy during our stay. A family of deer roamed by on our first night and many birds graced us with their songs. The views are incredible and the soothing sound of the creek is hard to beat. We did use our mosquito repellent lantern during dawn and dusk as there were quite a few swarming around.
With Mono Lake only a short drive or bike ride away, there’s plenty to do in the area. If you’re interested in visiting Yosemite National Park, YARTS picks up at Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitor Center. It’s free to park your RV at the visitor center all day. Alternatively, you can stay at Upper Pines Campground and enjoy Yosemite that way.
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