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Re: Camping options along 120/near tuolumne meadows?

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Camping options along 120/near tuolumne meadows?
June 18, 2010 02:55PM
So I plan on heading to tuolumne meadows to hike the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne river with 3 friends next Saturday. I'd like to be in the area the night before we begin hiking, so that we can drop off our car at tuolumne meadows and and catch the 9 AM shuttle to white wolf. I did a little bit of research and as far as I know, Big Bend campground in Inyo National Forest is the closest place to camp, which is about a 25 minute drive east on 120 from Tuolumne. I'm a little concerned because I'd be arriving late at night to grab a site, and don't want to be stuck without another option if its full...is this a likely scenario? Anyway, I'm not very familiar with the area, and haven't camped in Inyo before, so any help or other suggestions on where to camp along 120 near tuolumne meadows the night before would be great.

edit: my mistake... I meant to originally post this in the Sierra Nevada section of the board

Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 06/18/2010 03:01PM by diesel.
avatar Re: Camping options along 120/near tuolumne meadows?
June 18, 2010 03:36PM
Is there a shuttle even running yet?
Re: Camping options along 120/near tuolumne meadows?
June 18, 2010 03:40PM
called YARTS today and the 9 AM shuttle from Tuolumne to White Wolf is already running on Saturday and Sundays.
avatar Re: Camping options along 120/near tuolumne meadows?
June 18, 2010 03:44PM
Interesting since the gate was still closed at White Wolf this last Monday.

Ok, I don't have an answer to your where to camp question.... but...
I perhaps mentioned this already but I'll mention it again...
Have you considered just hiking down Canyon... turning around... and hiking back up.
Believe me... it's worth it. You don't see the same things... it's a different perspective.

Whatever you do... enjoy
Re: Camping options along 120/near tuolumne meadows?
June 18, 2010 06:20PM
Hmm, maybe the person i spoke with today was misinformed. I'll make sure to call again to double check on that. If the shuttle isn't running I definitely wouldn't mind just going in from tuolumne and heading back up the same way as you suggest
avatar Re: Camping options along 120/near tuolumne meadows?
June 18, 2010 04:27PM
Dispersed camping is also allowed in the Inyo National Forest; see information in this link:

(I'm also of not too much help here either since I usually leave L.A. after midnight to drive up, arrive in time to pick up a Wilderness Permit, and start hiking.)
Re: Camping options along 120/near tuolumne meadows?
June 18, 2010 07:40PM
From an Inyo NF page:

Camping is allowed outside of designated campgrounds in some areas on the Inyo National Forest. In areas designated as "Developed Recreation Areas," camping is restricted to developed campgrounds only. These areas include the Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area, Lundy Canyon, Lee Vining Canyon, June Lake Loop, the Mammoth area, Reds Meadow area, Convict Lake, McGee Creek canyon, Rock Creek Canyon, Bishop Creek Canyon, Big Pine Canyon, Onion Valley, Whitney Portal, Horseshoe Meadows, the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest and any Research Natural Area. For more information, please contact the Ranger Station or Visitor Center nearest the area in which you are interested.

For areas where dispersed camping is allowed, you need to obtain a California Campfire Permit for the use of any open flame (including gas stoves, lanterns, wood fires, charcoal fires or smoking). These permits can be obtained at no cost from any Inyo National Forest Ranger Station or Visitor Center. Open flame of any kind may be restricted during times of high fire danger; check with the local Forest Service office for current restrictions.


Better to stay someplace free for a few hours that is down low, dry, without mosquitoes. You can park almost anywhere on BLM lands and many places in the national forest outside those noted above. Since you don't have a paper copy for Inyo NF which would show all the boundaries of wherer you can and cannot camp, do the following.

Go to this page and download the June Lake and Mono Lake pdf's.


Go to this topo map page which is at the junction of US395 and SR120 south of Lee Vining.


You just need a place to park, a flat spot toss bags out, and sleep till dawn. At the US395 and SR120 junction go east and after driving about a couple miles, slow down and take any of the obscure dirt roads (except the one at 6591 that goes to South Tufa) until 100 feet off the paved highway. Get out with flash light and find an open flat spot in the sagebrush that ought be easy. Be sure to print out the map areas where you will be looking for the dirt roads. The topo map is obviously more detailed.
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