Dorst Creek Campground
Dorst Creek Campground’s central location between Grant Grove and Lodgepole gives it the appeal of being a perfect pitstop for a night’s rest before moving back and forth between Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Dorst Creek Campground is only open from June through September, and the beautiful summer weather is sure to impress the thousands of guests it houses during the warmer months.
The greatest appeal of the campground, however, is the incredible hiking trails that surround the area. Muir Grove Trail, climbing just over 500 feet on the 3.8-mile out and back, is a favorite adventure for campers at Dorst Creek. Muir Grove Trail ends in a grove of some of the tallest trees in California.
Another trail located by the campground is the Little Baldy Trail, a 3.3-mile out and back hike. Little Baldy climbs nearly 800 feet, making it slightly higher than the Muir Grove. Once at the highest point in the trail, you will have views of the Great Western Divide. In addition to having hiking trails in the area, the campsites are incredibly spacious and quieter than other campgrounds in the park, offering more privacy for those who want it.
There are around 200 campsites in Dorst Creek Campground, with an additional four group campsites. Dorst Creek provides its guests with picnic tables, fire rings, dump stations and water stations, flush toilets, and bear-proof food storage. While there are no electric hookups provided, guests are encouraged to bring RVs, campervans, and other vehicles to provide for the perfect experience after a long day’s adventures.
Cold Springs Campground
Located in one of the densest and most remote areas within Sequoia National park is Cold Springs Campground. The trek to reach these campsites is more extensive than others, but the beauty of the core of Sequoia National Forest is worth all of the 90-minute drive. Sitting on the east fork of the Kaweah River, Cold Springs Campground sits within aspen and evergreen trees. While the amenities are less extensive than others, the serene and isolated feel of the campsites gives an authentic outdoor experience to those looking for a more natural and deserted vacation. This spot is perfect for unwinding and relaxing, still complete with a variety of outdoor activities to keep each day busy.
For the avid hiker, Eagle Lake Trail can be accessed right from the grounds. This 6.5-mile round-trip is a rather challenging hike and one recommended for only experienced hikers. For those who take it, an incredible elevation gain of over 2000 feet will bring hikers to a canyon view overlooking the incredible Eagle Lake. The hike typically takes around 4 hours, so be sure to pack your water and snacks to keep you going.
Cold Springs Campground houses 40 campsites available for tent camping only. Keep in mind that the campground operates on a first-come, first-served basis. Cold Springs is one of the more basic campgrounds regarding its amenities, offering only pit toilets, picnic tables, food storage lockers, and a pay telephone. Still, the incredible forest, trees, and groves make up for it all.
Sunset Campground, located within Kings Canyon National Park, is the first campground you will encounter as you enter the park. It is near Grant Grove Village, which sits in an open plain of evergreen trees. It gives off beautiful views at an elevation of 6,500 ft while ensuring a promising temperature for optimal summer exploration. This campsite requires reservations during the entirety of its season, which starts in late May and ends approximately the week after Labor Day.
Not far from this campground, you will find the Grant Grove visitor center, perfect for all the information you need to know to make the most of your stay! As far as facilities go, there is running water, flush toilets, food storage lockers, and ranger programs in the summer. Keep in mind there are no electrical hookups or picnic tables available, nor are there showers in the Grant Grove area. There are 150 campsites and two large group sites. Starting July 1st, 2021, campers may hear heavy construction noise during the day on weekdays as the Sunset Amphitheater is under re-construction.
Located 6500 feet above sea level lies the Azalea Campground. This campground, just a short distance from King Canyons National Park entrance, is a popular place to stay for those interested in biking, hiking, horseback riding, and even fishing. Azalea, formerly a first-come, first-served campground, now operates on reservation only. Unlike any other campground, Azalea will stay open for adventures year-round, giving campers their desired activities in any season.
The Azalea Campground offers guests some of the most beautiful sites within Kings Canyon, including the Azalea shrub that produces flowers that release fragrances as they bloom. In addition, several trails near the campground lead to the General Grant Tree and the Columbine picnic area.
Facilities here include flush toilets, showers, and potable water. Azalea Campground is near the Grant Grove Village visitor center, so don’t forget to grab your park guide!
Just a short drive from Marble Falls lies the Potwisha Campground– deep within the heat and lower foothills of the Sierra area. This part of the park gets hot in the summer, but the Kaweah River’s Middle Fork gives campers an abundance of water activities to keep them cool. Due to its location, the Potwisha Campground stays open year-round so that guests can enjoy various activities throughout the year.
Potwisha remains a popular campsite due to its easy access and proximity to Sequoia National Park, but it also is open to RVs, camper vans, truck campers, and tent camping. The amenities are similar to other campgrounds and include fire rings, a dump station, food storage lockers, an amphitheater, potable water, picnic tables, and flush toilets. There are currently 40 reservable campsites, and you can make a reservation up to one month in advance.
Sheep Creek Campground
Deeper within Kings Canyon and sitting on the middle fork of Kings River is Sheep Creek. Its location makes it quieter than others within the park, and its canyon view is second to none. Sheep Creek is not open year-round but welcomes guests from the end of May through early September. Its 111 campsites work are currently reservation only.
The campground is only a short walk from the Cedar Grove visitor center, which offers information and activities to experience within the park. Located within walking distance of the campground are multiple trails, including the Zumwalt Meadow and Roaring River Falls Trail, a 5.4-mile out and back where you will experience firsthand the beauty within the National park. If that sounds a bit long, you can walk the shorter Zumwalt Meadow Loop Trail or Roaring River Falls Trail by themselves, coming in at 1.6 and 0.3 miles, respectively.
Sheep Creek Campground features flush toilets and showers, picnic tables, laundry facilities, potable water, food storage lockers to protect from wildlife, and payphones.
Buckeye Flat Campground
Buckeye Flat Campground, nestled in the Sierra Highland paradise, is the perfect oasis for avid wildlife watchers. With the middle fork of the Kaweah River just a short walking distance away from the campsite, guests can enjoy the lush nature of the Live Oaks, riverfront, and many more amenities the area provides.
An abundance of trails leads in all directions to incredible canyon views, granite peaks, and areas of the Kaweah River. Included in those trails is the Paradise Creek Trail, a 5.5-mile out and back. Other attractions include granite domes such as Moro Rock and Hospital Rock and the famous General Sherman Tree.
After a day exploring these unparalleled sites, coming home to one of the 27 campsites is sure to keep you rested for the next day of adventuring. The amenities at the Buckeye Flat Campground are comparable to the rest in the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. The campground offers potable water, food storage lockers, picnic tables, flush toilets, and fire rings. Keep in mind there are no hookups at the campsites.
On the south fork of the Kings River is the Sentinel Campground, full of lush groves, incredible vistas, and canyon views second to none. Offering a variety of day trip opportunities for hiking, backpacking, and fishing, as well as wildlife watching and boating, there is something for every adventurer. Canyon vistas and giant conifer forests decorate the space, and Sentinel Campground is in the perfect location to make the most of your California adventure.
Unlike most campgrounds in the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, Sentinel is open from late April through the middle of November. As a result, campers can enjoy the scenic hiking trails throughout various temperaments and seasons in one of the 82 reservable campsites. There are also ranger programs running in the summer to give campers structured activities.
Sentinel Campground offers fire rings, picnic tables, potable water, food storage lockers, and flush toilets, but keep in mind there are no electric hookups, so make sure you bring adequate supplies to keep you going through your stay.
There are a total of 14 campgrounds within Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park, and each campground offers a piece of its serenity and beauty, giving guests the perfect place to call it a night after a day full of exploring.
None of the previous campgrounds will provide electrical hookups, so make sure you keep this in mind while planning and packing for your next California adventure. The campsites all offer food storage lockers to protect your food from local wildlife without worry as you explore sunrise and sunset canyon views, giant forests, and the adventures that come with them.
If you would prefer a more comfortable experience with hookups for your campervan, check out these recommendations.
Sequoia RV Ranch
While campgrounds with full hookups aren’t plentiful inside the parks themselves, you’ll find this one just outside the southwest corner of Sequoia National Park. Luckily, for the comfort of water and sewer, as well as 30 and 50-amp electrical hookups, you won’t have to drive too far the next morning to get to Sequoia. You’ll only be about a six-mile drive from the southern part of the park! Consider starting your day with the Potwisha to Middle Fork Trail. At just over a mile long, it’s a great warmup that will be one of the first trails you see upon entering the park.
Visalia/Sequoia National Park KOA Journey
There aren’t many fully equipped campgrounds in proximity to Kings Canyon or Sequoia. If you’re looking for full hookups on the northwestern side of the two parks, closer to Kings Canyon, this KOA is your best bet. It will take you a bit over an hour to get to the park, but do you have the convenience of all the amenities available. Following State Route 180 will take you into the park and point you in the direction of the famous General Grant Tree for great photo opportunities. If you’re looking to stretch your legs after the ride, the Viola Falls Trail is just under 4 miles long and doesn’t get too crowded.
Hopefully, you found this article helpful in planning your next trip to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Whether you want full hookups or a more off-grid experience, you’ll want to consider renting a campervan for the level of comfort that you’re looking for in your next adventure!
Here are a few more articles you might enjoy.
The Explorers Essential Guide to Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks
Guide to the Best Campgrounds for Campervans in the USA
Guide to Free Camping in the USA