Campsites with Privacy

By Kimberly and Patrick Wilkes, Author and Photographer for Eastern Sierra and Death Valley Camping With Privacy.

Grandview Campground at Night

Grandview Campground at Night

Do you like peaceful campsites with lots of privacy? Do you hate camping too close to people who talk loud well into quiet hours? Then read the excerpt below from our book Eastern Sierra And Death Valley Camping With Privacy: Your Guide To Finding Campsites With The Most Privacy Near Mammoth Lakes, Tuolumne Meadows, Death Valley, And Beyond.

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HOPE VALLEY

Crystal Springs Campground

Directions From Nevada: From Highway 395 in Minden, Nevada, drive up Highway 88 approximately 15 miles. About half mile past the Highway 4/89 turnoff in Woodfords, California, turn left on to Crystal Springs Road. The campground entrance is approximately a half mile on the south side of the road.

Directions from Sacramento/San Francisco: Take Highway 50 East toward South Lake Tahoe. After descending into the Tahoe basin, take a right on State Route 89. Go over Luther Pass and turn left where SR 89 dead ends at State Route 88. Drive past Sorensen’s Resort and follow SR 88 downhill through Woodfords Canyon. Take a right on Crystal Springs Road. (If you reach the intersection of Highways 4/89 you’ve gone too far.) The campground will be immediately visible on your right.

What’s It Like?

At the bottom of Woodford’s Canyon, near the Carson River, this campground sits under a canopy of pines. It doesn’t have much understory between spaces, and some of the sites are too close together. Plus, in the neighborhood next to the campground there are houses, which intrusively peer over at some of the spaces. It’s also near Highway 88, so many of the campsites are plagued by road noise. But we found three spaces here we liked. And this is a lightly used campground during the week, which means that despite the proximity of other campsites, you might have few if any neighbors mid-week. It’s a great home away from home for anglers, with the Carson River a short walk away from the campsites.

Words of Warning: Because of its lower elevation, Crystal Springs Campground may roast during the hottest days of summer, especially when the temperature is near 100 in nearby Gardnerville. During heat waves, it could be in the low 90s here in the daytime. Luckily, it’s rare for the temperatures to hover that high and you can always drive a half hour up the road to Carson Pass to escape the heat of the day.

What’s It Near?

  • Fishing for rainbow, brown, and Lahontan cutthroat trout in the West Fork of the Carson River.
  • Twenty minutes to Grover Hot Springs State Park. In addition to a soak in the spring-fed pool at the state park, take an easy, 2.7-mile, round-trip hike to Grover Waterfall.
  • Hiking in Hope Valley, on the Pacific Crest Trail, on the Tahoe Rim Trail, and by Carson Pass. The trail to Winnemucca Lake, which puts on a spectacular wildflower display in July, is about 25 minutes away.
  • Hiking and fishing are at Indian Creek Reservoir, and there’s also some great bird watching here. We saw white pelicans, a beautiful yellow and black bird, and a parade of baby Canadian geese trailing along behind their mother.
  • Grab a bowl of soup or chili or nibble on a Panini sandwich at Woodford’s Station a mile or so away from the campground.
  • Breakfast, lunch, and homemade pies with deliciously flakey crust are less than 10 minutes away at Hope Valley Resort. A little ways beyond is Sorensen’s Resort where you can feast on their famous beef bourguignon or quiche, sandwiches, steaks, pasta, and seafood. I don’t know which I’m more addicted to, their berry cobbler, served with a scoop of ice cream, or the French toast with berry compote. Sorensen’s is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Elevation: 6,000 feet

Toilets: Vault

Verizon Cell Service? No

Takes Reservations? No. First come, first served.

Number of Campsites: 20

Bear Boxes? Newly installed the fall of 2014

Campsites with the Most Privacy

#3 Privacy Rating: A

Reservable? No. First-come, first served.

A spacious spot studded with lichen-speckled boulders, #3 backs up against a hill and features a view of a rocky outcropping. This site has lots of elbow room, thanks to the lack of nearby neighbors on the left, right, and behind. Plenty of pines shade the site and the water spigot is conveniently close. A giant boulder rises up in front of the campsite across the street, erasing the picnic table from view. Definitely the best site in the campground from a privacy perspective. And it has the least amount of road noise from Highway 88, due to its location at the rear of the campground.

#9 Privacy Rating: B-

Reservable? No. First-come, first served.

This space has some advantages that make it worthy of this book. It’s nestled under the pines and features a spectacular view of the rocky spires rising up on the other side of Woodfords Canyon. Plus, no neighbors are visible on the left, right, or behind. Set your chair in the grassy areas surrounding the site and listen to the Carson River, which flows behind the campsite on the other side of Crystal Springs Road. The bathrooms are across the campground road from #9, so there are no immediate neighbors on that side, although facing that direction, you’ll have a distant view of a lot of the other campers in the campground.

The site also has some disadvantages. The fire pit and picnic table are close to the campground road. It’s also a small campsite with bushes pushing their way into the grassy border, not leaving a lot of room for a large tent. And you’ll hear road noise drifting over from Highway 88, where cars whoosh by on the other side of the Carson River. Despite the disadvantages, its location near the river makes it a good choice for anglers. It’s also a good choice for campers with a small trailer, pickup truck with a camper top, or camper van. Or, if you have a tent and you think the road noise will bother you, bring earplugs.

#17 Privacy Rating: B+

Reservable? No. First-come, first served.

Campsite #17 at Crystal Springs

Campsite #17 at Crystal Springs

The only thing between you and the Carson River is Crystal Springs Road, which parallels Highway 88 and passes behind this campsite. No neighbors interfere with your privacy on the right and trees hide the view of the houses that peer out over the campground in that direction. The space on the left is far enough away and hidden by bushes and manzanita, so it won’t intrude upon your privacy. #17 is tucked back to make the across-the-road neighbor a non-issue. This site also has a view of the impressive cliffs towering over the other side of Woodford’s Canyon. The one flaw? Road noise from Highway 88. Tent campers bring your earplugs.

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TWIN LAKES

Upper Honeymoon Flat

Directions: From Bridgeport, at the intersection of Highway 395 and Twin Lakes Road, turn south on Twin Lakes Road (toward the Sierra) and follow it approximately 8 miles to the campground on the left.

What’s It Like?

Upper Honeymoon Flat is located on the opposite side of Twin Lakes Road from the lower campground. Campsites are either more in the open, etched out of the sage and rabbitbrush, with a smattering of low-growing aspens, or more sheltered in taller aspens and pines. Lower Honeymoon Flat is a little more appealing, just because it’s next to Robinson Creek, but you can find some nice spots at Upper Honeymoon with spectacular views of Sawtooth Ridge. Compared to some of the campgrounds on the Twin Lakes Road, which jam the spaces in right next to each other, this campground has some good spacing in between many—but not all—of the sites.

What’s It Near?

  • Fishing for rainbow, brown, and brook trout at Twin Lakes, a couple of miles away from the campground, and in Robinson Creek.
  • Boating, kayaking, and canoeing at Twin Lakes.
  • Hikes to Barney Lake (7.5 miles round trip), Peeler Lake (15.5 miles round trip), Tamarack Lake (9 miles round trip), Hunewill Lake (11 miles round trip), and Crown Lake (15 miles round trip).
  • Delicious meals at the Café at Annette’s Mono Village, which will cook your fresh caught fish for you along with tasty side dishes. Be sure to give the chef enough notice.

Elevation: 7,000 feet

Toilets: Vault

Verizon Cell Service? Visit the campground updates section at www.ilovetheeasternsierra.com for information on cell phone service availability.

Takes Reservations? No. Upper Honeymoon is first-come, first-served. Lower Honeymoon does take reservations at www.recreation.gov.

Number of Campsites: 15

Bear Boxes? Yes

Campsites with the Most Privacy

#18 Privacy Rating: A-

Reservable? No. First-come, first-served.

Pines, aspen, and greenery line either side of this cozy space. Willows and other greenery, topped by a mountain view, serve as a backdrop. To the right, past aspens and a small meadow, sits neighboring site #17, but it’s not close enough to feel intrusive. To the left, there’s a hint of a view of the neighbor’s tent. Overall, one of the most private spaces in the Twin Lakes area. This site, and the other spaces on this spur loop (sites #15 – #21), are tent only.

#23 Privacy Rating: A-

Reservable? No. First-come, first-served.

Campsite #23, Upper Honeymoon Flat

Campsite #23, Upper Honeymoon Flat

Located on the left hand spur loop as you drive into the campground, this site is out in the open, surrounded by sagebrush and rabbitbrush. Pines and aspens in the distance politely open up for a nice view of Sawtooth Ridge from the left side of the camp space. Thanks to a well-placed tent pad, once you pitch your tent, it might partially conceal the view of the bathroom to the right and another campsite that’s beyond the restrooms across the campground road. There are no spaces behind #23—nothing but sagebrush, rabbitbrush, and conifers, although Twin Lakes Road interrupts the view about 35 feet away. A tall pine provides some shade. Aspens and a conifer team up to partially block the view of the campsite that’s directly across the campground road. The view of the Sawtooth Ridge and the lack of nearby neighbors makes this a very nice site.

#25 Privacy Rating: B

Reservable? No. First-come, first-served.

A double site, #25 is a nice home away from home for a family or group of friends, especially if you enjoy high desert camping. Low-growing aspens sprinkled around the site add a bit of pizazz to the sagebrush scenery while the pull through adds convenience for people pulling trailers or driving RVs. The tent pads are nicely situated with a line of aspens on either side. There’s a filtered view of Sawtooth Ridge from here (although not as nice as in #23). There are no neighbors to the left or behind, but space #24 is closer on the right than we like to see. Still, this isn’t a bad spot.

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WALKER RIVER CANYON

Obsidian Campground

Directions: From Walker, CA, follow Highway 395 south for 13.6 miles. Watch for a sign on the right that announces “campground.” It’s about 0.7 miles south of the turnoff to Sonora Pass (Highway 108). Turn right at the campground sign onto Little Walker River Road (Forest Service Road 66), and drive 3.4 miles on this dirt road to the campground. Passenger cars can easily make it to the campground, but it will be bumpy.

What’s It Like?

There’s something serene about camping under the aspens and listening to their leaves quiver in the breeze. Two of the three sections of Obsidian Campground allow you to do just that. The first two sections have the largest selection of spaces with privacy. The first section has only three campsites, so you won’t have many neighbors if you grab one of those spots. The third section is located under the pines with very little understory; in this section, we found only one space that meets our qualifications. The campground sits on the edge of Hoover Wilderness and near Molybdenite Creek, although the creek isn’t visible from any of the spaces.

Words of Warning: This campground lacks bear boxes so make sure your food and any fragrant toiletries are locked in your trunk or, if your car has no trunk, toss a blanket or tarp over anything that even looks or smells like food.

Obsidian Campground has no water spigots, so make certain to bring your own water if you’re camping here.

What’s It Near?

  • Fishing in Molybdenite Creek, the Little Walker River, and West Walker River for rainbow and brown trout.
  • Hikes to McMillian Lake (8.8 miles round trip), Emma Lake (a steep 1.2-mile, one-way trek) and Burt Canyon. Emma Lake glimmers like an emerald embedded into a cirque at the base of Mount Emma and Burt Canyon offers more solitude than many hikes in the Eastern Sierra. Keep an eye out for wild irises in Burt Canyon in June. Burt Canyon leads the way to Anna Lake, a 13.5-mile, round-trip trek, but even if you only hike one to three miles into the canyon the scenery is spectacular and the wildflowers and fall foliage here put on a colorful show.
  • A scenic drive up to Sonora Pass. Access the Pacific Crest Trail at the Pass.
  • Horseback riding through Leavitt Meadows Pack Station.

Elevation: 7,800 feet

Toilets: Vault

Verizon Cell Service? No

Takes Reservations? No. First-come, first-served.

Number of Campsites: 14

Bear Boxes? No

Campsites with the Most Privacy

#1 Privacy Rating: A-

Reservable? No. First-come, first-served.

Campsite #1, Obsidian Campground

Campsite #1, Obsidian Campground

A cozy campsite with room for a small tent, #1 has a different personality than a lot of the other spaces in the first two loops of the campground. Instead of aspens to keep you company, tall pines grow in this site, providing shade to part of the space. You’re not deprived of aspens completely, however, thanks to the grove across the road. It feels more exposed than the other two campsites in this section. But since there are only two other spaces in this part of the campground and those spaces are enclosed in aspens and far enough away from #1, camping here still feels as if you’re sheltered from the view of neighboring eyes. The lack of neighbors to the left, right, or behind seals the privacy deal here.

#2 Privacy Rating: A

Reservable? No. First-come, first-served.

Campsite #2, Obsidian Campground

Campsite #2, Obsidian Campground

Despite having a slight view of space #3 through the aspens to the left, this site gives off good privacy vibes due to its lack of neighbors behind and to the right. Aspens embrace it, but you still have a glimpse of the mountains through a break in the trees to the right—at least until the teenage aspens grow into adults. There’s a nice area for the tent here, too.

#3 Privacy Rating: A-

Reservable? No. First-come, first-served.

This campsite has a filtered view of #2 to the right, but it has no neighbors behind it, to the left, or across the street. The big disadvantage is that for some reason this is the only spot in the campground that doesn’t have a fire pit. Perhaps that will be fixed at some point in the future.

#4, #5, #6, and #8 Privacy Rating: A-

Reservable? No. First-come, first-served.

Each of these sites are located in an aspen grove in the second loop of the campground. Stay in one of these sites and you’re immersed in shimmering green aspen leaves. Each site has a view of at least one neighbor, but it’s only a glimpse through a curtain of aspen trunks and branches. #4 also comes with a partial mountain view.

#7 Privacy Rating: A+

Reservable? No. First-come, first-served.

Only a few aspens hover around the edges of the most private site on the loop. Pines reign over the site, providing shade. No neighbors on any side means you have this patch of the campground to yourself. Out of all the sites on this loop, it’s the farthest from the bathroom, but the restrooms are still a manageable walk away.

#10 Privacy Rating: A

Reservable? No. First-come, first-served.

This is the only space in the third loop that met our criteria for privacy. The rest of the sites in this section of the campground are like social butterflies, all packed close together. By contrast, #10 sits apart like a shy wallflower. Plenty of pines shade the space, but it’s bathed in some afternoon sun. #10 is close to the bathrooms, too.

You Can Discover Exactly Which Campsites In 91 Different Campgrounds Have The Most Privacy When You Buy Eastern Sierra And Death Valley Camping With Privacy.

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Campgrounds Featured In Eastern Sierra And Death Valley Camping With Privacy:

HOPE VALLEY

Crystal Springs Campground

Kit Carson Campground

Hope Valley Resort Campground

Hope Valley Campground

BLUE LAKES

Lower Blue Lakes Campground

Middle Creek Campground

Middle Creek Expansion Campground

Upper Blue Lakes Damsite Campground

Upper Blue Lakes Damsite Expansion Campground

Upper Blue Lakes Campground

MARKLEEVILLE – EBBETT’S PASS

Turtle Rock State Park Campground

Markleeville Campground

Silver Creek Campground

WALKER RIVER CANYON

Bootleg Campground

Chris Flat Campground

Obsidian Campground

SONORA PASS

Sonora Bridge Campground

Leavitt Meadows Campground

TWIN LAKES (BRIDGEPORT)

Buckeye Campground

Lower Honeymoon Flat Campground

Upper Honeymoon Flat Campground

Robinson Creek North and South Campground

PAHA Campground

Crags Campground

Lower Twin Lakes Campground

GREEN CREEK–VIRGINIA LAKES

Green Creek Campground

Trumbull Lake Campground

LUNDY CANYON

Lundy Campground

LEE VINING CANYON/TUOLUMNE MEADOWS

Lower Lee Vining Campground

Moraine Campground

Aspen Grove Campground

Big Bend Campground

Ellery Lake Campground

Junction Campground

Saddlebag Lake Campground

Sawmill Walk-in Campground

Tioga Lake Campground

Tuolumne Meadows Campground

JUNE LAKE LOOP

Grant Lake Campground

Silver Lake Campground

Gull Lake Campground

Reversed Creek Campground

June Lake Campground

Oh! Ridge Campground

HARTLEY SPRINGS – GLASS CREEK AREA

Hartley Springs Campground

Glass Creek Campground

Lower Deadman Campground

Upper Deadman Campground

Big Springs Campground

MAMMOTH LAKES

New Shady Rest Campground

Old Shady Rest Campground

Sherwin Creek Campground

Upper and Lower Twin Lakes Campground

Coldwater Campground

Lake George Campground

Lake Mary Campground

RED’S MEADOW – DEVIL’S POSTPILE NATIONAL MONUMENT

Upper Soda Springs Campground

Pumice Flat Campground

Minaret Falls Campground

Devil’s Postpile National Park Service Campground

Red’s Meadow Campground

CONVICT CANYON

Convict Lake Campground

MCGEE CREEK CANYON

McGee Creek Campground

ROCK CREEK CANYON

Tuff Campground

French Camp

Iris Meadow Campground

Big Meadow Campground

East Fork Campground

Lower Pine Grove Campground

Upper Pine Grove Campground

Rock Creek Lake Campground

BISHOP CREEK CANYON

Bitterbrush Campground

Big Trees Campground

Upper and Lower Intake 2 Campground

Bishop Park Campground

Sabrina Campground

North Lake Campground

Forks Campground

Four Jeffrey Campground

Willow Campground

WHITE MOUNTAINS – ANCIENT BRISTLECONE PINES

Grandview Campground

BIG PINE CREEK CANYON

Sage Flat Campground

Upper Sage Flat Campground

Big Pine Creek Campground

INDEPENDENCE CREEK CANYON

Upper and Lower Gray’s Meadow

Onion Valley

LONE PINE – MOUNT WHITNEY

Tuttle Creek Campground

Lone Pine Campground

Whitney Portal Family Campground

DEATH VALLEY

Panamint Springs Resort

Emigrant Campground

Wildrose Campground

Thorndike Campground

Mahogany Flat Campground

Stovepipe Wells Campground

Furnace Creek Campground

Texas Springs Campground

Sunset Campground

Mesquite Springs Campground

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