The Best RV Camping Locations - Nationwide

California RV Camping – Mammoth Lakes

Free RV Camping Locations – Mammoth Lakes, California

Free RV camping is easy to find just a few miles north of Mammoth Lakes, California. With dramatic views of the eastern Sierra Nevada mountains from many campsites, this area is one of our favorite dispersed camping (boondocking) areas.

There are 5 camping location maps on this page.

Mammoth Lakes Location

RV camping in the Mammoth Lakes area is great. Mammoth, it’s nickname, is located on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada mountains of California 3 miles west of US highway 395 on state highway 203. Mammoth Lakes is a full service community with fuel, food, restaurants, private RV park, water, RV dump, and trash facilities. There is a US Forest Service information center, and there are numerous developed US Forest Service campgrounds in the area.


Free RV Camping At Developed Campgrounds

The Inyo National Forest has 3 developed campgrounds about 8 miles from Mammoth Lakes with easy access to US 395. The Glass Creek campground offers dry camping for a maximum of 42 days. This campground is suitable for any size RV, and all sites are first come, first serve. No designated sites.

The Deadman and Big Springs campground offer at least 14 days of dry camping. These campgrounds are not suitable for large RV’s, and length of stay may be posted longer.


Free RV Dispersed Camping (Boondocking) Locations

To get to the free RV camping location, from the junction with California highway 203, go north on US 395 4.1 miles to Smokey Bear Flats. There is a wide parking area here with a wooden Smokey Bear waving at you. At the north end of Smokey Bear Flats, turn right onto a wide well maintained gavel road. This is Forest Road FR 3S04. Cross under the power lines and as the road turns north into the forest, a large open RV camping site is on your left just inside the tree line. If you are unlucky enough to find someone in this campsite, a right turn will take you into a large maintenance area with piles of gravel, but large enough for even the largest vehicle to get turned around. We’ve seen people camped in this area.


Free Campsite Description

This is an easy campsite to find. The campsite is close enough to US 395 that you can hear and see it, but the noise is negligible as you are almost 1/2 mile away, and you are well obscured from sight from the highway. There are Ponderosa and Lodgepole pines surrounding the campsite, but the view across Smokey Bear Flats to the Sierra Nevada mountains is spectacular and makes this free RV camping location well worth investigating. Not recommended for large RV’s.

The Inyo National Forest has been heavily logged for over 100 years, and there are numerous back roads suitable for RV camping exploration. If you are adventurous, some really great dispersed camping sites are available in this area.

Public Lands near Mammoth Lakes

The following map shows general areas of public lands in the Mammoth Lakes area. These areas are often open to dispersed camping, as well as developed facilities. Green shaded areas are managed by the USDA Forest Service, the purple shaded areas are Bureau of Land Management (BLM). California Camping Resources has information and links to all public lands websites for official information.


To find great RV camping sites, we feel you need a good map. We recommend DeLorme Topo 6.0 as a great recreational topographic map program. With almost unlimited ability to zoom in and out, add notes and links to Internet sites, 3D, route planning, distance, interface to Internet, add roads, find by address and much more. We love this software to help plan camping trips so we know what geography to expect, and to help us find roads suitable to explore for dispersed campsites.

Return to California RV Camping.


Federal Public Land
RV Camping Information

US Forest Service - USFS
Describes USFS policies and rules about RV camping. Information about dispersed camping, and tips on how to find great free RV camping sites.

National Park Service (NPS)
General information about RV camping in US National Parks. With campgrounds in the most historic and scenic places in the country, the NPS offers some of the best places for RV camping.

US Army Corp of Engineers (USACE/COE )
USACE (perhaps better know as COE) manages water recreation areas throughout the USA. Information about finding Corps managed lakes, RV camping rules and policies for use of these water based recreation areas is included.

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