National & State Parks - 15 min read

6 Best Campgrounds in Sequoia National Park

Dennis Howard

Dennis Howard, Updated September 28, 2022

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Sequoia National Park is one of the most magnificent areas of the US. President Benjamin Harrison signed the legislation that created this park in 1890. This date makes Sequoia National Park the second national park established in the United States.

Over the last 100+ years, the park has been expanded and improved. Sequoia National Park continues to be one of the most visited national parks in the entire park system. Additional camping facilities are just one of the many improvements made during the intervening years.

Camping at Sequoia National Park

Camping among the giant sequoia trees may be your dream, but the portion of the park where the trees grow is tightly controlled. No overnight camping is allowed in this area to protect these massive trees. Most of the identified campgrounds do have trees. Just not the giant sequoias that give the park its name.

In total, there are ten camping areas inside the Sequoia National Park. Dispersed primitive camping is allowed in the adjacent Sequoia National Forest and the Giant Sequoia National Monument. Click here for more information on the Sequoia National Forest and the Giant Sequoia National Monument.

Our Picks of the Best Sequoia National Park Campground

Camping at Sequoia National Park can be a truly memorable experience. Staying in the park close to nature lets you experience the wonder of this magical place up close. Sequoia National Park has ten public campgrounds. Three of these camping areas are open year-round. The others are open seasonally. These are our picks for the best camping in Sequoia National Park.

1. Potwisha Campground

Credit: National Park Service

Potwisha Campground is located 4 miles from the Ash Entrance Station in the park’s foothills. The campground is along the Middle Fork of the Kaweah River, nestled among a stand of oak trees. Because this campground is usually snow-free in winter, it is one of three in the park open year-round.

Amenities and Features

Don’t expect to use your cell phone at the Potwisha campground, nor can you get internet connections. You will be electronically isolated when you are in the campground. There are year-round flush toilets as well as potable water.

Each campsite has a food storage locker for your safety. Black bears are common in the park, and any food should be secured in a bear-proof locker. While black bears are not usually a problem for people, you should avoid contact.

Trash disposal stations are located throughout the camping area, and the dumpsters are emptied frequently to keep bear problems to a minimum. There are currently no camp store facilities at this campground.

RVs and Trailers

There are no identified RV or trailer sites. You can bring your RV or trailer and use a designated campsite. RV length is restricted to 24 feet. There are no electricity, water, or waste hookups are the campsites. The RV dump station is currently closed until further notice for repairs.

Campers are discouraged from using generators in the campground unless necessary. Quiet time is from 8 pm until sunrise; No powered equipment may be used during the quiet time.

Reservation Policies

Potwisha Campground has reservable and first-come-first-served campsites. This is one of the most popular camping areas in Sequoia National Park. We recommend that you make reservations for a campsite well in advance of your arrival.

The fee for a campsite for up to six people at a single site is $22. Seniors who meet the National Park Service requirements can camp for $11 per night. To make reservations click here to go to the Recreation.Gov website.

Restrictions To Remember

This part of the park can become hot and dry during the summer months. The Park Management may issue restrictions on burning in the campground. Typically, no wood or charcoal fires of any kind are permitted. Enclosed gas-fueled cooking equipment is the only option allowed during these periods.

Pets are welcome in Sequoia National Park. All pets must be kept on a maximum six-foot leash when outdoors. You are encouraged to pick up your pet’s waste and deposit it in a trash receptacle. Avoid leaving pet food open and unattended. This can attract bears.

Certain areas and trails in the campground may be closed due to maintenance, construction, or fire damage. Check with the park office for the current conditions in the park camping area.

2. Azalea Campground

Credit: Shutterstock

You can access our next campground from the Kings Canyon entrance to the park. Azalea Campground is 3.5 miles from the park gate and is shaded by open stands of evergreen trees. Parts of this campground are open year-round, but more remote sections are closed during winter.

Related Read: Best Time To Visit Sequoia National Park

Amenities and Features

Cell phone service in the campground may be spotty and unreliable. Other creature comforts are available. There is a camp store where you can purchase ice, firewood, and other necessities.

There is no laundry facility, but restrooms are strategically located throughout the camping area. There are no public showers. Each campsite has a food locker. Trash dumpsters are plentiful and empties regularly to avoid tempting the bears into the camping area.

Potable water is available in the camping area, but you must bring your containers. Each campsite has a picnic table, fire ring and a charcoal grill. Just be sure you check on current fire restrictions before using either one.

RVs and Trailers

You can bring your RV or travel trailer to the Azalea Campground. In general, RVs and travel trailers are limited to 30-feet in length. Some campsites may have overhead hazards. Check your location carefully.

There are no hookups at the campsites. The nearest dump station is at Dorst Creek Campground and is only open seasonally. A quiet time between 9 pm and 9 am is enforced. No generator use is allowed during quiet time.

Reservation Policies

Each campsite costs $22 per night. This allows up to six people to occupy the campsite for 24 hours. Seniors who qualify pay $11 per night. Fourteen nights is the maximum length of stay at the campground.

This campsite remains popular, making spots in the campground hard to manage. We suggest that you plan your trip and make reservations for your camping spot as early as possible. Reservations can be made at RESERVATIONS.gov.

Restrictions to Remember

Only 21 of the available 100+ campsites are available during the winter months. Even the normally year-round accessible sites may be temporarily unavailable due to snow. If you camp in the winter months, you may see snow covering the campground.

You can bring your pets to the Azalea campground if you keep them leashed. Leashes may be no longer than 6 feet. Pets should not be left outdoors unattended and leaving pets in your trailer or RV is discouraged.

3. Lodgepole Campground

Credit: TripAdvisor

Lodgepole Campground is a large and exceedingly popular campground in the Sequoia National Park. The campsite in this campground is on the Marble Fork of the Kaweah River. Lodgepole village is within walking distance of the campground. This is a seasonal camp, and the opening and closing dates may vary depending on the weather.

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Amenities and Features

Lodgepole Village offers a range of amenities for campers. There is a visitors’ center, a market, shower facilities and a laundry. During the summer months, a free shuttle is provided to other park parts.

Cell Service is only available around the gate areas. Seasonal programs are offered at the amphitheater. Check at the camp store or the park office for more information about content and schedules.

A dump station is available when the campground is open, as is potable water. Staff is on-site at this campground when open. Depending on the weather and fire dangers, open campfires and charcoal fires may be prohibited.

RVs and Trailers

Lodgepole Campground is a wonderful place to visit with your RV or travel trailer. Equipment up to 40 feet long can be accommodated in the campground. Reservations should be made well in advance for a trailer or RV site. These fill up quickly and are not available without a reservation.

There are no hookups or dump stations at the campsites. A dump station is available at the campground. Quiet time in the park is enforced between 9 pm, and 9 am. No generators should be operated during quiet time.

Reservation Policies

During the season, reservations are always required. Campsites get reserved early, and there is usually nothing available on a first-come-first-served basis. Season opening and closing dates can vary, so check with the park office or online for the latest information.

Campsites cost $22 per night and can accommodate up to six people at each campsite. Seniors who qualify pay $11 per night. You can stay a maximum of fourteen days before you must leave. You can make reservations online by clicking here.

Restrictions to Remember

Black bears are active in this area of the park. You are required to store food properly to prevent problems with the bears. A bear-proof food locker is provided at each campsite. More information about bears and food safety can be found here.

You can bring your pets to visit Sequoia National Park and the Lodgepole Campground. Pets must be always kept on a six-foot leash. You must also have your pets supervised and always accompanied. Pets should never be left outdoors unattended.

Related Read: 15 BEST California State Parks! Camping Tips!

4. Dorst Creek Campground

Credit: National Park Service

Dorst Creek Campground is 10 miles from the Giant Forest and sits among an evergreen forest at 6,000 feet above sea level. This campground is the most centrally located of the developed campgrounds. The central location offers easy access to all parts of the Sequoia National Park and surrounding parks and forests.

Amenities and Features

This campground offers potable water and park personnel on duty during camping season. Each campsite has a bear-safe food locker, picnic table, fire ring, and barbeque grill. However, current conditions may prohibit open burning using wood or charcoal. Check with the local park office for more information.

Due to its remote location, the park has no cell service or internet service. There are toilet facilities in the campground, but no showers, laundry, or camp store. You should come prepared to be self-sufficient during your stay.

Several ADA-accessible campsites are available for reservation. These campsites feature paved parking, level tent pads, grills, picnic tables, and paved access to campground facilities.

RVs and Travel Trailers

Travel trailers and RVs are welcome, but there are no facilities for hookups or sanitary dump stations. No electrical hookups for RVs or travel trailers are provided. Generators may be used from 8 to 11 am and from 5 to 8 pm.

Almost any RV or travel trailer length is welcome at Dorst Creek campground. Several of the campsites feature pull-through parking for large RVs and travel trailers. Most of the campsites have a paved parking area. A dump station is provided at the campground.

Reservation Policies

Reservations are recommended. Try to make your plans and reservations as far in advance as possible. This campground is exceedingly popular during the camping season and fills up quickly.

A tent or RV site costs $22 per night and will accommodate six people. Group campsites are available for larger groups. Two sites that will host 12 to 25 people can be rented for $50 per night. Group Site C is large enough for groups from 12 to 40 people and costs $70 per night. Group Site D can host up to 50 people if your group is larger and costs $60 per night.

Restrictions to Remember

You must use the provided bear-proof metal food locker if you are tent camping. This helps keep bear intrusions into the camping area to a minimum. Please dispose of all trash and waste in the provided bear-resistant trash cans.

Your pets are welcome to accompany you on your trip to Dorst Creek Campground. They must always stay on a maximum 6-foot leash. You must keep your pet under your direct control. Please don’t leave pets unattended outdoor, and the park discourages visitors from leaving pets unattended in trailers or RVs.

5. South Fork Campground

Credit: Discover Ruidoso

For a true wilderness experience, our choice is the South Fork Campground. South Fork is a small primitive camping area at the foothills of the South Fork of the Kaweah River. Here the forest transitions from oaks to evergreens for a mixed forest environment. This is primitive camping at its best.

Amenities and Features

This is true primitive camping. You won’t find RVs or travel trailers here. The road to this campground is not suited for RVs or trailers. Some low clearance cars may not make it up this road.

Don’t expect any facilities as well. There is no potable water available in this part of the park. Cell phones don’t work, and the internet is long behind you. There are food storage lockers in the campground for safe bear-proof storage of your food. Be watchful; bears are known to frequent this area.

No park store exists, and no other amenities, features, or facilities are available. Often fire restrictions are in place for this portion of the park.

RVs and Travel Trailers

The South Fork Campground is beyond your range unless you have a specialized trailer meant for off-roading and wilderness areas. The road leading to this campground is not meant for RVs or travel trailers. 4-wheel drive is not required, but there may be clearance issues with some cars and SUVs.

There are no hookups or dump stations at this campground. You won’t find toilets, showers, or potable water either. If you are camping at the Southfork campground, you need to prepare to bring everything you need. You should also remember to take out everything you bring in, including trash.

Reservation Policies

All the campsites at Southfork Campground are first-come-first-serve. No reservations may be made for these campsites. Fees for camping at Southfork are $6.00 per night. Campsites at Southfork are limited in number, so plan accordingly.

For more information about primitive camping in our National Parks, click here.

Restrictions to Remember

This is a primitive campground. There are no facilities or services other than bear-proof food lockers. You must bring everything that you will need for your stay. There is no staff on site. Park rangers may visit the site daily but usually don’t do more than check the area.

Bears are a common occurrence in this primitive campsite. You must store your food properly in the bear-proof lockers provided. Trash should also be stored in the lockers and not lying around your campsite.

Pets are welcome in most national park areas. However, the park management recommends that pets not be brought to primitive campsites because of bears. If you bring your pet, they must be always on a maximum six-foot leash. Never leave your pet leashed at your campsite and unattended.

6. Cold Springs Campground

Credit: USDA Forest Service

If you want to experience an almost alpine environment, visit Cold Springs Campground. This is an isolated camping area distant from all other park parts. The campground is 26 miles over a rough, unimproved road from the King Ranger Station. There are only 31 camping sites at this location.

Related Read: 50 Most Beautiful Places in the US

Amenities and Features

Cold Springs Campground is one of the highest points in the Sequoia National Park system. At some points in this part of the park, the elevation is near 7,500 feet and is only open during the summer months.

The road leading to the campground is narrow and winding. There is no pavement, and the road only leads to the campground. Travel trailers and RVs are prohibited in this area. Many vehicles may lack the clearance to make the trip up the road. A 4-wheel drive is not required but may be recommended, especially during inclement weather.

During the season, bear-resistant food lockers are provided at the campsites. Potable water may be available at certain parts of the season. Vault toilets are the only other amenities available.

RVs and Travel Trailers

RVs and travel trailers are prohibited on the road leading to the campground and in the campground itself.

Restrictions to Remember

This is a primitive camping area. You must bring everything you need to survive. Some campsites have proximity parking. A few require a walk of 100 to 200 yards. No generators are allowed in this camping area.

This is bear country, and bears are common in and around this campsite. You must use the provided food lockers to store your groceries. There may be trash bins available during the season and should be used to prevent bears from accessing waste materials.

It is a one and one-half hour trip back to any facilities. Park staff are not around at the campground. Fire restrictions may be in place. Check at the ranger station for any other restrictions or notifications before heading to the campground.

Camping At Sequoia National Park

This is one of the most spectacular national parks in the entire system. If you haven’t put this park on your camping bucket list, now is the time to do it.

You may enjoy glamping with your RV or travel trailer or returning to nature with your backpack and tent. In either case, Sequoia National Park offers a camping experience to remember.

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