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Light Winter Prompts Early Opening of Eastern Sierra Campgrounds

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June Lake, where campgrounds are expected to be open by this weekend.
June Lake, where campgrounds are expected to be open by this weekend.  | Photo: Frank Kovalchek/Flickr/Creative Commons License

The roads were plowed last week and now the campgrounds are opening. Inyo National Forest officials this week announced that due to another light winter, many campgrounds will open by this weekend, with more to follow by Memorial Day. Their list:

  • Mono Lake Area: Big Springs and Lower Lee Vining campgrounds are open on the Mono Ranger District with Gull Lake, June Lake, Oh! Ridge and Silver Lake campgrounds expected to be open by Friday.
  • Mammoth Lakes Area: New Shady Rest, Sherwin Creek, Convict Lake, and Crowley Lake campgrounds will be open on or before Friday.
  • White Mountains and Bishop Creek Canyon: Bitterbrush, Holiday, and Grandview campgrounds are currently open, as well as White Mountain Road to the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest. The McGee, French Camp, Tuff, Forks, Bishop Park, Four Jeffrey, Big Trees, Intake Two, Big Pine Creek, and Upper and Lower Sage Flat campgrounds will be open on or before Friday.
  • Lone Pine Area: Upper and Lower Grays Meadow, Lone Pine, and Whitney Portal Trailhead campgrounds are currently open. Whitney Portal Campground will be open or before Friday.
  • Other campgrounds may also open in time for the weekend if conditions permit.

The openings line up perfectly with the Eastern Sierra's opening fishing weekend. However, anyone planning to camp should note that snow is expected this weekend in the mountains, which is also delaying the opening of Tioga Pass in Yosemite National Park.
Yes, California may be in a drought, but there is still some snow. Forests spokesperson Debra Schweizer warns that some campgrounds could close again for safety reasons. "I have been encouraging people to camp in the valley instead of the locations at higher elevations," she said. As always, check with visitor centers before you go.

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