When was the last time you went camping? When was the last time you immersed yourself in a “nature bath”? When was the last time you put your phone down or looked away from your tablet or laptop and took in the beauty of nature?
Camping is psychologically proven to be good for one’s well-being. According to Positive Psychologist Miriam Akhtar, camping “can reduce psychological stress, depression symptoms, and hostility towards others.”
Ready for your city and digital detox? There’s only one place you should pack up and go to: Crowley Lake.
Where is Crowley Lake?
Crowley Lake in California is a fishing village with a trout fishing lake. It is located off Highway 395 in Eastern Sierra. The lake itself is man-made, supplying water and power to Los Angeles. It is part of the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power System.
Crowley Lake is approximately 12 miles south of Mammoth Lakes (Mammoth Lakes is a town in the Sierra Nevada mountains. It is known for its ski areas and hiking trails. Yosemite National Park — famous for its sequoia forest — is a close neighbor.)
For a man-made lake, Crowley Lake is massive: it is 12 miles long and 5 miles wide. It stores Eastern High Sierra snow and rain water.
Through the years, Crowley Lake has evolved from simply being a fishing destination to a place where different people with different interests can find the joy they seek.
What are the things we can do in Crowley Lake?
Fishing at the Crowley Lake Fish Camp
Location: 1149 South Landing Road, Mammoth Lakes
According to their website, Crowley Lake is known “as being an incredible fishery that produces large, beautiful trout that will give you the fight of your life!” If you love fishing, then you must not pass up the Crowley Lake fishing experience.
When you’re done and happy with the trout you have caught, you can still enjoy water sports like kayaking, water skiing, wakeboarding, wake surfing, kite surfing, and stand up paddle boarding.
Fishing season is from the last Saturday of April to November 15. This is regulated by the California Department of Fish & Game. Crowley Lake Fish Camp is open from the last Saturday of April to October 31.
RV camping at Crowley Lake RV Park
Location: 515 South Landing Road, Crowley Lake
Relish in the Eastern Sierra environment by camping at the Crowley Lake RV Park which is open all year round. They offer full hook-up camping (water, electricity, CATV, and sewer) plus clean bathrooms, restrooms, and coin laundry.
Crowley Lake RV Park is located 7,000 feet above sea level. It is about four hours from Las Vegas and four hours from Los Angeles. Yosemite National Park is about two-and-a-half hours away.
Crowley Lake RV Park offers daily, weekly, and monthly rates. Their summer season is from April 24 to October 31, while their winter season is from November 1 to April 23. According to their website, “Your 7th night is always free!”
They also offer properties for those looking to own vacation homes in the park.
Camping in the Rock Creek Campgrounds at Inyo National Forest
Location: 351 Pacu Lane, Suite 200, Bishop, CA 93514
The Rock Creek area around Crowley Lake is a huge campground with the following campsites:
- Big Meadow Campground
- East Fork Campground
- French Camp Campground
- Holiday Campground
- Iris Meadow Campground
- McGee Creek Campground
- Mosquito Flat Backpacker Campground
- Pine Grove Campground
- Rock Creek Lake Campground
- Tuff Campground
- Upper Pine Grove Campground
For groups, there are the Aspen Group Campground, Palisade Group Campground, and Rock Creek Lake Group Campground.
Aside from fishing and water sports, the area offers bicycling, hiking, horse riding, nature viewing, and picnicking opportunities. During winter, they offer skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobile riding.
Fun fact: “Inyo” is a Paiute Indian word that means “Dwelling Place of a Great Spirit.”
RV, tent, or trailer camping at the Crowley Lake Campground
Location: Crowley Lake Drive, Crowley Lake (LAT / LONG: 37.572727, -118.767626)
If you feel like enjoying the open air with a spectacular 360-degree view of Crowley Lake and its surrounding mountains, then Crowley Lake Campground is for you. It features 47 single-family campsites that guarantee ample space between neighbors so you may enjoy your privacy even while sharing the massive space with other campers.
The campground is under the tutelage of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Each site has a table, lantern post, fire ring, and grate. Common campground amenities are access to clean drinking water and vault toilets. There’s firewood for sale. And if you should need gas and groceries, they are but a few miles away.
The best part: they are pet-friendly!
Since Crowley Lake Campground is an open space, they offer more than the usual camping experiences such as fishing, hiking, etc. They have trails for OHVs (Off-Highway Vehicles) and ATVs (All-Terrain Vehicles), photography, stargazing, and wildlife viewing (There are sites in Mono County that offer birdwatching.)
Crowley Lake Campground is open from mid-April to mid-October.
Exploring Crowley Lake Columns
Location: Benton Crossing Rd, Bishop, CA 93514
Travel blogger Josh of California Through My Lens describes the Crowley Lake Columns as “a mysterious site that many people pass by along Highway 395. These natural columns are not easy to get to, but they are rewarding for any adventurer who makes their way out there to see them.”
He warns that access is not always possible due to the water levels of Crowley Lake. He notes that it is necessary to take a four-wheel drive to the location. Gregg Boydston in The Outbound Collective says that one can reach the columns with a two-wheel drive but only if one has experience with dirt roads, as the sand in the area is quite soft.
According to the LA Times in an article written by Louis Sahagun in 2015: “Researchers have determined that columns along Crowley Lake were created by cold water percolating down into — and steam rising up out of — hot volcanic ash spewed by a cataclysmic explosion 760,000 years ago.”
In a Nutshell
There is more to Crowley Lake than just the lake, fishing, and camping. There’s watersports, exploration, even geology! Not to mention the time you will spend with your loved ones (or yourself), away from the noise, pressure, and stress of the city.
Do yourself a favor and go on this trip. Crowley Lake awaits.