When camping, preparation is key. And it all starts with securing the campground for your trip up to Mammoth Lakes. 

Take note that there are 70 campgrounds for you to choose from in the general area of the Eastern Sierras, including 10 excellent options in and around the town of Mammoth Lakes.

With a variety of all these great campgrounds, the next logical question would be: what must you keep in mind when choosing a campsite for your upcoming family weekend?

Safety is definitely of prime importance, as is being adequately prepared for the weather, and just being considerate overall during your camping trip. It all starts with your choice of location, however.

New to camping? You may want to check out “Camping for Beginners: A Guide to Enjoying the Great Outdoors”.

Location: Where Will You Be Camping?

Mammoth Lakes is an excellent choice for many families looking to camp out in the Eastern Sierras. 

Extremely popular with its cross-country bike paths, options for shopping and restaurants nearby, small-town tourist attractions, gondola rides and much more, Mammoth Lakes gives you all those great conveniences while still allowing you to enjoy the great outdoors.

Then again, even if you’d prefer campgrounds other than those in the neighborhood of Mammoth Lakes, you still have a good selection around these nearby areas:

  • Bishop 
  • Crowley Lake, Convict Lake, and Rock Creek
  • Crestview and Deadman
  • Devil’s Postpile and Red’s Meadow
  • June Lake Loop
  • Lee Vining 

The Adventure in Camping website gives you quite a good amount of information for any of these campgrounds, including amenities (such as full hook-ups, showers, toilets, etc.) as well as contact details for further inquiries. 

Go right ahead and make your advance reservations. Obtain your permits early and figure out what sorts of activities you’ll be doing while you’re on your camping trip.

That said, here are three main things to keep in mind when choosing a campsite:

Safety First

When you finally arrive at the grounds, you’ll want to set up where you’ll be staying for the next couple (or several) days. Always consider safety first, and specifically, we mean:

  • Watch out for widow-makers. Avoid areas where dead tree branches can unexpectedly fall on your RV or on any tent you might have set up. It goes without saying that these can seriously injure you (or even your pets), damage your gear, or worse.
  • Avoid camping in low spots. Yes, you’ll likely be staying close to a nearby water source, but you want to make sure you set up on slightly higher ground. This way, you won’t have to worry about your site suddenly inundated with water or even rains.
  • Set up camp before dark. Make sure you arrive at your campsite of choice at least two hours before sunset. You certainly wouldn’t want to stumble around in the dark or make some poor life choices just because you can’t see your immediate surroundings.

Probably most importantly, however, know where you should go (and what to do) in case of emergencies. This is particularly true if you have a medical condition, or if you have kids along, or seniors, or even pets. Always have a first aid kit handy, make sure everyone in your party knows how to call for help, and know where the nearest hospitals (or vets) are just in case. Consider the Weather

You might want to position your RV or tents to catch lots of morning sun. This becomes particularly more desirable in the winter when the extra heat really helps warm your bones after a cold night in the snow.

However, the sun might get too overpowering especially towards midday in the summer, so finding sufficient shade will definitely help. (Otherwise, your RV or tent might turn into a sauna.)

You’ll also want to avoid exposed campsites; specifically, when you’re out in the open on flat ground. When it gets way too windy, you might have branches or debris crashing through your campgrounds. So try to pick out a spot where you can have some boulders or some trees that provide a windbreak of sorts.

Be Considerate

Choosing a site with a body of water close by is great, but don’t stay too close. Keep a distance of about 200 feet so you wouldn’t get in the way of wildlife wanting to drink from the lake or river.

It’s possible that you’re not the only folks out camping in the area. It’s likely they’re out here to enjoy a bit of privacy as well, so choose a spot where you can all enjoy the campgrounds a reasonable distance away from each other.

Also, leave plant-filled meadows, lakeshores, or some other pristine, untrampled spot as they are. Be careful not to mess the area up as you may cause damage to the scenery that will take years to reverse. Always look for ways to minimize your impact on the environment.

And lastly, always keep your site clean.

A Final Word About Choosing a Campsite

Camping is much more fun especially if you’ve taken the time to better prepare. Especially now that you can check everything either online or with just a quick phone call, you can have better information that will help you make better decisions when it comes to picking out a campsite.

Mammoth Lakes, for example, has lots of excellent options for family-friendly campsites. With a thriving camping community, there are lots of activities and outdoor recreation opportunities. 

Even when you get there, boots on the ground, your top consideration is safety. Factor in the effects of weather, and always be considerate to the local wildlife, to your fellow campers, and to the environment most of all.

It might all sound like common sense, but you’ll be surprised how it’s easy to forget about all these when you’re already on-site. For this reason, you would do well to be the one with the plan and pull everyone together on your upcoming camping trip.