A tent setup in a campsite, a white SUV is parked nearby, a lake and mountain are in the background.

Camp like a pro in the Eastern Sierra

Stay in an established campground

Staying in an established campground is the best way to protect our public lands from fires, trash, and trampling. With more than 160 serviced campgrounds in Inyo and Mono counties, this is your best bet for a great camping experience that also preserves our pristine environment. Find and reserve your perfect campsite at recreation.gov or reserveamerica.com. However, if you are considering dispersed camping (camping outside of a developed campground), please follow these rules to keep our public lands, forests, wildlife, nearby communities, and yourself, safe.

Know before you go

Facilities, availability and conditions vary. Access intel and maps at essrp.org/camping and know where you can and can’t camp. Be prepared for extreme weather and emergencies—help may be a long way off, whether for a flat tire or a twisted ankle.

Pro campsite selection

Dispersed camping: Venturing beyond established campgrounds (aka “boondocking”) means taking your camping responsibility to the next level.
• Camp where it is allowed—check the map online here and do not camp where it is not allowed.
• Choose an already-disturbed area at least 200 feet from lakes, streams, wetlands and other natural water sources.
• Store food (and trash!) in bear-proof food containers. Never leave food in your tent.
• Do not feed or approach wild animals. No selfie is worth it.
• Be kind to other campers. Give everyone their space.

Pack it in, pack it out

Bring your own trash bags and take out ALL waste, including toilet paper, food scraps and pet waste. Pros leave their site better than they found it!

Pro campfire skills

There’s nothing between a campfire and a wildfire except YOUR SKILLS. Don’t be the camping amateur that starts the big one.
• Get your mandatory California Campfire Permit. Always check local fire restrictions. Fire restrictions are in effect right now.
• Prepare the area, have a five-gallon water bucket and shovel at the ready.
• Tend your fire like a boss. If you are not watching it, douse it.
• KNOW HOW TO PUT YOUR FIRE COMPLETELY OUT—cold enough for you to stick your hand in the ashes. (Be careful testing it!)

Poo like a pro

Your number 2 is a number one problem. Here’s how to do-do it right at an unserviced campsite.
• GO FAR. Set up your Pro Poo Zone at least 200 feet from your campsite and any water source.
• GO DEEP. Bury your waste at least 6 inches down. Always pack out your soiled toilet paper!
• GO PRO. Use “wag bags” or a portable toilet.
• Remember to clean up after your pets, too.

Top image courtesy of Campsite Photos.