Stanislaus National Forest Camping
Campgrounds in Yosemite National Park are of times crowded and almost as often filled to capacity. That’s why many wise campers choose to opt for the nearby Stanislaus National Forest. This Forest on the western slope of the central Sierra. You’ll find many similarities to neighboring Yosemite in both beauty and recreational activities including camping, fishing, boating, picnic areas and trails. These are accessible via Highway 108 past Sonora, Highway 4 past Murphys and Highway 120 past Groveland.
The ideal camping time in most Forest areas is May to October, prior to winter storm activity. Reservation campgrounds are available but most campgrounds are on a first-come, first-served basis. Contact the individual Ranger District nearest your destination to verify space availability in your selected campground.In most campgrounds, the maximum stay is 14 days (21 days per Ranger District) per calendar year. Beware: most campgrounds fill quickly during holiday weekends.
Visitors can avoid the crowds by camping in undeveloped areas. Rangers can assist you in choosing an appropriate location. There is no cost in these undeveloped areas. Potable water, toilets and other amenities are not generally available. If you choose to camp outside developed areas, bring adequate water or be prepared to purify spring water. Water on the Stanislaus National Forest may be contaminated with Giardia or other microorganisms. Note: Dispersed camping is not permitted within the boundaries of several Recreation Areas including Brightman, Clark Fork, Lake Alpine, Pinecrest and Tuolumne River – Lumsden.
Pinecrest Campgrounds and the Pioneer Trail Campgrounds are the only Highway 108 facilities requiring reservations. ReserveAmerica is the reservation service for all federal campgrounds. Reservations may be made on-line or by telephone: 877.444.6777.
Large campers and trailers are permitted in campgrounds where camp space allows. No more than two cars per site are permitted in developed campgrounds. All campsites will accommodate tents. No more than 6 people may occupy any one campsite. Electric hook-ups are unavailable at Forest campgrounds.
Some campgrounds require fees that partially pay for their operation & upkeep. Individuals 62 years of age or older are eligible for a $10 lifetime Golden Age Passport. This pass is available at any Forest Service office and admits the holder to Forest Service campgrounds, including those at Stanislaus, at half price where fees are charges.
Pets are welcome in the National Forest. Any animal brought into a developed recreational area must, at all times, be caged, crated or restrained with a leash no longer than 6 feet. Dogs are not allowed on the beaches or in swimming areas.
Campfire permits are not needed in developed campgrounds or picnic areas. They are required though for camp or picnic fires outside of developed areas. Free permits may be obtained at most ranger stations. An important reminder though: all fires may be cancelled during extreme fire danger. Please check with a park ranger or local ranger station for details.
A Wilderness Visitor’s Permit is required for overnight visits to the Carson-Iceberg, Emigrant & Mokelumne Wildernesses. Your permit doubles as a campfire permit while in these areas. Click here to download a form to be filled out and mailed or faxed to ranger office nearest your trailhead.
To allow as many people as possible a chance for campsites, a 14-day limit per campground with a maximum stay of 21 days per year is imposed in most areas of the Stanislaus National Forest.
For additional information, call the appropriate Stanislaus National Forest Office:
Stanislaus National Forest Headquarters
19777 Greenley Road
Sonora, CA 95370
Calaveras Ranger District
P.O. Box 500 (Highway 4)
Hathaway Pines, CA 95233
Groveland Ranger District
24545 Highway 120
Groveland, CA 95321
Mi-Wok Ranger District
P.O. Box 100 (24695 Highway 108)
Mi-Wuk Village, CA 95346
Summit Ranger District
#1 Pinecrest Lake Road
Pinecrest, CA 95364