Kings Canyon National Park Camping

Last Updated on July 7, 2022 by Aswetravel

Kings Canyon National Park Camping at the various campgrounds in Kings Canyon National Park follows a strict schedule, but the opening and closing dates are always subject to change. These changes typically occur due to unplanned events or emergencies, such as wildfire, weather, utility failure, hazardous tree fall, lack of drinking water, rockfall, or other notable facility or environmental issues.

Kings Canyon Camping

To this end, we have decided to highlight the campgrounds in Kings Canyon National Park. Let us begin!

Moraine Campground

Moraine Campground is just three-quarters of a mile away from Cedar Grove Village, and it rests in the heart of King Canyon. You can find it along the South Fork of the Kings River under vast canopies of evergreen trees at an elevation of 4,600 feet (1,400 m). Campers can head to Cedar Grove Village for services such as food and showers.

Canyon View Campground

The Canyon View campground is on Highway 180, about a quarter of a mile from Cedar Grove Village. This campground is group-only and located on the canyon floor along the South Fork of the Kings River. As its name states, it offers excellent views of the granite cliffs at Kings Canyon. This campground is for medium and large groups. Food and showers are available at Cedar Grove Village.

Sheep Creek Campground

The Sheep Creek Campground is on Highway 180, about a quarter of a mile away from Cedar Grove Village. The campground is on a canyon floor just beside the South Fork of the Kings River and Sheep Creek. Services are found in Cedar Grove Village. This campground is typically open all year round. 

Sentinel Campground

Kings Canyon Camping at Sentinel Campground
Image Credit: Shutterstock

This campground, located on Highway 180, is next to Cedar Grove Visitor Centre and is about a quarter of a mile away from the Cedar Grove Village. The campground is located in the canyon along the South Fork of the Kings River under evergreen trees. Campers can access services at Cedar Grove Village, including showers and food. This campground is typically open from April to the Monday after Veteran’s Day.

Sunset Campground

The Sunset Campground is three miles from Kings Canyon Park entrance, nestled near Grant Grove Village in an open stand of evergreens. Campers looking for services can head to Grant Grove Village. Located in this campground is a park amphitheater that occasionally offers park programs. It is typically available from Memorial Day to after Labor Day.

Azalea Campground

The Azalea Campground is 3.5 miles away from the Kings Canyon entrance in the Grant Grove area. You can find it under open stands of evergreen trees. This campground is available depending on snow cover and demand. For the most part, 21 sites are open from early November to mid-April. Forty to 88 sites are open from mid-April to early may, while 110 sites are open from mid-May to early November.

Dorst Creek Campground

The Dorst Creek Campground is located about 10 miles from the Giant Forest and rests under open stands of evergreen trees at an elevation of 6,800 feet. The campground is centrally located, ideal for exploring Kings Canyon National Park and the Sequoia National Park. Catch the Sequoia Shuttle from the campground for easy travel to Lodgepole and Giant Forest in the summer. This campground is typically open from July 4th to the last Wednesday in September.

Lodgepole Campground

The Lodgepole Campground is a large and popular one located on the Marble Fork of the Kaweah River. It is within easy walking distance of Lodgepole Village. Lodgepole pines surround the campsites in this area. At an elevation of 6,700 ft, this campground can be snowy in spring and fall.

At Lodgepole Village, visitors will discover a market, visitor center, shower, and laundry facilities. This campground is open the Wednesday before Memorial Day and closes in phases, with all sites closed just before thanksgiving.

Buckeye Flat Campground

The Buckeye Flat Campground is just seven miles from the Ash Mountain Entrance along the Middle Fork of the Kaweah River in an oak and California buckeye woodland. Campers can hear the rushing river from most sites, particularly in the spring and early summertime. Due to high temperatures and dry conditions, this area often has fire restrictions. The Paradise Creek Trail starts from this campground, and the Middle Fork Trail is nearby. This campground is typically open from the last day of March and closes the last Wednesday of September.

Potwisha Campground

The Potwisha Campground is just four miles away from the Ash Entrance station, and it sits at 2,100 ft along the Middle Fork of the Kaweah River under an open stand of oak. You can expect hot and dry weather in the foothills, which can sometimes require fire restrictions during the summer. The campground is usually snow-free in the winter. The Marble Falls Trail starts at the back of the campground, open all year, regardless of the weather.

Atwell Mill Campground

The Atwell Mill Campground is located just along the eastern fork of the Kaweah River in a previously logged sequoia grove. You can find limited services at Silver City Resort which is 1.7 miles east of the campground. You can also find extensive services near Three Rivers, located 23 miles west of the campground. The start of the Atwell-Hockett Trail is near this campground, and it typically opens the Wednesday before Memorial Day and closes the last Wednesday in October.

Cold Springs Campground

Cold Springs Campground is situated in the middle of conifers and aspen trees, right next to the National Park Service Mineral King Ranger Station. It is a one-and-a-half-hour drive from Highway 198 junction in Three Rivers. Just about 2.5 miles away from Silver City Resort, where there are limited services. The trails located near this campground lead to mountain passes and alpine lakes. This campground is typically open the Wednesday before Memorial Day and closes the last Wednesday in October.

Things You Should Know Before Camping at Kings Canyon National Park

Kings river on Kings Canyon National Park scenic view. Kings Canyon Camping
Image Credit: Shutterstock

You might have read the list of campgrounds above and wondered if any of them operate on a first-come-first-serve basis. You will be pleased to know that Potwisha and Azalea campgrounds use a first-come-first-served system, especially during the winter months. You should also note that the Azalea Campground might have snowy sites. Additionally, campgrounds can also close on short notice due to winter storms or if the road becomes unsafe.

For the campgrounds that operate on a reservation basis, you should note that you can make a reservation an entire month ahead of your stay. The campgrounds in Kings Canyon National Park will run on a reservation basis during the summer.

Group Camping

Kings Canyon National Park has four campgrounds with group camping options for groups of more than six people in terms of group camping. The Dorst Creek Campground has group sites for trailers, RVs, and tents. Canyon View and Sunset Campground have group sites for car camping and tent camping only. You will need to use regular campsites to camp with your trailers and RVs at these sites.

You should also note that group camping areas are open from June to September; specific dates depend on a host of situations. To access the campgrounds, you will need to be there at noon on the first day of the season. The campgrounds close on the last day of the season at noon—the day of the season.

Firewood and campfires

Already dead wood that has been on the ground within 30 feet of the road can be gathered for fires. Visitors cannot cut, break, or see any standing trees for firewood, regardless of whether they are dead or alive. Chainsaw usage is not permitted. You can purchase firewood at local markets, particularly those inside the packs. You are also not allowed to leave any firewood after your trip.

Check-in, Check-out, Daily Use Limits

You can check into your campsite at noon or later. To check out, you need to do it before noon. You have to check in every day, and failure to check in on your reserved campsite would mean your site is unoccupied and therefore open to new campers. For campers self-registering on a campground that operates a first-come, first-served basis, you can check in just about anytime you want.

Campgrounds typically open and close their gates at noon. You can only camp for 30 days in the entire year, with a maximum of two weeks between June and September. That said, you should be aware that opening and closing dates are subject to change due to fire, weather, or any other emergency circumstances.

Kings Canyon National Park Camping with trailers or RVs

You should note that none of Kings Canyon National Park campgrounds have RV hook-ups. If you are running a generator, you should also note that all campgrounds except Dorst Creek and Lodgepole Campgrounds have generator hours between 9 am and 9 pm. The two campgrounds mentioned above have generator hours from 5 pm to 8 pm and 8 am to 11 am.

RV campers will be pleased to know that dump stations are at Dorst Creek, Lodgepole, and Potwisha campgrounds. Cedar Grove and Grant Grove have no dump stations. However, the dump stations at Dorst Creek and Lodgepole are unavailable during the winter months.

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