Sierra Nevada is home to some of the best winter camping spots in the world. From stunning lakefronts, snow-capped mountains, and vast forests, there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re a beginner camper or an experienced winter adventurer, you can find all kinds of activities to explore and enjoy here. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite winter camping spots in Sierra Nevada that are perfect for this season!
Essential Gear for Winter Camping
Whether you’re camping for a few days or an extended period of time, you’ll need the right gear to make sure you have a safe and enjoyable experience. Don’t forget your tent, sleeping bag, winter clothing (including waterproof boots and gloves), firewood, and warm food. If you plan on going into deeper parts of the woods, bring a first aid kit in case of injury or illness.
Best Winter Camping Spots In Sierra Nevada
Yosemite National Park
If you’re looking for a classic winter camping experience in Sierra Nevada, look no further than Yosemite National Park. Here you’ll find plenty of activities like skiing, snowshoeing, and ice skating to keep you entertained during your stay. Plus, with its breathtaking views of the mountains and forest, Yosemite is one of the most beautiful places to camp during the winter months.
For winter adventurers looking to explore Yosemite National Park, there is no shortage of opportunities! Four campgrounds remain open year-round in the park: Upper Pines and Camp 4 in the majestic Yosemite Valley; Hodgdon Meadow northwest of Yosemite Valley; and Wawona just south. Those preferring more comfortable accommodations can take advantage of many lodging areas that stay operational all season long.
Located in El Dorado National Forest, Desolation Wilderness is a great spot for those looking for a peaceful and serene winter camping experience. Here you’ll find plenty of trails that can be used for hiking or snowshoeing, as well as numerous lakes perfect for fishing or simply admiring the views. Plus, if you want even more adventure and excitement, there are several ski resorts nearby.
Lake Tahoe is a favorite among winter campers because it offers a variety of activities like skiing, snowmobiling, ice skating, and more. Additionally, the lake itself is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and lush forests, making it the perfect place to relax and take in the views. And with its crystal clear waters, Lake Tahoe is a great spot for swimming or boating as well.
These are the campsites we found open:
- Grove Hot Springs
- Sugar Pine (General Creek Campground)
- Tahoe Valley Campground
Mammoth Lakes is another great winter camping destination in Sierra Nevada. This area offers plenty of outdoor activities like skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, and other winter sports. Plus, with its stunning lakeside mountain views, you’ll never get bored here! And if you want even more adventure during your stay, there are several nearby trails that can be explored.
What to Wear Winter Camping
It’s important to dress appropriately for winter camping, so make sure you come prepared with the right gear. Layering is key and it’s best to wear several layers of clothing that can be easily added or removed depending on the temperature and activity level. Additionally, waterproof boots and gloves are a must-have, as is an outer layer with some type of wind or water resistance.
Winter Camping Tips
- Choose the right gear: Invest in the right camping gear for the winter. Make sure you have the right sleeping bag and tent for the temperatures you’ll be camping in.
- Layer up: Make sure you layer up with several thin layers of clothing instead of one thick layer. This will help keep you warm and allow you to adjust your layers if you get too hot or too cold.
- Bring extra food and water: Make sure you bring plenty of food and water with you, as it may be difficult to find fresh sources in the winter.
- Protect your tent: Make sure your tent and sleeping bag are properly insulated and that your tent is waterproof.
- Stay dry: Make sure you stay dry when camping in the winter by wearing waterproof clothing and keeping your sleeping bag and clothing dry.
- Know the weather: Keep an eye on the weather and plan accordingly. Make sure you know the temperature range you’ll be dealing with and plan accordingly.
- Stay warm: Make sure you stay warm by using a hot water bottle or hot rocks to help keep you warm and insulated.
- Monitor your batteries: Make sure you monitor your batteries, as cold temperatures can reduce their effectiveness.
- Have a backup plan: Make sure you have a backup plan in case the weather gets too cold or if you need to find shelter.
- Stay safe: Winter camping can be dangerous, so make sure you follow all safety guidelines and stay aware of your surroundings.
RV Camping in the Winter
For those who want to enjoy camping during the winter months but don’t want to sacrifice comfort, an RV is a great option. An RV allows you to stay warm and comfortable while still being able to experience all of the outdoor activities that come with winter camping. Additionally, there are several campgrounds across the Sierra Nevada that offer RV hookups for your convenience.
When it comes to winter camping in the Sierra Nevada, there really is something for everyone.
Winter RV Camping Tips
- Make sure all your systems are functioning properly before you hit the road. Check the batteries, propane tanks, and other RV systems to make sure everything is in good working order.
- Bring extra blankets, clothing, and other items that you might need to keep warm during your trip.
- Prepare for extreme weather conditions. Research the area you are visiting and the expected weather conditions before you depart.
- Make sure you have plenty of food and water stored. Bring non-perishable items that will last for several days in case you get stuck in an unexpected snowstorm.
- Have a generator on hand to power your RV in case of emergency.
- Bring a shovel and snow chains to help you get out of snow-covered areas.
- Winterize your RV to prevent water lines from freezing.
- Make sure you have an emergency kit with a flashlight, first aid kit, and other supplies.
- Have an appropriate heat source inside your RV. Make sure you use properly vented propane heaters and other sources of heat to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Talk to local experts and other RVers in the area to learn about any potential hazards or other issues.
No matter where you decide to go in the Sierra Nevada this winter season, you’re sure to find plenty of great camping spots that will make your experience even more enjoyable. From Yosemite to Lake Tahoe and Desolation Wilderness, there are plenty of incredible places to explore. So what are you waiting for? Get out and enjoy the beauty of Sierra Nevada this winter!