Owens River Road offers dozens of dispersed camping areas within Inyo National Forest. Located right off US-395, about 6 miles north of Mammoth Lakes, and about 6 miles south of June Lake Loop, this area is free for RV camping with a generous 28-day camping limit.
Owens River Road itself is paved but bumpy, yet there are dozens of dirt roads leading from it and stretching for miles deep into the woods. Each dirt road appears to be just wide enough to accommodate a standard 8.5 foot wide trailer, and roads feel hard packed with a light sprinkling of gravel. You might experience some branches brushing against the side of your truck and trailer, but if you’re accustomed to scratches on your precious-paint job, and accept it as just a circumstance of boondocking, you’ll still live.
You’ll definitely want to look up this place on Google Maps using satellite view just so you can identify potential campsites and find out where there’s a wide enough place to turn around. Some of these roads don’t offer any turn-around spots. You may also notice other areas off US-395 that appear to offer campsites, and most of those are also available for dispersed camping.
Our campsite was located at 37.740602, -118.964448.Verizon 4G coverage at this location came in at 2 bars unboosted, and 3-4 bars with our WeBoost. We were able to connect to the Internet using our hotspots and get our webdev and social media work done.
Best of all, Sash and I experienced a lot of peace and quiet here. We did see other RVers a few hundred feet away through the trees, but we never heard from them. We even spotted a few deer in the distance. There’s plenty of firewood to gather from the ground, and the night skies are rich with stars, even the Milky Way galaxy is easily visible.
If you were to continue along Owens River Road for a couple of miles you’ll reach Big Springs Campground, a developed USFS campground (fee based).
When we were not working, we hiked up Obsidian Dome, located just a few miles away, and explored Mono Lake’s “South Tufa Shore” and took plenty of photos. We also built a campfire on a couple of nights and grilled some steaks. Note at this time, campfires are restricted to metal containers, and you must obtain a fire permit, which you can download here.
Amenities are about 6 miles south in Mammoth Lakes, with grocery stores, drug stores, auto parts, laundromats and restaurants.
Hi Steve, the forest service site shows that you may not camp near Owens River. Do you know whether “Owens River” is disallowed while “Owens River Road” is allowed? I’m also planning a stay in Inyo.
Owens River Road is allowed. You just cannot camp “along” the river. So, where the road runs next to the river, you cannot camp. I didn’t see any fencing or signs where I camped that prohibited camping. In fact, I saw a number of other RVs camped where I was.
Isn’t it snowing there? It is on the west side of the Sierras!
I’m not currently camped here, but looking at the weather for that area, it’s all snow. I’m actually camped in Colorado, at Lake Como Road, at the base of Blanca Peak. Look for a new blog post on that coming in a couple of days.
do u think i could boondock there in mid winter.. ??
I see the crestview rest area is right by there with water available..
Of course you can boondock there in mid-winter. The question is do you have the vehicle to get you there during high snow, and can you stay warm?
I have not been on over on the Eastern Sierras in a long time. I use to fish the
Owens river down by Bishop long time ago. I just fly fish now. How is the fishing in that upper section. I have VW Eurovan that I camp in.
Thanks for any information.