Haystack Mountain, Lone Pine, California

by Will

RV camping next to Haystack Mountain

RV camping next to Haystack Mountain

Haystack Mountain is a quiet place to camp east of Lone Pine in Owens Valley. The site is at the base of the Inyo Mountains. The Inyo Mountains Wilderness Area lies directly east of Haystack Mountain. The rocks of Haystack Mountain look somewhat similar in shape to the Alabama Hills, only they are black, white, and cream colored.

The valley is flat as a pancake here with the Inyo Mountains rising abruptly like the Sierra Nevada Mountains do on the other side of the valley. The Inyo Mountains don’t receive much moisture being in the rain shadow of the Sierras. It was hot and dry during my stay.

Haystack Mountain is a little baby compared to the Inyo Mountains it sits beside. Below the mountain there are many patches of smooth white dry lake bed that is as hard as rock. These areas make for excellent camping. Leveling the RV is a cinch here.

Lone Pine is an easy 5 mile bike ride away. Owens River is to the west, and is flowing. LA had diverted the entire flow for years. The river now flows slowly, and it’s more of a marsh. Unfortunately the river corridor has been severely overgrazed. There are ruts where the cattle have stomped the ground, countless cow pies, trampled vegetation, and even a strong cow odor. It’s unsightly and unsniffley to say the least. I had considered cooling off in the river as temps were near 100, but decided I'd be safer to avoid the water here.

Campsite GPS Coordinates: N 36 35.926 W 117 59.677

Elevation: 3683 feet

Campsite Directions: From Lone Pine head north on Hwy 395 and turn right on Lone Pine Narrow Gauge Road. Drive 3.3 miles then turn right on Owenyo Lone Pine Road. Head southeast for 2.3 miles to the dry lake bed on the left, south of Haystack Mountain.

More Campsites: There are lots of areas to camp here beside Haystack Mountain.

Haystack Mountain Campsite Map

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Haystack Mountain RV Camping Journal

June 4th, 2013

Recreation: If you’re looking for adventure straight from camp without cranking an engine, this is not the place...however, there is some fun to be had here, but it pales in comparison to the high and mighty Sierras, or the out of this world Alabama Hills. What you will find is a good hike up the mountain wash to the

saddle which links Haystack Mountain to its parents, the Inyo Mountains. To get to the wash go east on the dirt road then take the left branch around Haystack Mountain. 

Mountain biking is easy on the flat and hard packed dirt roads.

Peacefulness: It’s extremely peaceful. I counted only 5 vehicles on Owenyo Lone Pine Road since I got here 6 days ago. There were a couple visitors on the weekend that came for target practice next to Haystack Mountain. They didn’t stay long, so it wasn’t very disturbing. The only other noise is from the occasional military jet.

Weather: For my stay between May 30th and June 4th it was hot. Highs were in the mid to upper 90s and lows ranged from the 60s to 72 degrees when I woke up at 5 am this morning. This is not the ideal time to be camped here. Early spring and late fall would probably be just perfect. I’ve had around 99% sunshine, with only a few clouds today. There was a smoky haze yesterday from a fire in Southern California which dulled the sunshine a bit, but didn’t make it feel any cooler. The breeze has been picking up early in the morning, then again in the afternoons. Winds have never been very strong. The breeze has been out of the north or the south.

Wildlife: Zebra-tailed lizards (most likely, they’re long legged and lightning fast), smaller lizards, one species of bird here that appears to catch insects while flying in a small area close to the ground, a couple rabbits, ravens, hawks, eagles, and bats.

Insects: I’ve seen small flies, which are a slight nuisance, but nothing compared to the ear piercing sound of gnats. Thankfully the breeze usually keeps the gnats at bay. The gnats don’t bite, they just enjoy swarming around you. They aren’t a problem when sitting near my camper, but seem to find me when I’m walking around slowly or standing out in the open.

Cell Signal: Excellent. I’m very close to the tower and passed it coming here from Lone Pine. I had 4g Verizon cell phone service, and super fast Verizon mobile broadband internet with my USB device.

RV Solar: 99% sun

Campsite Rating: 8 out of 10. Camping beside Haystack Mountain is very peaceful, views are excellent, it’s very close to town, and the cell signal is superb. It just isn’t as close to the fun filled Alabama Hills and Sierra Nevada Mountains. Summers are too hot to be here.

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