Horton Creek Campground, Bishop
Basin Mountain and the Eastern Sierra from Campground
Horton Creek Campground is situated on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains near Bishop, California. The campground has a gorgeous view of Mount Tom and the peaks to the south, and of Round Valley with its trees and green meadows. Beyond is Owens Canyon and the Volcanic Tableland. You can see it all here! The White Mountains are to the east.
The campsites are well orientated for keeping your rig cool, as many sites are orientated east-west. When things really heat up (as they often do in this high desert) the clear waters of Horton Creek are always cool and refreshing.
Camping isn't free; however, it's quite a bargain. The rates are $5.00 a day, $100 a month, or $300 for the whole summer season (7 months). The campground is open from May 1 through October 31.
Campsite GPS Coordinates: N 37.37770 W 118.58015
Elevation: 5,000 feet
Horton Creek Campground Map
View Camping Northern California in a larger map
Horton Creek Campground RV Camping Journal
July 10th, 2013
Recreation: There is plenty to do in the area. The clear cool waters of Horton Creek are quite inviting on hot summer days. The creek is small and finding water deeper than a couple feet is a challenge, but it’s great for wading. Like Tuttle Creek near Lone Pine, the vegetation is thick, so reaching the water isn’t easy, especially once you stray from the camping area. There are many wildflowers along this beautiful creek.
The quickest way to reach the high country is to take Pine Creek Road up the canyon to the trailhead and pack station. Here, the Pine Creek Pass Trail takes you up and up into John Muir Wilderness, which is quite a water world, with the sound of creeks this way and that, and clear blue lakes reflecting the heavens.
I hiked Pine Creek Pass Trail to Pine Lake, Upper Pine Lake, and Honeymoon Lake, then a bit further west toward Italy Pass. Honeymoon Lake is grand and glorious, with granite peaks rising above, and a sandy beach on its north shore...perfect for wading on a warm day, or for a swim if it’s real nice out. I took a short dip in the water, which wasn’t as cold as I expected – at 10,400 feet I expected ice cold water. The two heat waves we had this summer must’ve really helped warm the water. Above Honeymoon Lake is a lush green mountain meadow bordering the creek. It’s a beautiful peaceful spot.
Round Valley is fun to explore by bicycle. I saw a handful of cyclists the two times I went out for a ride. The roads are smooth and virtually free of traffic, and the views are awesome. I took a nice ride east to Mill Pond Recreation Area, then south to Highway 168. I saw about 7 cyclists, and fewer cars.
For wildlife viewing, Fish Slough is to the northeast, north of Bishop.
Peacefulness: Very peaceful. The campground receives light use. It’s far enough from road noise and there isn’t much air traffic. It’s just the sound of the breeze and the creek.
Weather: It’s been hot! The Western US had quite a heat wave and temps were in the low 100s for about a week. On cooler days it was in the 90s. At night it dropped to the mid 60s and lower 70s. There is usually a breeze here. Gusty winds can come suddenly, without warning, but are short-lived. These gusts usually occur when the clouds have built up in the afternoon and it looks like thunderstorms could appear.
Wildlife: Hummingbirds, turkey vultures, ravens, variety of small birds, mourning doves, eagles, jackrabbits, cottontail rabbits, ground squirrels, lizards (some tiny baby lizards), a few small trout...though not as many as I saw at Tuttle Creek.
On my hike to Honeymoon Lake I saw trout in the lakes, tadpoles in the small ponds, lizards, hummingbirds (one getting a drink from a small spring on the mountainside), tree squirrel, ground squirrels, swifts, smaller fast flying birds, and heard a few woodpeckers.
Insects: No problems. No gnats or mosquitoes.
Cell Signal: Very fast internet – no external antenna needed. Excellent 3G cell signal.
Water/RV Dump: Horton Creek Campground has a dump station and potable water.
RV Solar: 90% sun here. On a number of days, clouds built up in the afternoon and it became partly sunny. There is virtually no shade from trees.
Horton Creek Campground Rating: 10 out of 10. Summers can be hot, like Tuttle Creek Recreation Area, but there’s plenty to explore here and in the Bishop area. Town is only 10 miles away for supplies and it's the best shopping you’ll find for miles in the remote Eastern Sierra. The views are grand, and so is the solitude.
For more information, visit the BLM Horton Creek Campground webpage.