North Lake Campground Question

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Syrio
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North Lake Campground Question

Post by Syrio » Mon May 14, 2018 6:58 pm

Planning on doing the North Lake South Lake loop. I want to get there the day before my permit starts, park my car at South Lake and then hitch/walk to North Lake. Can I just set up shop at the North Lake Campground even if its full so long as I pay? I see there's a few walk in sites. This would be on a Monday too.








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rlown
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Re: North Lake Campground Question

Post by rlown » Mon May 14, 2018 7:24 pm

I would say no. We hit that same issue one year (campground full and the walk-in sites full.) We hiked up the trail a mile or two until we found a flat spot near the creek and camped there. Wasn't that inconvenient.

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Re: North Lake Campground Question

Post by apeman45 » Mon May 14, 2018 10:32 pm

I would also say no. It's not like Horseshoe Meadows where you just cram in and make a spot. It's an established car campground in a very popular area with fishermen and hikers. Mid week you may score a spot if you get there early. It's a very small campground.

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Re: North Lake Campground Question

Post by Syrio » Tue May 15, 2018 9:45 am

rlown wrote:I would say no. We hit that same issue one year (campground full and the walk-in sites full.) We hiked up the trail a mile or two until we found a flat spot near the creek and camped there. Wasn't that inconvenient.
Am I correct in reading the map and interpreting your comment that the wilderness area starts a little into the trail thus leaving some space for legal dispersed camping before the John Muir Wilderness begins?

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rlown
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Re: North Lake Campground Question

Post by rlown » Tue May 15, 2018 9:57 am

If I remember correctly, there is a sign on the trail early on that says "Entering Wilderness area." We camped beyond that sign. Looking back at my past permit information, there are the typical campsite restrictions (away from water, bear cans, etc.) but nothing about not being able to camp in the wilderness except for areas we weren't visiting.

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Syrio
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Re: North Lake Campground Question

Post by Syrio » Tue May 15, 2018 1:05 pm

rlown wrote:If I remember correctly, there is a sign on the trail early on that says "Entering Wilderness area." We camped beyond that sign. Looking back at my past permit information, there are the typical campsite restrictions (away from water, bear cans, etc.) but nothing about not being able to camp in the wilderness except for areas we weren't visiting.

I'd be getting there the day before my permit actually starts, so I ask about the wilderness area because then I could just disperse camp before the wilderness boundary.

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Re: North Lake Campground Question

Post by SSSdave » Tue May 15, 2018 1:51 pm

The wilderness boundary is about 1/2 mile and 250 feet above the campground. You can camp anywhere before the boundary that is not within the Inyo NF "Recreation Restriction Area Boundary". On my map that appears to just end a minor distance beyond the campground. That area is dense shadowy forest including aspen. Don't expect to see trail side obvious camp spots because almost no others camp there since one would have to park way back at North Lake. So just wander off the trail some where it looks like one might find flat enough spots to toss down a few sleeping bags. I found several up near the boundary that gave me a modest head start on my trip versus the parking lot, a trip that legally started the following day. Note there are also a few better camp spots within the wilderness but before Loch Levin, well up the trail all but one also not visible from the trail.

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maverick
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Re: North Lake Campground Question

Post by maverick » Tue May 15, 2018 1:59 pm

Note there are also a few better camp spots within the wilderness but before Loch Levin, well up the trail all but one also not visible from the trail.
If you get to the trailhead early enough, this would be your best bet.
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Re: North Lake Campground Question

Post by Syrio » Tue May 15, 2018 2:51 pm

maverick wrote:
Note there are also a few better camp spots within the wilderness but before Loch Levin, well up the trail all but one also not visible from the trail.
If you get to the trailhead early enough, this would be your best bet.

Imagine I’d be getting up there late afternoon evening after walking/hitching from south lake. Thanks for the input guys.

SSSdave, would you be able to PM me a pic of that map or tell me where I can find it online?

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Re: North Lake Campground Question

Post by SSSdave » Tue May 15, 2018 4:37 pm

Syrio wrote:
maverick wrote:
Note there are also a few better camp spots within the wilderness but before Loch Levin, well up the trail all but one also not visible from the trail.
If you get to the trailhead early enough, this would be your best bet.

Imagine I’d be getting up there late afternoon evening after walking/hitching from south lake. Thanks for the input guys.

SSSdave, would you be able to PM me a pic of that map or tell me where I can find it online?

That is the official Inyo national Forest Map available at ranger stations or online. Essential for those that disperse camp like this person.

https://esiaonline.org/shop-online/inyo ... forest-map

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