Exploring Wilderness Serenity: Pine Grove Campgrounds in Inyo National Forest

Pine Grove Campground, situated alongside the pristine waters of Rock Creek in the Inyo National Forest, stands as a beacon for outdoor enthusiasts seeking solace and serenity amidst nature’s embrace. With Upper Pine Grove and Pine Grove offering a combined total of 19 campsites, this campground invites campers to revel in the captivating beauty of the surrounding aspen-lined valleys just downstream from the breathtaking Rock Creek Lake.

Map & Reservations

Before embarking on your camping journey at Pine Grove, it’s essential to equip yourself with knowledge and preparation to ensure an unforgettable experience. Whether you’re a seasoned camper or venturing into the wilderness for the first time, our top tips, strategies, and gear recommendations will guide you towards maximizing your enjoyment at Pine Grove Campground.

For those experiencing Pine Grove for the first time, the fall season presents an enchanting opportunity to witness the vibrant display of aspen colors along Rock Creek. The changing foliage adds a touch of magic to the campground, enhancing the natural beauty that surrounds you. As you marvel at the splendor of the fall foliage, don’t miss the chance to explore the attractions near Rock Creek, including the renowned Rock Creek Lake just a short distance upstream. Here, you can indulge in a myriad of activities such as fishing, boating, and swimming, immersing yourself fully in the tranquility of the lake’s shores.

Hiking enthusiasts will find themselves in paradise amidst the network of nearby trails that lead to destinations like Little Lakes Valley and Hilton Lakes in the John Muir Wilderness. Whether you’re seeking a leisurely stroll or a challenging trek, these trails cater to adventurers of all levels, offering a glimpse into the untouched beauty of the Eastern Sierra.

For a taste of local hospitality and convenience, a visit to Rock Creek Lodge is a must. Indulge in a delightful breakfast experience at the lodge’s cafe, or explore cabin rentals and boat rentals to enhance your camping adventure.

As you plan your stay at Pine Grove Campground, consider the optimal strategies and tactics to make the most of your time in nature’s sanctuary. From selecting the perfect campsite nestled amidst the aspen groves to respecting quiet hours and adhering to bear safety measures, these considerations ensure a safe and enjoyable camping experience for all.

When it comes to camping gear, preparation is key. Pack layered clothing for fluctuating temperatures, compact cooking gear for convenient meals, and quality sleeping gear for a restful night under the stars. Illuminate your campsite with ample lighting and explore our gearlist for specific recommendations tailored to enhance your camping adventure at Pine Grove.

As you immerse yourself in the tranquility of Pine Grove Campground, let the beauty of the surrounding landscapes captivate your senses and rejuvenate your spirit. Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures or simply longing for a peaceful retreat, Pine Grove offers a gateway to nature’s wonders, inviting you to create lasting memories amidst the breathtaking landscapes of Rock Creek and the Inyo National Forest.

Top Tips for Campers Camping Here the First Time:

  • Aspen Wonderland: Embrace the fall season to witness a breathtaking display of aspen colors along Rock Creek. The fall foliage provides a stunning backdrop, enhancing your camping experience.
  • Rock Creek Attractions: Head 1¼ miles up to Rock Creek Lake, where you can indulge in fishing, boating, and swimming. Explore the unimproved boat launch ramp for a tranquil day by the lake.
  • Hiking Haven: Discover the nearby hiking trails leading to Little Lakes Valley, Hilton Lakes, and other John Muir Wilderness destinations. These trails offer a range of difficulty levels, ensuring there’s a suitable path for every adventurer.
  • Rock Creek Lodge Stop: Visit the Rock Creek Lodge for a delightful breakfast experience between 8 AM and 10 AM. The lodge also offers cabin rentals, boat rentals, a store, and a popular cafe.
  • Trail Ride Excursions: Make the most of the surroundings by engaging in trail rides or fishing pack trips with the Rock Creek Pack Station or the McGee Creek Pack Station.

Top Strategies and Tactics to Get the Most Out of Camping Here:

  • Seasonal Bliss: Plan your visit between mid-May and October to enjoy the camping season, weather permitting. Optimal months are late spring, summer, or early fall when the weather is pleasant, and the fall foliage is at its peak.
  • Site Selection: Choose your campsite strategically, considering proximity to Rock Creek and the captivating aspen groves. Enjoy the soothing sounds of the creek as you relax in the heart of nature.
  • Quiet Evening Hours: Respect campground regulations by adhering to quiet hours from 10:00 PM to 7:00 AM. Immerse yourself in the tranquil ambiance of the wilderness during these peaceful hours.
  • Bear Safety Measures: Ensure a safe camping experience by following bear safety guidelines. Store food and scented items in bear-proof lockers to prevent unwanted encounters.
  • Generator Etiquette: If using a generator, adhere to the three-hour maximum run time and avoid running it during quiet hours. Generators must be attended while running to minimize noise disruption.

Recommendations on Camping Gear:

  • Layered Clothing: Pack layered clothing to accommodate varying temperatures, especially during fall evenings. A waterproof jacket is essential for unexpected weather changes.
  • Compact Cooking Gear: Bring portable cooking equipment, including a compact stove and cookware, for convenient and enjoyable campsite meals.
  • Quality Sleeping Gear: Invest in a quality sleeping bag and camping chair for a comfortable night’s rest and enjoyable leisure time at the campsite.
  • Illumination Tools: Ensure you have ample lighting, including lanterns and headlamps, to navigate the campsite and create a cozy atmosphere during the evening.
  • Explore Our Gearlist: Check our gearlist account for specific recommendations on camp cooking, sleeping systems, overlanding setups, backpacks, and clothing to optimize your camping experience.

Check out our Gearlist for the gear we use for trips like this

Our Gearlist account lists all of the gear we use. Discover our top picks, where to snag them, and stay informed with our regular updates.


Pine Grove Campground serves as a sanctuary for those yearning to connect with nature and escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. As you conclude your camping adventure at Pine Grove, take a moment to reflect on the memories made and the experiences shared amidst the beauty of Rock Creek and the Inyo National Forest.

Throughout your stay, you’ve witnessed the enchanting spectacle of fall foliage along Rock Creek, marveling at the vibrant colors of the aspen groves. You’ve explored the pristine waters of Rock Creek Lake, casting your line and basking in the tranquility of the surrounding landscape. Whether hiking through Little Lakes Valley or enjoying a hearty breakfast at Rock Creek Lodge, each moment has been a testament to the allure of the Eastern Sierra.

As you prepare to depart Pine Grove Campground, remember the lessons learned and the connections forged with nature and fellow campers alike. Adhering to campground regulations, respecting quiet hours, and practicing bear safety measures ensure the preservation of this natural haven for future generations to enjoy.

Reflect on the camaraderie shared around the campfire, the laughter echoing through the trees, and the sense of peace that enveloped you under the starlit sky. These moments of simplicity and serenity are the essence of camping at Pine Grove, leaving an indelible mark on your heart and soul.

As you bid farewell to Pine Grove Campground, carry with you the memories of crisp mountain air, rustling leaves, and the soothing sounds of Rock Creek. Let the spirit of adventure and the beauty of nature continue to inspire and rejuvenate you long after your departure.

Whether you’re a seasoned outdoor enthusiast or a novice camper, Pine Grove Campground offers an invitation to reconnect with the natural world and rediscover the simple pleasures of life. As you venture back into the embrace of civilization, carry with you the spirit of Pine Grove – a reminder to cherish the moments of tranquility, to seek adventure in the great outdoors, and to nurture a deep reverence for the wonders of nature.

Until we meet again amidst the towering pines and rushing waters of Rock Creek, may the memories of your camping experience at Pine Grove Campground linger as a beacon of solace and inspiration, guiding you on your future journeys into the heart of the wilderness.