Camping in the Eastern Sierra

Camping in the Sierra Nevada means gazing up at awe-inspiring constellations and awakening to the sights of nearby meadows and streams and the unforgettable landscape of giant granite. More than a hundred campgrounds, from remote, tents-only areas to full-service facilities with RV hookups close to the main attractions, operate in the Eastern Sierra. Be aware that Yosemite National Park's most accessible campgrounds can be jam-packed and claustrophobic in the summer. Luckily, there are many options to the east, including calm and beautiful sites such as Lake Mary Campground in the Mammoth Lakes area. The following campsites are recommended. Reserve sites at www.recreation.gov.

Convict Lake Campground. A 10-minute drive south of Mammoth, this campground near the Convict Lake Resort is run by the U.S. Forest Service. It's open from May to October; book early as sites are extremely popular. One look at the scenery and you'll understand why. Convict Lake Rd., 2 miles off U.S. 395, Mammoth Lakes, California, 93546. 760/924–5500. 88 campsites.

Lake Mary Campground. There are few sites as beautiful as this lakeside campground at 8,900 feet, open from June to September. If it's full, which it often is, try the adjacent Coldwater campground. You can catch trout in tourmaline Lake Mary, the biggest lake in the region. There's a general store nearby. Lake Mary Loop Dr., off Hwy. 203, Mammoth Lakes, California, 93546. 760/924–5500. No credit cards. 48 sites (tent or RV). No meals.

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