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We camped in the upper loop in February. Came in around 3pm, found a spot, paid $16 bucks at the kiosk. No showers but there is a pool and shower at the hotel by the visitors center that you can use for $10 bucks.
This is a private canyon that is only used by the park rangers and morning horse rides. Hence its name. It is blocked off by a gate but it can be accessed if you help with the Christmas Audubon bird count over the holidays.
There is a pit toilet and picnic areas with a flat ground area for tents. Not much flat parking space for RV’s and campervans though. There are also two fireplace areas and grills for cooking.
This area is BLM and land in trust of Friends of the Inyo. You can set up camp but you need to make sure that you are on proper land and not on private property.
It is easy access to Surprise Canyon, Middle Field, and some of the remaining mines in the area. We were there for a service trip so we were deconstructing roads created by careless people in off road vehicles that take advantage of the land and don’t follow the rules of protecting the environment. It was cold during our stay and we work up to snow on the mountain tops and frost on our tents in the morning.
No facilities and the closest town is not super close, so bring everything with you. If you are careful when you wander around you may find native rock art form when the area was a lake shore. You will also find prospecting poles in the area, feel free to pull those out and clean up the site when you see them.
Just stayed there with my wife and 2 dogs had an amazing experience no camp fee and great views of the stars at night, took our little teardrop camper and had no issues finding an adequate space for it and our truck. Definitely will be back
The reviews are correct- this place is a parking lot. Spots are right next to each other and outlined like an actual parking lot. Room for a car and maybe two tents. Or one tent and a table. However, nice bathrooms. Water. Communal fire pits. Not a single bush or tree among the spots. Walkable to the Ranch and the Visitors center across the street. Texas is a nicer campground with some greenery and easy access to hills to wander around in. Those spots are still very close together. But in spite of all of this I wasn’t unhappy at Sunset. We were only in camp for breakfast and then again at evening. The point was so see the park- not chill at the campground. If you were going to spend more of the day at the campground Texas looks better. But so comforting to arrive without a reservation and know that Sunset is waiting for you.
This is a free campsite for tents only. However, several people brought in their car campers & just set up a tent. You can leave your tent in one of the 10 spots & travel throughout the park during the day but that is not best practice because then others will not have an opportunity to use a site as they come in for their 1st night. This has working toilets that flush & R kept well. There are multiple trash cans that are changed out.
While the ground is hard & filled with stones which make it hard to get a good stake in the ground, this is a good campsite due to location, it is free, & the amenities are quite nice given this. This is a 10 minute drive from Stove Pipe Wells (just SW of Stove Pipe) & you can get gas as well as general store stuff there.
I would advise you come early & get a spot. Many people arrived just before sunset & after dark but were not able to get a spot because this filled up so quickly. Do not be that guy at 10 PM circling the lot & spotlighting everybody.
Finally, while this has good bathrooms & drinking water available, you need to know that those facilities are located a bit off the side. You’ll have to walk, not far, to the structure to use them just so you know.
I’d recommend you arrive during the day. I spent Christmas Eve here and the Park was quite full. Found one of the only remaining spots open. Cool spot with potable water and bathrooms. I couldn’t see stars the night I was here because of the cloud cover. Paid $16 for the campsite. Worth it! Centrally located to several sites.
Easily one of my favorite places! The views here are like nothing else, perfect place without reception, fresh mountain air away from everything and yet close to a cute little town for chili cheese nachos or tackle. Owned and operated by BLM land, so it’s free to the public (first come first serve) but be sure to go prepared with your permit to have a fire and have the proper tools to extinguish it completely. Preservation of this land is imperative with rangers patrolling consistently and fines are unforgiving, there are seasons fire is not allowed and will be posted at entry. There are no specified camping spots, no restrooms, no available water, and no sewer or trash dumping areas available. Just the wilderness at its finest.
The walk in sites have a lot of sweet camping spots. Great views of the desert and mountains, space between sites (little privacy though), even some scrappy trees for decent shade, and dirt that was very stakable which is necessary for the sometimes high winds. Area is separated from RVs and generators. Walk in is a joke and the walk is close to cars, no problem unpacking. The sites on the outer loops are best, the ones close to drive in sites just have a view of drive in sites. Also, the drive in sites suck. Packed gravel and RV hell.
Sinks for washing are fabulous. Toilets are fine.