Highway 395 is a popular road trip in California. We will highlight free camping in the section from Bishop to just north of Mammoth Lakes. With not a lot of hotels or resorts and with a plethora of BLM and national forest land to camp on, camping is the number one choice of travelers. Within just this short drive, there are so many unique places to stay. Whether you are there for hiking, boating, skiing or to soak in hot springs, you will find an area that is just right for you.
As a reminder, please practice Leave No Trace so these beautiful places stay beautiful and clean. Also open. Places have been shut down due to disrespectful campers. Respect the stay limits and fire bans.
Beautiful Free Camping along Northern California's Highway 395
South Landing has so many camping possibilities it is awesome. Views of snow capped mountains, lake and desert. Set up a home base and you will have numerous options for day trips.
Mammoth Lakes is a very popular area in the summer and winter, because of this it is hard to find a place to stay. Hotels, AirBNBs and even hostels are expensive. The popularity of camping has grown. Just a mile from downtown Mammoth Lakes, is national forest land with multiple areas to stop for the night.
Just south of Mammoth Lakes along 395 is the turn for Benton Crossing and some beautiful wide open spaces for camping with mountain views. If you do a little searching there are some beautiful hot springs in this area.
When it is too cold near Mammoth Lakes to camp, head to Bishop where it can be 20-30 degrees warmer. Stock up on groceries, find some BBQ and head to the desert. It is much different than the forests near Mammoth but you still get the snow capped mountain views!
I hope you get a chance to enjoy and experience this beautiful area of California. Let us know if you have questions about the area. It is remote in areas so as mentioned above Leave No Trace. You will have to pack out what you pack in as a lot of places do not have trash service.