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Inyo National Forest immerses you in a two-million-acre wonderland of rugged peaks, towering pines, and shimmering lakes. It's set in California's Eastern Sierra region and is a fantastic place to hike, camp, fish, and enjoy the natural beauty of the Golden State. The park is made up of nine wilderness areas and boasts some of the tallest peaks in the United States, including Mt. Whitney. As you explore Inyo National Forest, you can discover natural wonders like the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, home to the oldest trees on the planet. Mono Lake will wow you with dramatic calcium-carbonate spires, while Mammoth Lakes Basin is a favorite with hikers, anglers, and mountain bikers.
The park was named after the Native American word inyo, meaning "dwelling place of the great spirit." As you take in the larger-than-life landscape, you'll understand why. Planning a getaway to Inyo National Forest? Book an RV in Inyo County and you'll enjoy the freedom to explore the Mammoth Lakes Region at your leisure. With a home on wheels, you can also venture further afield to quintessential California national parks like Yosemite, Sequoia, Death Valley, and Joshua Tree.
Inyo National Forest is a paradise for outdoor lovers, with boundless opportunities to enjoy the crisp mountain air. Within the forest, the John Muir Wilderness cradles glacier-carved valleys, snow-capped mountains and, cobalt blue lakes. Enjoy the scenic day-use areas or lace up your hiking boots and hit sections of the legendary John Muir and Pacific Crest Trails. Mammoth Mountain is a haven for mountain bikers and boasts some of the best trails in the country. In summer, the lakes and streams of Inyo National Forest attract anglers from across California and beyond.
Photographers flock to Mono Lake, a million-year-old reservoir studded with jagged "tufa towers" formed by the interaction of fresh spring water and alkaline minerals washed down from the Eastern Sierras. The water is more than two times saltier than the ocean and incredibly buoyant, making swimming in the lake a unique experience. Visit at sunrise or sunset to see golden light reflecting off the water and bouncing off the surrounding mountains and desert.
In the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, you can get up close with the oldest trees in the world, some dated at more than 5,000 years old. Things don't slow down in the winter, when Inyo National Forest transforms into a snow-dusted playground. Check out the alpine skiing and snowboarding resorts or explore the groomed cross-country skiing and snowshoeing trails.
RV camping at Inyo National Forest offers a unique chance to sleep in the Sierra Nevada wilderness. Choose from more than a dozen RV-friendly campgrounds spread across the park's two-million-acre footprint. The Mammoth Lakes Ranger District occupies the northern half of the forest and is home to some of the most popular campgrounds. Twin Lakes Campground is set in a sun-dappled pine forest and offers 92 sites with picnic tables, fire rings, and bear boxes. If you want to stay within walking distance of the Mammoth Lakes town center, snag a spot at New Shady Rest, a picturesque campground set among Jeffrey pines.
The Mono Lake Ranger District borders Yosemite National Park and offers remote, primitive style campgrounds. With just 20 sites and no hookups, Saddlebag Lake promises an intimate and nature-oriented RV camping experience. Tioga Lake is also popular with motorhome campers in search of an off-the-grid getaway. Both are suitable for smaller RVs. The Big Pine Area of the White Mountain Ranger District offers more campgrounds suitable for small to medium-sized RV rentals. Dogs are welcome but must be kept on a leash.
Inyo National Forest borders Yosemite National Park, one of the most iconic wilderness areas in the United States. The sheer scale of the park is mind-boggling, and there are endless opportunities to enjoy the larger-than-life landscape. Hike the challenging Mist Trail to Nevada Falls, marvel at climbers scaling the El Capitan rock wall, and gaze up at awe-inspiring Half Dome. You've also got an excellent chance at spotting local tooth-and-claw wildlife, including bears, bobcats, bighorn sheep, and coyotes.
To the south, Sequoia National Park gets you up close with General Sherman, the largest living specimen on the planet. The ancient giant sequoia tree has a total volume of 52,500 cubic feet and is estimated to be around 2,700 years old. To the east, Death Valley National Park is a wonderland of rolling sand dunes, steep canyons, and towering boulders. Need to stock up on supplies? The laid-back town of Mammoth Lakes offers gas stations, grocery stores, and cafes. For more choice, head to Fresno, a good city to rent a camper near Inyo National Forest and kickstart a California road trip.