The Complete Guide to Bass Lake Camping

The Complete Guide to Bass Lake Camping


George Cummings
November 25, 2021

The Sierra National Forest is one of the most picturesque places North America has to offer, and Bass Lake is a popular camping destination.

Before you plan a trip to the mountainous lakeside here, you’ll need to know everything you can about where to stay, what to do, and when to visit.

Is Bass Lake camping worth it? Bass Lake is a hugely popular camping spot in the Sierra National Forest, and it offers lots of campgrounds to choose from.

With the mountain scenery and large lake at its center, there are lots to see and do on a trip here and it’s bordered by the amazing Kings Canyon National Park and Yosemite National Park.

Bass Lake isn’t just a fishing destination, as the name may suggest, and the lake itself is owned by the Pacific Gas and Electric Company.

However, the gorgeous surrounding land and forests offer up the perfect playground for campers and outdoor enthusiasts, so check out our guide to find out more.

The Geography of Bass Lake

The Geography of Bass Lake

Bass Lake is located in the Sierra National Forest and is just 14 miles away from the southern entrance of Yosemite National Park.

The lake measures around four miles long and half a mile wide, and although it’s owned by the Pacific Gas and Electric Company who uses for hydroelectricity, there’s still plenty to do around it.

Almost all of the lake and the land surrounding it are part of the Sierra National Forest, and the lake has been designated a Recreation Area, along with many other campgrounds around.

With sprawling mountains, dense forests, and freshwater lakes and streams, the sheer beauty of the natural landscapes of Bass Lake is one of the biggest drawcards for visitors to the area.

What’s There to Do at Bass Lake?

What’s There to Do at Bass Lake?

Bass Lake has all of the typical activities that you’d expect to find at a popular camping destination.

While there, you can spend the day at the many public areas around the shoreline, go fishing or swimming in the lake, visit the surrounding waterfalls, or hike at the many trails in the area.

One of the most popular activities that visitors to Bass Lake partake in is visiting Yosemite National Park.

As the southern entrance is less than 30 minutes away, you can take as many day trips there as you like to explore the surroundings of one of America’s most spectacular natural wonders.

Accommodation Options and Campgrounds

Accommodation Options and Campgrounds

As one of the larger national parks, there is no shortage of accommodation options for campers wanting to come to Bass Lake.

These are the available camping sites you can choose from when visiting the area:

  • Forks Campground: Located on the western side of Bass Lake, you’ll find 31 campsites at Forks. There are 31 campsites, piped water, fire rings, picnic tables, and grills, plus flushing toilets. This campground is only open May through September.
  • Lupine and Cedar Bluff Campground: This large campground comprises two separate areas and offers 113 campsites to choose from. It’s open all year round and has larger campsites that can fit up to 24 people, RV spots for 40 feet rigs, and piped water and toilets if you’re so included.
  • Spring Cove Campground: Also open for the May through September busy period, Spring Cove offers 63 different campsites to book. You’ll find all of the usual amenities like piped water, flushing toilets, and picnic tables, and it fits RVs up to 30 feet in size.
  • Wishon Point Campground: There are 31 campsites at Wishon point and it’s located on the south end of the lake. At Wishon, you’ll find fire rings, grills, picnic tables, piped water, and toilets, so it has everything you need for a comfortable stay.
  • Recreation Point Group Campsites: For a group camping experience, Recreation Point offers four group spots for up to 50 people to stay at. On-site, you’ll also get to enjoy a volleyball court, baseball field, flushing toilets, and piped waters, but they only allow for tent camping. For RVers, there are three additional RV resorts, including High Sierra RV & Mobile Park, Bass Lake RV Resort, and Oakhurst Elks Club. Sierra National Park does allow for dispersed camping but not in certain areas, with Bass Lake being one of the restricted places. Therefore, if you decide to stay at the park, you’ll need to have a booking with one of its public campgrounds or RV-friendly resorts.

The Best Time to Visit

The Best Time to Visit

The ideal time to visit Bass Lake is when the weather is good, so plan a trip for May through to June if you want to take advantage of it.

Be aware though, that as the peak tourist season, the campsites get crowded and you’ll need to book at least six months in advance to secure some of the better spots.

Some of the campgrounds around Bass Lake stay open all year long so you can experience it in the winter if you’re so inclined.

The off-season months are January through March and this is when it’s most quiet, which makes it perfect for those who want quiet.

If you plan on visiting Yosemite in the winter, the official ski season starts December 20th and runs through March 31st.

Staying at the nearby Bass Lake campgrounds lets you reside close enough to the action but avoid the crowds that can occur around there, so it’s the best of both worlds.

Tips to Prepare For Your Trip

Tips to Prepare For Your Trip

There’s a whole lot to see at Bass Lake, so you want to make sure you’re getting the most out of your trip when you finally get to see it.

Check out these interesting facts about Bass Lake that will ensure you do it your way:

  • The annual 4th of July Fireworks Show is held at Bass Lake and it’s one of the most popular times for the area. There are food and drink stalls, entertainment, and fireworks, so if you can plan a trip around the holiday then even better.
  • Late September is when the Smokey Bear 10k and 2- Mile Fun Run and Walk are held at Bass Lake. This is another time where lots of visitors flock here so you might want to avoid it if you’re craving peace and quiet.
  • There are lots of group camping sites that cater to large families and other parties of campers. Some of them hold up to 50 people at one site, making it the perfect place for a family reunion or corporate retreat.
  • Bass Lake has a number of inns and resorts if you’d rather stay somewhere luxurious for the night. Most of them have dining options as well, to give you a break from the camp food if you need it.

Planning the Best Bass Lake Experience

With a little forward planning and a better understanding of the lay of the land and what’s on offer at Bass Lake, you’ll guarantee yourself a first-class camping experience.

The natural beauty and close proximity to some of North America’s most prolific national parks are all you could ever ask for on a camping trip, so start planning your next adventure now.

Related Questions

Camping in one of North America’s wonderful national parks should be on the bucket list of every person, whether they’re an outdoors type of not.

If you’ve been thinking about paying a visit to one of these parks and want to find out more, we’ve answered a few FAQs that’ll give you all the information you need.

Do I Have To Pay To Get Into a National Park?

Not all of the United States National Park units require an entrance fee, with just116 of the 419 registered parks having one.

The price for admission varies depending on the season you’re traveling in and the park, so you can expect to pay between $5 per person or $35 for a vehicle to enter.

Can I Camp Anywhere in a National Park?

Can I Camp Anywhere in a National Park?

Many of the National Parks in the US allow for dispersed camping or backcountry, which means you can camp in certain areas and away from others.

However, you’ll need to check with the park you plan on visiting to determine whether this is possible, and some of them only allow you to stay on developed campgrounds.

Are There Fees For Boondocking?

When boondocking at a National Park that allows dispersed camping, you must obtain a permit to do so, and this permit costs money.

Each park has its own rates for these permits as well as varying lengths that they’re valid for, so it’s important to do your research before planning to stay in the backcountry.


George Cummings

George Cummings enjoys connecting with nature, meeting new people, and making friends from all over the world. RVing and camping create the perfect opportunity for [him/her] to take part in these activities. After spending several years on the road and exploring the great outdoors, George Cummings shares some of his best pieces of advice on how to make the most of your time while camping. TourTheOutdoors is his way of helping outdoorsy individuals like [him/her] start on a right footing with amazing recommendations and buying guides.