Eastern Sierra is very scenic and gorgeous year-round. Autumn is especially stunning.
The past two years, we've gone to Mammoth. This year we'll try Bishop Canyon and Rock Creek Canyon.
If you're an experienced hiker, then several moderate / strenuous hikes are available to choose from.
If you're new or nervous about camping, then that's fine too. Plenty of easy hikes to lakes are available, and are accessible by car and a short walk. Anyone & everyone can witness the many pristine lakes (along with mountains, trees, and the majestic outdoors).
You don't have to be an intense, hard-core hiker because there are plenty of flat and short-distance trails.
For those who don't want to hike, multiple places are convenient for driving to, pulling over, and viewing the colorful leaves.
For app users reading this on your phone - it's easier to view this on a larger screen and web browser via a computer/laptop/tablet -
It helps if people contact me directly (via Meetup) with answers to some questions.
If there’s room and I feel okay about someone attending, then I’ll reply and include my Paypal and Venmo. $25 per person/adult. Kids are usually free*.
Those who contact me, confirm, and pay will be saved a spot at our campsite.
We’re sorry if room isn’t available for everyone, and some people can’t go.
If any guy (who has never met me) wants to attend, near the bottom is an additional request that involves sending me a photo/selfie of yourself. I’ll elaborate/clarify later.
Sometimes people try to communicate with me in the comments section, and imo, it’s inconvenient. Plus, Meetup sometimes doesn’t notify me of comments, so I might not see questions/comments immediately, so messaging me directly is preferred.
Drive time is around
5.5 - 6 hours from OC: https://goo.gl/maps/wFUFHRyt27VhqfNTA
5 - 5.5 hours from LA: https://goo.gl/maps/Z5cJo3qYQ44vMyyM8
If anyone arrives late on Friday night (e.g. 10 or 11pm), and wants help setting up their tent in the dark, I'll bring extra lights, and lend a hand and foot.
The past 2 years at Mammoth, the temperature at night was exceptionally cold.
I don't know about Rock Creek Canyon and Bishop Canyon, but we'll check weather forecasts as the date approaches. My guess is it'll be similar and chilly at night.
Over 20 people attended past trips to Mammoth and most were prepared and all survived.
Nobody is allowed to freeze or die. I'm dead serious! :)
Everyone should bring a warm sleeping bag, extra blanket, jacket / sweater, layers, long underwear (thermal / fleece), socks, gloves, beanie hat, something to keep you off the cold ground when sleeping (pad, mat, air mattress, or cot), and a rainfly for your tent.
Our camping trips are intended as fun and friendly get-togethers to enjoy nature and the great outdoors.
Everyone has many options of things to do on the weekends. You all could be doing several other things/activities.
Our trips are an opportunity to get away for the weekend, meet some new people, and have some fun exploring our beautiful planet with others who appreciate life.
Maybe you’ll have an awful, awesome, or awe-none time. I don’t promise or guarantee anything. Ultimately, it’s up to each person to decide if they want to go or not. Clearly I’m a bad salesman. ;) I never try to convince/persuade anyone from joining.
Leaves typically change color from late September until mid-October or so.
Quick Intro - http://www.visitmammoth.com/blogs/5-frequently-asked-questions-about-fall-color-mammoth-lakes
Different areas in Eastern Sierra vary in elevation, so the color of leaves in one area might be yellow or orange while leaves in another area might still be green.
The following sites should have frequent updates:
So in late Sept and early Oct, we can check which locations are peaking.
Other sites to look for updates & pics are
Eastern Sierra is pretty spacious. The map on this 2nd page is worth referring to and should be saved on your phone for easy reference:
If anyone is new to Meetup, please disregard / ignore the RSVP list.
The majority of people who signed up will not go.
I’ve planned several camping trips, and for some unknown reason, usually what happens is many people sign up, but a fraction are serious about going, so the RSVP list means nothing.
People can easily change their mind, get busy, not want to drive, not be able to get a ride, make other plans, etc...so the number of people who signed up does not accurately reflect the number who will actually go.
My guess is 10 - 15 people might go.
If anyone is new to Meetup or afraid/scared of camping with strangers---that’s totally normal and human.
My suggestion is to not go.
We don’t want to worry about you and we rather make room for others who want to go. So if anyone is nervous, hesitant, or maybe about going, it’s totally fine if you don’t go.
Bringing dogs or kids is fine. The campground and some hiking trails allow dogs.
Some other camping events on Meetup might prohibit kids. I admire parents who introduce their child(ren) to the outdoors and respect parents who encourage kids to take a break from tv, video games, phones, computers, etc.
So parents and kids are welcome to join.
I'm not a mind-reader, so if anyone is interested in attending, please contact me directly (message me on Meetup) with answers to the following questions:
(1) Do you understand it might get cold / windy at night?
(2) Do you want to drive or ride with someone else? If you can drive others, how many passengers can you accommodate? What day & time do you want to leave SoCal? What city/area are you leaving from? (This helps with finding you a carpool buddy).
(3) Do you have your own camping gear (e.g. tent, sleeping bag, mat/pad/cot, etc.) ?
(4) Do you understand you are responsible for bringing / buying your own food?
(5) Do you understand some locations/elevations might still have green leaves at this time, so we might need to drive elsewhere to find colorful leaves (yellow, orange, etc.) ?
(6) Do you understand what we see might be different from what is shown in photos/videos? I don't want anyone to get mad or disappointed if they don't see exactly the same trees or leaves as one of the photos/videos seen online.
If using Meetup via the phone app or a computer (e.g. web browser), look for my name/profile (wise|man) under Attendees, and then click a shortcut for messaging me (e.g. an envelope icon shortcut or "message").
Please message “wise|man” instead of using the comments section. Thank you.
If anybody is new to camping and doesn’t have some camping gear/equipment, or wants help coordinating carpooling or tent sharing, just lmk.
After messaging me your answers, a $25 contribution will be collected via Paypal or Venmo.
Leftover money will be used to buy some items to help a few homeless individuals.
More info on the campsite & final details will be sent to those who confirmed & paid.
Something new for 2019:
If any guy has never met me before, in addition to the aforementioned questions, I will also ask each guy to send me a photo of yourself.
If possible, hold up a piece of paper with 3 things: my name, your name, and the date.
Email it to [masked] or text it to[masked]
Totally understandable some guys might not want to do this (inconvenient, a pain/hassle, etc.). If anyone doesn’t want to do this, that’s your prerogative.
Q: Why don’t you ask women to send a photo?
A: Because I’m sexist. After 20+ camping trips of encountering 400 to 500+ people who attended one of my camping trips, I don’t remember any woman harassing a man, but a few guys have bothered women, so now I’m taking extra precaution with just guys.
If anyone is thinking about going, please look at the RSVP list.
If any guy seems weird or creepy, or messaged you out of nowhere, or makes you feel uncomfortable, just lmk.
I trust women's intuition, so if you don't want someone to attend, just lmk.
After the news in 2017 with sexual abuse, harassment, inappropriate behavior, #MeToo movement, etc., I want to be more vigilant and careful with who joins.
I've planned numerous camping trips, and surprisingly, many women have attended.
By default, I take on an over-protective brother/father role and need to look out for everyone.
We've been lucky in having some good guys attend, but a few have been questionable, and therefore, that’s why we now have to be more judicious and cautious.
Believe it or not, I’m a Jane Austen-liking, hopeful romantic.
At least 6 group members have met through my meetup events and started dating. I’m happy whenever two people can connect (as long as there’s mutual interest/attraction).
However, I also need to be vigilant and diligent.
It probably is not easy for some women to go camping with strangers, and whenever other women put trust in me and are willing to attend, I need to look out for their safety and well-being.
I have enough to stress about:
...will people arrive safely (no accidents, flat tires, speeding tickets), have food, water, and all the camping gear they need, sleep okay, stay warm, not get lost / injured, etc…
So if you’re a guy who is interested in attending, please “be cool.”
If you can help me have one less thing to worry about, it preserves my sanity.
So if any women attend, thank you for being respectful toward them.
Since time for exploring and hiking is limited, you all can discuss & decide how best to prioritize what to do / where to go.
Maybe some want to pick one region and go on a scenic hike.
Maybe some want to see as much as possible and instead of a long hike, drive around to different areas and make multiple stops.
Feel free to also use the comments section to share ideas / thoughts with others. We also can talk more and decide when we all meet at the campsite if the entire group wants to do something together (e.g. same hiking trail) or do different things in smaller groups.
If anyone can drive and is open to carpooling...or if anyone wants to go, but is looking for a ride:
- Post a comment and maybe others will respond
- Check the comments section if maybe someone else is offering a ride or needs a ride
- Let me (Wiseman) know because sometimes people message me (and they might not post a comment), so I can also try to connect people for carpooling.
Note: If you successfully connect with another person for carpooling, please let me know b/c it helps me coordinate the campsite assignments for # of people and vehicles per campsite.
In past camping trips, some people became friends through carpooling. Yes, riding with a new person might seem awkward, so feel free to exchange social media, or talk over the phone, or meet for coffee or a hike beforehand to break the ice and become more comfortable with one another.
The campsite does NOT have heaters, electricity, or showers.
The campground should have potable water, vault toilet, fire ring, and bear lockers.
I usually bring foil and get wood if anyone wants to cook food over the fire.
Hot showers might be available at Rock Creek Lodge and maybe in Bishop.
Or use water from the campground spigot, and bring a bucket and biodegradable soap/shampoo if you want to do a light wash.
The campground allows dogs.
The town of Bishop has restaurants, fast-food places, and a market / grocery store.
Examples of recommended items to bring:
Sleeping bag + pillow
Sleeping pad / mat or air mattress
Tent (or share with someone who has one)
Rain fly, stakes, and guy lines for your tent b/c it might get windy at night
Appropriate clothes, socks, & shoes
Sweater, jacket, gloves, & beanie hat to stay warm at night
Toothbrush, toothpaste, & other hygiene items / toiletries
Lip balm / chapstick
Hand sanitizer or baby wipes / wet naps
Sunglasses, sunscreen, and a hat or bandana
Flashlight / Headlamp
Cell phone charger cable (car adapter) or portable charger
Water (or water filter)
Water bottles or hydration pack
Food (and cookware)
Towel, soap, & shampoo
Music or games
* Some other camping events on Meetup might prohibit kids. I admire parents who introduce their child(ren) to the outdoors and respect parents who encourage kids to take a break from tv, video games, phones, computers, etc..
So parents and kids are welcome to join.
I usually ask for a payment per person (adult), so kids who attend are free. As long as there’s space/room at the campsite, and the child genuinely wants to attend, and it’s not a large # of kids (boys/girls scouts, youth group, etc.).
Some people on Meetup don’t want kids to attend, but I try to be cool, understanding, and supportive of parents. However, we want to avoid a situation where a kid is dragged to camping trip and doesn’t want to be there (foul/negative mood, tantrum, drama, etc.)....so thank you for your cooperation.
The following is pretty lengthy and intended for those who like to plan / prepare in advance (your choice to read or not):
If anyone doesn't care much about leaves, and is more interested in hiking:
More links related to fall colors:
Referring back to the map on the 2nd page of
We probably will camp in Rock Creek Canyon (7).
Some other places to explore are:
Bishop Creek Canyon (3)
The leaves near North Lake, Lake Sabrina, and South Lake are usually nice during this time of year.
McGee Creek Canyon (8)
Convict Lake (9)
Visiting this lake shouldn't take much time. It's easy to drive to. Ignore the first sign that says parking for day hikers. Try to find parking at the day use parking area first, and only if it's full, then go back to the parking area for hikers. It'll save you some time if you can park closer to the lake. You can stop for a quick look & photo, or walk around the lake if you have time.
June Lake Loop (11)
This is a nice, scenic drive. If you have time, and if the colors are changing, consider hiking to Parker Lake.
Lundy Canyon (14)
Two years ago, Lundy Canyon was popping.
Conway Summit (16)
More likely than not, you won't miss it. Find a safe spot to pull over and get some good photos of the trees.
Every year differs...but photos from previous years might show what to expect for early October:
Photo Source/Credit: Los Angeles Times & Jeff Simpson