Horton Creek is a primitive campground with breathtaking views of the eastern Sierra Nevada mountains, Round Valley, the Volcanic Tableland and the White Mountains. Horton Creek itself flows beside the campground, providing a cheerful babble for the campsites situated closest to the creek. This is a stark and lovely park, not far from Bishop, California.
Although we have stayed at other locations in the local area, this was our first stay at Horton Creek Campground. We camped at the park for 12 nights in late October, 2016, leaving the park when our fresh water was running low.
We had a large pull through site at the top of the campground loop. The park looked clean and well-maintained. The road had been recently graded, BLM staff cleaned and restocked the vault pit toilets regularly, and there was a camp host on site.
A storm system swept through the area during our stay. We had several days of extremely high sustained and gusty winds, along with rain and snow showers. Since the campground is on an exposed slope, we felt the full force of the wind which really shook the trailer at times. We came through fine, but were glad when the storm was over. Conditions were calm for the rest of our stay and we really enjoyed the visit.
See our related travel post: Glorious Fall Color on U.S. 395
The campground sites are $5 per night, first-come, first-served. The campground does not accept reservations. The park accepts Golden Age and Golden Access passes for fee discounts. Maximum stay is 14 nights in a 30 day period, although Long Term Visitor Passes are also available.
Amenities On Site or Nearby
Horton Creek is a primitive campground. Sites are dry, with no water, sewer or electrical hookups. Sites have a concrete picnic table, equipment/lantern hooks, and a fire ring. Vault pit toilets are conveniently located throughout the campground. Water is available from several hydrants located around the park during the peak season, March 1st to October 31st. Hydrants have fittings that do not accept hose connections. A dump station with fee is also available during the peak season. Garbage bins are available year-round near the dump station.
Basic supplies & services – groceries, hardware, auto parts, gas, & restaurants are available in nearby Bishop. For the off-season, several dump stations are available nearby in Bishop, including: Bishop Shell Car Wash ($12 dump fee) or Highlands RV Park ($? fee).
Accessibility – 4/5
The campground is easily accessible via paved roads up to the campground itself. The road through the campground is well-graded dirt and gravel with partially paved sections. The road is rough in places due to wear, erosion and rocks protruding from the road surface.
CAUTION: DO not trust online maps or your GPS to guide you to the park or you may find yourself routed on some odd back roads. The easiest route to the campground is via US-395 to Sawmill Rd. to S. Round Valley Rd. to Horton Creek Rd.
Facilities/Amenities – 3/5
Horton Creek is a primitive campground. Sites are dry, with no water, sewer or electrical hookups. Sites have a concrete picnic table, equipment/lantern hooks, and a fire ring. Vault pit toilets are conveniently located throughout the campground. Water is available from hydrants located throughout the park during the peak season, March 1st to October 31st. Hydrants have fittings that do not accept a hose connection – bring a container and some means to refill your fresh water tank, if necessary. A dump station is also available during the peak season. Garbage bins are available year-round near the dump station.
Site quality – 3/5
Sites are quite variable in size and quality. Some sites are large, level and would accommodate large rigs. Other sites are short or not particularly level and would be suitable for smaller rigs, truck or pop-up campers, or for tent camping. Separation between sites is good. A few sites have shade trees. The campground has a few pull-thru sites, but most sites are back-in.
Scenic Value – 5/5
The campground offers stunning views of the eastern Sierras, as well as vistas overlooking Round Valley, the Volcanic Tableland, and the White Mountain Range.
Location/Isolation – 5/5
This is a very quiet and isolated park. There is no highway/road noise, other than vehicles moving through the campground. At times, aircraft noise is noticeable, either from small craft flying through the valley or from occasional fighter jet and helicopters on maneuver from local military bases.
Paws Friendliness – 5/5
The campground is pet friendly, although pets must stay on leash. The campground loops are long enough to take your pet for a nice long walk. There is no dog park on site, but the area surrounding the campground offer miles of back roads and trails where you can let your pet off-leash.
Overall Rating – 4/5
We very much enjoyed our stay at Horton Creek and highly recommend the campground.
This primitive campground does not feature WiFi service. We received a weak to moderate 4G Verizon signal at this campground. We deployed our cellular antenna and booster to improve MiFi hot spot internet access.
(Bonus) Wind Advisory
Note that the Owens Valley and slopes of the eastern Sierras are prone to high winds, especially when a storm system is moving through the area. The campground is on an exposed slope and can have high sustained and gusty winds. Be ready for wind, do not leave awnings or collapsible shade structures unattended or unsecured, and secure loose items around the campsite. Bungee cords are your friend!
This is a good dark sky site with little light pollution from nearby Bishop. Seeing conditions are fair, although may degrade with turbulent airflow over the Sierras.
Here are some area attractions:
- Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest
- Volcanic Tablelands and Rock Art
- Laws Railroad Museum
- Mountain Light Gallery
- Erick Schat’s Bakkery
- Little Lakes Valley Trail
- Keough’s Hot Springs
- Tom’s Place
- Lake Crowley, Mammoth Lakes, Convict Lake & June Lake