BLM Campground Review – Tuttle Creek Campground

Tuttle Creak Campground Sign

Description

Tuttle Creek Campground is located on the boulder-strewn skirts of the eastern Sierra Nevada Range. The campground setting is stark, yet lovely, with the imposing peaks of Mt. Whitney, Lone Pine Peak and Mt. Williamson forming a backdrop to the west and the Alabama Hills, Owens Valley and Inyo Mountain Range to the east. Tuttle Creek itself flows through the heart of the campground, providing a cheerful babble for the campsites situated closest to the creek.

Location

Tuttle Creek Campground
Lone Pine, California
Phone: (760) 872-5008

BLM Tuttle Creek Campground

Campground Map

GPS Coordinates (WGS84 Decimal Degrees): Latitude 36.565, Longitude -118.127, Elevation 5,120 ft.

Details

Although we have stayed at other locations in the local area, this was our first stay at Tuttle Creek Campground. We stayed at the campground from February 14-22, dates which included the President’s Day holiday, February, 16. This vacation trip was intended as a shakedown of our new Montana’s systems at a dry site. We were most interested in seeing how well our new solar-electric installation performed; we were not disappointed.

Since our visit was still in the off-season (Nov. 1 – Feb. 28) only one of the campground loops was open, water was turned off to the hydrants, and the dump station was closed. The lack of water and dump station posed no problem for us as we were aware of the closures and were well prepared for a dry site; we carried plenty of fresh water with us and planned to use the dump station at nearby Boulder Creek RV Resort ($10 dump fee).

Despite being off-season, there was a camp host onsite and the vault pit toilets were cleaned and restocked regularly. During our stay, BLM maintenance personnel were in the process of conducting maintenance tasks in preparation for the park main season opening on March 1st.

Despite being President’s Day holiday weekend, we arrived in plenty of time to get our choice of sites and settled on a pull-through site. Since our stay coincided with the holiday, the campground was busier than usual for off-season, but it still did not fill up completely, even with only one loop open.

Cost

The campground sites are first-come, first-served and are $5 per night. No reservations are accepted, except for the single Group site which is $30 per night. Two horse corrals are available near the group site – call for availability. Golden Age and Golden Access passes are accepted for fee discounts. Long Term Visitor Passes are also accepted.

Amenities Onsite or Nearby

Tuttle Creek is a primitive campground. Sites are dry, with no water, sewer or electrical hookups. Sites are equipped with a concrete picnic table, equipment/lantern hooks, and a fire ring. Vault pit toilets are located throughout the campground. Water is available from hydrants located throughout the park during the peak season, March 1st to October 31st. A dump station 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 Lone Pine (4.5 miles). For the off season, a dump station is available at nearby Boulder Creek RV Resort ($10 dump fee).

Ratings (1-5)

Accessibility – 4/5

The campground is fairly well accessible via paved roads up to the campground itself. The entrance road is narrow and not much more than a single lane for about 1 mile. Be prepared to pull partially onto the shoulder or use one of the few large turnouts if meeting approaching traffic.

Exercise caution as there are five large speed bumps along the entrance road. These speed bumps are set at an angle which will induce severe rocking and guarantee maximum mayhem to the contents of a large rig if taken too fast.

The roads through the campground loops are unpaved and are somewhat rough due to some wash-boarding, water erosion channels, and large rocks protruding from the road surface.

CAUTION: DO follow the posted directions to the campground via Whitney Portal Road & Horseshoe Meadow Road. DO NOT trust your GPS to guide you to the park or you may find yourself routed on Lubken Canyon Road – avoid this road, particularly if you have a large rig, as the road degenerates to a narrow unpaved single lane between fenced ranch properties with no turn around opportunity. While generally passable, save yourself some anxiety and take Whitney Portal Road in Lone Pine.

Facilities/Amenities – 3/5

As noted above, Tuttle Creek is a primitive campground. Sites are dry, with no water, sewer or electrical hookups. Sites are equipped with a concrete picnic table, equipment/lantern hooks, and a fire ring. Vault pit toilets are located throughout the campground. Water is available from hydrants located throughout the park during the peak season, March 1st to October 31st. A dump station 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 Lone Pine (4.5 miles). For the off season, a dump station is available at nearby Boulder Creek RV Resort ($10 dump fee).

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 much smaller rigs, truck or pop-up campers, or for tent camping. Separation between sites is generally good.

Scenic Value – 5/5

The campground offers stunning views of the eastern Sierras, as well as vistas overlooking the Owens Valley, Alabama Hills, and the Inyo Mountain Range. Depending on time of year & conditions, the Sierras may be snowcapped or trail impressive stacks of lenticular clouds across the valley, below.

Location/Isolation – 5/5

This is generally a very quiet and isolated location. There is no highway/road noise, other than vehicles moving through the campground. At times, aircraft noise will be evident, either from small craft flying through the valley or from occasional fighter jet and helicopters on maneuver from local military bases.

Paws Friendliness – 4/5

The campground is pet friendly, although pets must be leashed at all times. The campground loops are long enough to give Fido a nice long walk with a good splash in Tuttle Creek at the end. Although there is no dog park on site, the area surrounding the campground and in the nearby Alabama Hills Recreation Area offer ample opportunities to let your pet off-leash.

Overall Rating – 4/5

We very much enjoyed our stay here at Tuttle Creek and highly recommend the site. There is so much to see and do in the local area that we look forward to frequent visits, either staying here or at some boondocking site in the Alabama Hills.

Additional info

Internet access

The campground does not feature WiFi, but there is usable Verizon 4G signal for those connecting via MiFi hot spot. During our stay the Verizon signal was variable, generally between one and three bars – a cellular signal booster may be of help. We do not have devices with any other carriers.

Nearby attractions

For general tourism information about the local area, check out the Eastern Sierra Interagency Visitor Center.

The Alabama Hills Recreation Area offers many hiking and sightseeing opportunities while wandering among surreal piles of weathered granite. There are many spectacular arches eroded from the rock to be found.

The Alabama Hills have a long and storied history with the movie industry. Be sure to check out the Lone Pine Film History Museum.

The Manzanar War Relocation Center National Historic Site is a must-see near Lone Pine.

Whitney Portal offers stunning mountain views and hiking access to Mt. Whitney and the Sierras.

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2 thoughts on “BLM Campground Review – Tuttle Creek Campground

  1. Whitney Portal was one of our favorite areas. I remember taking Uncle Den on a couple of trips there when we were kids. Soak up all the sights you can, I’m looking forward to all your posts!

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