Red Rock Canyon State Park is located at the southern tip of the Sierra Nevada mountain range and features vividly colored desert cliffs and dramatic rock formations. If you’ve ever traveled to the Eastern Sierra from the Los Angeles area, you’ve probably passed by Red Rock Canyon State Park via State Route 14. I recommend a visit to this state park on its own merit, and also as a way to break up your drive to Lone Pine, Bishop, or Mammoth. In this past, I’ve written about two hikes in Red Rock Canyon SP, the Hagen Canyon Nature Trail and the Red Cliffs Nature Trail. In this post, I’m going to provide all of the information you need to stay overnight at Red Rock Canyon’s only camping option, Ricardo Campground.
- Red Rock Canyon SP is located 120 miles north of Los Angeles, via Interstate 5 and Highway 14.
- Ricardo Campground is located right off of HWY 14, 25 miles northeast of Mojave, CA. There is no exit ramp here, you’ll just turn onto Abbott Dr. From Abbott Dr, you’ll head north for a quarter of a mile and follow the signs for Ricardo Campground . See on Google Maps.
- Capacity: 50 primitive campsites that are first-come-first-served
- Facilities: potable water, pit toilets, fire rings, and tables. Bring your own firewood, or purchase it at the visitor center
- RVs and Campers: 30 Feet max, no RV hookups
- Hours: The campground is open 24 hours. Quiet hours are 10 pm to 6 am; generators must be off from 8 pm to 10 am.
- Cost: Camping is $25 per night per site, which includes parking for one vehicle per site, or $23 per night with seniors (62 years old or older). Additional vehicles are $6 each.
- Pets: Dogs are allowed and must be on a 6-foot max leash. Must be accompanied by a person at all times.
As you drive into Ricardo Campground you will see a self-pay kiosk with fees listed. There are pay slip envelopes in the green box on the kiosk. If you are camping, claim a campsite before depositing your money. You will need to write down your site number and tear off a permit pay tab.
Visitor Center and Day Use
There are a few trails that leave from Ricardo Campground and there are interpretive walks offered from the visitor center in Spring and Fall. There is a day-use parking lot in front of the visitor center that is open sunrise to sunset. Day parking is $6 per vehicle per day.
All 50 campsites at Ricardo Campground are located on a one-way counter clockwise loop. Start driving on the road and look for open sites. This campground fills up on the weekends and on holidays, so make sure to arrive early. Also keep in mind that this area can get very hot and windy, so come prepared!
The best campsites are located from sites 30-40, nestled into the stunning rock formations that this state park is well known for. These sites also tend to fill up quickly, as they provide respite from the hot sun and powerful winds.
Each campsite has a fire ring, so bring some firewood if you plan on having a campfire. The campsites also have picnic tables, but no shade. There are a few pit toilets located within the campground and each one has potable water outside.
Once you’ve set up camp, don’t forget to return to the self pay kiosk to deposit your $25 per night pay slip. After that, you’re free to enjoy your campsite and explore the rest of the park.