I have travelled through the US 395 highway several times to and from Los Angeles and I have camped at California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range area quite a few times too. My favorite place for camping in the Sierras is Rock Creek canyon. To my mind, these are the best reasons for driving through US 395 for a trip to Rock Creek:
1. Rock Creek is famous for more than fifty (50) lakes that are linked by hiking trails surrounded by 13,000 foot-mountain-peaks. This famous area is called the Little Lakes Valley and is part of the wilderness named after John Muir whose brainchild was the preservation of the United States' wilderness into national parks.
2. You can go camping, rock climbing, hiking, horse riding, mountain biking, and fishing in the Rock Creek area. It has 13 campgrounds on federal land with more than 300 individual campsites, many of them nestled among juniper, pine or aspen trees. All but one of the campgrounds are near the creek or Rock Creek Lake. All campgrounds have potable water and flush toilets, except for Upper Pine Grove and Tuff, which have chemical toilets. Most campgrounds do not accept reservations. You may go to the recreation.gov website for those that can be reserved.
Cabins and lodges are available within rock creek and, Crowley Place, the town next to it.
3. From Rock Creek, you are conveniently less than an hour drive to places going up north or down south of US 395 where you can visit some of the not-to-be missed places of America.
Around fifty miles up north is Mono Lake which is more than a million years old and has an area of 60 square-miles. This lake, which has unusual spires and knobs butting out of its waters, is two and half times as salty and 80 times as alkaline as salt water.
About fifty miles going down south at US 395 is Alabama Hills. It has amazing oddly rounded rocks backed by the jagged high peaks of the Sierra. Over 150 movies, especially Western genre movies, have been filmed in Alabama Hills’s rugged environment. The more recent movies with parts filmed in the area include “Gladiator”, “Iron Man”, “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”, and Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained”. From Alabama Hills, you can drive half-way to (and, if you choose to, climb the rest of the distance going up) Mount Whitney, the tallest mountain in the contiguous United States.
4. While driving through 395, a must turn 10 miles off the highway is the Rock Creek Lakes Resort. You have to taste their absolutely delicious home-made pies. You cannot find a restaurant in any of the backwoods of California where there is always a long line of people dying to taste a pie in the sky. However, you must get there before 2:30 p.m. or else all the different flavors of pies will be sold out. If you have to settle for something else, order their awesome salmon burger.
For weary tent campers, hot showers are available at Rock Creek Lakes Resort at a minimum cost of two dollars.
5. If you feel silly or guilty that you have to check your email or submit a report while you are out of town, do not worry. There is a free 24/7 Wi-Fi internet connection available near rock creek. Just drive less than half an hour to 3627 Crowley Lake Drive, Crowley Lake, CA 93546 and park in front of the Crowley Lake Public Library.
See you there.