Mineral King Camping Atwell Mill Cold Springs Campgrounds Sequoia National Park

There are two serene campgrounds in the Mineral King region of Sequoia National Park, Atwell Mill Campground and Cold Springs Campground. RVs are not allowed at either of these tent-only campgrounds. Both campgrounds are open from late May through the end of October. Outside of holiday weekends, finding a campsite at these remote havens is hardly a challenge. All sites are first-come first-serve, and at $12 per night, Atwell Mill and Cold Springs offer splendid camping in the Sequoias.

Sequoia National Park’s Mineral King visitor page provides a lot of useful information to help plan your visit (including an important warning about marmots who get inside vehicle engines and chew wires). There are twelve other campgrounds in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, including the relatively nearby Potwisha and Buckeye Flats Campgrounds.

Atwell Mill Campground

This campground is located nineteen miles up the twisty Mineral King Road from the city of Three Rivers. At 6,600 feet, Atwell Mill offers comfortable camping in a forest of sky-scraping conifers. Giant Sequoia stumps are spread throughout the sylvan retreat, left behind by lumberjacks who operated a mill on these grounds at the end of the 19th century. The mill closed when the operators realized that the soft sequoia supplied a not very useful wood, which made it impossible to justify the expense of delivery from this remote location. The remaining trees have since been protected.

Atwell Mill Campground Mineral King
Atwell Mill Campground

Modern visitors have access to 21 tent-only campsites. Bear boxes, picnic tables, fire rings with grills, two vault toilets, and potable water are provided.

There is plenty of hiking around the campground, including Paradise Ridge Trail and Hockett Trail. These excursions are very pleasant and more suitable for children than the tougher trails in Mineral King.

Atwell Mill Campground Map
Map of Atwell Mill Campground

To get to Atwell Mill Campground: From Southern California, take the 5 North to the 99 North. After 96 miles, exit on the 198 East toward Visalia and go 39 miles to the city of Three Rivers. Turn right on Mineral King Road and take it all the way to the campgrounds. Mineral King Road is steep, narrow, and twisty, with blind curves that demand patient driving. The 19-mile climb to Atwell Mill can easily take an hour, so factor this into your drive time. The Campground will be on the right (south) side of the road.

Campground address: Mineral King Road, Sequoia National Park, Three Rivers, CA 93271
Campground coordinates: 36.464238, -118.669018 (36° 27′ 51.25″N 118° 40′ 08.46″W)

Cold Springs Campground

Four miles past Atwell Mill is a larger campground with identical amenities. Cold Springs Campground lies at 7,500 feet and offers 40 sites for tent campers. Nine of these are walk-in sites and the other 31 are drive-up plots. The bulk of the trails in the Mineral King region make their start near Cold Springs Campground.

To get to Cold Springs Campground: From Southern California, take the 5 North to the 99 North. After 96 miles, exit on the 198 East toward Visalia and go 39 miles to the city of Three Rivers. Turn right on Mineral King Road and take it all the way to the campgrounds. Mineral King Road is steep, narrow, and twisty, with blind curves that demand patient driving. The 23-mile climb to Cold Springs Campground will take well over an hour, so factor this into your drive time. Cold Springs Campground is on the right (south) side of the road, four miles past Atwell Mill Campground and one mile from the end of the road.

Campground address: Mineral King Road, Sequoia National Park, Three Rivers, CA 93271
Campground coordinates: 36.452183, -118.612611 (36° 27′ 07.85″N 118° 36′ 45.39″W)

Use the map below to create your own directions:

Photos

Mineral King CampingMineral King CampingMineral King CampingMineral King CampingMineral King CampingMineral King CampingMineral King Camping

These photos were taken in September of 2009. Click to enlarge.
Nearby Trails
hiking trails sequoia Hockett Trail
This 2.5-mile round-trip hike descends a gradual trail to a bridge over the East Fork Kaweah River. From here hikers can continue on to East Fork Sequoia Grove and further into the backcountry of Mineral King.
hiking trails sequoiaMonarch Lakes Trail
This 9.4-mile hike visits a spectacular pair of lakes high above Mineral King Valley.
hiking trails sequoiaEagle Lake Trail
The robust 7.2-mile hike climbs 2,200 feet to an alpine lake overlooking Mineral King.
hiking trails sequoiaMore trails in the Sierra Nevada Mountains
Explore other destinations in Sequoia National Park and the rest of the range.
More Camping
Sequoia CampgroundsSequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks Campgrounds
There are 14 campgrounds with over 1,000 total sites spread throughout the parks to facilitate your visit.
Sequoia National Forest Campgrounds Hume LakeHume Lake Ranger District Campgrounds
There are fourteen campgrounds in the Hume Lake Ranger District of Sequoia National Forest and Giant Forest National Monument, including the 74-site Hume Lake Campground.
Sequoia CampgroundsWestern Divide Ranger District Campgrounds
There are ten campgrounds in Giant Sequoia National Monument within the Western Divide Ranger District of Sequoia National Forest, including the 32-site Quaking Aspen Campground.

41 Comments on Atwell Mill Campground and Cold Springs Campground in Sequoia National Park

  1. Twee says:

    Please advise if there are any place for fishing at Cold Springs camp site. Thank you.

  2. Richard Destin says:

    Planning to drive up from L.A. on a Sunday morning (8/28) to Mineral King for some camping. Can me and my friends be assured getting a campsite that afternoon? We assume some campers will be vacating their campsites then.

    Would the local ranger know how busy things are? Is there a number to call?

  3. Jennifer says:

    Planning on going up Labor Day weekend (we have a backup reservation spot).. I know its pretty crazy, but I was planning on going up on Saturday Morning.. Is it possible to get a campsite?? or do you think lots of people will be going up on Friday and staying the whole weekend???

  4. Brandon says:

    Hi, was planning on visiting coldsprings campground possibly early Oct? Never been here before and was wondering what your thoughts on the weather around this time would be? Would it be worth the camping trip?

  5. krystof klebicki says:

    Hi,
    I’m planning on visiting Mineral King in early June and I have a question. I have a van. A 10-person passenger van but same size vans are sometimes converted to RVs. I read that RV are not permitted at the campground and not recommended on the access road. Would my van be considered prohibited? BTW, the van is the same length as the Chevy Suburban, has a high wheel clearance, and no 4×4.
    Great thanks
    KSK

  6. Gayle Ballesteros says:

    Hi,
    I have 2 small dogs and was wondering if it is safe to bring them camping @ Mineral King?

  7. VERONICA says:

    My friends and I were planning on going camping from Sep 13th – 16th. Would there be camp sites available around that time? And can we reserve the other night when we get there on the 13th?

  8. We are planning to camp at Cold Springs this coming June. We can come either Sunday June 16th (which is Father’s Day) around noon or Monday June 17th around the same time. Our preference would be Sunday. Are campgrounds usually more vacant on a Sunday afternoon, or a Monday?

  9. Louise says:

    Are sites usually available Friday mornings in June?

  10. Charlie says:

    Great website! I’m new to California, so the information on the campsites and the hikes are a great resource.

    It sounds like Atwell Mill Campground is a good choice for kids because of the easier hikes nearby. Is there a particular campsite that you recommend? The campsite in the picture above looks like a nice, private site nestled in the trees.

    Thanks!

  11. sarah says:

    This Thursday is the 4th of July, if we arrive early Thursday morning what are the chances of getting a campsite? Thanks :)

  12. Gerald Williams says:

    Do I need a permit to backback up to one of the lakes and camp for a night, and if so, where can I get permit. Also can I leave my car at Cold Springs or only down at excess parking at Atwell Mill?

  13. Sed says:

    I am planning a hiking trip and wondering about Mineral King Road. Will a two-wheel drive, ten-year old mercedes be able to make the twenty miles along the road to the campground?

    • hikespeak says:

      Hi. Your car should be able to make it. The road up is paved. It’s just windy and slow.

      • Chris Fava says:

        Is Mineral King Rd paved all the way or most of the way to Cold Springs Camp? I drove it a few years ago, but I can’t remember. All I remember is my Mazda3 made it without issue. I just need to know what to tell others to expect who will be joining me in July. Thank you!!!

  14. Andrew says:

    Hi -

    Planning on heading up from LA on a Friday morning. If I arrive early enough – 8am – 9am – are my chances of getting a site at either Atwell Mill or Cold Springs pretty good?

    Thanks!

  15. Ariana R says:

    I would like to know, what are the chances of getting 3 camping spots for the weekend of Labor Day, we are planning to get there around 3pm, but still afraid of not finding a site.
    Please help!

  16. Joe says:

    Trying to find the closest water access to Atwell Mill Campground. Not looking for anything big, just water!

  17. Steven says:

    I am planning a late camping trip for Veteran’s Day weekend with a group of 6-8. Would I have trouble finding a campsite at either Atwell or Coldsrpings? We plan to arrive before noon on Sunday 11/10 and leave Monday afternoon.

  18. Ana says:

    A group of friends and I are planning to go and spend a weekend but is there cell phone reception?

  19. Alicia says:

    I will be staying at either atwell mill or cold springs campsite. What is the closest place to get ice? Also, I will have two cars. Is there an overflow parking area? Thanks.

  20. Sam says:

    I’m planning a trip to Atwell Mill or Cold Springs. We were hoping to arrive before 12 on Sunday, July 20th. Do you think we will get a spot?

    Also, how is the bathroom situation. Are vault toilets just port-a-potties? I also read that there are showers 1/2 a mile up the road at Silver City. Are there full on bathrooms there?

    Thanks so much!

    • hikespeak says:

      Hi- Sunday should be a good day to arrive, as people are leaving after the weekend. Vault toilets, also called pit toilets, are a little different than port-a-potties. A vault toilet has a hole down to a “vault” in the ground with a toilet over it and a little building built around it – your basic park toilet.

  21. Eric says:

    Another “Availability” question… I know you can only give your ‘best guess’ so nobody will hold you to it… but we are thinking of staying at Atwell Mill Campground on August 29,30, and 31 (2014, of course). We have to drive 6 hours to get there… So, what are “Vegas Odds” of us getting a spot?

  22. lorraine says:

    What are my odds of getting a camp site this Friday, July 25th?

  23. peter says:

    are their showers near cold springs campground?

  24. peter says:

    do you need any special devices to protect your vehicle from Marmots

  25. Amanda says:

    I have a few questions…
    If we drive up Sunday Aug. 3rd, do you think we will have a problem finding a spot at Atwell Mill?
    I see that there are some burn bans in place right now. If we are camping at Atwell Mills can we still use the fire pits that are in place?
    Are there any spots that the kiddos can swim at?

  26. Ted says:

    I have a full size pickup with an overhead camper on it. It sticks out 2′ past my bumper. If I sleep in a tent, can I bring it?

  27. Tziporah says:

    Hello, We are heading up to Atwell Mill or Cold springs this Wed for a 4 day camping trip. Any way to find out if there are spaces?

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