photo of Golden Bear Lake, Center Basin, Kings Canyon National Park, CA

    Golden Bear Lake Camping

      Kings Canyon National Park

Golden Bear Lake

Camping and Exploring Around Golden Bear Lake

Center Basin buck sitting in the shade, Kings Canyon National Park, CA

Center Basin Resident

Golden Bear Lake camping is at its best along the eastern shore of the lake where clusters of small trees hide secluded tent sites overlooking the lake. Since the lake is well above the 10,000-foot limit for campfires in Kings Canyon, there is no need to be looking for previously established fire pits. While you may encounter one or two other parties at the lake, it is unlikely that you would find it crowded.


In 2017 the Park Service had gill nets set around the lake to catch non-native fish. Likely that means all the fish are being removed to restore habitat for the endangered yellow-legged frog.

Center Basin Crags, Kings Canyon National Park, CA

Center Basin Crags

Explore the Area

Center Basin

Hiking up Center Basin leads to a couple of big lakes around 12,000 feet in elevation and to views of surrounding peaks, including Mt. Keith and Junction Peak. Ambitious hikers can make the 3-mile trek to the summit of Junction Pass.

Peak Bagging

Center Peak's 12,760-foot summit is a class 2 climb from Center Basin. And 13,632-foot University Peak is class 1 from the south. The Center Basin Crags to the east of Golden Bear Lake are all highly technical climbs, mostly class 5.   A good resource is R. J. Secor's The High Sierra: Peaks, Passes, and Trails.