Hi Dan. I just noticed your post about Dinkey Lakes Wilderness so I may be a little late to provide much help with your recent weekend trip. I have been camping in that area every summer since the early 90's and I am familiar with many of the good spots off the trail. There are some amazing places to camp near Dinkey Dome, Virginia Lake, Betty Lake and Sportsman Lake. All are off trail but easily accessable if you are willing to do a little climbing.
Dinkey Creek (starting at the base of Dinkey Dome and following down stream for about 3 miles) is a granite canyon with natural waterfalls, waterslides and hundreds of pools. Some large enough to cliff dive into, some just large enough to sit in and cool off. There are good camp sites at the base of Dinkey Dome and at the north end of Dinkey Creek Trail. Here's a photo of some alpenglow on Dinkey Dome:
And some hiking up the creek:
Another good area is along the South Fork of Dinkey Creek. I took a solo trip in this area to Virginia, Betty and Sportman Lakes this summer. Starting at the Dinkey Lakes Trailhead follow Dinkey Creek south all the way to Virginia and Betty Lakes. Climb out of the canyon and up to Sportsman Lake. Nelson Mountain is a good climb just above Sportsman and the views are well worth the effort. There are a few existing camp sites at Sportsman, but I just camped along the waterfront:
This is the granite canyon that runs along the South Fork of Dinkey Creek:
Camping along the South Fork Dinkey Creek:
A final shot of Dinkey Creek, just below Dinkey Dome:
Miningtown Meadow is beautiful and surprisingly the bugs were not a problem in early September.
I have a lot of good memories of this area. We used to go on holiday summer weekends and not see another soul, although it's starting to get 'found out'.