Thomas Mountain: Forest Road #6S13 – San Bernardino National Forest
Camping 6 miles south of Idyllwild CA. Off of Highway 74 (the Palms to Pines Hwy) Thomas Mountain has a dirt road that follows a 5000′ pine ridge line, overlooking the pond of Lake Hemet. This route has several secluded, yellow post camp spots. High clearance or even 4×4 may be needed much of the year, due to rain & snow.
2 Camp areas –
- Thomas Mountain
- Tool Box Springs
Boulder Basin Rd: Forest Road #4S01 – San Bernardino National Forest
9 miles N of Idyllwild on Hwy.243, right turn onto Forest Service Rd. #4S01. It’s Idyllwild camping on the back roads. Boulder Basin is compact dirt route around 6500′ elevation, perfect for the SUV, truck or Jeep who wants to stay outta the Campgrounds. Fire restrictions are sometimes tough, so check with the rangers on backcountry campfires. Boulder Basin has pinyon pines, boulders, & a few camp sites. Out in the Banning / Idyllwild portion of San Bernardino NF. 909-866-3437
Good mountain biking, bouldering & back road exploration. Some secluded spots.
Fawnskin Camping; Forest Road #3N14 – San Bernardino National Forest
The best Big Bear camping is the back roads with the Yellow Post Sites. From the center of town in Fawnskin, head up the big hill, the graded wide dirt road, right behind the fire station; Forest Service Rd# 3N14 leads straight up to tall pines, pinyon forest & manzanita. You can find plenty primitive spots to camp in. Look for the yellow post sites.
Along this route is also 2 popular Big Bear Campgrounds
- Hanna Flat Campground w/ 88 camp spots
- Big Pine Flat Campground w/ 17 camp spots
Another dirt road #3N16 crosses this road & runs the length of the ridge. Great region for SUV forest exploring – for the first timer. Big OHV area, so be prepared for an occasional motorcycle or quad screaming by. You can find the best seclusion, on dead end routes, near old mines.
This North Big Bear Lake forest area was affected by wild fires in 1999.
Sequoia Groves: Forest Rd# 21S94 – Sequoia National Forest
This impressive backcountry route is inside the newly formed Giant Sequoia National Monument. From the Western Divide Highway this graded route leads from an area North of the Trail of 100 Giants to the back edge of the Tule Indian Reservation. The 20 mile route turns north towards Coy Flat Campground (20 spots @ 5000′) & then meets up with Camp Nelson, California.
The Summit National Recreation Trail cuts right thru this region & there are many dirt roads meandering off of the main route# 21S94.
There are a few hidden Sequoia groves back here, great for day trips & picnic spots:
- Peyrone Grove (via road# 22S91)
- South Peyrone Grove (via road# 22S03 & trail #31E41)
- Red Hill Grove
CAMP NELSON CA
Shirley Meadows: Forest Road# 25S15 – Sequoia National Forest
This route is paved from the small cabin community of Alta Sierra to the Shirley Meaows Ski Resort. Cross country skiing is popular out here. The road turns to dirt & continues on to become Rancheria Road, heading south thru the Greenhorn Mountains, towards the Kern River.
[ photos to come ]
Alder Creek & Alder Creek Campground with 13 camp sites @ 3900′, can be accessed via side route# 25S04. The 6000′ mountain range is lined with smaller spur dirt roads, some leading to old lumber mills. Evans Flat Campground @ 6100′ elevation has 20 camp spots, is approx. 5 miles from Shirley Mdws. Road#25S15 is marked as Kern County Rd# 465 as is decends into the agricultural valley east of Bakersfield.
ALTA SIERRA CA
WOFFORD HEIGHTS CA
Black Rock: Forest Service Rd# 21S03 – Sequoia National Forest
N of Troy Meadows; Paved road leads deep into forests & meadows to Black Road Campground, at the very edge of Golden Trout Wilderness. Big equestrian area with pack stations & corral areas. Plenty smaller dirt roads on both sides of main paved road.
Osa Meadows, Lion Meadows, Little Horse Meadows & Beach Meadows are all quiet areas to the west side. OHV area to the south of this near Black Rock Ranger Station.
Monache Meadows is NE of this area.
Powell Meadow: Forest Service Road# 21S36 – Sequoia National Forest
This paved route peels off of Road# 21S03, N of Troy Meadow. Smith Meadows is on the east side of the road & Powell Meadow is just N of that. The road becomes dirt within a few miles near 9000′ Granite Knob.
There is plenty primitive camping back in these woods, so come prepared to rough it. Creekside camp sites are common. This is a great meadow area for equestrian campers with horses.
The trailhead for Monache Meadows takes off to the north & is signed “Jeep Road”; High clearance vehicle is required, but 4 wheel drive may be needed on one steep section past Bull Meadow. Read more on Monache Meadow.
Dillonwood Grove: Forest Service Road# 19S09 – Tule River, Sequoia National Forest
Jack Flat primitive camp area; Pine Creek, Jenny Creek & Backbone Creek; Dirt road access to creekside camps, via Balch Park Dr, off of Rd# 276, after passing County Rd# J37. Next to Blue Ridge & Mountain Home State Forest. NFS or topo map is highly recommended. High clearance vehicles.
Dillionwood Sequoia Grove is located at the end of this route, on private land, but can accessed by hiking trail. NO camping on private land.
California is lucky enough to have plenty great scenery, so you best get outside & enjoy it. It’ll do ya some good! The giant Sequoia trees are located in the Sierra Nevada & the towering Redwoods are along the coast. The oldest trees are the Ancient Bristlecone Pines, higher elevations in the Eastern portion of California.
Check out the extensive list from Total Escape.
BIG, OLD, TALL TREES
Torrey Pines State Reserve is in San Diego County – just south of Del Mar CA. Easy access from I-5 & perfect for hikers seeking exercise – instead of sitting in traffic on the freeway. The point you see in the distance is La Jolla.
Ocean, cliffs, pines, beaches & sunny San Diego weather.
What could be better for an after work stroll?
There are numerous pine forest groves, with hiking trails leading down the cliffs to tide pools & beautiful beaches. You could easily spend a whole day exploring this coastal park. There is a Visitor Center, guided nature walks & paved parking lots. The lagoon region has a train track running through the valley east of it – and the tracks meet the coast nearby. The rocky beach to the north is very popular with surfers & there is even surfing contest held here annually. Plenty parking along this stretch too. If you wanna avoid the park fees, you can park along PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) & walk the beach to the south. The cliffs make for seclusion & many sunbathers love this area.
On occasion, if the conditions are right, the San Diego RED TIDE will appear, which can only be seen at night. The kelp beds glow with sparkles of green & blue light (not red) w/ the phytoplankton …..as the waves come crashing toward the shoreline. More info on red tides on Wikipedia
Del Mar CA
TORREY PINES TRAILS