Category Archives: Back Roads

6S13 – San Berdu NF

Thomas MountainThomas 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

4S01 – San Berdu NF

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.

3N14 – San Berdu NF

Fawnskin CampingFawnskin 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.

21S94 – Sequoia NF

sequoia groves

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




25S15 – Sequoia NF

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.



21S03 – Sequoia NF

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.

21S36 – Sequoia NF

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.

19S09 – Sequoia NF

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.

Fish Slough

On the north end of Bishop CA, running parallel to & on the west side of Hwy 6, is a long dirt road called Fish Slough Rd. Indian petroglyphs can be found out here & also on the ridges along Chalk Bluff Rd (to the south). The entire region is called a volcanic tableland & hot springs are very common in this region. The Owens River Gorge & Lake Crowley are to the west. High clearance vehicles are recommended for traveling these back roads, but 4×4 is rarely needed.

Read & see more on Fish Slough Petroglyphs




Visit Hwy 395 Hot Springs

Indian Art Eastern Sierra

Fish Slough

Dave Explains