Camp Fires Correctly

Campfire Community

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Camp Fires
The internet seems to be the modern day campfire – wild stories with good friends and strangers. The heat source, the light source, the cook source, the sock drier, the center stage for all entertainment.

Since the beginning of time humans have gathered around the campfire at night. This nightly ritual is built into us on the deepest level. We miss this today. We miss the real conversations, the community, the bonding, the stories, the soul searching. We miss the connection with nature, the fresh air and the great outdoors. The night sky filled with stars and maybe a meteor shower, a hot drink and the glow of the campfire coals. Total Escape is dedicated to those who yearn to camp, often.

In Certain Circles

photo – Charlie Sweeney 2010

Some folks cannot imagine camping without a campfire, but we better get used to it here on the West Coast. Weather patterns swing from years of super-dry drought to deluge and drenching – as we’ve seen of recent in California. Dry conditions means high wildfire dangers, tight camp stove and strict campfire restrictions.

Each California region, National Forests and State Parks have their own fire restrictions, so call ahead to rangers for current fire conditions on the place you wish to visit. Certain mountain locations will ban fires in the back country, fires on the back roads and sometimes in extreme conditions, no fires allowed even inside a developed campground.

Campfire Basics

Campfire Restrictions

fire

California is well known for its unforgiving drought conditions and its seasonal wildfire danger. Always know the fire conditions in the area you plan to camp. Most Southern California regions have banned ‘open campfires’ in forested areas, due to wildfire threat and population density. Call ahead to get an update on road closures and current campfire restrictions. Find California BLM offices & NFS ranger stations

Campfire Permits

If you plan on camping outside of a developed campground, you will need to get a free “camp fire permit”, which can be obtained at the local rangers office.

Find more on FREE camp fire permits

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California Camp Fires

  • RULE # 1 – Never leave a campfire unattended
  • Build campfires in designated rings. Always try to use an existing ring when possible. If you must build a new rock fire ring, follow the guide on FireSafe
  • You will need a water bucket & a decent shovel for building, maintaining and controlling a campfire. PLUS a water source.
  • A ten foot clearance – all around, down to the bare dirt is the best practice. No brush close by.
  • You might need to clean trash outta the fire pit, so bring heavy duty trash bags/spare box.
  • Kindling is key to getting a good fire going fast, so gather more of the small stuff. Wood gathering away from camp is usually better pickens.
  • Use environmentally friendly fire starters (with damp wood, if you must); not the BBQ lighter fluid or gasoline
  • Building fires up against a big boulder scars them w/ black soot, and although it can reflect heat back to you, it is seldom worth the unsightly damage
  • Bring chainsaws or hand saws for cutting your own campfire wood in the forest
  • Gathering wood for fuel — use only dead and down wood
  • A ranger issued “wood cutting permit” is required if you plan on cutting a full cord
  • Firewood page – buying locally, in California
  • Never burn plastics or other toxic materials in campfires
  • Tossing beer bottle caps into a campfire only litters the site for future campers
  • While glass bottle smelting is a real treat among boys at night, which one is actually gonna get their hands dirty & clean up broken glass outta the campfire the following morning?
  • Do not leave any hot coals during the day (if you are away). Winds could pick up.
  • Always douse campfire with water completely when breaking camp. Stir it, feel for heat, and drown it more if you hear sizzling or see bubbling.
  • Read more fire info on our FireSafe page

Drown Fires

Last Final Step

The Last Final Step

 

Campfire Pits & Fire Containers

Campfire Pits & Fire Containers

Stormproof LIghters

Stormproof Lighters

Eastern Sierra Camping

tallpeaktower

Inyo Forest Campgrounds – Eastern Sierra Campgrounds

areas include: Lone Pine, Mount Whitney, Independence, Onion Valley, Ancient Bristlecone Pines, Big Pine, Bishop [Hwy 168], High Sierra, Owens River, Lake Crowley, Rock Creek, Mammoth Lakes [Hwy 203], June Lake Loop [Hwy 158], Lee Vining & East Yosemite National Park [Hwy 120]. Camping on Eastern Sierra Highway 395

Eastern Sierra recreation – backpacking, horse packing, day hiking, creek fishing, mountain biking, mountaineering, rock climbing

Listed below are all the Inyo National Forest campgrounds, County Parks, BLM public lands for outdoor recreation. Most campgrounds are closed for winter months. Blue links lead to camp reservations. Boldface links to more detailed information & photos on campground.

campground elev spots veg toilet water notes
Agnew Meadows 8400′ 21 pines chem piped Mammoth; Jun-Sept
Big Bend Campground 7800′ 17 pines vault piped Lee Vining, April-Oct
Big Meadow 8600′ 11 pines flush piped Rock Creek; May-Oct
Big Pine Creek 9000′ 30 pines vault piped W of Big Pine; May-Oct
Big Trees Campground 7500′ 9 pines flush piped W of Bishop ; April-Sept
Bishop Park Group Camp 8400′ 20 pines flush piped No RVs;
Bishop Creek
Crowley Lake Camp 6800′ 47 sage vault piped BLM Camp; Apr-Oct
East Fork Campground 9000′ 133 aspens flush piped fishing camp Rock Creek
Ellery Lake Campground 9500′ 12 pines flush piped E Yosemite; June-Oct
Forks Campground 7800′ 8 pines flush piped W of Bishop,; April-Oct
Four Jefferey 8100′ 106 pines vault piped W of Bishop; April-Oct
Goodale Creek 4000′ 43 cttnwd vault no BLM Camp; April-Nov
Grandview Campground 8600′ 26 pinyon vault no Ancient Bristlecone Pines
Grays Meadows 6000′ 52 pines flush piped W of Independence
Gull Lake Campground 7600′ 11 aspens flush piped June Loop; April-Nov
Hartley Springs 8400′ 20 pines vault no Glass Creek, June-Oct
Horseshoe Meadow 10,000′ 10 pines vault piped 1 day limit; horses; More
Horton Creek 4975′ 49 pines vault piped BLM Bishop; May-Oct
Intake Campground 7500′ 8 pines flush piped W of Bishop; April-Oct
Iris Meadow Campgr 8300′ 14 pines flush piped W of Bishop; May-Oct
June Lake Campground 7600′ 22 pines flush piped fishing/hiking
Junction Campground 9600′ 13 pines vault lake E Yosemite; June-Oct
Lake George Campground 9000 16 pines flush piped fish, June-Sept
Lone Pine Campground 5500′ 43 pinyon vault piped W of Hwy 395
McGee Creek 7600′ 26 aspen flush piped Tom’s Place, Hwy 395
New Shady Rest 7800′ 94 pines flush piped Mammoth, in town
North Lake Campground 9500′ 11 pines vault piped W of Bishop; June-Oct
Oh Ridge Campground 6000′ 148 pines flush piped June Lake
Old Shady Rest Camp 7800′ 51 pines flush piped Hwy 203, Mammoth
Onion Valley Campground 9000′ 15 aspen vault piped High Sierra access
Palisade Campground 8600′ 5 aspen flush piped Rock Creek; May-Oct
Pine City Campground 8900′ 10 pines flush piped Lake Mary, June-Sept
Pine Grove Campgr 9300′ 11 pines flush piped May-Oct
Pumice Flat Group Camp 7700′ 17 flush piped June-Sept
Reversed Creek Campground 7600′ 17 aspen flush piped June Loop; May-Oct
Rock Creek Lake 7600′ 25 aspen flush piped Tom’s Place; May-Oct
Sabrina Campground 9000′ 18 pines vault piped W of Bishop; May-Oct
Saddlebag Lake 10,000′ 20 pines vault piped highest camp; June-Oct
Sherwin Creek Camp 7600′ 87 pines flush piped Mammoth Lakes
Taboose Creek 3900′ 55 shade vault stream Big Pine;
open all yr
Tinemaha Creek 4400′ 55 shade vault stream Independence, Inyo Co Park
Tioga Lake Campgr 9700′ 13 pines vault piped fish Yosemite, June-Oct
Tuff Campground 7000′ 34 pines flush piped Rock Creek; RV 22′
Tuttle Creek 5120′ 83 sage vault seasonal Lone Pine; open all yr
Upper Pine Grove 9400′ 8 pines piped May-Oct
Upper Sage Flat 7600′ 21 pines vault piped W Big Pine; April-Oct
Whitney Portal Camp 9000′ 44 pines flush piped Trailhead; May-Oct
Whitney Trailhead 9000′ 10 pines vault piped Trailhead; May-Oct

sunsetgrandview

see Group Campgrounds in Inyo National Forest, Eastern Sierra

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Eastern Sierra Vacation, see also –

Topo maps, wilderness hiking maps, fishing maps
Equestrian trails, 4×4 routes, OHV maps –

Twin LakesEastern Sierra communities include:

Dogs in Lake

San Jacinto Wilderness

Jacinto Maps

Southern California / San Jacinto Wilderness Area / San Jacinto Mountain / Palm Springs Mountain Hike

Known as the well-photographed snowy mountain backdrop behind to desert deluxe Palm Springs, Mount San Jacinto is the second tallest peak in Southern Cal.

Mighty San Gorgonio peak, across to the east – on the other side of the valley, is the very highest mountain in this desert region. Granite Jacinto peak is located in between the mountains of Idyllwild and the low deserts of Palm Springs.

32,248 acres

Mount San Jacinto – 10,834′ elevation

San Bernardino National Forest

JACINTO PARK access –

Palm Springs via Tram

Idyllwild CA

Pine Cove CA

Day hikes, picnic in the forests and super easy access via fantastic Palm Spring Tram ride, up to 8000′ elevation.

The San Jacinto Wilderness is managed by 2 different agencies: The National Forest Service and California Department of Parks & Recreation.

If you are camping overnight in the forest, you must get your wilderness permit from the agency that administers the area where you plan to spend the night. Day-use permits can be obtained on the day of your trip by visiting one of the ranger stations below. Day-use permits issued by either agency are honored by both, except during the busy summer months when permits to enter the Wilderness via Devil’s Slide Trail can be obtained only from the National Forest Service.

Camping permits can be obtained in advance by mail, in person, or online w/ PDF. National Forest Service accepts requests up to 90 days in advance; Mount San Jacinto State Park accepts them up to 56 days in advance. You can also get them on the day of your trip, if any are available at that time.

 

USDA National Forest Service
San Jacinto Ranger District
54270 Pine Crest Ave
Idyllwild, CA 92549
951-659-2117

Mount San Jacinto State Wilderness
25905 Highway 243
Idyllwild, CA 92549
951-659-2607

regional trail maps –

San Jacinto Hiking Maps
http://astore.amazon.com/mount-san-jacinto-20

  • San Jacinto Wilderness USDA
  • San Jacinto Trail Map (Tom Harrison)
  • San Bernardino NF Map USDA
  • Santa Rosa Wilderness USDA

Mount San Jacinto State Park is surrounded by San Jacinto Wilderness

More San Jacinto Wilderness Info & Links –

summitpost.org/jacinto-peak
San Jacinto Peak Wiki
USDA San Jacinto Wilderness
Mount San Jacinto State Park

San Gorgonio Wilderness

sangorgonioview

Old Greyback, San Gorgonio Mountain – as seen from forest road #2N93

Southern California /San Gorgonio Wilderness Area / San Gorgonio Mountain Peak Hikes / Backpack Gorgonio

The tallest mountain peak in Southern California towers over the often smoggy basin of the Inland Empire, Riverside & San Bernardino. Coachella Valley lies to the southeast. Joshua Tree National Park lies due east.

Old Greyback is a fitting nickname for the peak. The massive, bald, decomposed granite gravel paves the whole top layer, above treeline (altitude nearing 12,000 feet above sea level) and this impressive peak can be seen from most of the Los Angeles basin and the Palm Springs desert. The expanding view of the Pacific Ocean can be seen 70 miles to the west, but only if the skies are clear. Windy, winter days are excellent conditions for viewing, but plan your hike accordingly as this peak could be covered in deep snow during winter or springtime.

This is a very popular backpacking weekend trip to escape from the big urban populations. San Diegans and Angelinos can easily access this location in a few hours from home, via Interstate 10 and some mountain driving on a 2 lane highway.

94,702 acres

San Gorgonio Peak – 11,503′ elevation

San Bernardino National Forest

 

Forest & Hiking Maps –

San Gorgonio Topo Maps

http://astore.amazon.com/gorgonio-hikes-20

  • San Gorgonio Wilderness Map (USDA)
  • San Gorgonio Trail Map (Tom Harrison)
  • San Bernardino National Forest (USDA)
  • San Bernardino Topo Atlas (USDA)

Gorgonio trailheads –

  • Hwy 38 @ Angeles Oaks
  • Hwy 38 @ Barton Flats – Jenks Lake
  • Hwy 38 @ Heartbar – Fish Creek & Mission Springs
  • Hwy 38 @ Fossil Falls – Momyer & Big Falls
  • I-10 @ Millard Canyon – East Branch & Middle Branch
  • Interstate 10 @ Cottonwood Canyon – PCT access

nearby campgrounds –

Heartbar Campground (Hwy 38)

Mission Springs Trailhead Camp

Dry Lake Campground

nearby communities & towns –

ANGELES OAKS
BIG BEAR CITY
BIG BEAR LAKE
FOREST FALLS

surrounding wilderness and forest lands –

San Bernardino National Forest
Pipes Canyon Pioneertown Preserve
San Jacinto Wilderness

National Forest & Wilderness Permits –

USDA San Bernardino NF

more San Gorgonio info & links –

summitpost.org/san-gorgonio-wilderness
San Gorgonio Wilderness Wiki
Trails of the San Gorgonio

Gorgonio Trailhead

Equestrian Trails

MIssion Springs camp & corrals at trailhead. Dirt road above Heart Bar.

John Muir Wilderness

John Muir Hiking / John Muir Map

High Sierra Hiking

California Wilderness Area Acres Topographical Maps
John Muir Wilderness

elevations: 4000′-14,496′

584,000 John Muir Wilderness Maps
Inyo National Forest

JMT

High Sierra Nevada / Eastern Sierra

Rugged Sierra Nevada high country. The highest peaks in the Sierra Nevada mountains can be found inside this Wilderness. Many peaks are well above 13,000 feet. Granite, glaciated basins, big snow, alpine lakes, meadows, wildflowers, streams, creeks, cliffs, jagged peaks. Mount Whitney stands as the tallest mountain in the lower 48 states.

John Muir Trail Maps
http://astore.amazon.com/john-muir-trail-20

lacontedivide

Le Conte Divide, Sierra Nevada California – 12,000′ elevation peaks

Eastern access via steep granite hiking, off US Hwy 395 (Bishop, Independence, Lone Pine)
Western access backpacking thru Kings Canyon National Park, Hwy 180
or Sequoia National Park, Hwy 198 (Mineral King, Three Rivers)
or Sierra National Forest, Hwy 168 (Lake Edison, Florence Lake, Courtright Reservoir)
North access via backcountry Yosemite National Park, Hwy 120
or Mammoth Area towns (Lee Vining, June Lake, Mammoth City)

Hundreds of miles of hiking trails, some of the highest peaks in the nation. Trails open to equestrian and foot traffic only. Trailhead quotas limit the amount of day hikers and backpackers that an access the Wilderness daily. Wilderness permit required: Inyo National Forest Permits

Eastern Sierra Visitor Center
Inyo Visitors Office

Topo Trails

USDA National Forest
USFS, NPS, BLM

NFS NPS

Eastern Sierra Interagency Office
US Hwy 395 @ SR 136
Lone Pine, CA 93545
760-876-6200

JMT
JOHN MUIR TRAIL- John Muir Wilderness

nearby towns, parks & resorts:

Aspendell
Big Pine
Bishop, CA
Courtright Reservoir
Florence Lake
Independence, CA
Kings Canyon National Park
Lake Edison
Lone Pine, CA
Mammoth Lakes
Olancha, CA
Tom’s Place
Wishon Reservoir
Yosemite National Park

www.flickr.com