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Mount Pinos, Los Angeles

4.0 stars


Mount Pinos, near Los Angeles

Lots of people come to Southern California for a vacation, and one of the things even I had not heard much about as a kid were the surrounding places to camp. Honestly, most of the campsites around Los Angeles are a little bit too popular, with so many people setting up camp on most weekends that the rural locations end up seeming more like a trailer park than wilderness. Of the campsites I have attempted, the Mount Pinos area seems to be the most reasonable. Located about 35 miles north of Magic Mountain (location of the Six Flags theme park), along the 5 highway, Mount Pinos is one of the few places that I have been able to set up camp in forested wilderness and go on hikes without feeling the pressure of surrounding visitors. I last visited Mount Pinos in the spring time, and after driving up to the camp site near the top of the mountain, I was surprised to find that there were still clumps of snow around campsite. After hiking for about 15 minutes out of the parking lot, I found a secluded (yet still on-trail) spot to set up camp before going for a climb up the nearby rock ledges. It was cold out, so I brought a sweat shirt, but that was more than enough to keep me warm as I looked out at the surrounding deserts from above and gathered firewood with my fellow campers. The campsite itself is incredibly safe, the only animal warnings in the area being rare and posted far in advance on many websites. The campsite had grills in place to help with cooking in the morning while there were still plenty of places to start a warm fire in the middle of the camp in the evenings. Many times of year astronomers travel to Mount Pinos to track satellites and shooting stars, so along with nature there are plenty of interesting people to talk to. While I am sure that the campground is more crowded during the summer, I highly recommend Mount Pinos to Los Angeles based campers and anyone looking to experience California mountain ranges without attempting the often tourist covered Lake Arrowhead. [more ]

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