Camping Photo Jennifer Dawson

Mountain High is not only LA’s closest winter resort, it is an easy summer getaway as well. With hiking, biking, and camping at 10 different sites nearby, you are bound to find something that suits your senses.  Click here for an overview of amenities in the Angeles National Forest. http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/angeles/home 

Keeping Your Campsite Cozy

Unfortunately, camping isn’t always under clear skies and sunny weather. Nature is unpredictable and when roughing it in the great outdoors it is important to prepare for the unexpected. When the temperature outside starts to drop, you should pack your bags with winter weather in mind. It’s important to bring the right supplies in order to keep your campers safe and warm at night.

What to Bring

When camping in cold weather, you need to bring more than just the essentials. In addition to extra clothing, food, and water, you should also bring a sleeping bag that’s rated for low temperatures. You might also want to invest in an insulating pad, as it will protect you from the ground and prevent you from losing body heat. If you’re still worried about getting cold at night, a hot water bottle is an easy way to warm up your sheets.

Avid campers can buy tents that are specially designed to keep occupants warm in cold or hostile weather conditions. You should look for a tent with a three- or four-season rating, depending on the time of year you plan on camping.

What to Wear

Layering your clothing is one of the best ways to stay warm and comfortable when camping outdoors. Not only does layering prevent you from getting too cold, but it can also help you to avoid overheating. You should aim to pack three layers for each day that you'll be camping. Choose light clothing for your bottom layer, preferably made from a material that can wick away sweat. The middle layer should be made of a warmer material such as fleece, flannel, or wool. Your top layer should be windproof and waterproof so that the clothing underneath doesn't get wet.

What to Eat

While it may seem like a trivial consideration, packing plenty of snacks is essential for any camping trip. It’s especially important to keep yourself well-fed during colder weather. If you allow yourself to go hungry, your metabolism will slow down, and your body won’t have the energy it needs to keep your core temperature up. By eating high-protein snacks such as nuts, seeds, energy bars, and jerky, you help to get your metabolism working and improve circulation, reducing the risk of cold-related health complications. Staying hydrated is equally as important, and so make sure to bring plenty of spare water when you pack.

Cold-weather camping can be just as fun as a summer outing with the right preparation. By packing the gear that you need to stay warm, you can make this year’s spring camping vacation a success.

10 Places To Camp In The Angeles National Forest

Appletree Campground

Located on Big Pines Highway approximately 2 miles west of Big Pines, CA. Groceries and services available in the community of Wrightwood (approximately 5 miles).  8 tent sites.  6,200-foot elevation. Fishing in nearby Jackson Lake.  No water.  Vault toilets.  Adventure Pass required for vehicles parked at this campground.  Individual campsites are first come - first served. http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/angeles/recarea/?recid=41722

Blue Ridge Campground

From Angeles Crest Highway (Hwy. 2), approx. 5 miles west of Wrightwood, take Blue Ridge Road 3 miles to the campground. 8000-foot elevation. 8 campsites.  Picnicking at nearby Jackson Lake. Hiking access to the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail. No piped water. Vault toilets.  RV use in the summer months only.  RV's to 20'. Sites are first come - first served.  Adventure Pass required for vehicles parked at this campground. Call (661) 269-2808 for current conditions and additional information. http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/angeles/recarea/?recid=41726

Cabin Flat Campground

From Angeles Crest Highway (Hwy. 2), approximately 1.5 miles west of Big Pines, take Blue Ridge Road 5 miles to Guffy Campground, then walk in another 6 miles to Cabin Flat. The road is a rough dirt road - after the first 5 miles, a four-wheel drive is required.  5,300-foot elevation. Hike, Mountain Bike or Horseback in only. Trail camp not maintained. No water. Treat stream water before using, if available. Vault toilet. Adventure Pass required for vehicles parked along the road. Campsites are first come - first served. Groceries and services available in the community of Wrightwood (approximately 9.5 miles).  http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/angeles/recarea/?recid=41728

Guffy Campground

Located on Blue Ridge Road 6 miles from the intersection of Blue Ridge Rd. and Angeles Crest Highway (the intersection is 1.5 miles west of Big Pines).  The road into the campground is a rough dirt road - after the first 5 miles, a four-wheel drive is required. 8,300-foot elevation. 6 trailside campsites overlooking the Sheep Mountain Wilderness Area.  Primitive tent camping site overlooking the Sheep Mountain Wilderness Area.  No water.  Vault toilets.  Adventure Pass required for vehicles parked at this campground. Campsites are first come - first served. Groceries and services available in the community of Wrightwood (approximately 9.5 miles). http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/angeles/recarea/?recid=41730

Jackson Flat Campground

Located north of State Highway 2 approximately 8 miles west of Wrightwood, CA and one mile beyond a locked gate at Grassy Hollow Visitor Center and picnic area. 7500-foot elevation. Walk in about 200 yards to 5 group tent areas, which accommodate 40-50 people each. Picnicking at nearby Jackson Lake. A spur trail connects to the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail. Parking is limited and carpooling is recommended. All sites have piped water and group-sized tables. Flush toilets are provided within easy walking distance of all sites. An observation deck and two nature trails are located within the campground. A trail to Jackson Lake leads from the campground for those who prefer a lengthier hike The campground is available on a reservation basis only and is operated by concessionaires. Reservations may be made by contacting the National Recreation Reservation Service at (877) 444-6777 or TDD (877) 833-6777. For more information concerning the campground call (760) 249-3526. Adventure Pass required for parking in the forest. http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/angeles/recarea/?recid=41786

Lake Campground

Located on Big Pines Highway (County Rd. N4) 2.5 miles west of Big Pines, CA.  Elevation: 6,100', 8 Sites. Piped water during summer months, vault toilets, tables. RV's to 18'. Groceries and services available in the community of Wrightwood. For information and reservations, call National Recreation Reservation Service at 877-444-6777 (TDD 877-833-6777) or go to www.ReserveUsa.com  You may be asked to specify the following: 1.) Angeles National Forest 2.) Big Pines Recreation Area 3.) Wrightwood, CA 4.) Name of Campground. (Reservations may be made May 15-Sept. 15.) http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/angeles/recarea/?recid=41680

Lupine Campground – Open/Closed

Contact Ranger before heading out - From Angeles Crest Highway (Hwy. 2), approx. 5 miles west of Wrightwood, take Blue Ridge Road and drive approximately 5 miles to locked gate, walk 3 miles in to campground. No water. Campsites are first come - first served. Vault toilets. Adventure Pass required for vehicles. http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/angeles/recarea/?recid=41732

Mount Oak Campground

Located on Big Pines Highway (Co. road N4) 3 miles from Big Pines, CA. 6,200-foot elevation. 17 sites on Big Pines highway. Fishing in nearby Jackson Lake. Piped water in summer months, fire pits, tables and flush toilets. RV's to 18'. Adventure Pass required for vehicles parked at this campground. Groceries and services available in the community of Wrightwood (approximately 8 miles). You may be asked to specify the following: 1.) Angeles National Forest 2.) Big Pines Recreation Area 3.) Wrightwood, CA 4.) Name of Campground. (Reservations may be made May - Nov.). http://www.fs.usda.gov/recmain/angeles/recreation

Peavine Campground

Located on Big Pines Highway (County Rd. N4) 2 miles west of Big Pines, CA. Usually inaccessible during the winter months. http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/angeles/recarea/?recid=41734

Table Mountain Campground

Located next to the Mountain High North Resort. Open late April/early May to first week in November.  Picnic tables, Potable Water, Flush Toilet, Pit. Right next to the Mountain High North Lodge and resort. Sky High Disc Golf. This site can be reserved by calling Toll Free 1-877-444-6777 (International 518-885-3639 or TDD 877-833-6777) http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/angeles/recarea/?recid=41684

Mountain Bike Guide    

Blue Ridge Trail – Intermediate smooth single track (out and back), approximately 4 miles round trip from Hwy 2 to Blue Ridge Campground and back. 1,000 ft elevation gain in 2 miles. Forested trail with spring wildflowers or fall colors.

Dawson Saddle Trail – Intermediate smooth single track (out and back), A great single track with spectacular views and only 920 feet of elevation gain in 2 miles. Approximately  4 miles round trip from Hwy 2.

Grassy Hollow to Vincent Gap – Beginner dirt road (out and back or shuttle), 3 miles one way, gentle grade on seldom-used paved and dirt road. Great views of mountains and desert, wildflowers in spring.

Guide To Day Hikes

Lightning Ridge Nature Trail – Easy Hike. 1-mile loop nature trail.

Blue Ridge Trail – Moderate Hike, 4 miles round-trip from Highway 2 to Blue Ridge campground and back. 1,000 foot elevation gain. Mostly forested trail with wildflowers in spring and some fall colors.

Mt. Baden Powell Trail – Strenuous Hike, 8 miles round trip from Highway 2 to summit and back. 2,000 foot elevation gain. Great views of the ocean, mountains and desert.

 

Author: Jenny Lightfoot

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