Mountain Oak (Angeles National Forest)

Campsite:  MOUNTAIN OAK

Geographic Location: NEAR WRIGHTWOOD, CA (ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST)

Type of Campground: US FOREST SERVICE – PRIVATELY MANAGED

Experience Level: GOOD FOR INTERMEDIATE CAMPERS AND PETS

(All ratings are based on a 1-5 system. 1=Horrible 5=Amazing)

Pet Friendly:(4) YUP- PETS ARE VERY WELCOME. THIS IS A GREAT PLACE TO COME WITH YOUR DOG BECAUSE ALL OF THE TRAILS NEARBY IN THE NATIONAL FOREST ARE DOG-FRIENDLY! JUST DON’T LEAVE YOUR SMALL DOGS UNATTENDED, EVEN ON A LEASH BECAUSE WE SAW SEVERAL COYOTES.

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Just one of the coyotes we saw

Family Friendly:(3) IT IS AND IT ISN’T. IF YOU ARE A FAMILY THAT CAN ROUGH IT A LITTLE AND LIKES TO HIKE THIS IS GREAT. ASIDE FROM HIKING THERE ARE NOT TOO MANY NEARBY RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES. THIS CAMPGROUND ALSO HAS FEWER AMENITIES THAN SOME OF THE OTHERS.

Cleanliness: (4) IT WAS PRETTY CLEAN BUT WE WERE HERE DURING THE OFF-SEASON. WE DID NOTICE THAT THEY CLEANED THE BATHROOMS EVERY DAY. FIRE PITS HAD ALSO BEEN CLEANED SINCE THE END OF SEASON, BUT WE COULDN’T USE THEM. TABLES WERE CLEAN, BUT A LITTLE RICKETY. THE CAMP HOST ALSO HAD RECYCLING WHICH WAS NICE.

Noise Level: (4) THIS CAMPGROUND ONLY HAS 17 SPOTS SO IT IS SMALL. WE WERE HERE IN LATE SEPTEMBER, SO ITS HARD TO SAY HOW LOUD IT WOULD BE DURING A SUMMER WEEKEND, BUT WE EXPERIENCED THE TRUE QUIET OF BEING IN THE GREAT OUTDOORS. THERE ARE A FEW SPOTS THAT ARE CLOSE TOGETHER AND WE COULD HEAR OUR NEIGHBOR SNORING. SPOTS 14-17 ARE CLOSER TO THE HIGHWAY AND A YOUTH CAMP AND WE NOTICED SIGNIFICANTLY MORE NOISE OVER THERE.

Restrooms: (3) THE RESTROOMS WERE CLEAN AND THEY HAVE FLUSH TOILETS. THEY WERE WELL LIT ON THE OUTSIDE AND INSIDE, WHICH I FIND IS RARE. HOWEVER THERE ARE 2 MAJOR DRAWBACKS TO THESE RESTROOMS: THEY ARE NOT MARKED WELL. ONE SIDE OF THE BUILDING WAS LOCKED DOORS THAT DIDN’T OPEN AND THE OTHER SIDE WERE THE EXACT SAME LOOKING DOORS, EXCEPT THEY WERE THE RESTROOMS. NO SIGNS. SECOND – NO SINKS OR MIRRORS OR OUTLETS OR ANYTHING BESIDES A TOILET, PAPER, AND A TRASH BIN.

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Well lit, but unmarked restrooms.

Campsite Space: (4) AS PREVIOUSLY MENTIONED, THIS CAMPGROUND ONLY HAS 17 SPOTS. THEY ARE ALL OF DECENT SIZE, THOUGHT A FEW ARE CLOSE TOGETHER. WE HAD ENOUGH ROOM FOR SEVERAL TENTS, BUT SINCE WE ONLY HAD ONE WE USED THE REST OF THE SPACE TO TAKE SILLY JUMPING PICTURES. ONE POTENTIAL DRAWBACK IS THAT THE PARKING SPACE COULD ONLY FIT ONE CAR.

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Shade/Sun: (4) TREES TREES TREES. DID SOMEONE SAY TREES? THERE IS A NICE MIX OF OAKS AND PINES HERE PROVIDING SHADE AND LOTS OF OPPORTUNITIES FOR HAMMOCKING IF YOU HAVE ONE. WE ALSO TOOK ADVANTAGE OF THE TREES TO HANG OUR LANTERNS SO WE COULD HAVE BETTER LIGHTING TO COOK. YOU KNOW YOU ARE IN A FOREST HERE. JUST ONE NOTE OF CAUTION, THE PINE TREES WERE OOZING SAP. 

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Ground: (4) DIRT – WELL CLEANED OF ANY DEBRIS, SLIGHTLY HILLY. WE HAD A HARD TIME FINDING A COMPLETELY FLAT SPOT FOR OUR TENT. WE JUST HAD TO REMEMBER TO PUT OUR HEADS AT HIGHER ELEVATION. THE SPOTS WERE NOT TOO DRASTICALLY SLOPED THOUGH. WE ALSO FOUND A SECOND USE FOR THE HILLY CAMPGROUND. SEE PHOTOS BELOW.

Bugs/Critters/Wildlife: (4) BEWARE OF BEARS! AND COYOTES! THIS AREA IS KNOWN TO HAVE WILDLIFE, ALTHOUGH WE DIDN’T SEE ANY BEARS. WE SAW SEVERAL COYOTES OUT DURING THE DAY, AND COULD HEAR THEM HOWLING AT NIGHT. BUGS WERE MINIMAL BUT THERE WERE A FEW BEES. NO MOSQUITOES, AT LEAST NOT IN LATE SEPTEMBER!!!! OVERALL WE HAD VERY FEW ENCOUNTERS WITH ANY UNPLEASANT CRITTERS. WE DID USE THE BEAR BOXES AS ALWAYS THOUGH.

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Amenities:

  • FLUSH TOILETS
  • FIRE PITS WITH GRILL
  • WOOD/CEMENT PICNIC TABLES IN POOR CONDITION
  • WATER SPIGOTS (RESERVE AMERICA SAYS ITS DRINKABLE WATER, BUT WE AREN’T SURE)
  • BEAR LOCKERS
  • MANY TREES!
  • LOST OF GREAT HIKING NEARBY 

Comments from the “Chix”

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If you are looking for a quick getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city, and don’t mind a campground that is a little more bare bones, this is the place for you! We had a fantastic time here, and especially loved how much great hiking there is nearby. This is only an hour and half to two hour from Los Angeles and feels a million miles away. Being surrounded by the beautiful oak and pine trees really made this place special. We came the first weekend of fall and loved seeing the changing colors here.
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Its Fall!!!!!!!!!
The campground was pretty empty because it was after school started, so we found the place to be serene and peaceful. There is a youth camp nearby that could be heard from some of the sites. There are also some fun nearby attractions to stop and see on your way in or back home. These include Charlie Brown Farms and Forever Wild Exotic Animal Sanctuary.
 Pros: Come for the hiking, stay for the camping. If you like to hike this is the place for you. So much great hiking nearby. We were so excited to go hike Big Horn Mine, but the PCT is nearby with a hike to Baden-Powell peak for those looking to push themselves. Big Horn mine is an abandoned gold mine and it is one of the coolest hikes we have done. The other huge pro was the weather. While it was 100 degrees back home in the San Fernando Valley, it was in the 70s up here, making it perfect hiking weather.
 Cons: As much as we really enjoyed this trip, there were a few drawbacks of this campground. For one, no campfires during fire season. We came just a few weeks after a huge fire in the area so we could not use the fire pit. We also had to get a permit in order to even use our single-burner camp stove (which has a shut-off valve). The other draw back was the camp host. This campground is managed (poorly) by a private company. We found out that our camp host is also responsible for a 170-site campground up the road (and sometime more when the other hosts forget to show up??). So what this meant was she wasn’t there when we needed to ask questions and she was driving in and out of the campsite late at night, shining her headlights in our tent and screeching the breaks on the truck. Maybe I’m being too harsh?
Tips: Be careful of bears! (Can’t stress this one enough… don’t want our fellow campers to be eaten). Use the bear lockers. Bring drinking water since we can’t say for certain if the spigots are potable water. And bring your hiking boots!
Random fun fact: Did you know that Ponderosa Pines smell like Vanilla. There are plenty up here. If you see one, stop and stick your nose in their signature alligator-looking bark and take a whiff, you’ll be surprised by the subtle sweet aroma.
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A Ponderosa Pine wit its signature alligator looking bark
Nearby attractions to check out:
– ALL the hikes, including Big Horn Mine and Mount Baden-Powell!
– Charlie Brown Farms!
– Forever Wild Exotic Wildlife Sanctuary!
More fun photos from this trip!

 

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