Motocamping Southern California

Discussion in 'West – California, the desert southwest and whatev' started by Shodan2, Aug 8, 2019.

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  1. Shodan2

    Shodan2 Adventurer

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    There is already a thread about motocamping in Northern California, and NorCal sure has plenty of camping places to unwind on a weekend at (or during the week, schedule permitting).

    Having moved to L.A. not long ago I want to continue going on camping trips - but my favorite NorCal locations such as Mendocino, Shasta or Lassen are now a bit far for a casual weekend 1- or 2-night camping trip.

    However - I'm sure SoCal has it's own places worth visiting! Hence the creation of this thread.
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  2. Shodan2

    Shodan2 Adventurer

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    For instance - who wants to join on a trip to Alder Creek campground (south-west edge of Sequoia National Forest) this weekend? It's appears to be a bit on the "wild" side of the spectrum, I don't expect it to be saturated with soccer moms on Priuses, even on a weekend.
    But it's not so isolated that one would need a true dirt bike to get there, either.
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  3. NSFW

    NSFW basecamp4adv Super Supporter

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  4. Shodan2

    Shodan2 Adventurer

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    Thanks for the links! I've been through both of these.

    Angeles N.F. is not very good for camping - too close to city, and also it's mainly just rocky mountains and narrow serpantine roads inbetween. Also, it gets absurdly hot mid-day and in many areas there's no shade. In fact it's funny that it's called a "forest" - it's basically a rocky mountain area.

    San Bernardino is a bit better. While mountains are still abundant, it's possible to find some (a few) places in it which are green. Which is what Mike and myself found last weekend during a day trip there, here are a few pics from Middle Lion campground - which is one that has some water and greens. However, it's still but a narrow strip of green surrounded by dry terrain, although not as lifeless as Angeles N.F. - it has some thorny dry vegitation and is somewhat walkable, in mountain boots anyways.

    Yet I'd like to find some place with more green, and more wildlife too - and it seems that the closest end of Sequoia N.F., i.e. Brekenridge Campground or Alder Creek a bit further north- might fit the description.

    Anyone down to join?

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    #4
  5. aanichols

    aanichols Racer at heart

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  6. jonz

    jonz Miles are my mantra Supporter

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    Check out Boulder Basin campground in Cleveland National Forest between Idylwild and I-10. Tall pine trees and giant boulders. Easy dirt road off Hwy 243 to get there.
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  7. Shodan2

    Shodan2 Adventurer

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    Thanks for the suggestion, will check out that area some time too! Next trips are probably gonna be more around Sequoia N.F., west of lake Isabella.

    @Stroked 550 is gonna be camping and dirt riding in the Sierra N.F. till Thursday this week - he'd be glad to meet fellow riders up there, too!
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  8. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

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    Regarding post #4...I thought the 'narrow serpentine roads' was the reason we are going.

    One could explore the local(ish) mountains indefinitely.

    The Ranges within one or two hours ride of the Los Angeles metropolitan area are of sufficient quality to scratch the itch.

    Hundreds of camping options and the roads to get there are wonderful.

    The interwebs are a great source but the book 'California Camping' is pretty darn good.

    If you have a Dual Sport you can reach some yellow posts sites that you will never see another person....but you need to ride narrow serpentine roads to get there.
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  9. RandyM

    RandyM Less talk, More ride

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    Jalama beach.
    Joshua tree (jumbo rocks is best but bring water with you).
    Anza Borrego has several camp grounds and camping outside camp grounds is allowed.
    Mojave Preserve is a little far but camping is good. I like Kelso Dunes and Mid-Hills.
    Death Valley.
    Rainbow basin and Calico Mountains near Barstow.
    Red Rock Canyon state park has a nice campground but high fee. Camp free on nearby BLM land around Jawbone and Dove springs.
    Beach campgrounds in SoCal are mostly parking lots for RVs but some have reasonable tent sites.
    Big Bear and Idyllwild can be nice. Cleveland national forest east of San Diego is pretty nice.
    Eastern Sierras are nice and ok distance for a 3 day weekend. Alabama hills near lone pine is good. The areas around Bridgeport and Virginia lakes is very nice.
    White Mountains east of Bishop.
    Fossil falls along Hwy 395 makes for a nice place to overnight on your way north.
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  10. Shodan2

    Shodan2 Adventurer

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    Thanks @RandyM for such a list of locations! I'll start checking them out next :-)

    @TUCKERS Don't take offense on behalf of the narrow serpentine roads ;-) I enjoy riding them, but even more if they lead to places much like ones in the pictures I posted above! Just not used to the rocky SoCal scenery. Treehugger from the greenlands here! (^_^)
    Not sure what are "yellow post sites" - guessing it's campsites accessable only by Jeep Trail? I've tried such trails last weekend, and some ATV trails south of Huntington Lake in Sierra. Couldn't keep up with my fridn on a KTM-450, but doable nonetheless.

    Anyone down to join on this upcoming weekend?
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  11. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

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    You could explore the Angeles National Forest. Just up the 2/210 and you are there in 30 mins from DTLA. Get a National Forest map with campgrounds. You will need an Adventure Pass. The San Gabriel Mountains offer a LOT considering most of it is Los Angeles County. There are lots of places off Angeles Crest Highway and Angeles Forest Highway. I’d be wary of Highway 39 on weekends as it’s a bit too accessible to the Cities and can get rather ‘urban’......
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  12. Shodan2

    Shodan2 Adventurer

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    Yeah, I got this Adventure Pass thing recently. A very SoCal thing, apparently. Even in NorCal, one doesn't need any special permit for camping in National Forests... Oh well, $30 for a year isn't something to complain about...
    30 min from DTLA sounds like a bit too close to find any peace and quiet - and you say so yourself, it gets "urban" :-)
    But I think there are some really nice places within about 1.5 to 3 hour ride from L.A. - might go exploring northwest parts of Los Padres NF this weekend.
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  13. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

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    I said Hwy 39 is busy. Angeles Crest and Angeles Forest Hwy’s are pretty quiet considering their proximity. An easy day ride is Hwy 2 from La Canada to Wrightwood and back. If you want to spend the night there are campgrounds all along, not busy. Angeles Forest Hwy has less campgrounds and it is pretty quiet from end to end. If you are going to venture 3 hours out the possibilities will last you a lifetime.
    #13