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Camping, Hiking and Outdoor Activities Camping, hiking, and other outdoor activities within.

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  #1  
Old 02-10-2019, 7:14 PM
uhtred1111 uhtred1111 is offline
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Default New to camping

Any advice on a place near LA for a newbie to start out camping? Near being a 3 hour or so drive away.

Thinking of doing some weekends camping to practice using gear etc. and to see if I actually will enjoy doing it as much as I did when I was younger with my parents.
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Old 02-10-2019, 8:11 PM
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National Forest is a good start or the PCT
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Old 02-10-2019, 8:40 PM
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You'll love it. Find a place to go where there is a general store close by... helps you if you forgot anything back home.

Go to Recreation.gov & look in your area. They have an interactive map.
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Old 02-10-2019, 8:43 PM
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Lake Arrowhead, Dogwood is great.
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Old 02-10-2019, 8:50 PM
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Buckhorn up Angeles Crest Highway after it warms up a bit.
Chilao OK, but can get crowded.
Midweek better.

Several places in Idylwild.

I suggest avoiding beach camping, too noisy and crowded.
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Old 02-10-2019, 10:54 PM
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Practice setting up everything before you go camping. Tent, stove, lantern, etc.
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Old 02-11-2019, 12:17 AM
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Our little family of 4 plus our dog, like going to Wrightwood or Green Valley lake, for 2 night trips. Since no showers, 2 maybe 3 days is Max with using baby wipes to clean up.

Test your gear before going is best suggestion I can give. I'm no guru but it would definitely suck if you get up there and missing tent poles or something. We almost forgot the stove once, our 3 year old reminded us.

Good luck and have fun!
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Old 02-11-2019, 9:30 AM
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Heard that Borrego place is really nice before summer heat hits.
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Old 02-11-2019, 9:39 AM
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before you go, test all of your equipment at home. I set up my tent and hose it down to check for leaks. Check stove for functionality and fuel .
I would wait for the weather to warm and might try something like Malibu State Park, (they caught the shooter), has great trails and is near civilization.

Beach Camping in Ventura at McGrath Stat Beach, or El Capitan in Santa Barbara.

Mountain Camping better suited for warmer weather for beginners.

High Sierra Great camping in Kennedy Meadows, and just abut anywhere along 395.

Local camping in Hungry Valley.

Have fun. Be prepared.
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Old 02-11-2019, 10:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MJB View Post
National Forest is a good start or the PCT
Horrible advice considering he's just starting

Quote:
Originally Posted by Unforgiven View Post
Practice setting up everything before you go camping. Tent, stove, lantern, etc.
Great advice here.

OP, sounds like you'll be car camping.

As stated, test out all your gear and know how everything works.

On top of that, plan out how the day will pan out -

What will you do for food? How will you cook it? Are you taking perishables? If so, do you have a method for storing/transporting and will it last throughout your trip? Do you have a means of entertainment? It could get boring being out in the woods, even with loved ones. Are you prepared for what the weather may bring?

These are just things to think about in case you haven't thought of them already.

This forum has a wealth of information so feel free to ask any questions you may have! I backpack on a regular, and enjoy it thoroughly.
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Old 02-11-2019, 11:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uhtred1111 View Post
Any advice on a place near LA for a newbie to start out camping? Near being a 3 hour or so drive away.

Thinking of doing some weekends camping to practice using gear etc. and to see if I actually will enjoy doing it as much as I did when I was younger with my parents.
What style of camping?

Car Camping
- Most common, drive into your spot at a campgrounds and set your tent up relatively close by to your vehicle. Usually has vault style toilets, trash, and sometimes fresh water. Will have many people.


Dispersed Camping
- Rare to have dedicated US forestry sites, but they do exsit. Mostly BLM and National Forest areas where the locations are not set, you drive or hike to whatever looks like a good spot. (Note: this is getting rarer and more restrictive due to the liberal infection in Forestry and Dept of Interior trying to keep the public off public land. Be mindful of areas where vehicle traffic is not permitted off forest roads etc)

If you look at some of my posts where I'm 4x4 camping this is what it looks like on the extreme end. Obviously the harder and more remote place you go, the less people there will be. And usually no facilities for waste or water.

Backpacking- Park your vehicle at the trail head and backpack your camping gear to a site. By far my favorite, obviously more physically demanding. Some areas have services at the camp sites, others do not. Amount of people there can vary due to the difficulty of the trail and if there are services or not. Popular trails you have to sign up for in advance, Point Reyes in Norcal has pretty much a 1 year wait list for WildCat campground. Wheres if I go on the PCT here in the Sierras near Graegle or Lassen, I might not see anyone and have an entire lake to myself. Think I got a post with a awesome lake outside Chester too.


Assuming you mean car camping think about something akin to this campground:

https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/ange...41772&actid=29

Its over an hour from the center of LA, sort of in the back country but still a first come first serve car campground. Once the roads open up and if you go while its cold you have a higher chance of not having it crowded. Plus in the cold you will learn more on where to set your camp up, what gear you need to be comfortable, and what works.

Each campsite has a fire pit and grill, and picnic tables are available on the grounds. Water is available on the campgrounds, but probably needs to be treated. Its $15 so not bad, and just 1/3 of a mile away there is a 7-mile round trip hike to the summit of Smith Mountain. So you can also test out your hiking gear. And you will learn what layering of clothing you will need. Some people need heavy insulated gear, others will burn up. I also advise you bring a bear jar or put food and smelly stuff handing off a line from a tree decently off the ground.

I've done tons of solo camping but it is by far funner with a friends. Set a time table though and stick to it. Like you will have the tent set up before 5:00PM, or you will be on the trail at 8:00AM etc. getting in a regimented habit now will save you a lot of stress when the weather refuses to co-operate, or delays happen. I set my tent up first thing when I make it to my planned camp site. Shelter is always the most important followed by securing your water supply.

Have Fun!
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  #12  
Old 02-11-2019, 1:27 PM
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Joshua Tree National Park. It's chilly this time of year, but still beautiful.

Anza Brorrego State Park.

Mt. Pinos area near Frazier Park...there are several nice campgrounds up there.
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Old 02-11-2019, 1:39 PM
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I am also considering my first camping experience, since childhood summer camps.
I have been looking at Pyramid Lake as an option, off the 5.
https://www.recreation.gov/camping/campgrounds/233283
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Old 02-11-2019, 7:19 PM
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Thank you so much for all of this advice.
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  #15  
Old 02-11-2019, 7:34 PM
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Sounds silly but spend a night or two in your backyard to work out any wrinkles.
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  #16  
Old 02-11-2019, 7:58 PM
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if you use a propane lantern know how to light it if the piezo doesnt spark so bring some wood matches

bring a fly swatter

bring a little carpet sample for use as a mat infront of your tent

bring water for hand washing
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Old 02-11-2019, 9:44 PM
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Up to a 3 hour drive from LA. So you’re looking to camp about 15 miles away? Slim pickings.
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Old 02-12-2019, 10:49 AM
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Need more from you OP.

Where do you want to camp? Alone in the desert or shoulder to shoulder at a State park.

Do you have a yard? If so dry run your equipment. No yard? Let us know. We'll find a place for you to practice.

Couple thoughts.

Don't over equip. You don't need all that stuff to camp. Travel and camp as light as comfortable.

Camping in the desert is free and you can shoot.

Camping equipment is dirt cheap at garage sales.

Get a cot or thick pad to sleep on. (Comfort is the key to happiness.)

Don't stress. Go out and camp. If it goes sideways you can always get in the car and go home.

Things will always go screwy and you'll forget stuff. Keep your sense of humor and enjoy.

3 hours from L.A. puts you in an arc that goes from SanDiego to Gaviota on the beach and out past Barstow in the desert. You really have more camping choices than you could ever use.

Enjoy!
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Last edited by cannon; 02-12-2019 at 10:52 AM..
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Old 02-12-2019, 10:52 AM
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Wheeler Gorge in Ojai or Castaic Lake
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Old 02-12-2019, 11:16 AM
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Nowhere near la. Does Castaic have a campground. Thought it was day use except for koa.
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Old 02-12-2019, 11:34 AM
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Nowhere near la. Does Castaic have a campground. Thought it was day use except for koa.
https://reservations.lacounty.gov/In...ty_type_idno=0
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Old 02-12-2019, 11:37 AM
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^^ Thanks have not been there in years and it is just north of me. The water has been so low for a long time I never go there.
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Old 02-12-2019, 11:40 AM
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^^ Thanks have not been there in years and it is just north of me. The water has been so low for a long time I never go there.
Water levels have definitely been low in the last few years. I was in Big Bear this last weekend and was shocked at how low the lake has gotten there..
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Old 02-12-2019, 11:45 AM
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^^ Yep I took the boat up there last year and only 1 launch ramp open most docks high and dry. Fished for 2 days without a bite using every trick I knew.
Leadcore, flashers, still fishing.
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Old 02-12-2019, 1:33 PM
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We caught 3 decent-sized rainbow trout near the dam within 2 hours. Didn't stay longer because it was 28 degrees with rain and snow and we started feeling numb lol

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^^ Yep I took the boat up there last year and only 1 launch ramp open most docks high and dry. Fished for 2 days without a bite using every trick I knew.
Leadcore, flashers, still fishing.
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Old 02-13-2019, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Jeepergeo View Post
Joshua Tree National Park. It's chilly this time of year, but still beautiful.

Anza Brorrego State Park.

Mt. Pinos area near Frazier Park...there are several nice campgrounds up there.
I'd steer clear of Joshua Tree until they clean up the mess left there over the shutdown. Bunch of inconsiderate tourists looking for a free vacation destroyed that place.

Josh
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Old 02-13-2019, 1:16 PM
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I used to love camping.

Then campgrounds became over-booked, over-priced and over-run with undesirables and unruly children (NOISE - more peace and quiet on a downtown street corner). To get away from that you are typically left with spaces where you can't have a campfire. Camping without a campfire just isn't the same. I've been backpacking and that is a way to take in some real natural beauty... but if you think you're going to be alone on the trails, think again. I don't think we went 15 minutes without crossing paths with someone, and this was fairly remote, in the mountains, after a 7 mile uphill hike... it was even more crowded on the coastal trails.

Good luck OP. Hope you find something that seems enjoyable. It's really hard to get away from people these days and still have an enjoyable experience.
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Old 02-13-2019, 7:06 PM
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Joshua Tree. Was there on 1/30 (still during government shutdown) and it was spotless. Bathrooms were fine and no trash.

https://www.nps.gov/jotr/planyourvisit/maps.htm


San Onofre if you like the coast.
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Old 02-14-2019, 12:34 AM
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is there camping around lake cachuma?
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Old 02-14-2019, 11:41 AM
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There is: https://www.countyofsb.org/parks/cachuma-camping.sbc
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Old 02-14-2019, 7:41 PM
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I even don't know much about this camping. But whenever I need help don't hesitate to search on the Internet. Here you might get lots of camping websites https://travelsites.com/camping/ Hope that help.
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Old 02-14-2019, 9:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kwikvette View Post
Are you taking perishables? If so, do you have a method for storing/transporting and will it last throughout your trip?
Regarding perishables, small tip:

Take two coolers. Use one for drinks and other things you'll be grabbing often throughout the day. Use another (usually smaller) for the perishables. This way they stay cold/safe longer since opening and closing the cooler constantly will shorten the life of ice, raise the temp etc.

Good luck.
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Old 02-14-2019, 9:57 PM
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For a beginner, the campgrounds at a lake are a good idea. They will have facilities like bathrooms and water. Your usually close to town for food or stuff you forgot. Something other than hiking to do like fishing, boating, etc. Castaic and nearby Piru lake have campgrounds. Expect to pay about $40 a night.
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