This weekend we finally got a chance to get away to a place with a little less heat than the current LA scene of 99º Fahrenheit. We chose Mt. Pinos Campground in the Los Padres National Forest. It was beautiful. The drive there is roughly 1 hour and 45 minutes from the Los Angeles area. The drive is not bad with half of it taking you through countryside foothills and a scenic mountain road. This campground is located at an estimated 7,500 feet in elevation bringing it close to the highest point of Mount Pinos of 8,847 feet high. The Mt. Pinos Summit is the highest point in Ventura County. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Pinos).
We chose this campground because it had a beautiful setting among the forest’s pine trees and it’s aged Sequoias as well as space in between each campsite giving you enough privacy to really take it all in. This location is perfect for star gazing, although you are among a lot of tall trees, the campsites have great clearings of the open sky so you really can enjoy hours of searching for your favorite constellation.
The campsite is very well kept with great fire rings with grills and picnic tables. There are 19 sites and all beautiful in their unique way but we found #12 and #15 campsite where the best in terms of layout and view. If you can get there on a Thursday or an early Friday there is a good chance you can take your best pick from the sites. This site as well as another campsite that you should check out, Chula Vista, is a first-come, first-serve basis campground meaning no reservation can be made so you take a chance driving up the mountain. During off-season you should not have a problem if you leave early for the weekend getaway. The area is very wild so keep your eyes out for mountain lions, bears, coyotes and woodpeckers.
This area gets heavy snow in the winter which even in California can be as early as October therefore this campground closes mid-October and re-opens Memorial Day weekend in May. It’s definitely worth going in the fall before it closes because it’s probably the quietest you will find the area and the most beautiful.
Overall this was a great find as it’s a short drive from Los Angeles and it provides you with a peaceful and picturesque scene without all the crowds. When you go, take a deep breath, breathe in the pure mountain air, and enjoy the stargazing. We highly recommend this place!
Things to bring:
Hammock: it’s a perfect place to find trees for hanging a hammock. A great hammock brand we recommend is Hobo Hammocks. Just for being our blog followers, Hobo Hammocks has given us a discount code to share with all of you that will give you $10 off your purchase! Go to the site and use ‘adventuresofthewest’ as the discount code at check out and you will receive 10$ off your total purchase. http://www.hobohammocks.com
Binoculars: these would be great for spotting wildlife
Jacket: It definitely gets cold at night so you will need it
Bug Spray: There were some gnats and flies that showed up in the evening so lite bugs spray like “Buzz Away Extreme” would work great. http://www.buzzawayextreme.com/