Fern Basin Campground is located in a picturesque grove of mixed oaks and shrubs in San Bernardino National Forest, about 6.5 miles north of the alpine town of Idyllwild, California. Situated at an elevation of about 6,300 feet, the campground’s mixed conifer forest provides shade and an alpine atmosphere.
|Site types||Tent, RV, Group Sites|
|Amenities||Picnic tables, fire rings, vault toilets, dumpsters, water (check availability), restrooms|
|Campground address||Forest Rte 4S02, Banning, CA 92220|
|Campground GPS||33.7889623, -116.736933|
|Location||San Bernardino National Forest|
Fern Basin Campground Overview
The campground opens from late May until mid-November, with a mix of reservable and first-come-first-serve sites. RVs and tents are welcome, although there are no hookups. The panoramic views and close proximity to the Marion Mountain Trail—leading to the challenging San Jacinto Peak—make it a favorite among hikers and nature enthusiasts.
Restrictions and Conditions
The campsite permits a maximum of eight people per site. Weather in the mountains can be unpredictable, and the campground does not offer refunds due to inclement weather.
Fire restrictions are subject to change based on the weather conditions; it’s advised to contact the Idyllwild Ranger Station for the latest information before making reservations, especially in the late fall. For those bringing furry friends, dogs are welcome but they must be on a leash at all times for the safety and comfort of all campers.
Reservations and Fees
When planning your trip to Fern Basin Campground, remember that reservations can be made through a phone call or by visiting the official website. This can be done as far ahead as six months before your visit or as late as three days in advance.
A stay will cost $10 per night, which includes parking for one vehicle. Any additional vehicles will be subject to a fee of $5 each. To ensure everyone has a chance to enjoy the campground, there’s a stipulation for a minimum three-night stay over major holiday weekends.
For eligible campers, the campground offers a significant discount on-site fees. Those holding a Golden Age, Golden Access, or America the Beautiful Senior or Access Passport are entitled to a 50% reduction in campsite fees. It is important to note that the holder of the passport must be present to receive the discount.
For up-to-date information on fire conditions or weather closures, campers should reach out to the Idyllwild Ranger Station at (909) 382-2921. For additional inquiries, the San Jacinto Ranger District serves as a useful resource with knowledgeable staff to assist you. Whether you need details about the campground, surrounding trails, or educational programs at the nature center, they are there to help.
Fern Basin Campground is an ideal destination for those seeking a rustic camping experience in the San Bernardino National Forest. With its proximity to Idyllwild and the array of recreational activities available, campers are sure to find something that will make their stay enjoyable and memorable.
Supplies and Nearby Attractions
In the vicinity of Fern Basin Campground, about seven south, Idyllwild provides all the necessities and comforts you might need during your stay. This includes access to grocery stores for stocking up on supplies, laundry facilities to freshen up your camping gear, and even a movie theater for a night out.
For those who love the great outdoors, the area around the campground is a playground offering a variety of activities. You can explore the overlook ATV and OHV trails, challenge yourself with some rock climbing, enjoy the numerous hiking trails, or take a more leisurely pace with horseback riding and mountain biking.
There’s also a nature center for those interested in learning more about the local flora and fauna, as well as a picnic area perfect for a family lunch surrounded by nature.
For more information on camping in the area, check out our complete guide to Idyllwild camping. Also see our Idyllwild adventure guide for ideas on what to do in the area, including hiking, mountain biking, and rock climbing.