Nestled in the San Jacinto Mountains, within a couple hours drive of Los Angeles or San Diego, Idyllwild is a mountain town that attracts outdoors enthusaists to its many campgrounds, trails and iconic climbing crags.
There are quite a few options for camping in Idyllwild, from developed state park campgrounds to backcountry camping in San Bernadino Forest. For an overview of camping, trails and climbing, visit our Ultimate Guide to Idyllwild Adventure. For more detail on riding in the area, check out our Idyllwild Mountain Biking Guide.
Getting to Idyllwild
Idyllwild is centrally located in the San Jacinto Mountains of Southern California. The area is about an hour from Hemet, Temecula and Riverside to the West and Palm Springs and the Cochella Valley to the East, and two hours from San Diego to the South and Los Angeles to the North West.
Idyllwild Campgrounds in this Guide
- Idyllwild Campground
- Stone Creek Campground
- Fern Basin Campground
- Marion Mountain Campground
- Dark Canyon Campground
- Black Mountain Group Campground
- Boulder Basin Campground
- Idyllwild Regional Park Campground
- Hurkey Creek Park Campground
- McCall Memorial Equestrian Campground
Mount San Jacinto State Park Campgrounds
California State Parks manages two drive-in campgrounds in the area Idyllwild and Stone Creek. Sites can be reserved by calling 1-800-444-7275 or online at ReserveCalifornia.com (search for “Mt. San Jacinto SP”). For more information on these campgrounds call 1-951-659-2607.
Idyllwild Campground is a developed campground located just on the edge of downtown Idyllwild, making it a convenient basecamp for exploring town and the nearby backcountry.
The campground offers 33 campsites, including seven sites with RV hookups, three of which have full hookups and four with electrical hookups only. The campground can accomodate RVs and trailers up to up to 24 feet in length.
Amenities at the campground include showers, flush and vault toilets, potable water, picnic tables and fire pits.
Stone Creek Campground is the larger of the two Mount San Jacinto State Park campgrounds in the Idyllwild area. The campground is located about six miles north of Idyllwild (3 miles from Pine Cove), and sits at an elevation of 5,900 feet. The campground is easy to access, just off Highway 243.
Stone Creek offers 50 sites, twenty two of which are tent only. About half of the sites can accomodate RVs or trailers up to 24 feet in length, and 12 of those are set aside as RV or trailer-only sites. Amenities include fire pits, picnic table and pit toilets.
Reservations for Stone Creek Campground are accepted from May through October. In winter, the campground is open until the first snow on a first-come, first-served basis.
Panorama Point Trail is a short loop hike that begins and ends at the camgpround.
The National Forest Service manages several campgrounds in the Idyllwild area that are located within San Bernardino National Forest. These include developed and primitive sites, as well as some large group campgrounds. Advanced reservations can be made at Recreation.gov, while other information on the sites is hosted on the forest service websites.
Fern Basin Campground is located in a picturesque grove of mixed oaks and shrubs about 6.5 miles north of Idyllwild. Situated at an elevation of about 6,300 feet, the campground’s mixed conifer forest provides shade and an alpine atmosphere.
The campground is open from late May to early November, and reservations can be made 6 months in advance.
Fern Basin Campground offers 19 campsites that include picnic tables and fire pits. Other amenities include vault toilets, dumpsters and possibly potable water. The campground can accomadate RVs and trailers up to 20 feet in length.
The campground is located near the trailhead for Marion Mountain Trail, a strenuous 11.8-mile out-and-back trail that is the shortest trail to San Jacinto Peak (see below).
Marion Mountain Campground is located about 6.5 miles north of Idyllwild, about half a mile from Fern Basin Campground at the end of Marion Mountain Campground Road. The campground is situated at an elevation of 6,400 feet in a forested area of mature cedar and pine trees that provide ample shade and privacy between campsites.
The campground, which is open from May to early November, offers 25 sites, nine on a first-come, first-served basis and 16 that can be reserved ahead of time. Amenities include picnic tables, fire pits, vault toilets, trash cans and potable water. The campground can accomadate RVs and trailers up to 20 feet in length.
Marion Mountain offers rock climbers a number of sport climbs right in the campground. The campground is also a great base camp for hiking. The rugged Marion Mountain Trail to San Jacinto Peak starts in the campground, as does Stone Creek Trail.
Dark Canyon Campground is currently closed due to heavy storm damage from the winter of 2018-2019, and appears to set to remain closed indefinitely. The forest service campground is located about 8.5 miles north of Idyllwild.
Black Mountain Group Campground is a large group campground with a single site located about 16 miles north of Idyllwild at an elevation of 7500 feet. The campground can hold a maximum of 100 people and 50 vehicles. The rough roads to the campsite make it difficult to access for vehicles that don’t have high clearance.
The site offers picnic tables, fire pits with grills and vault toilets. Drinking water is available two miles away at Cinco Posa Spring tap, along Black Mountain Road.
The campground is open from late May to late October, and reservations can be made six months in advance.
The Fuller Ridge Trail, which serves as part of the famous Pacific Crest Trail, is located just steps away from the campground. Starting at 7,600 feet, the trail follows the high, timbered ridge above Snow Creek, offering spectacular views of the desert. From there, it joins Deer Springs Trail and a strenuous climb to San Jacinto Peak, at 10,804 feet in elevation.
Boulder Basin Campground is located 13.5 miles north of Idyllwild, near Black Mountain fire lookout, at an elevation of 7,300 feet. The campground, which offers solitude and primitive camping, is located in a mixed conifer forest of Ponderosa and Sugar pines and other conifers provides ample shade and privacy. The campground popular campsite for climbers who enjoy the areas many boulders.
The campground, which offers 32 sites, is open from late May to late October, and reservations can be made 6 months in advance. Amenities include fire pits, picnic tables, The campground can accomadate RVs and trailers up to 20 feet in length.
The Black Mountain Lookout Tower is accessed via hiking a dirt road from the campground and offers breathtaking views of the area. The road to the campground, Black Mountain Road (4S01), is an unpaved forest road not recommended for low clearance vehicles or trailers.
The campground provides access to a number of trailheads, including the Black Mountain Trail, a 3.6-mile, moderately strenuous hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding trail that travels through the forested slopes of Black Mountain. The trail provides excellent views of the Banning Pass and Mt. San Gorgonio. The trail provides access to the famed Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail, which begins at the Mexico border in Southern California and leads to Washington border of Canada.
8) Idyllwild Regional Park Campground
Riverside County manages the Idyllwild Regional Park, which offers over 200 acres of open spaces, mature forests, hiking trails and a large campground along Lily Creek.
The county campground features 88 sites, with amenities including picnic tables, fire pits/grills, toilets, coin-operated showers and potable water.
The campground features numerous large boulders that are popular for rock climbing. Idyllwild Nature Center is nearby, as is Summit Trail a local hiking route.
Hurkey Creek Park Campground is located near lake Hemet about 7.5 miles south of Idyllwild. The campground is set in woodlands that feature a seasonal creek, tall pine trees and terrific mountain views.
The video below features trails near Hurkey Creek Park:
The campground offers 130 developed and primitive campsites, as well as large group camping areas in five seperate loops that can accommodate 80-100 campers each. Amenities include picnic tables, restrooms, fire rings/grills and a children’s playground. The campground can accomodate RVs up to 40 feet in length.
Portions of the surrounding wilderness are closed to hiking as they recover from recent wildefires. Check with park officials for the latest updates about closures. For more details, check out our full Hurkey Creek Park Campground guide.
Situated at an elevation of 4,400 feet and surrounded by the San Bernardino National Forest, McCall Memorial Equestrian Campground, offers 88-acre mountain park designated specifically for equestrian camping and trail riding.
Located 4 miles south of Idyllwild, CA, near Mountain Center, the campground includes 16 campsites, and 55 horse corrals. Amenities include picnic tables, barbeques, potable water, restrooms and coin-operated showers. off Highway 74, is a unique 88-acre mountain park designated specifically for equestrian camping and trail riding.
The park provides access to several excellent trails that meander through tall pine trees, open meadows, and past seasonal streams, affording breathtaking views of the San Jacinto Mountains, gentle flatlands and rolling hills as well as the rock-strewn peaks that tower above Idyllwild.