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Just north of the City of Angels, surrounded by Santa Clarita, San Bernardino, and Pasadena, is the enormous, 650,000-acre Angeles National Forest. This southern California landmark is large enough to secure 44,000 acres of the Sheep Mountain Wilderness and 36,000 acres of the San Gabriel Wilderness Area.
The landscape is vast and complex. Due to its sheer size and mountainous landscape, it varies in elevation from 1,200 feet to 10,000 feet. It encompasses the San Gabriel Mountain range and parts of the Sierra Pelona Mountain Range.
In the 1890s, the area was federally claimed a Natural Reserve by President Harrison. Roughly ten years later, the Department of Agriculture redesignated the reserve as a national forest. While some of the boundaries have changed shape and name, the size and overall protection of the land has remained the same.
This area is large enough to enjoy just about any outdoor activity you can think of. There are miles and miles of hiking trails, places to swim and fish, and plenty of opportunities to do some wildlife watching. Book a motorhome in Los Angeles County and get your vacation started.
Are you one for exploration and discovery? There are plenty of hiking trails available in the park. Try out the Gabrielino Trail in the southwestern area of the forest. This goliath trail is 27.5 miles through wooded forest and a diverse array of fauna. Deer are commonly seen on this trail. Bears are also common but tend to be shy around humans. The park asks that you keep a keen eye out for wild animals and dangerous plants.
If you're visiting in summer, make sure to grab your bathing suit from the motorhome rental and head to one of the many watering holes in the forest. Take your non-motorized boat out to Elizabeth Lake for a nice relaxing time, or take your motorboat to Pyramid Lake for some wild water skiing. There are also tons of rivers and creeks to dive into in addition to the secret lesser-known swimming spots that can be found by a quick online search.
Winter is the perfect time to camp in an RV at the Angeles National Forest. In designated areas, you can take a snowmobile for a spin, hike through the woods, or even go snowshoeing. Cross-country skiing is permitted at Mt. Baldy and Mt. Waterman. So grab your gear, bundle up, and make the most of your snowy vacation.
Angeles National Forest campers are spoiled for choice, with several campgrounds to choose from. Overall, there are dozens of campgrounds, but only a few are RV-friendly, and even fewer have hookups. Coldbrook Campground is a nice place to call home while camping in the Angeles National Forest. It's located in the western part of the forest, just outside Rattlesnake Peak.
Coldbrook Campground has 22 sites that come standard with a fire pit and a grill. There are no picnic tables at the individual campsites, but a few communal tables are provided. Hiking trails and vault toilets are also available in the campground.
Manker is another recommended campground. There are 21 sites available, no hookups, but each site has picnic tables, fire pits, and vault toilets. There are plenty of trailheads that spur from this campsite that can take you through the forest and up to the summit of nearby mountains. The maximum RV length is 15 feet.
If you’re looking for a larger campground, the Crystal Lake Rec Area Campground is just south of Crystal Lake. This campground rests at 5,500 feet above sea level and boasts 50 campsites. Crystal Lake Rec Area campers will have access to Crystal Lake as well as Windy Gap and Mt. Islip. There are no hookups, but vault toilets are available, and the maximum RV length is 22 feet.
These are just a few samples of the many campgrounds available to Angeles National Forest campers, so check online to see which park is right for you.
Angeles National Forest is located just north of one of the largest cities in the United States. Head to L.A. during your RV camping and see the sights. You can’t do it all in one day, but you can do quite a lot. See a show, check out a museum, watch a national sports team play, see the ballet: it’s all within reach. You might run into a celebrity or see a movie being filmed. L.A. has any sort of restaurant you could possibly fancy. If you’re ready for a big city trip, look no further than the City of Angels.
Another nearby city with visiting is Pasadena. This lovely city is very artsy and is home to some amazing art collections. Bring the family shopping at any of the boutiques in town. From antique shops to vintage clothing stores, bargain basements to kitchenware, there's something for everyone at the shops. Also, make time to poke around at all the museums that Pasadena has to offer.
Just south of Los Angeles is the city of Anaheim where the world-famous Disneyland Resort is located. This magical theme park is family-friendly and great for all ages. Play on the rides, see a show, or have an amazing dinner.
When your Angeles National Forest camping trip is complete, you'll find plenty of gas stations and restaurants in the surrounding cities to get you road-ready!