Camping and hiking information
with tips for parents
Camping and hiking information
with tips for parents

The Los Padres National Forest

Mt. Pinos Ranger District

This area is well known for winter activities, but there is a great deal to enjoy here in the summer as well!
Mt. Pinos is located in southern California between the San Fernando Valley and Bakersfield. For directions, go here!

This forest district qualifies as a three Roo site.
For information on the Roo rating system just click on the Roos!

There are many recreation areas in the Mt. Pinos District. The area I focus on here is located off of Lockwood Valley Road (see directions below).

rangerstationThe Ranger Station provides somewhat useful information for the area - and check out the stuffed bobcat in the front window! The information on the sign across the road from the ranger station is a bit outdated - so don't rely on the camping regulations you see posted there!

picnicThere is a picnic table at the Mt. Pinos Ranger Station. This area is shady and has nice grass for crawlers. There are several nice turn-outs up the hill from the Ranger Station but you won't find more picnic tables in this area.

trails The area located on the mountain above the Ranger Station is riddled with trails for OHV use (off road vehicles) The traffic was very light when I was here, and I was able to use a stroller on most of the roads and trails. I was able to hear vehicles coming from quite a ways off so there was no danger from vehicles on the trails.

I camped about a mile below a lookout tower and I walked to the summit with my children daily. This was a great beginning hike for my three year old (all downhill on the return trip!) and I had no difficulty pushing a stroller here. You can see the view below from a spot near the tower below!

The turn-out located further down Lockwood Valley road has a large level area for play but has no hiking trails. You can see areas where people have hiked but you may have difficulty traveling with a young child who is too big for a baby backpack.

campingThere are campgrounds in the Mt. Pinos District but I chose to camp elsewhere. The main campground is run by concessionaires and I have had problems in the past with campgrounds run under this system.

There are several campgrounds above the Ranger Station but they are closed and have been for the last 10 years.
There are also several campgrounds up Lockwood Valley Road - but you can only reach these areas with a 4X4.

When camping in this forest in areas that are not designated camping areas you are required to display an Adventure Pass in your car window. You also need a pass for day visits. The Adventure Pass can be purchased at the Ranger Station or at many of the businesses in the town of Frazier Park.

One area I camped in was a really nice turn-out a mile from the peak of Frazier Mt. The road to this area is not in very good shape. It is a dirt road and is in need of repair but 4X4's are not necessary. The area I camped in was 6 miles above the Ranger Station and it took almost an hour to make the trip in a 21 foot camper. I would not recommend bringing an RV up here unless it is very small and you are quite a confident driver.

I also camped in a turn out along Lockwood Valley Road. The road is paved and the turn out is large and flat. The photo below was taken there. You could comfortably camp here with a motor home or a tent.

This forest will allow you to remain in one spot for up to two weeks.

waterThere is no water available outside of the main campground so bring your own! There is a port-a-potty located near the Ranger Station but you will find no facilities available on the mountain.

Please pack with clothing for both warm and cold weather. My trip was made in mid June and there was still snow in a few spots! It got quite cold at night.

For more information, read about the effects of camping at altitudes.


The Mt. Pinos district of the forest is located in the mountains off of Interstate 5.
Take the Frazier Park exit and take the Frazier Park Mountain road west (It's the only road at the end of the freeway ramp so you can't miss it!).

Follow this road through the town of Frazier Park and on to Lockwood Valley Road (aprox. 14 miles)

Go left on Lockwood Valley road. The Ranger Station is less than a mile down this road to your left.

I spent my time in two different recreation areas.
If you follow the road past the Ranger Station and head up the mountain you will find many nice areas to camp.

If you stay on Lockwood Valley Road past the ranger station you will eventually reenter forest land. I camped in a large turn-out located just past the second cattle guard. The turn out is on your right and you never seem to spot it until you are past the entry.

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