Dispersed camping near Big Bear, CA can be tricky to find, but there are several options available if you’re willing to try some remote places. However, there are a couple very popular areas to camp that are close to the main highway.
Dispersed Camping Near Big Bear, CA
The following campsites were selected based on our own experiences camping there, or based on the popularity of other boondockers…
Jenks Lake East (East Flats) (GPS: 34.16531, -116.84915) – 25.4 miles to Big Bear Lake, CA – Probably the most popular place to camp along Highway 38 inside San Bernardino National Forest, this area is marked on US Forest Service maps as “East Flats”, but is more commonly known as Jenks Lake East. The name “East Flats” stems from Barton Flats, a popular place for camping and hiking. The actual camping is found along Forest Road 1N84 which loops around the East Flats area. To get here, you take Highway 38 to Jenks Lake Rd E, and follow it to 1N84. You can camp pretty much anywhere off of 1N84, and there are numerous sites to choose from. Read reviews on FreeRoam.
Yellow Post Sites – Yellow Post Sites (see listings below) are single campsites marked by a yellow post along forest roads throughout San Bernardino National Forest. Each site is intended for a single party of campers. Once your party has occupied a Yellow Post Site, no other party is allowed to set up camp there until after you leave. These were originally intended for hikers and trailer riders, and as a result, the roads leading to them are bumpy and rutted. However, many Yellow Post Sites are still easily accessible by most vehicles and RVs…
- Coon Creek Yellow Post Sites (GPS: 34.15099, -116.77161) – 22 to 25 miles to Big Bear Lake, CA – These are a series of 19 single campsites located just east of Barton Flats off of Highway 38. They are all located along Forest Road 1N02. The first 14 of these sites are grouped together by the previously mentioned GPS coordinates. The remaining 5 sites are further down the road with high clearance 4WD highly recommended. The first 8 of these sites are easily accessible by most RVs and trailers, and most sites altogether are large sites.
- North Big Bear Yellow Post Sites – These are a series of nine single campsites located on the north side of Big Bear Lake. These sites will offer you the closest proximity to the greater Big Bear Lake area.
- South Big Bear Yellow Post Sites – These are a series of four single campsites located on the south side of Big Bear Lake. These sites will offer you the closest proximity to the greater Big Bear Lake area.
- Keller Peak Yellow Post Sites (GPS: 34.20988, -117.06516) – 18 miles to Big Bear Lake, CA – These are a series of nine single campsites located west of Big Bear Lake. They are approached from Highway 18, then taking Keller Peak Road (Forest Road 1N96). All nine sites are located along 1N96. What makes these Yellow Post Sites unique is that they are all approached by a paved road.
- Thomas Mountain Yellow Post Site #1, Idyllwild, CA
- How Long Can You Camp in a National Forest?
- Is it Legal to Camp Anywhere in a National Forest?
- How Much Does it Cost to Camp in a National Forest?