Mountaintop Ranger District

Learn about camping and boondocking in Mountaintop Ranger District of San Bernardino National Forest in California

Dispersed Camping Near Big Bear, CA

Dispersed Camping Near Big Bear, CA


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 california
Dispersed Camping, Jenks Lake East, San Bernardino National Forest, CA

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.

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…

Related Articles

Associated Documents

Motor Vehicle Use Map, Mountaintop Ranger District, Illustrates dispersed camping restrictions & OHV restrictions, (eff: January 1, 2023)

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