Burnt Rancheria Campground is located 50 miles east of San Diego at the Laguna Mountain Recreation Area in Southern California, right off the Sunrise Scenic Byway.
Campers can enjoy hiking, viewing unique birds and wildlife and enjoying cooler temperatures at this mountain facility in Cleveland National Forest, open from mid-April through October.
Day hiking and picnicking are most popular at Burnt Rancheria. The facility provides easy access to a segment of the Pacific Crest Trail, a 2,650-mile national scenic trail that runs from Mexico to Canada. Hiking and horseback riding are allowed on the trail. Biking is not allowed on any portion of the Pacific Crest Trail.
A short hike to the nearby Desert View Picnic Site provides visitors with a bird's-eye view of the desert 6,000 feet below. On most days, the Salton Sea is clearly visible to the southeast. Restrooms and potable water are available.
Families with children will enjoy activities, campfire programs and guided hikes available during summer. In addition to the guided hikes, a visitor might take the self-guided interpretive trail hike; brochures are available from the camp host.
Campers can also get a glimpse of the amazing night sky at "star parties" organized by the San Diego State University Observatory. These gatherings are conducted on most Saturday evenings during the summer months (schedule can be obtained at the Visitor Information Center on Laguna Mountain or by calling 619-473-8547).
Burnt Rancheria is a large campground with several loops of campsites. Each site has a table and campfire ring. There are no hookups or dump station for RVs; the nearest is located at the Buckman Springs Rest Area, 4 miles east of Pine Valley on I-8.
The campground is equipped with restrooms and coin-operated showers (showers open only during reservation season). Firewood is available for purchase from the campground host.
Pines and oaks abound throughout the campground, which sits at an elevation of 6,000 ft. The site is heavily wooded and surrounded by an open oak grove with spectacular desert views.
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I love this campground because it's woodsy and close to home. You get that far away feel without being too far away. There are a lot of first-come sites, which I don't like because I'm a planner, but there are some reservable sites too. There's lots of hiking nearby and the sites feel private enough if you stick to the outskirts.
Abundant amount of campsites. Half the loops are reservations and the other half aren’t, which is great for last minute planners such as myself. Not sure if it was just my campsite (Lilac Loop site #20), but there seemed to be a lot of flies buzzing around, which did get annoying. Very impressed by the cleanliness of the vault toilets. I will definitely be returning to try a site in the mahogany or cherry loop.
Big campground with multiple loops. We stayed on the Pinyin Loop #51. A nice private site. Has good tree coverage from the street, no neighbors in sight. It does have a small driveway that we were able to shoehorn a full-size truck, SUV and a Jeep into. The AM sun beats the campsite, but the afternoon shade is great.
Quick drive from San Diego, some shady sites, some open sites. Nice hiking / biking near meadows. Can be windy at times. Compost toilets. Temp can get pretty hot in the summer.
This campground is well designed for tent and small rv camping. The particularly site I stayed at did not have a lot of level ground for tents. The sites are generally spaced far enough apart to give you a bit of privacy. The host was very attentive and regularly made rounds to sell firewood. The facilities are mainly pit toilets but during peak season there is a shower available somewhere though I didn’t use it. Loads of hiking right off the campgrounds. You can walk right out of the forest to a great view of anza borrego desert. This is one of the few campgrounds in California where you don’t really need to worry about bears, though you should be wary of mountain lions.
This campground is an easy weekend getaway slot, just 1 hour away from San Diego. Sites and facilities are clean amd well maintained. The campground back up to the Pacific Crest Trail which makes for some cool hikes. All sites are also dog friendly, a plus for us. The only downside is that some sites are small and the campground can get crowded during summer season and holidays.