Crystal Lake is open, however, campsites are no longer available for reservation on Recreation.gov. Campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Located near the lake at the Crystal Lake Recreation Area and San Gabriel Canyon at an elevation of 5,600 feet. The climate is nice. Areas for tents are provided. Motorized boats are not allowed on the lake.
ADA Access: N
Whenever I need to get away from LALA Land, I head up here. I grew up in the mountains of western Pennsylvania, so , sometimes , I need to kick back and recharge. Sort of going back to factory settings, as it were.
There are lots of cool spots up here and plenty of quiet. Whether you like to hike, or fish or just kick back, this is a nice little hidey hole to do it in. There is a small , 2 acre lake that is occasionaly stocked with fish. Not so often during drought, though.
There are few amenities , such as no showers no close by stores, or other distractions. There is a small concessionaire store near the Ranger outpost. It may or may not be open, depending on the fire danger and the time of year. Take your own food, water and anything else you need to regain your sanity and go up here.
Don't forget your bear canister for your food. There are bears and other wildlife that live up here year round.
Enjoy the peace and quiet and reclaim your soul.
I have camped here a few times and it is one of my favorite go to spots. I like that there is a camp store near by just incase case someone forgets their coffee mug🙄 or if you need some more firewood. The spots are inexpensive, $10 per night, most nights. There are lots of trails to hike and things to explore. It's a nice place to go when you need to get away from the city.
This was a great camping spot with the guys!
Stayed here two nights in August, it was nice and cool a good break from the heat. There are a lot of sites here for camping unfortunately they are not all open for use. There are several hiking trails here that are well used and well maintained. This is a great campground near the city. Due to lack of rainfall and snow melt the lake is almost dry.
We came on a Saturday afternoon, and even though 4 of the sections of camping were closed off - we found an AMAZING space in section D. It wasn’t right next to the bathrooms, but the site was spaced out enough that we had plenty of privacy. It was right next to the trail head, too!
The lake isn’t back actually near the site, and they don’t allow for swimming. However, there is a recreational area 20 minutes down the mountain on the lake.
It was $17 per night, and was an easy & beautiful drive up the mountain.
Fire pit had a grill on it, too!
There are beautiful views of the mountains. Has bathrooms (no flush). Lots of Mosquitoes and bugs. Well worth it. Has a fire pit at each spot. Has picnic table, but very splintery, bring covers. Most sites have tree coverage.
This is probably our favorite place to go considering we end up hear almost every other weekend year around. Camp cost and parking cost isn’t cheap but the views are great. Also this campground is HUGE and many locations are rather secluded so unless you go on a holiday weekend you should have no problem finding space to bunk. Dog friendly and the cafe isn’t cheap but I swear has the nicest people and the best cocoa. Bring your dirt bike and hit some of the trails, it’s a definite must!
We stayed here on Friday, July 21 2017. We arrived around 4:30 pm (driving from LA it was about 2 hours with traffic), and there were lots of sites still available. We ended up in site D47, which seemed a little quieter because it was further from the main road and the sites are well dispersed.
Camping was $10 with our adventure pass. Firewood was $22 for a wheelbarrow (they won't let you purchase other amounts).
PROS: Mostly quiet/private. Shaded. Big site with lots of tent/hammock placement options. Mostly clean. Cool temps at night.
CONS: Lots of broken glass littered all over the site (we were a little worried for our dog's paws). Pit toilet was out of TP, make sure you have your own in case.
ANIMALS SEEN: Black bear, deer (wandered through our site), red foxes, Stellar's Jays, woodpeckers, other birds.
TIPS: Bring bug spray.
It is very crowded on the weekends. However, if you drive further towards the back of the site you can find nice, secluded sites. The lake is really more of a small, stagnant pond, not much to see there. I would go back someday, but definitely not one of the better sites I've been to.
There are lots of spacious camping sites, clean bathrooms, running water, numerous of shade trees, and a cafe/store for all the things you forgot or for a ice cream treat on a hot day!