Wheeler Gorge Campground is a great place for families to explore the Los Padres National Forest all year long. Informative tours of the area are led by forest rangers at the nearby visitor center. The campground provides scenic views of a nearby stream, as well as vast mountain vistas.
The Wheeler Gorge Nature Trail begins at the upper end of the campground. It is a relatively short loop that leads through thick vegetation along the creek banks and to a hillside view of the area. Wildflowers often bloom along the path.
The creek flows near some of the campsites and a small swimming hole is frequented near the side of the highway. Fishing is rough in the area and may produce a catch of trout, but the stream is not stocked. Kayaking or canoeing in the creek is not recommended.
Educational programs, including ranger-led hikes, are offered year-round.
The campground is open year-round and offers dozens of single-family sites for tent or RV camping. Some sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Parking spurs are paved and vary in length, accommodating RVs up to 35 feet.
Each site is equipped with a table and campfire ring with grill. Accessible vault toilets are provided, but drinking water is not available. Visitors must bring their own water, and remove their trash from the campground.
The campground is adjacent to Matilija Creek, and is bordered by a mixed forest of oak and sycamore trees and evergreen shrubbery. Most sites are shaded and summer temperatures reach up to 95 degrees.
The campground was originally built by Boy Scouts nearly a century ago, as well as a historical stone home that is also on-site.
Ventura and the Pacific Ocean are about 20 miles south of the campground.
ADA Access: N
If you are looking for gorgeous mountains, green trees, safe and comfortable camping, this place is for you. Perfect for friends, families, and dogs! It was quiet at night although our spot was right next to the road and we heard every loud car and truck drive by but that’s okay, the sound of the creek was just as loud! Very happy I chose this campground.
Our first time here and just like previous reviews state, there are alot of bugs and they want to kiss you. Of course fire, candles and bug spray help but because of the nice creek nearby its kind of unavoidable. With that said, the bugs go night night at dark and a big fire helps. Pretty quiet site, the creek is easily accessible and great for photos. The restroom situation wasn't the best, but was expected from previous reviews and the website stating no running water. We brought 5 gallons of water for dishes/hand washing and 5 gallons of water for drinking. The sites are a little on the small side, however we did book two sites next to each other for two families of four. I suggest you bring wood, it's a little expensive in the campground and in town.
Across the street from the campground theres a store that has trail maps, information and little dry goods and toiletry. They also sell really neat Crystal's, arrowheads and bumper stickers. About 4 or 5 miles up the road there's a nice 15-20 min hike to a nice waterfall.
I wouldn't mind coming back especially since I know what to prepare for next time and it's so close to Los Angeles.
Creek is beautiful. Sites are nice especially 58,59. A lot of bugs but it’s expected. The staff are so nice especially the lady. She’s awesome. She takes very good care of the campground. The bathrooms are so so clean. They are cleaned daily. Beautiful place.
Well maintained campsite. I was at site 46, full shade but luckily I had a small tent because I m not sure how a bigger or even two tents would have fit there. The camp host was very friendly and giving tips on what to do around the campsite. Bathrooms were well maintained and relatively clean for pit toilets. There s poison oak, so be careful, as well as bugs that will eat you alive so be sure to have repellent and citronella candle handy. Quick and easy drive from LA. Will definitely be back.
This place is a slice of heaven right here in So Cal! It was easy to get to in our Rv. Great shady spots, no hookups for Rv but that wasn’t a problem for us. We were in a beautiful spot right by a creek. There is a Vons 8 miles away if you need to stick up on supplies. I would highly recommend this campsite. The host was also amazing and friendly 💕
We camped here with 10 adults and 8 kids. There is teepee yurt's. Very kid friendly with a zipline and play ground. All sites have fire rings and picnic tables. There are bathrooms.
A great campground in the Los Padres National Forest. It is well maintained and has a small creek running through it. There are some good shady spot, however, they fill up quick. Toilets are basic but fairly cleaned and stocked. Fire pit, fire restrictions may apply, stand alone grills and picnics tables are encluded.
I might have had an unusually bad experience? They cleaned the vault toilets while I was there and I had to physically remove myself from the grounds, the fire station nearby had an alarm going off in the middle of the night, noisy neighbors, lots of flies. But…it was pretty and think it could have been better if I had different neighbors or wasn't downwind of the toilets. Large camp, cute town nearby and decent hikes. Would I be in a rush to go back? Not really.
Site: 62 | Our campsite was small, but we managed to fit three 4-person car camping tents and three 2-person backpacking tents. The campground is covered in poison oak, be careful if you're setting up your tent in the dark. The parking area was generous, it's a semi-circle, easily fit 3 cars with room for more. The site came with a picnic table, fire ring with a grill over it and additionally a separate grill. Even though the campground was full that weekend we didn't really notice it. Our site is surrounded by trees on three sides and there is no campsite across from us.
Site: 60 | We had a second site, but ended up not using it. This site is on much smaller and located at the bottom of a hill. I think it can fit one tent, maybe a second. The parking spot fits one vehicle.
Bathrooms: These are pit toilets, no running water, toilet paper is provided. On a holiday weekend the toilet paper ran out. The bathrooms were decently clean, but watch out for the locks. Two of the bathrooms were locked on accident. The door was not pulled shut all the way, when people exited, the door slammed and it got locked. The top lock is removed so if it does get locked you might be able to open it with a tool to fit through the top lock. The other thing to watch, even if you lock it on the inside and pull the door shut, it's possible to still open the door from the outside. A buddy system would be helpful here.
Mosquitos: Bug spray is your friend. We used 7% deet and that seemed to work fine in July.
Firewood: The camp hosts sold firewood at the entrance.
Water: Currently there is no running water available, there are taps but they have been locked. The creek is mostly dry.
This campground is gorgeous. It is nestled by a creek in an oak grove and the sites offer a decent amount of privacy. Most spots are shady. There are a decent amount of bugs so make you bring some spray or whatever your preferred pest keeper away thing is. This site has no water so be sure to bring in all you can.