Laguna Campground is a great mountain getaway just one hour east of San Diego, California in the Laguna Mountain Recreation Area. Campers can enjoy cooler temperatures, unique natural areas and an extensive trail system at this mountain facility from summer through early fall.
The Laguna Mountain Recreation Area is known for great horseback riding, mountain biking and hiking trails. Visitors can get their boots dusty on the Laguna Meadow Trail system or access a segment of the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail, which runs from California to the State of Washington.
Wildflowers are usually abundant in April and May on the Big Laguna Trail, which takes visitors past Big Laguna Lake. In wet years there is water in Big Laguna Lake by December or January and ducks and other birds can be found.
The trail presents a number of options to the user. A return to the trailhead parking can be made by cutting through the Laguna Campground or by taking the Pacific Crest Trail north.
Families can learn about the area's flora and fauna by attending educational programs at the facility's amphitheater. Or for history buffs, the El Prado Cabin located at nearby El Prado Campground, is the first ranger cabin built in the Cleveland National Forest in 1911.
The San Diego State University Observatory also sponsors "Star Parties" for campers most Saturday evenings during the summer (schedule can be obtained at the nearby visitor center or by calling 619-473-8547).
This large facility has five loops of campsites, with sites fairly close to one another. One campsite meets accessibility standards. The facility is equipped with campfire rings, flush toilet restrooms and coin-operated showers.
Part of the campground is fenced off to protect the habitat of the endangered Laguna Skipper butterfly. Visitors are asked to respect the fence boundary and comply with the maximum site occupancy.
The campground sits at an elevation of 6,000 ft. in the Laguna Mountains. It is forested with pines and oaks that provide plenty of shade, in addition to a meadow. The area is home to many species of birds, as well as the endangered Laguna Skipper butterfly.
Little Laguna lake is located just a short distance from the campground and is an excellent hiking destination for photographers and visitors looking to explore the area.
ADA Access: N
The camp ground was very spacious and clean. The only downside was the vault toilets. They were extremely smelly and old. Other than that I will be going back.
Gorgeous campground just outside of city reach. Felt like being in the Sierras! Stayed here for two nights and hiked on the PCT, which can be accessed super close to campground. Plenty of privacy at each site. Comes with fire ring and picnic table. Definitely would return again.
This is a fairly large campground in the Laguna mountains. We hiked in and got the last walk in spot, so keep in mind that it can be busy on the weekends. The spots are fairly large and include parking, fire pits and picnic tables. Wood is available for purchase on site and kindling is easy to find. This is a nice alpine getaway with pine trees, meadows, a small lake and nearby views of the Anza Borrego desert. Located just off the PCT and other hiking trails.
Very hot during the summer, so recommend to check the weather before you go. Some of the spots are secluded which is nice. Great walking access to the Big Laguna Trail and the PCT. Bathrooms were horrible though!
I love this camp site. I prefer the Hillside loop for tent camping as the spots are large, lots of trees, and feels fairly private. It was easy to get a walk up site, the campground hosts are helpful, and there is super easy access to all of Mount Laguna hilling trails. We went once on a Monday in April and had the place to ourselves, and once over Thanksgiving weekend and we were still able to get a good spot! Dogs allowed as well!
I’ll have to say my stay will probably differ than your average trip. My boyfriend and I took a road trip to San Diego to stay with a friend for a few months, and we spent some time in Laguna Campground. It was however not only the middle of the week - but also December, so we were the only ones there.
The park rangers were friendly, the space was expansive, oh and the stars ✨
Did a couple of trails and really enjoyed our time, despite how weird the elevation can make me feel sometimes.
I have visited a handful of various camp sites in the SoCal area and must say this one is the nicest and cleanest of all. Families present all very respectful, no obnoxious boom boxes late night and lots of great hiking trails. Definitely worth a visit if you have kids.
We stayed here last week during our thru hike of the PCT. The campground is less than a mile from the trail and away from the ridge where there tends to be a lot of wind.
We had a group of 12, so we got two campsites (8 per site for $24 total). The campsite was walking distance to pit toilets and a lot of water spigots. There were picnic tables and fire pits too, but you're not able to have fires right now. The campsite overlooked a big open field with a big Boulder and a small lake. Really pretty spot to sit and watch the sunset.
We were able to get a site just fine but we did notice that all the sites were reserved for the weekend. If you're planning on going here, you might want to shoot for a weekday when it's less crowded or make a reservation well in advance.
Mount Laguna Campground is 60 minutes east of San Diego and 5500+ feet of elevation. It is a big, big campground that is wooded and adjacent a large meadow, recreational area and lake (when not dried out, drought sucks). Despite it's size, the campground is split up into several loops that make it feel much more intimate in size.
I strongly recommend the sites inside the campground to the East (#005, 006, 008, 010, 012). This loop is a little smaller and quieter than the other loops and the campsites face back to the corner of the meadow where endangered butterflies sometimes float around and the sites are huge. These sites have more tree covering than the ones immediately next to them, are close to the bathroom (but not too close) and you can easily access the meadow trailhead.
There are vault toilets that can be hit or miss depending on heat. We bring wet wipes and antibacterial soap. There is a ton of hiking, mountain bike and even horseback riding in the recreational area. The size of the lake is somewhat dependent on rain and drought. We've seen it full and completely dry.
At the local rec store you can buy a hiking trail map for about $2. You can download it for free from the internet too, but theirs is printed on a waterproof paper and really nice quality print.
There is often downed wood piled up in the meadow loop near the bathroom for use in campfires. It's first come first serve, and bringing a hatchet or handsaw makes a world of difference on your pocket book.
Whatever the temperature is listed at on the weather sites subtract 10-15 degrees at night. The temperatures are based on the minor town at a lower elevation.
In the morning if you walk out of camp to Sunrise HWY, turn left a 1/4 mile you find an overlook with a great view of the sunset and views out to the Salton Sea.
Walk 1/2 mile and get on the trail to Garnett Peak.
In the town of Mount Laguna is one convenience store with just about everything you'll need last minute, but expect to pay a convenience surcharge.
There is a gear & rec store in town too that is a must visit. Fair prices and just an overwhelming experience. They are very hiker friendly if passing through on the nearby PCT.
There are a lot of nearby peaks and day hikes.
Julian has great pie.
The fire pits are brand new in 2016. Jury is still out. Kind of liked the old ones.
We weren't initially planning on staying in an actual camp ground but the forest service said it was a high fire danger time and bonfires were allowed outside of their campground so we decided to stay there instead. It was a pretty busy weekend and by the end of Friday night they had put a sign out to say that the campground was full. It is well wooded and each camp spot where we stayed was somewhat secluded from the other spots. Didn't feel like a normal campground so much. Restroom facilities were cleaned frequently and there were running water outlets every few spots. Very nice facilities and a beautiful area. Only a few hours drive from where we were in Arizona and was about 20 degrees cooler.