Lake Arrowhead is among the most popular lakes in the San Bernardino National Forest. Lake Arrowhead can refer to the community and census-designated place surrounding the lake, or the lake itself. Lake Arrowhead encompasses a total of 6 communities including Blue Jay, Twin Peaks, Cedar Glen, Skyforest, Rimforest, and yes, Lake Arrowhead as well.
The economy in Lake Arrowhead is primarily supported by tourism. The lake receives millions of yearly visitors who arrive there for camping, boating, fishing, lodging, shopping, dining, and hiking. Camping in the area is especially popular in the summer. So, here’s the best and most popular campgrounds near Lake Arrowhead according to campers on The Dyrt.
5 Popular Lake Arrowhead Camping Destinations
The National Forest operates this campground, which campers visit to enjoy a forested stay on the north shore of Lake Arrowhead. Campers compliment the grounds for having trees and manzanita bushes at most sites. Also, there’s a lovely hiking trail connected to the grounds. The North Shore Recreation Trail is a 1.7-mile-long trail that winds through conifer forests and brings hikers along Little Bear Creek. With plenty of shade, hiking, and with close proximity to the lake, North Shore Campground is a top choice for visitors to Lake Arrowhead. The grounds contain cabins, tent sites, and RV sites for a total of 27 campsites.
Some amenities include drinking water, picnic tables, fire rings, and toilets. Pets are allowed. Prices range from $25 to $48 dollars per night, depending on the type of campsite. It would be wise to book a site in advance anywhere between late April and early October (peak season). The Lake Arrowhead area can get busy during this time.
“This is a nice site with lots of shade. There is a lovely hiking trail at the far end of the site. There is water, flush toilets, fire pits, and picnic tables. It is a short walk to Lake Arrowhead. This is a dog-friendly site.” — The Dyrt camper Summer A.
Dogwood campground is located on the south end of the lake and in the San Bernardino National Forest. This San Bernardino camping spot is especially popular for the hiking that’s within easy reach. A couple trails attached to the campground, the Dogwood Trail and Enchanted Loop Trail, provide short scenic walks that are under a mile each. The campground primarily provides tent camping (but with a few RV sites as well) and contains a total of 87 reservable sites. The grounds are only 15 minutes away from another popular lake, Lake Gregory of Crestline, that provides ample opportunities for fishing and even provides access to a small water park. Great for summer!
Dogwood campground provides drinking water, picnic tables, fire rings, toilets, showers, water hookups, sewer hookups, and allows pets. Prices range from $34 to $71 dollars per night, depending on site type. Note that camping at Dogwood is by reservation only.
“I love this campground because they have a lot of amenities that don’t seem to change the scenery. They have electric and water hook up for RVs in a few sites that are reservable. The majority of the sites are primitive, and they have showers and toilet buildings around. The campground is paved well-forested so it seems like you’re more alone than most campgrounds.” — The Dyrt camper David V.
Next up on our list of Lake Arrowhead camping spots is a campground that’s actually situated along Big Bear Lake. It sits in a beautiful pine forest setting, just up Highway 18 from the Lake Arrowhead community. For those unable to reserve a campsite close to Lake Arrowhead in time, Serrano is the next best option. The campground is scenic and offers nearby hiking on the Alpine Pedal Path and Cougar Crest Trail (both of which connect to the Pacific Crest Trail). Serrano contains plenty of pine trees, views of Big Bear Lake, and relatively large campsites. There are over a hundred sites on offer for both tent and RV camping. Tent cabins are also an option for campers keen to have more of a glamping experience.
Each campsite contains a picnic table and a fire ring. The grounds themselves allow dogs and provide drinking water, toilets, showers, a market, and a sanitary dump. The sites start at $34 dollars per night, but can get up to $71 dollars a night depending on amenities.
“This campsite is located walking distance to the lake. There are bike paths and walking trails located near the campground. The bathrooms are very well kept, everything is clean and the showers have warm water.” — The Dyrt camper Greg P.
This Lake Arrowhead camping destination has more of a primitive feel. It is located near Green Valley Lake right between Big Bear Lake and Lake Arrowhead. The campground is about 16 miles east of Lake Arrowhead and 15 miles west of Big Bear Lake. Green Valley Lake is exceptional for trout fishing and is a good spot to enjoy some of the pine forest that the San Bernardino mountains provide. The grounds provide a total of 26 tent and RV sites starting at just $25 dollars per night. Campers at Green Valley get access to electric hookups, picnic tables, fire rings, sewer hookups, toilets, and showers.
“We’ve camped here a few times and really enjoyed it. The campground is decently maintained, the small waterfalls you can access from the campground make for a great little excursion, and the staff is pleasant.” — The Dyrt camper Shannon F.
This Lake Arrowhead camping destination is free and not reservable. The grounds operate on a first-come-first-serve basis. For visitors to Lake Arrowhead who enjoy camping with more of a primitive feel, these yellow post sites are a great bet. The sites poke over the mountain and contain views that campers call “unbelievable!”. Beware that the campground does not provide bathrooms or drinking water. Come prepared and pack out all waste.
There are a total of 9 sites, and again, each night is free for campers. It would be wise to reach the campground early in the morning on a weekday to secure a spot. Each spot has a fire ring and a picnic bench, but note that there have been recent issues with fires, so they may no longer be allowed. Please check the most recent fire-related information you can, before departing for your stay. And to end on a positive note, pets are allowed!
“These sites are beautiful – especially #9! It pokes out over the mountains and has the most unbelievable view! The hiking is great around here and there are lots of trails to explore. Hike up to the watchtower and check out all the hummingbirds!” — The Dyrt camper Kate W.