Located on a picturesque pass in the Santa Ana Mountains, El Cariso campground has small, sunny and shady sites primarily suitable for tent camping. The campground is held together by quality CCC architecture, and is a prime spot for picnicking. An on-site visitor center and direct access to a self-guided nature trail, offer cool info on plant life and the area’s mining history, mixing low-key education with the pleasure of being outdoors.
The vibe at El Cariso Campground
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Came up here around Memorial Day weekend after unsuccessfully trying to get a spot up at Blue Jay. Arrived around 3pm and the place was pretty open but that soon changed. I took Site 19 which I thought was the best spot with a nice little stairway leading up to the site and a tent clearing behind some bushes for extra privacy. It's a small campground but cozy. The only real downside is it's close to the Ortega Highway so you don't get a lot of quiet, but it's good cause it's a short drive to get supplies if you need them.