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.

Campsite area
Tent or RV sites
24 sites
Up to guests per site
Up to 6 vehicles
No wheelchair access
Campfires allowed
Toilet available
Pets allowed
Potable water available
Picnic table available


Offered near the campground.


Your leg muscles are straining as you pedal hard, fighting against gravity. You’re winding through oak trees and chaparral at i...Read more


The Loveland Reservoir is THE fisher(wo)man’s spot in Cleveland National Forest. You can chill with catfish, bluegill, and red-...Read more


With 460,000 acres, of course there are plenty of hiking trails here. Seriously, we’re talkin’ 356 miles of trails in total. Wi...Read more

Horseback riding

Horse-lovers rejoice! We have trails upon trails for you and your four-legged homeboy/girl. Check out all your horseback riding...Read more

Off-roading (OHV)

Do you find yourself getting agitated by those pesky white and yellow lines? By red and green lights, stop signs, and the like?...Read more


Consider yourself a climber or just lookin’ to try it out? Either way, some pretty awesome rock climbing is to be had here, esp...Read more

Snow sports

Longing for a winter getaway in SoCal? We’ve got you covered. Grab your sleds, your tubes, your snowman-building materials, and...Read more


With flowing waterfalls throughout the forest, there are a bunch o’ different swimming holes for you to splash around in. Ceda...Read more

Wildlife watching

With 460,000 acres, many different critters call this place home. From mountain lions, to mule deer, bats, and grey foxes, this...Read more


Natural features you'll find at El Cariso Campground.

River, stream, or...
Swimming hole
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3 Reviews

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Hipcamper Dexter
Dexter K.
didn't provide a recommendation.
May 31st, 2017

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.

Hipcamper Dexter K.
recommends this listing.
May 31st, 2017
Hipcamper Judy J.
recommends this listing.
March 26th, 2017
Cleveland National Forest
United States
Phone Number
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Official Website
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33.651° N, 117.413° W
Tent / RV / Trailer: 24 Sites
(Up to people per site)