Recently, we hit McGill Campground, located in Los Padres National Forest.
Regina and I had staked out this campground previously, after our less-than-stellar visit to Wheeler Gorge.
We’ve been looking for an alternate to our usual go-to site, Table Mountain, just for a bit of variety.
One of the best features of Table Mountain is its 90-minute drive time proximity to Los Angeles, which drops it right into that sweet spot of campgrounds that work well when you’ve only got a day or two to get out of town.
McGill is about 15 minutes closer to our front door. It’s a clean, well-managed campground snuggled within pine forest not far from the peak of Mt. Pinos.
We arrived at site No. 56 early Saturday afternoon, and all was well – until we started to build a campfire for dinner.
The camp host came whizzing over on his scooter to tell us six or seven times that there was a “NO FIRES!” sign at the campground entrance. Eff.
I checked and sure enough, when we had arrived, we paid our $20 and I drove right on by the big yellow and red signs instructing us not to burn the forest down. Yep, I’m oblivious sometimes. How could I have missed this?
Besides that bummer news, the campsite we chose had a really neat view, and the campground is big enough that there are nice, big gaps between the sites. Check this awesome view:
Despite the lack of pyromaniacal bliss, we still had a great time at this campground. I managed to snag a nap in my awesome Cabela’s Zero Gravity chair, and the weather was partly blissful with periods of awesome. Once the sun went down, I was pleased to see that the Milky Way was visible; not super-bright, but still. Good star watchin’ and photographin’ opportunities.
McGill Campground is pretty damn cool. We’ll be going back, no question. Amenities checklist:
- Bathrooms: Vault/pit, but they were clean and well-kept
- Water: None, sadly. But there’s a great little mini-mart on the way in Frazier Park that sells water for a reasonable price.
- Firewood: Not sold there, but the same mini-mart that sells water also sells firewood.
- Campfires: Not when the forest is drier than a popcorn fart. But they do have nice fire rings for when it isn’t so dry.
- Cell service: Eh, weak. But functional in a pinch.
- Dog friendly: Yup.
- Cost: $20 per day, $6 for an extra car.