All Glass Goes in the… Recycle Bin?

By Steve

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.

mcgill campground los padres national forest signWe’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?

no campfires sign at los padres national forest mcgill campground

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:

view from campsite 56 mcgill campground los padres national forest

Nice, eh?

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.

star trails mcgrill campground los padres national forest

Tenty Goodness

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.

If campfires are really important to you, give a check to the USFS website to see if there are fire restrictions in effect before you go.