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Camping at Dogwood Campground in the San Bernardino National Forest

Updated: Jul 25, 2022

If you live in Southern California, Dogwood Campground in the San Bernardino National Forest is the perfect getaway.

Dogwood Campground near Lake Arrowhead

Looking for a one-night adventure in nature? A week-long escape? Seeking solitude? This place makes enjoying the outdoors simple. The drive from Orange County, which is about 70 miles, only takes an hour and fifteen minutes.

As I made the ascent along CA-18 and Rim of the World Highway, there were plenty of places to pull over and take in the views, such as Rim of the World viewpoint, Panorama Point, and the Donald S. Wieman Vista Point.

I rolled the windows down and the scent of pine trees and Western Juniper suddenly had me reminiscing about the weekend camping trips my family and I would take up to Big Bear when I was a kid. I remember listening to REO Speedwagon in the backseat of my mom's baby blue Toyota 4Runner and staring out the window, letting my imagination run wild. Those were the simpler days.

This particular camping trip offered the opportunity to get out of the apartment I'd been cooped up in for months, connect with one of my good friends, and enjoy the outdoors while still keeping my distance from crowds. It was a great idea. And so good for the soul.

Dogwood Campground is located 20 miles northeast of San Bernardino and one mile from the town of Rimforest, though once you drive into the heavily wooded campground it feels as if you're a world away from everything. The campground features 87 large, reservable sites for both tent camping and RVs. Amenities and services include camp host, dump station, RV hookups, fire rings, firewood sales, interpretive trails and programs, picnic tables, showers, and restrooms.

Andrew and I both arrived right around check in time at 2 p.m. (we drove up the mountain separately) and started setting up camp at our reserved site before exploring the Dogwood and Enchanted Loop Trails, both of which were fairly short, peaceful hikes under a mile. Getting out in nature and "away from the world" — particularly this summer — is something special, isn't it?

Back at camp, after an afternoon spent wandering the surrounding trails, we cracked open a couple ice-cold IPAs. Ben Howard was playing on the speaker in the background as I got our campfire started and Andrew manned the burgers on the grill.

The best part of the camping trip? It was probably sitting around the fire while stargazing and telling stories. Simple, good times.

Dogwood Campground is a centrally located shady solace that's perfect for adventure seekers or the first-time camper.

We stayed at site 008. Make your reservations here.


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