High above the congested freeways and bright lights of the big city of Los Angeles tucked amongst the thick forest that covers the San Gabriel mountain range is one of the Angeles National Forest’s most scenic campgrounds–Table Mountain. The campground is set in a hilly, oak, and pine woodland with two large meadows and panoramic views.
Located close to the ski resort towns of Big Pines and Wrightwood and at an elevation of 7,000 feet, summer temperatures average in the low 80s with cool nights, making it the perfect summertime escape from the sweltering summer days in the LA basin.
The area’s natural landscape provides countless recreation opportunities, including hiking, mountain biking, birding, and numerous majestic scenic drives along the Angeles Crest Scenic Byway as it meanders through the oak thickets, chaparral, high desert landscapes, and pine tree forests along the highest ridge of the San Gabriel mountains.
Table Mountain Nature Trail
The Table Mountain Nature Trail runs through the campground, where animal enthusiasts can enjoy both the area’s furry and feathered critters, including a rare and unique glimpse of the California condor.
Table Mountain serves as a gateway to over 500 miles of hiking trails located within the Table Mountain range for the avid hiker or backpacker.
That’s just too many to explore in one or two days, so an overnight stay is usually a welcome option.
Table Mountain Campground
The campsites at Table Mountain are located in various areas, and terrain types are reasonably close to vault toilets and have paved spurs and fire pits. If you do not want to camp and just visit for the day, there are several nearby places that you can visit while taking in this wondrous region.
Both Big Pines and Wrightwood offer comfortable lodging that provided all the amenities of home with a wealth of activities to do at each lodge or inn.
Restaurants and a disc golf course can also be found close by, as well as a jumping-off point for some of Southern California’s best skiing and snowboarding runs, including Mt. High’s North Ski Resort (formerly known as Ski Sunrise), with its great views of surrounding mountains and valleys.
Hike to the Big Horn Mine
One of the most popular destinations in the area is the Big Horn Mine. The main trail offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. The mine is definitely worth a look, and the hike is an easy 4-mile round trip.
From Table Mountain Road, around one of the first big turns, you can look down the canyon to the west and catch a glimpse of Jackson Lake. The California Department of Fish and Game stocks the lake with rainbow trout during the Spring and Summer months, but there are also a few bluegills in the lake.
This small lake of seven surface acres sits at an elevation of 6,000 feet and is open all year but sometimes freezes during the winter. It is known as one of the best lakes for float tube fishing in Southern California and provides good fishing from the roadside and on the shore.
Table Mountain Campground is located on Table Mountain Road, which is in Wrightwood, California. Take State Route 2 west, and then a host of signs will eventually get you there.