Camping in the Santa Monicas – La Jolla Valley


I was chatting about local camping the other day, and realized there really wasn’t any good documentation on where you can camp in the Santa Monica mountains. Here’s the only official list I could find, but it doesn’t have much information on the different site. We’ve got some amazing trails, but there is a shortage of overnight spots. There are a few options though, so I’ll try and cover the ones I know about over the next few days.

First up is the La Jolla Valley. It’s on the west side of the Santa Monicas, past Malibu and Sycamore Canyon if you’re driving along the PCH from LA. What’s really special is that there’s a hike-in campground here, with no reservation required, and it’s not usually too heavily used. It’s primitive, without much in the way of facilities, and a friend using it complained about the coyotes sniffing around his tent at night, but for a last-minute get-away it’s hard to beat. Being no reservations, it’s first-come, first-served, so you don’t have a guarantee that you’ll be able to camp of course! The two mile hike in tends to keep numbers down though. I recommend giving the State Park Service a call before making a trip, to make sure it’s not closed because of fire danger, and to hear any advice they might have about using the site.

I’ve prepared a google map showing the campground and how to get to it.  I’ve done it from memory, make sure you’ve got a good local trail map like the Tom Harrison or National Geographic ones, since there’s a couple of forks in the trail that can lead you astray.

There’s also a group campground by the parking lot, which I’ve had some great times at. It looks out over the beach, with the sound of breakers alternating with coyote howls most evenings. I won’t be spending too much time on the group campgrounds though, since they usually require a minimum of between ten and twenty people to book, which is hard to arrange for most people. If you can gather that many folks, they can be a good option though, since there are a lot more group campgrounds than individual ones, and they never seem to be as heavily used.

In my next post, I’ll cover Sycamore Canyon’s camping options.

Funhouse Photo User Count: 617 total, 75 active. It definitely looks like growth has slowed since I implemented the server changes. It’s good to have such instant feedback, but it’s a shame I’ll need to wait until the weekend to try to improve the user experience.

2 responses

  1. I’m planning a trip there for later this month. After searching the internet tirelessly, I finally found some useful information concerning this campsite. Thanks! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: