Camping in Mt. San Jacinto State Park

There are two types of campgrounds within the Mt. San Jacinto State Park:

Campsites

  • Developed campground–there are two State Park campgrounds near Idyllwild. These facilities are accessible by road and open to both tent and RV camping.
    • Idyllwild Campground–33 campsites with flush toilets, showers, tables, grills and food lockers. A limited number of RV hookups are available. Sites can accommodate vehicles up to 24 feet long. For information call 951-659-2607.  For reservations visit www.parks.ca.gov/msjsp
    • Stone Creek Campground–located about 6 miles north of Idyllwild on Highway 243 at an elevation of about 6,000 feet. The camp is easily accessible by car and right off Highway 243. It has 50 sites, each with a picnic table and stove. There are also vault toilets and potable water.  For information call 951-659-2607.  For reservations visit www.park.ca.gov/msjsp
  • Wilderness camping–there are 4 campgrounds (click on the picture at right for a diagram about these sites) within the park that are only accessible by hiking. There are no facilities and no treated water at these sites.

There are two main reasons why a permit is needed for the specific area in which one will be camping:

  • There are some differences in the regulations with regards to fires and where to camp.
  • The number of campers permitted in each area is limited.

The regulations are listed on the permit. However, pay particular attention to the following:

  • No fires in the State Wilderness except for chemical fuel stoves.
  • No dogs in the State Wilderness. They are a dangerous threat to wildlife and people. They are permitted in Forest Service Wilderness but must be on a leash at all times.

Permits can be obtained by mail or in person. Phone requests are not accepted. For Saturday night camping during the months of May through October, write eight weeks in advance. There is rarely any problem getting a permit for a weekday.There is a charge of $5 per person for a wilderness camping permit.
Click here for a blank permit.

The Long Valley Ranger Station near the top of the Tram does not handle mail requests or write permits for camping in the U.S. Forest Service Wilderness. The rangers there can write permits on your day of entry for camping in the State Wilderness, if space permits, and for day hiking in both wilderness areas.

FIREWOOD NOTICE

Due to the threat of the Goldspotted Oak Borer spreading throughout San Diego County, no oak firewood will be allowed into Mount San Jacinto State Park (Idyllwild/Stone Creek). Wood can be purchased at the park or you can bring other species of firewood, such as pine or eucalyptus. For more information, contact park staff at (951) 659-2607

WILDERNESS PERMITS

Wilderness permits are required to enter all wilderness areas. They serve to limit the number of people allowed to camp in the wilderness and provide visitors a list of the regulations. Both day hikers (FREE permit) and campers ($5/person) must have a permit. Maximum groups size is 15 people.

Since both Federal and State agencies issue permits, the question is often asked, “Which permit do I get?” Permits are obtained from the agency in whose jurisdiction you will be camping. If camping in both wilderness areas, two permits are needed. Day hikers, however, need only one permit since both agencies honor the others’ day hiking permits.  There is one exception, the Devil’s Slide Trail (access from Idyllwild): permits are issued only by the Forest Service.