San Bernardino National Forest

An adventurous journey with 10+ mile hikes
Driving to and sleeping at a campground
Pups are welcome at camp and on hiking trails

Climbing Little Bear Peak overlooking Big Bear in San Bernardino National Forest

Climbing Little Bear Peak overlooking Big Bear in San Bernardino National Forest

Climbing Little Bear Peak overlooking Big Bear in San Bernardino National Forest

Climbing Little Bear Peak overlooking Big Bear in San Bernardino National Forest

Designed by
Veronica Head
Share this itinerary
Last updated
May 24, 2024

Trip · 3-day camping trip

For · Families and new campers

Vibe · Adventurous and fun

Reservations · Yes, reserve a site at Hanna Flat campground

Drive · 2 hours from LA

Ideal dates · April to September

Pets · Welcome at camp and on trails!

San Bernardino National Forest (SBNF) is one of the most diverse forests in the country when it comes to plants and wildlife, partly because its elevation ranges from 2,000 to 11,500+ feet on Mount San Gorgonio, the highest peak in SoCal. It's home to the tallest waterfalls in the region: Big Falls and Bonita Falls, and every year, SBNF receives more visitors than either Yosemite or Yellowstone National Parks.

Official Forest Service Website

Current Fire Conditions

Directions To Campground

Main image credit: Joshua Chun

Stuff to know

  • There's an $8 nightly fee for parking additional cars at your campsite
  • Hanna Flat Campground is 7,000 feet above sea level. Drink plenty of water and spend some time acclimatizing to avoid altitude sickness symptoms.
  • Pack your sunscreen and a jacket because temperatures drastically change from morning to night. It can be windy too!
  • Wear face masks, socially distance, and tread lightly!


Check the weather
Grass Valley Lake in San Bernardino National Forest

Where to camp

Hanna Flat Campground

Each campsite comes with a:

  • Picnic table
  • A fire pit and grill
  • Space for up to 8 people
  • 2 parking spots
  • Food storage locker
  • Drinking water
  • Toilets

Hanna Flat Campground is a beautiful, secluded campground located a 10-minute drive north of Big Bear Lake. Nestled among pine trees, Hanna Flat has 80 tent and RV campsites available to be reserved and a few by first-come, first-serve. There are restrooms, drinking water, and firewood that you can buy on site.

Check-in: After 2 PM · Check-out: 12 PM

View Campground Map

Nightly Rate: $38

Hanna Flat Campground
No items found.


Day One

North Shore Cafe
North Shore Cafe. Credit: Yelp

Leave LA by 11 AM and grab lunch at North Shore Cafe

  • Diners love their pastrami sandwiches and fresh ingredients!
  • Located at 39226 N. Shore Drive in Fawnskin
  • Open Friday to Sunday · 8 AM to 5 PM
  • Last pit stop · Valero - 32755 CA-18 in Running Springs
  • Nearest grocery store · Jensen's Finest Foods -31987 Hilltop Boulevard in Running Springs

Check in and settle in at Hanna Flat Campground

  • Set up camp, wander around the campground, and relax

Cook up dinner and s'mores

  • Prep dinner, s'mores, and enjoy an evening of drinking and stargazing
Gold was discovered in the San Bernardino Mountains in 1855, prompting the mining, lumber, and grazing industry to move into the area

Day Two

Big Bear Lake. Credit: Travel + Leisure

Get an early start, make brekkie, and get ready for the day

  • For a quick and classic breakfast, try bacon and eggs over your camp stove.
  • Pack a day bag with all the essentials for the day, including snacks, bug spray, sunscreen, and 2L of water for everyone in your group.

Take a hike to Little Bear Peak

  • This easy 1.8 mile out and back trail only has 351 feet of elevation gain. It takes you up to the top of Little Bear, giving you sweeping views of the valley while still being easy enough for the kiddos.
  • Remember that you’re at high elevation here, so take it slow and take breaks often. Make sure you stay hydrated and protected from the sun while on the trail.

Head back to camp for lunch

Spend the afternoon exploring Big Bear Lake

Return to camp, cook up dinner, and relax

  • Get dinner and s’mores ready and relax.
  • Enjoy your last night in San Bernardino National Forest
The San Bernardino Flying Squirrel is a unique species living in SoCal's high-elevation forests, but they're notoriously hard to find. They were once on the endangered species list.

Day Three

Big Bear Lake
Big Bear Lake. Credit: Jeremy Bishop

Pack up and check out before noon

  • Cook up brekkie, clean up around camp, and throw away any random pieces of litter

Head home!

SBNF has eight wilderness areas: San Jacinto, Santa Rosa, San Gorgonio, Cucamonga, Bighorn Mountain, Cahuilla Mountain, South Fork San Jacinto, and Sheep Mountain.
June 1, 2024

Bewilder at LAist Super-Fun Saturday

Make wildflower seed bombs with Bezzi the Yeti at LAist's Super Fun Saturday

Event in 2 days

Bewilder Basecamp: Spooky Wonders

Join Bezzi the Yeti on her first spooky camping adventure!

Shop curated gear

Subheading about gear and affiliate links.

Search icon
Price Range
Price Range
Bezzi's Pick

NEMO 4-person Aurora Highrise

This colorful tent has plenty of standing room, is easy to set up, and pack out!

Bezzi's Pick

NEMO Stargaze Reclining Camp Chair

Lean back, and we mean all the way back, in this comfy camp chair. You'll never want to sit up.

Bezzi's Pick

NEMO Moonlander Camp Table

We can confirm that these camp tables withstand hot bevvies and rock collections.

Woops! We don't have any results. Try resetting the filters and try again.

Meal and snack ideas

Subheading about meals and affiliate links.

Search icon
Dietary Preferences
meal Type
Bezzi's Picks
Dietary Preferences
Meal Type
Bezzi's Faves
Bezzi's Pick

Food For The Sole Blueberry Banana Crunch

Gluten Free • Vegan

Bezzi's Pick

Packit Gourmet Diner Deluxe Eggs with Sausage

Bezzi's Pick

Campfire cinnamon roll ups


Bezzi's Pick

Brookside Dark Chocolate Covered Blueberries


Bezzi's Pick

Angie's Boom Chicka Pop

Gluten Free · Vegan

Bezzi's Pick

Santa Cruz Organic Apple Sauce

Gluten Free · Vegan

Bezzi's Pick

Summer rolls with almond butter satay

Gluten Free · Vegan

Bezzi's Pick

Dan dan noodles

Gluten Free · Vegan

Bezzi's Pick

Asian chicken lettuce wraps

Gluten free

Bezzi's Pick

Pho ramen

Bezzi's Pick

Curry ramen

Bezzi's Pick

Peanut butter cheesecake overnight oats


Have feedback on this itinerary? Send us an email!
Spread the love
Explore our most popular trips
Explore our most popular trips
Explore our most popular trips
Explore our most popular trips
Self-Guided Trip

Immersing yourself in the idyllic wilderness of Idyllwild at Mount San Jacinto

Enjoy the small town charm and enchanting wilderness in Idyllwild for this beginner camping trip.

Self-Guided Trip

Catching desert sunrises and shooting stars at Joshua Tree National Park

Camp underneath the stars and watch glorious sunrises in Joshua Tree National Park, the second largest national park in California.

Self-Guided Trip

Beachside backpacking and sea lion sightings at Santa Rosa Island

This winter trek on Santa Rosa Island in Channel Islands National Park is a one of a kind itinerary for adventerous backpackers.

Looking for more?

View all itineraries