Pine Mountain is a string of campsites in the Los Padres National Forest, about an hour and a half north of the quaint town of Ojai, California. Pine Mountain is one of the coolest places you’ll ever camp. Large sandstone boulders (yes they’re climbable!), trees to hammock from, and unbeatable views are all in abundance at Pine Mountain.

Pine Mountain is closed intermittently for the winter season due to snowfall, usually from November through February. Outside of those months, take the Highway 33 north out of Ojai, heading north for about an hour and a half. You’ll see a large turnout as well as a sign reading “Pine Mt Road” on your right side. Take this exit and you’ll find yourself on a windy but enjoyable road for about 20 minutes. As a local myself, i’d ask you to honk your car horn before going around turns, as they are rather narrow and it helps others know that you’re approaching. 

The environment will start to change from Los Padres mountains to a Redwoods-esque forest. Drive with your windows down and breathe in the fresh scent of pine needles, and feel the crisp air arrive as you leave the valley. The first campsite you’ll run into will be on your right hand side, which we know as “The Picnic Area”. There are many campsites in the Picnic Area and there is some great bouldering (especially if you’re newer to climbing, or coming as a family), but I choose to use this spot as overflow camping if needed. Continue up the road and there’s one small campsite on a corner, and four more alongside the road. Last but not least, toward the end of the paved Pine Mountain Road, there are two campsites that actually have huge boulders in the campsites along with plenty of room for parking, setting up tents, and having a great time. These are definitely my preferences, but at Pine Mountain everything is enjoyable. 

There are trails all over the place here, or you can adventure wherever you’d like. Head down away from your campsite for cliffside views over the Los Padres where you can see all the way out to the Channel Islands, or head up the hill from your campsite and you can see deeper into the Los Padres toward Taft. 

For bouldering: To access my personal favorite bouldering area at Pine Mountain, head to the second to last campsite at Pine. (With boulders in the site, and a large pine tree on the side of the road) If you aren’t already camping here, park your vehicle up on the road (Don’t park under the tree, you never know when it will fall and rangers may ask you to move) and hike to the right of the boulders. A small climbers trail will lead the way down into bouldering paradise, or better known as “Happy Hunting Grounds” to locals. For all other bouldering areas and specific route information, check out Pine Mountain on Mountain Project. 

Day Access to Pine Mountain is totally free. Overnight camping previously required an Adventure Pass, but it has since been changed to first come first serve $10 overnight camping which will be collected upon arrival. 

Pack List

  • Tent
  • Sleeping Pad
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Coleman Stove/Jetboil (Open Flames are occasionally prohibited)
  • Climbing Shoes
  • Crash Pad
  • Water
  • Lizards Mouth IPA
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Activities Chillin, Camping, Photography, Rock Climbing
Skill Level Beginner
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Features
Adult Beverages
Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Groups
Handicap Accessible
Picnic Area
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

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