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Camping at Heart Bar Campground

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Location and Access

Heart Bar Campground is located in the San Bernardino National Forest in Southern California. Its proximity to Big Bear Lake and the Santa Ana River makes it a popular destination for campers. To access the campground:

  • Address: Heart Bar Campground is off of Highway 38, roughly 25 miles southeast of the Big Bear area.
  • Directions: From the city of Redlands, take Highway 38 northeast towards Big Bear. The campground is north of the road, with clear signage.

Campsite Features

  • Amenities: The campground includes amenities like picnic tables, fire rings, and flush toilets. Some sites also offer grills and bear-proof storage boxes.
  • Campsite Types: The campground provides a mix of sites, including those suitable for tent camping, RVs, and some that are more secluded for those desiring privacy.
  • Reservations: Heart Bar Campground operates on a combination of first-come, first-served basis and reservations for certain sites. Reservations can be made online via Recreation.gov or by phone.

Activities and Points of Interest

  • Hiking: With several trails nearby, like the Santa Ana River Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail, hikers can enjoy a variety of scenic routes.
  • Fishing: The nearby Santa Ana River and Big Bear Lake offer opportunities for fishing.
  • Wildlife: The area is known for abundant wildlife, including deer, birds, and bears, providing excellent opportunities for wildlife viewing.
  • Stargazing: The high elevation and remoteness make for fantastic stargazing opportunities away from city lights.

Season and Weather

  • Operating Season: The campground is normally open from spring through fall, but always check ahead for specific dates as they can change due to weather conditions or other factors.
  • Weather: The climate can vary with elevation, but generally, summer days can be warm while nights are cool. Spring and fall can have colder temperatures, especially at night.

Fees and Regulations

  • Camping Fees: Fees for camping vary depending upon the site and facilities. Always check the current rate before planning your trip.
  • Campfire Regulations: Campfires are usually permitted within designated fire rings, but there are times when fire restrictions are in effect due to dry conditions. Check current restrictions before lighting a fire.
  • Wildlife Precautions: Proper food storage is crucial to prevent attracting bears and other wildlife. Use bear boxes where provided and follow all guidelines for storing food and scented items.

Other Important Tips

  • Bring Sufficient Supplies: The nearest stores and gas stations are in Big Bear, so come prepared with all the necessary supplies.
  • Water: While the campground may have drinking water, sometimes the service can be interrupted so bring extra water just in case.
  • Altitude: The campground is at a significant elevation, so be mindful of altitude sickness and take it easy when you first arrive.

Emergency Information

  • Nearest Hospital: Bear Valley Community Hospital is located in Big Bear Lake, around 25 miles northwest of the campground.
  • Emergency Services: In case of an emergency, dial 911. Be aware that cell service can be spotty in the area, so it may be wise to have a backup plan for communication.

Before heading out to Heart Bar Campground, always check with the U.S. Forest Service or visit their website for the latest information on closures, fire regulations, and other important notices.

Location of Heart Bar Campground
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