Discover Wilderness Bliss: Heart Bar Campground in San Bernardino National Forest

Immerse yourself in the tranquility of Heart Bar Campground, a hidden gem nestled in the San Bernardino National Forest, just 41 miles east of San Bernardino. Perched along the Rim of the World Scenic Byway, this campground offers a serene retreat, consistently earning high reviews despite its minimalist amenities. As you plan your getaway, consider these expert tips, strategies, and gear recommendations for an unforgettable camping experience in the heart of nature.

Map & Reservations

Top Tips for First-Time Campers:

  • Unmarked Turnoff: Look for the unmarked turnoff along Highway 38, 2.8 miles east of South Fork Campground, to access Heart Bar Campground.
  • Flashlight Essential: Bring a flashlight, as the restrooms lack lighting, ensuring you have a convenient light source during your stay.
  • Reservation Guidelines: Familiarize yourself with the reservation policies, with most campsites available for advance booking, while the Santa Ana Loop offers first-come, first-served options.
  • Group Site Option: Explore the Skyline Group Campground for group camping, accommodating up to 25 people and 9 vehicles.
  • Wildlife Awareness: Be mindful of wildlife, especially bears; secure your food in bear-proof storage boxes and follow leash and attended rules for pets.

Top Strategies and Tactics for the Ultimate Camping Experience:

  • Seasonal Planning: Aim for a visit between mid-May and early October to enjoy the campground’s full offerings and pleasant weather.
  • Trail Exploration: Hike the Wildhorse Creek Trail, the Santa Ana River Trail, or connect with the Pacific Crest Trail for varied and breathtaking scenery.
  • Boating Bliss: Take advantage of non-motorized boating at Jenks Lake or venture to Big Bear Lake for a wider range of water activities.
  • Nature Connection: Join nature walks, interpretive programs, and astronomy sessions at the Barton Flats Visitor Center.
  • Quiet Enjoyment: Respect quiet hours from 10 PM to 6 AM, ensuring a peaceful ambiance for all campers.

Recommended Camping Gear:

  • Campsite Essentials: Pack picnic tables, fire rings with grills, and bear-proof food storage boxes for a comfortable and secure camping experience.
  • Lighting Solutions: Bring a reliable flashlight or headlamp to navigate the campground at night, especially around restroom areas.
  • Comfortable Tent: Invest in a quality tent with ample space, ensuring a good night’s sleep in the campground’s level and well-separated sites.
  • Outdoor Exploration Gear: Carry binoculars, a camera, and nature guides for wildlife observation and appreciation of the scenic surroundings.
  • Explore Our Gearlist: Check our gearlist account for detailed recommendations on camp cooking, sleeping systems, overlanding setups, backpacks, and clothing to elevate your camping experience.

Check out our Gearlist for the gear we use for trips like this

Our Gearlist account lists all of the gear we use. Discover our top picks, where to snag them, and stay informed with our regular updates.

Immerse yourself in Heart Bar Campground, where organized campsites, stunning trails, and nearby attractions in San Bernardino National Forest await your exploration. Whether you’re relaxing by the fire, casting a line in Jenks Lake, or connecting with nature on the Santa Ana River Trail, this campground provides an ideal escape into the beauty of Southern California’s wilderness.