Everything you need to know about Marion Mountain Campground

Marion Mountain Campground

The Southern part of California has a lot to offer when it comes to spectacular campgrounds. One of such places is the Marion Mountain Campground which is found in the San Bernardino National Forest. This alpine forest is majorly composed of oak, pine and cider trees.

It is a very calm place that is suitable for family outings. The mountain ranges and the beautiful sunset create an amazing feature that everybody desires to have a look at. But take note that this campground is normally open from late May to mid-November.

If you are the type of camper who likes privacy, then this is a perfect place for you. This is because of the shade provided by the trees.

How to get to Marion Mountain Campground

Marion Mountain Campground is just one of the 5 campgrounds found in the Mount San Jacinto State Park in the state of California. This campground consists of 24 sites which are either non-electric or standard. It is situated in a forested area at 6,400 feet in terms of elevation.

To access Mount San Jacinto State Park which houses Marion Mountain Campground, you can take Highway 243 route from Idyllwild, California. From Idyllwild, it is just 5 miles to the north. Better still, you can access the area from Palm Springs by tram.

If you are at Interstate 10 located in Banning, use Highway 243 for 20 miles southwards to Alandale. Take the Stone Creek Campground Road eastwards for close to 2 miles, and you will be at the Marion Mountain Campground.

Pam Springs Aerial Tramway, which is one of the world’s longest and largest single-lift tramways, can carry you to the Mountain Station from the Valley Station found in Chino Canyon; a distance of 2.5 miles. This place is at the edge of Mount San Jacinto State Wilderness. Enjoying this over 6,000 feet lift is a very memorable event.

The campground is 118 miles from San Diego and under 54 miles from Riverside. Additionally, if you are coming from San Bernardino, the Marion Mountain Campground is located 50 miles to the southeast. Because the campground is located in a forested area, it is manned by the National Forest Service.

Camping in Marion Mountain Campground

Marion Mountain Campground

Marion Mountain Campground is situated in a forested area which is also mountainous. This makes it a perfect destination for campers who like such cool places. Actually, even during the hot summer days, you can camp in this area without having to worry about the rising temperatures.

It is also surrounded by a small-town atmosphere provided by Idyllwild. Camping in such environments away from the noisy and ever busy streets is something you need to give a try. There are also several restaurants and shops from where you can acquire some of the items.

The activities you can enjoy in this campground include hiking, bird watching, horseback riding, wildlife viewing and picnicking among others. Are you a fan of water-related activities? Unfortunately, there are no water bodies in this campground. So if you love water sports so much, then this might not be a good spot for you.

But you can still enjoy water-based activities around this area. In a distance of less than 10 miles from Marion Mountain Campground lie numerous spots where you can enjoy fishing, boat riding and swimming. So the water-based activities are still available within the locality even if not at the campground.

Cross-country skiing is, however, a very popular activity in this place during the winter months.

Land-based activities at Marion Mountain Campground

Almost all the activities available at this place are land-based. These activities include:

  • Hiking

Marion Mountain Campground Hiking

There are hiking trails in this campground where you can decide to burn some calories as you enjoy watching the beautiful scenes. The hikes run through the forests, but there is absolutely nothing to be worried about as your safety is always guaranteed.

The popular hiking trail here is the Marion Mountain Trail which you can easily access whenever you are within the campground. The trail leads to portions of the networks involving the local trails such as the 5 mile trail to San Jacinto Peak. Being that this place is at an elevation of 10,834 feet, this trail is the most strenuous for hiking.

But the cool weather that is a resulting effect of the numerous trees will rarely make you feel any pain. There are also moderate to easy hikes which you can consider for your entire family, children included. Remember the strenuous trails are beyond the capabilities of your children.

  • Mountain Biking

Here is also a good match for you. Having spent most of your time in the office with very minimal exercise, you have probably added some weight. Mountain biking in the Marion Mountain Campground is the greatest way you can lose those calories.

The very same trails used for hiking can as well be used for biking only that you need to consider your safety and that of other users as well. There are short and easy trails for the kids as well as more advanced trails where professional bikers can do their magic.

  • Wildlife viewing

The dense forest surrounding this campground is home to different species of birds as well as other wild animals. It is very enjoyable and relaxing to watch how these animals behave. The lookout tower at Mount San Jacinto, which is the second highest point in the whole of southern California, allows you to watch everything that comes your way.

Your views from the peak can extend to the Palm Desert and the Ocean. What’s more, on a pretty clear day, your view can go up to the San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountains.

Most animals in this area aren’t dangerous, but care should be taken to ensure that they are not disturbed in their habitat. Making those scary loud sounds can make even the least dangerous wildlife animals turn wild to protect their territories.

The animals present in this area are weasels, deer, bighorn or bear sheep, squirrels, bobcats and chipmunks.

  • Stargazing

Having an opportunity to watch the stars on a clear night is quite beautiful. I have done that before and I liked it. Doing it on the most raised places like the Marion Mountain makes it even better. You can try it whenever you visit this place. I am sure you will enjoy it.

  • Horseback riding


Yes, this activity is also just waiting for you to visit Marion Mountain Campground. There are horses in large numbers. Riding them across the campground is more fun. Your children will like this activity if you have your family with you. 

That doesn’t mean those who haven’t been privileged with families yet cannot enjoy this activity. It is suitable for all.

Other activities include:

  • Picnicking
  • Photography

Amenities at Marion Mountain Campground

A campground with 24 campsites like this one must be well-equipped with numerous amenities. Some are standard sites while others are non-electric. You can, therefore, have your RV with you inside the campground or any other vehicle.

Any extra vehicle will be charged a fee of $5. Every parking spur can accommodate only two cars; one vehicle and another one which is legally towed. There is also a free parking space under a quarter mile from the campground; that is the Marion Mountain Trailhead area.

Off road parking and driving is however prohibited in the Marion Mountain Campground. You can be slapped with heavy fines if you go against this rule.

Drinking water, which is an essential requirement that every camper should have at any point, is available in this area. Portable water is what at times may be unavailable.

Also available are BBQ grills, fire rings and pits, campsite and picnic tables, laundry facilities, paved roads, vault toilets (restrooms) and trash collection. The providence of trash collection services should not, however, be abused by dropping wastes anywhere within the park.

The charges are $10 every night which is a very reasonable amount with regards to the many activities you can enjoy. When the camp is opened, most campsites are reserved at least three days in advance. Only a few of the sites are available on the first come, first served basis.

What is the campground’s policy when it comes to pets?

Pets like cats and dogs are allowed in the campground but must be placed on a leash or secured at any given time. So if you were planning to have your entire family with you during a vacation and you fear for your furry friends, you can bring them along with you. You shouldn’t be bothered at all.

Things to take note of before setting foot at Marion Mountain Campground

  • There are no electric hookups in this area
  • Fees on extra vehicles will be collected at the campground
  • Every campsite can accommodate a maximum of 8 people inclusive of children. This signifies that group camping is available
  • Your RV or trailer length should not exceed 17 feet
  • There are no showers in this area
  • No refunds will be made upon weather interference
  • The charcoal and wood fires must be restricted to the provided campfire rings
  • The use of portable charcoal barbecues in this campground is prohibited.
  • Fire restrictions can be imposed at any time as a result of dry and hot weather conditions. At such times, charcoal and wood fires will stand prohibited unless stated otherwise by the management.
  • It is your responsibility to have your campfire extinguished. You should ensure that it is put off totally before leaving the campsite. This is to avoid fire incidences in the campground.
  • You can setup your own tents in the campsites.
  • Driving times can change based on weather conditions.
  • Firewood should be locally obtained to avoid bringing in rodents and tree-killing pests.

Some of the nearby campgrounds are:

  • 1Idyllwild Campground which has 34 campsites
  • 2Dark Canyon Campground with 17 campsites
  • 3Stone Creek Campground with 50 campsites
  • 4Fern Basin Campground with 24 campsites


Camping is a very great way to relax after the busy working days. The wrong choice can, however, portray the exact opposite of this. However, the Marion Mountain Campground in the Sothern California is a nice place that you need to visit.

It avails a wide variety of activities which can be enjoyed at a very low price. Besides, it is away from the noisy and busy towns making a very cool place. To ensure that your safety plus that of other users is maintained, it is advisable that you observe the already set rules.

Make sure you have all the camping gear and stuff with you to fully enjoy what this place has to offer. What are your plans this coming holiday? Are you considering visiting this place? Well, whenever you do, don’t forget to share your experience with us. Is there anything else you still want to know about Marion Mountain Campground?

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