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  Dark Canyon Campground       33°48’14”N  116°43’56”W Elevation 5815'  
    The creek runs through the campground but… …stay out of the water because this endangered species lives there. Topographic map of area
Click to enlarge for printing.
  Access: From LA/Orange and other points north or west, take your best route to Interstate-10 and head east. When you reach Banning, take the 8th street exit south (this exit is also marked ‘Hwy 243/Idyllwild’). Follow Hwy 243 about 20 miles to the State Park on your left side. Bear left as you pass Stone Creek Campground, proceed another .75 miles, then bear left again to Dark Canyon. If you find yourself at Fern Basin or Marion Campground, you have gone to far.  
  Facilities: Road and spurs are paved. Parking spurs may not be level. Campfires are allowed within the facilities provided. Firewood is not sold at the site. All campsites have picnic tables and fire rings. Vault toilets and potable water are nearby. Amenities include dumpster, picnic tables and water faucets.  
  Season: Seasonal - May through September  
  Fees: $12/night. A site must be reserved for a minimum of 3 nights on major holidays. Some first come, first serve sites are available. The fee allows for a maximum of 8 people per campsite and entry for 1 vehicle and 1 legally towed vehicle. Additional fees of $5 per extra vehicle will be collected at the campground. There are no refunds for inclement weather. Fire restrictions may be imposed at any time due to hot, dry weather conditions, at which time campfires and charcoal fires may not be allowed. Water may not be available. For current Fire conditions or weather closures contact the Idyllwild Ranger Station at 909-382-2922 prior to making late fall reservations.  
  Nearby Hiking Trails: Marion Mountain Trail starts at Marion Mountain Campground and climbs the northwest flank of Marion Ridge offering far reaching vistas on its way to Deer Springs, where it provides access to the Pacific Crest Trail.  
  Nearby 4x4 Trails: Red Hill Truck Trail: Proceed south on Hwy 243, turn west at the Pine Cove gas station, follow the road about .4 miles. The road will turn sharply north and down, and pavement will end. After about 1/4 mile, turn west, and follow the road to the intersection of the Red Hill Truck Trail and The San Jacinto Ridge Road. This short but sweet (4 miles total) trail winds down from the pines and cedars into the chapperal, with great views of Hemet Valley along the way. Turning east at the end, the road passes through grassy mountain meadows before ending at the USC extension campus in Idyllwild.

San Jacinto Ridge Trail: See directions above. A little rougher than the Red Hill trail, this fire road winds down through pines, cedar, fir and nice open meadows, crossing Stone Creek and the San Jacinto River (north fork). Below the river, you may encounter some obstacles (boulders in the road). Eventually this road will take you all the way down to Hwy 74 just east of Hemet.
  Comments: Dark Canyon is one of the sources of the San Jacinto river. The creek that runs through the campground carries water all year. From May through September, you will have to keep 10 feet distance from the creek at all times (its frog breeding season).  
  Current Weather: Click here for the current 'pointcast' for this spot. ('Pops up' in a new window)  
  Managing Agency: San Bernardino National Forest / San Jacinto Ranger District  
  This information is generally reliable, but not guaranteed. Use this information at your own risk. Outdoor conditions can change rapidly. Sometimes long periods go by between the time our web pages are updated, so you may find the conditions on any road, trail or campsite are very different from the descriptions given above. Be prepared to make alternate plans. Plan ahead, do some research and make sure you have a map and compass and plenty of backbone. Whenever possible, call the managing agency for a current update before you travel. And carry an extra pair of dry socks, just in case.