Laguna Campground

Viewing the Perseid Meteor Shower at Laguna Campground in San Diego County

Star travelers can find dark skies and solitude for stargazing only an hour away from downtown San Diego at Laguna Campground in the Cleveland National Forest. Go on a weeknight to enjoy solitary communion with the stars, or pitch your tent over the weekend to become a part of an outdoor community made up of campers at 104 sites, creating a mountain-party vibe.

As the sky begins to darken, prepare for a dazzling display of heavenly bodies. With the Laguna Mountain Range blocking light from San Diego in the west, and the sparsely populated Anza-Borrego Desert below to the east, the only major light source you’ll contend with is the moon.

Thanks to Laguna Campground’s 5,600-foot altitude, the days stay cool and the dark nights can be brisk. The campground has flush toilets, running water, and local firewood to purchase for the large fire pit at every site. Walk along the five different loop roads to get a look at the many campsites and wave hello to your fellow star-party celebrants.

Gallery image 1 of 6
Gallery image 2 of 6
Gallery image 3 of 6
Gallery image 4 of 6
Gallery image 5 of 6
Gallery image 6 of 6

By day you can hike the moderate Laguna Meadow Trail system, or access a segment of the Pacific Crest Trail. For a challenge, venture 2.8 miles south down Sunrise Highway to the Monument Peak Trail for a 2.9-mile (round-trip) out-and-back that features beautiful wildflowers, incredible views, and a challenging ascent.

STAR TIPS: For maximum dazzle, you can head to a mountain overlook less than a mile from the campground, just across the street from Al Bahr Shrine Camp. Watch the sun set over the Anza-Borrego Desert as darkness claims the sky. The San Diego State University Observatory sponsors “Star Parties” for campers at the Forest Service Campgrounds in Laguna Mountain Recreation area. These gatherings happen most Saturday evenings during the summer months.

EXTRA TREAT: If you’re looking for a break from fire-cooked meals, head south on Route S1 for 3.6 miles to the Pine House Café & Tavern for beer, burgers, and live music.

Camping reservations. To reach Laguna Campground, take Sunrise Hwy. (County Rte. S1) 12 miles southeast from SR-79 or 13 miles northeast from I-8. Dog-friendly! Mount Laguna Observatory photo by Christian Ronnel.

Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Image that represents the story

    Truly Grand Day Hike

    One of the best spring day hikes in the Grand Canyon? See layer upon layer of the park’s grandeur—including the river—on this 3-mile (one-way) journey to Skeleton Point via the South Kaibab Trail.

    View
  2. Image that represents the story

    Eucalyptus Loop

    Forest bathing among Australian trees and biting into tasty Australian meat pies—head to the 3.25-mile Eucalyptus Loop in Chino Hills and end with Aussie meat pies at a great local bakery.

    View
  3. Image that represents the story

    Stairstruck in Hollywood

    Beachwood Canyon in Hollywoodland has an action-packed adventure with A-list workouts, big-budget views, and a stair-studded cast. Running time is 1.25 miles with five staircases

    View
  4. Image that represents the story

    Do it Yourself Walking Tour of Solvang

    Solvang has long been described as a “little slice of Denmark in Southern California." Experience the historic village on a 3-mile walk that explores the architecture, food, wine, and green space.

    View

Trending Stories Northern CA

View all Stories
  1. Image that represents the story

    Tam It All

    The hills have gone green just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, and this 7.5-mile lollipop loop hike passes through some of Mount Tam’s lushest spots, with bridges, creeks, a waterfall, and big views.

    View
  2. Image that represents the story

    Headlands Over Heels

    People come from all over the world to get a glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge. Get a dramatic and novel view of the bridge without all the people on this moderate 6-mile hike in the Marin Headlands.

    View
  3. Image that represents the story
    Sponsored

    Wildflower Hiking Guide

    California’s wildflowers will be lovely this spring! So how do you find the best in bloom? Check out POST’s complimentary Wildflower Guide to find the best hiking trails with wildflowers.

    View
  4. Image that represents the story

    Ohlone Time

    Keep this epic East Bay hike on your radar for wildflowers and a waterfall that only comes to life after rain. Get wayyy back in the Ohlone Wilderness among big hills and scenery, and Murietta Falls.

    View