Situated adjacent from South Fork, Lobo – Oso, and San Gorgonio Campgrounds, Barton Flats provides similar amenities and recreation access. It’s just off the Rim of the World Scenic Byway, and is an excellent gateway to the San Bernardino National Forest, the San Gorgonio Wilderness, and the newly named Sands to Snow National Monument.
In February 2016, President Obama signed a proclamation that declared the new monument. True to its name, the monument protects 154,000 acres in the San Gorgonio Wilderness, encompassing a swath of land featuring both desert and alpine climates as well as riparian forests, creosote scrub bush and woodlands, fresh water marshes, and Mediterranean chaparral. A visit could provide you with a peek of the southernmost stand of quaking aspens and one of the 12 endangered species that call it home.
In addition to the hundreds of hiking trails that wind through the Sands to Snow National Monument and the surrounding woods, there are a number of nearby mountain lakes and streams to cast into. Popular Jenks Lake is a great place for visitors to take non-motorized boats and fishing rods. It’s stocked with rainbow trout as well as largemouth bass, bluegill, sunfish and catfish. For those that prefer river fishing, the famed Santa Ana River is also accessible from the campground and is an excellent place to cast flies for trout.
The amenities are plenty in camp, and it meets the standard of the other campsites down the road except that Barton Flats has a flush toilet as opposed to a vault. Fire rings with grills, hot showers, and potable water are available, and the camp host is around to sell firewood during the day.
For those seeking a little bit of solitude, aim for a campsite that’s away from the highway so as to avoid hikers that are making their way to Jenks Lake. If you’re planning to camp on a peak summer weekend, you’ll need to make a reservation. If you plan to roll the dice, arrive as early as possible to get a spot before it fills. Note: Barton Flats Campground is typically open from mid-May through the end of September. Call 877.444.6777 or the San Bernardino National Forest Headquarters at 909.382.2600 for specific seasonal dates.