Amid Coulter pines, scrub oaks, and grasslands, Meadow Group Campground visitors enjoy plenty of space, and the grounds will accommodate groups as large as 104 campers. Note that it is typically closed from mid-November to mid-April due to snow, though it's worth a call.
Perched between the Manzanita Loop of the Chilao Campground and the Chilao Ranger Station, this site offers relative seclusion, basic amenities like toilets, fire rings, picnic tables, and potable water. Not to mention the sparking night sky complete with the glimmering Milky Way that will allow even the dustiest souls to hit the refresh button.
Because of this site’s impressive 5,300-foot altitude, relatively quiet visitors with an especially keen eye can get a chance to see bighorn sheep darting among the sagebrush and coniferous trees. Coyotes, foxes, and an array of predatory hawks are at home in this habitat as well as mountain lions, bears, and badgers (remember to secure all food items and travel in pairs at dawn, dusk, and during the night).
The relatively new San Gabriel Mountains were formed a mere 20 million years ago when the Pacific plate began scraping up against the North American plate. Trapped in the middle of the activity, the loose block of crust was forced 90 degrees clockwise as the Pacific plate dragged it to the northeast. About 15 million years later, a formidable section of that block began to rise as a mountain range along the Sierra Madre and Cucamonga fault zones, forming the San Gabriels and introducing a quirky bend into an otherwise straight and orderly line of costal mountain ranges.
So rugged that they once housed horse thieves hiding from Los Angeles valley cattle farmers, the San Gabriel Mountains continue to be a haven for anyone aching for a breath of fresh air, and the Meadow Group Campground is an excellent place to find just that.