Open Year-round
Reservations possible?
RV Hookups
Potable water
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

El Cariso Campground is a small Forest Service managed camping area near the eastern end of Ortega Highway.

The campground contains 24 sites and operates on a first come, first served basis with no reservations possible. Spread out along a single paved loop road beneath the large oak trees, El Cariso's sites each contain a paved pull-in parking spot with a table, grill and flat dirt area for tents.

Water spigots and a couple vault toilet structures are available throughout the campground.

A small seasonal stream runs down the center of the campground, providing a nice bit of ambiance during times when water is flowing. Unfortunately, the campground's location beside Ortega Highway means that the sound of traffic is a presence for all of the camp sites. 

 A good number of the sites sit in their own areas, with a good amount of space between neighboring sites. While many of the sites in the center of the loop are set nearer to one another, making privacy a little less available, but might be good for groups of campers looking to share space with each other.

Campers are asked to pay camp fees at a self-pay booth at the entrance. There is also a small picnic area, which is available to those with Forest Adventure Passes or who pay a $5 day use fee at the entrance booth.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)



Occasionally full

Parking Pass

Camping fee

Price per night (basic site)

15.00 $ (12.59 €)


Access to a variety of trails and backcountry features.


No showers.

Pets allowed

Allowed with Restrictions

Managed by

Forest Service


ADA accessible
Vault toilet
Family friendly
Picnic tables
Potable water



Total number of sites


Lodging type

Rental home

Maximum trailer length

25.00 ft (7.62 m)


Nearby Adventures


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