Dispersed Camping vs Site on Permit?

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    • #3956


      I have a permit to camp at the summit in late May. I’ve been up Gorgonio a few times and know it can obviously get quite windy. If the summit feels unsafe or uncomfortable day-of, is it allowable to elsewhere on the mountain as long as you’re following the dispersed camping guidelines (distance from streams, trail etc.)? Just trying to be prepared and understand what our options are when we’re on the mountain.


    • #3957
      chris in redlands

      Is “dispersed camping” allowed in the Wilderness? I seem to recall that the sort of dispersed camping permitted on national forest or BLM land is not permitted in the Wilderness, where they want to limit impact by only allowing camping in specific locations. I’d be curious to hear from someone who actually knows the answer tho… I suspect Lon will chime in.

      Your question reminds me of one that I had too… Didn’t there used to be an “Explorer” permit for general travel and camping in the Wilderness for a specific amount of time, camping in un-designated places? Maybe i imagined it, but i’m pretty sure there was once (still is?) such a thing. Perhaps that’s what you need for camping outside of established Wilderness camps?

    • #3960

      Glad to see I’m not the only one looking for clarification. The permits themselves specify that it’s prohibited to camp at a location other than what is specified on your permit which makes it seem pretty cut and dry but I’m not sure if that is meant to stop dispersed camping or make sure people aren’t camping at the wrong campsite which could cause issues when they’re full.

    • #3965
      Ranger Lon

      Inside the San Gorgonio Wilderness, you are only permitted to stay at a designated camp location. Dispersed camping is allowable outside of the Wilderness boundary in the rest of the San Bernardino National Forest.

      Explorer permits used to be issued in most of the wilderness area in the past before the Lake Fire occurred. Since the closures were all removed, we have not been given the approval form the Forest Service to use Explorer permits again. You would have to ask them why.

      If we are given approval to begin using the Explorer permit again, there are some areas that are still off limits, like the South Fork drainage area, but I’ll reserve further discussion about that for a time when it applies.

      Hope that helps

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