Yep…this is the one that you’re not supposed to tell anyone about. Perhaps one of Southern California’s best-kept secrets, Wheeler Gorge Campground has plenty of sites adjacent to a picturesque stream and rocky mountains.

It's perfect for tent camping and each site contains a table, BBQ, and fire ring. There is no dump station or portable water on site, so come prepared. It's also a great base to explore Matilija Creek, the town of Ojai, and nearby Ventura. When you’re snug in your hammock give a shout out to the Boy Scouts who built the campground nearly a century ago!

Campsite area
Tent or RV sites
67 sites
Up to 8 guests per site
Up to 6 vehicles
No wheelchair access
Campfires allowed
Toilet available
Pets allowed
Picnic table available
No potable water


Offered near the campground.


Ride along the beautiful Santa Barbara coast, the central Monterey coast, or anywhere you want in this huge forest. The recomme...Read more


You can fish in the rivers and streams located throughout the forest, and fish in the ocean on the Monterey coast at Sand Dolla...Read more


Up by Big Sur, the Ventana wilderness is a popular hiking destination, with 260 miles of hiking trails, making it a unique exp...Read more

Horseback riding

The Saint Lucia Mountains have been taken by horseback many a’ times, and the time you visit should be no exception. To truly f...Read more


Lake Cachuma in the Santa Barbara region offers some of the best kayak fishing, especially with its location admist the mountai...Read more


You can’t go wrong at Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur, but it’s no match for the Seven Falls in Santa Barbara. This hike might not be...Read more

Wildlife watching

Whether you are an avid birdwatcher (California Condor...check), or just enjoy seeing what the wilderness has to offer, Los Pad...Read more


Natural features you'll find at Wheeler Gorge Campground.

Hot spring
River, stream, or...
Swimming hole
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14 Reviews

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Drop some Wheeler Gorge Campground knowledge on us.
Hipcamper Liza
Liza M.
doesn't recommend this listing.
October 13th, 2020

BEWARE OF CAMP HOST: Did a solo camp trip last Sunday (10/11). At 8pm, I’m reading up in my tent & it’s pitch black. The male camp host drove a golf cart to my camp site, staggered towards my truck & started yelling at me. He was very drunk, SCREAMING that I had parked wrong, needed to un-camp & leave immediately. Hipcamp doesn’t allow for long reviews, so I’ll summarize: It was INSANE. I was a woman alone in a campground w/ no signal & a drunk man aggressively threatening me for no reason. For full account, go to

I’ve contacted a Forest Service Harassment Hotline & been in touch with the contractor ( that manages the camp hosts. Both said they are “investigating.”

Hipcamper gina
Gina G.
has mixed feelings towards this listing.
November 12th, 2017

best to go in spring, when the creek is still running and it is not too hot. oh, and the campground host was a disaster...

Hipcamper Ruth
Ruth I.
recommends this listing.
October 17th, 2017

Popular with families because of the fantastic gorge the kids can spend hours exploring in. If you're not into kids, definitely give this one a miss unless it's mid-semester or out of season.

Hipcamper andrew
Andrew M.
recommends this listing.
October 4th, 2017

Pick your site carefully! lots of good ones, but there are a few very special ones if you plan it right. :-)

Hipcamper Rhian
Rhian R.
didn't provide a recommendation.
June 4th, 2017

By far the best campsite in southern Cal. You can follow the stream to various cold springs and miniature plunge pools.

Hipcamper Max
Max K.
didn't provide a recommendation.
December 5th, 2016

Make sure you're on the west side of the stream! So lovely here - especially if the water is flowing (early summer) - some amazing swimming holes a mile or two down the road as well.

Hipcamper Nina
Nina M.
didn't provide a recommendation.
August 12th, 2016

Wheeler Gorge is a beautiful place in the Los Padres forest. We were in site 44 and I think 44-46 are the most beautiful sites. The plants, the birds, the night air - everything was beautiful and smelled great. the sites are far from each other, and on a Sunday night the place wasn't crowded at all. The outhouse facilities were very good, and the camp manager was very nice too. Just remember to bring your own water, and be VERY careful with your fires in the dry forest!

Hipcamper ryan
Ryan L.
didn't provide a recommendation.
August 3rd, 2016

Nice campsite just off a paved road. Lots of sites all separated by lots of trees. Some sites had enough room for group camping and others suited solo campers. It was nice to get somewhere that only had tent campers too. Most of the sites are pretty dusty, most likely due to high traffic. Expect to have dirty shoes!

Hipcamper Jennifer
Jennifer J.
didn't provide a recommendation.
July 26th, 2016

This is by far my favorite campground in the area. It really is a nice campground with a creek that runs past most of the sites (and usually has some water in it, even in dry years). I'd definitely stay away from the entrance, but any site past number 9 is decent. I don't want to give away my two favorite spots (because then I'll never get them!) but many of their sites can be reserved. The out houses are decent, but there isn't any running water, so bring your own. Most are also somewhat secluded.

Los Padres National Forest
United States
Phone Number
View on Google Maps
Official Website
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34.512° N, 119.274° W
Unknown price
Tent / RV / Trailer: 67 Sites
(Up to 8 people per site)