• Stars appear behind a dramatic landscape of rocky mountains, rolling hills, and fields of grass

    Santa Monica Mountains

    National Recreation Area California

Camping in the Santa Monica Mountains

Circle X Ranch once home to a Boy Scout Camp now offers camping and hiking.

Are you searching for a weekend getaway with mountain overlooks and sunny, sandy beaches? Your vacation destination may be a short drive from Los Angeles, California! Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area offers many opportunities to shake off the stresses of city life and immerse yourself in the beauty of nature.

Circle X Ranch Group Campground is the only campground the National Park Service operates in the Santa Monica Mountains. Visit recreation.gov to make reservations for this 10 person minimum group camp.

Other agencies in the mountains offer camping as well. From Topanga State Park to Point Mugu State Park, there are a variety of campgrounds for you to enjoy. Night may find you stargazing deep within a sage-scented canyon, or listening as the waves break against the sandy shore. Savor the peace and solitude on your own, or share the fun of camping with family and friends.

When you go camping in the park, please observe the following safety tips and regulations:

  • Fires are prohibited at NPS sites. California State Parks may restrict campfires depending on fire danger level and environmental conditions.
  • Dogs are generally allowed on National Park campgrounds and trails if on a leash (6 feet maximum). At state parks, dogs are permitted only in campgrounds and picnic areas, and on certain beaches where specified.
  • Natural and historic features (such as flowers, rocks or artifacts) are protected by law and may not be collected or damaged.
  • Wood gathering or collecting is not allowed.
  • Bring plenty of food and water. (Water from streams is not safe to drink!)
  • Learn to recognize and avoid poison oak, rattlesnakes and bees.
  • Guard yourself against ticks by wearing long sleeves, long pants and light colors.
  • Dress appropriately for variable weather conditions and be prepared for minor emergencies.
  • Bring a first aid kit, flashlight and extra clothes.
  • Take care of your trash. Use disposal facilities on site, or pack out what you pack in.

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