North Shore Big Bear Lake in the San Bernardino National Forest was calling our names this long Labor Day weekend. It is a touch more than a two hour drive from our Oceanside home base, but it smells like pines, and has cool breezes at 7,000 feet elevation. We have explored Yellow Post sites in South Shore before but there are a lot more camping options to the north so that was where our sights were set.
Unfortunately, everyone had the same thought. Every Yellow Post site, along with every small turnoff and flat area, was filled with RVs, trailers, tents, camper vans, jeeps, and off-road trucks. We drove every forest service road we could access in our Subaru, eventually landing the most amazing, secluded, optimum campsite that very well may exist in the entire San Bernardino National Forest. We set up camp in complete disbelief that we had this area to ourselves.
The following day was the moment of truth when Erik the Ranger pulled up to talk with us about our site. As it turns out, for whatever reason, this non-Yellow Post campsite is only usually utilized during holidays (so we will come straight here the next time we are in the area). There is a white placard not too far from our campsite which we got some insight on. The white placard marks a prospecting claim. Miners only have rights to the tailings (waste material from leftover ore), not to the campsites, so it is totally up for grabs (and no miners were observed during our stay). Our days were filled with exploring, and looking for gold (you never know), playing, and bird watching. Our evenings were filled with flashlight walks, stargazing and bat watching. Like miners with precious metals on their minds, we have just as big of eyes for our campsite in North Shore Big Bear Lake. We seriously cannot wait to return.