Indian Flats Campground in Cleveland National Forest Warner Springs San Diego County tent camping California

Indian Flats Campground is a small 17-site campground in the Cleveland National Forest near Warner Springs. The campground lies within a sunny live oak woodland at 3,600 feet. At this elevation, expect cool night and warm days. The campground is located below Hot Springs Mountain, the 6,533-foot high point of San Diego County. There are nearby views across a flat basin, the San Jose del Valle, toward Lake Henshaw and the Palomar Mountains. Granite outcroppings around the campground offer pictureque sunset perches or fun places to climb around during the day. There is a short trail from the campground to the East Fork of the San Luis Rey River, where you will find shallow pools to explore at the end of the winter wet season.

All 17 sites at Indian Flats Campground are first-come first-serve for $12 per night. Fire rings, charcoal grills, picnic tables, and vault toilets are provided. Bring your own drinking water. Dogs are allowed on leashes in the campground. If you only visit for the day (to hike to the East Fork of the San Luis Rey River), you will need a National Forest Adventure Pass, which can per purchased for $5 per day. This is also the price to add a second vehicle to a camp site. The maximum vehicle length at campsites is 15 feet.

Campground closure: Indian Flats Campground closes for the months of April and May in order to protect the habitat of the endangered arroyo toad during its active season. The specific closure dates may vary from year to year, so check with the national forest before making a visit in the spring.

Indian Flats Campground Cleveland National Forest
Indian Flats Campground

Indian Flats Campground is at the end of a narrow but paved 7-mile road and is far enough out of the way to remain a relatively private and peaceful place to camp. The campsites are all located around one loop. Expect Indian Flats Campground to be full on summer weekends. In addition to the 17 tent-friendly camp sites there is also one larger group site that may be reserved through the national forest. Call the Palomar Ranger District of the Cleveland National Forest to reserve the group site or for more information, (760) 788-0250.

To get to the Campground: Take Route 79 to Lost Valley Road in Warner Springs. Lost Valley Road is located 1.5 miles northwest of the center of the small town. In the other direction, the intersection is 18 miles southeast of Aguanga on Route 79. There will be a sign for Indian Flats Campground at the bottom of Lost Valley Road. Drive north up the narrow paved road for 7 miles to the campground at the end of the road.

Campground address: Lost Valley Road, Cleveland National Forest, Warner Springs, CA 92086
Campground coordinates: 33.349488, -116.661797 (33° 20′ 58.15″N 116° 39′ 42.46″W)

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Photos

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These photos were taken in March of 2013. Click to enlarge.
Nearby Trails
Indian Flats TrailIndian Flats Trail
This easy half-mile hike from Indian Flats Campground explores seasonal pools in the East Fork of the San Luis Rey River.
Observatory TrailObservatory Trail
The 5.1-mile hike travels between Observatory Campground and Palomar Observatory, crossing a pleasant mountain woodland with valley views along the way.
Monserate MountainMoserate Mountain
This 4.4-mile loop begins with a 1 2/3-mile ascent that gains 1,200 feet to reach a panoramic summit and then descends along a ridge for even more views.
Kwaay Paay Peak TrailKwaay Paay Peak
This 2.5-mile hike rewards a good workout with panoramic views as it climbs to a 1,194-foot summit in Mission Trails Regional Park, just 10 miles from downtown San Diego.
Southern California TrailsMore hikes in Southern California
Explore more trails in Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego counties.
Nearby Camping
Observatory CampgroundObservatory Campground
This 42-site campground in Cleveland National Forest offers camping near the world-renowned Palomar Observatory for $15 per night.
El Cariso CampgroundEl Cariso Campground
This 24-site campground in Cleveland National Forest offers convenience camping in the Santa Ana Mountains for $15 per night, with access to nearby trails like El Cariso Nature Trail.

3 Comments on Indian Flats Campground in Cleveland National Forest

  1. CHESTER NOWICKI says:

    I understand this campground is now open. With the high winds and warm temps., will campfires be allowed this weekend of the 17th and 18th of May???

  2. Salil Chaudhry says:

    I understand it is late but still checking :) we have a group of 4-5 families (2 x 2) planning to come at Indian flats campground on fri 8/29 till sun 8/31 (checkout). Are the tent sites available?

  3. Roy Poston says:

    MANY years ago we used to be able to pistol target practice near the campground. Does anyone know if that is still allowed? We are planning a stay in the campground this week end. 11/7/’14 – 11/9/’14

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