Area Status: Temporarily Closed
Middle Lion Campground is surrounded by chaparral covered mountains, shaded by cottonwood trees and is next to a peaceful stream.
Facilities: Middle Lion has eight campsites, which are all first-come, first-served. They are located along a single loop, close to a creek. Tables, barbecue grills and/or fire rings are provided in each site. There is a vault toilet in the campground. There is no drinking water at this site. You must bring your own water.
Points of Interest Middle Lion Campground is particularly beautiful in the fall. As the trees change color, you will find yourself surrounded by vibrant yellow hues! If you enjoy hiking there are several trails for you to choose from near the campground.
The Lion Canyon Trail (22W06) starts at the back of the campground. After 1.3 miles you will reach the Rose Lion Connector Trail (22W16) on the right. After 0.6 miles you can take side trails to East Fork Lion Camp, which is within the Sespe Wilderness, or West Fork Lion Camp. The main trail continues 3.6 miles to Nordhoff Ridge for spectacular views. No mountain bikes are allowed in the wilderness.
One mile away on the Rose Valley Road (6N31) is the Piedra Blanca trailhead where are three trails to explore. All three trails are located across Sespe Creek. The Gene Marshall-Piedra Blanca National Recreation Trail (22W03) in the Sespe Wilderness will lead you to nearby massive white rocks, called Piedra Blanca! It is an easy walk for the first three miles.
Another trail, the Sespe River Trail (20W13) will lead you downstream into the Sespe Wilderness. You will find some swimming holes along this walk. Remember, no mountain bicycles allowed on wilderness trails. If you would like to go on a mountain bicycle ride, take the Middle Sespe Trail (22W04) that leads up river 8 miles to the west to Middle Sespe Trailhead.
Fire Use: Middle Lion Campground is a "Campfire Use Site." Campfires are normally permitted year around without a California Campfire Use Permit. Under some conditions, wood fires and barbecues may be prohibited in all areas of the national forest. Fires at Middle Lion Campground are only permitted in fire rings provided by the Forest Service.
At a Glance
||March 4, 2014 - State Route 33 will remain closed for at least the next two weeks for public safety, due to an unstable rock slide. The slide is just north of the Sespe Gorge area, and will be rock scaled to remove all the loose boulders that has the potential of falling onto the traffic lanes. In addition, there will be ongoing work to remove small slides and debris within the entire closure area.
The closure parameters will still be Wheeler Gorge Campground on the south end, and Lockwood Valley Rd. on the north end.
Reservations are not accepted. All campgrounds are on a first come, first served basis.
Adventure Pass An Adventure Pass is required to camp or recreate at Middle Lion Campground. It is part of the Rose Valley Lake High Impact Recreation Area.
The Pass must be displayed on visitors’ vehicles and is available in two forms: a Daily Pass for$5.00 and an Annual Pass, good for one year from month of purchase for $30.00.
||Adventure Pass ($5/day or $30/year), or Annual Interagency Pass, Senior Interagency Pass, or Interagency Access Pass.
To get there simply, follow Highway 33 north of Ojai for 14.7 miles to the Rose Valley Road turnoff (6N31) which is at mile marker 25.84. Turn right and follow the paved road 4.8 miles. Turn right and go 0.8 miles to Middle Lion Campground. The elevation is 3250 feet. Watch out for the rough sections of road.