Camping & Cabins

Choose from the following to find a site:



The Cleveland National Forest does not manage any cabin rentals. If you are looking to rent a cabin on or near the forest, please contact the nearest Chamber of Commerce or rental agency.

Remote Camping

You may camp a maximum of 14 consecutive days in a calendar year.

All 3 Ranger districts offer remote camping, also known as “dispersed camping”, where camping outside of developed campgrounds is an option. Please note: wood or charcoal fires are never allowed outside of developed campgrounds or picnic sites on the Cleveland National Forest, but portable stoves or lanterns that use gas, kerosene, jellied petroleum or pressurized liquid fuel are permitted unless elevated fire conditions prohibit their use in identified locations.

  • Descanso - permit required for areas outside of the Laguna Recreation Area.(619-445-6235)
  • Palomar - permits required for all backcounty locations, contact District Office for desirable locations.(760-788-0250)
  • Trabuco - allowable only in the San Mateo Canyon Wilderness, permit required. (951-736-1811)

Download the Dispersed Camping Wilderness Permit for the Palomar and Descanso Permit. San Mateo Wilderness Permit. You Must download filled out permit form and email to the desired district. Please allow 2 day for processing. Permits needed for the weekend should be submitted by COB on Thursday. Email compleated permit forms for the Palomar Ranger District to  Descanso Ranger District  Trabuco Ranger District

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities