4th of July Q&A

4th of July Fireworks in Big Bear, CA

As every year proves, the Fourth of July in San Bernardino National Forest is a fun, but busy holiday. Festivities will be happening within many of the forest communities, from Wrightwood to Big Bear to Idyllwild. Below are a handful of the most common questions we receive. If your question is not answered here, ask in the comments!

Can we bring fireworks?

Fireworks of any kind are not allowed on National Forest lands. Not even those considered “safe and sane.” And, yes, that even means bringing and using a sparkler at a campground is prohibited. The fire risk is just too real.

What will traffic be like?

Although the Fourth of July is on a Wednesday this year, traffic delays can be expected throughout the whole week, including the weekend before and after. Leave yourself enough time to get to your destination. And if you arrive early, we hope you enjoy the extra time in the forest!

Which campgrounds have first-come, first-serve sites?

A number of the forest’s campgrounds have first-come, first-serve sites (also referred to as a walk-in site). The below is a list of campgrounds with walk-in sites, but, as you may know, campgrounds fill up fast, especially around holidays. Make sure to click on the links before heading out for pertinent details (e.g. dirt road access, minimum night stays for holiday weekends, number of walk-in sites).

Last, but not least, all Yellow Post Site areas--13 in all--around the forest are first-come, first-serve. These sites are semi-developed, meaning they usually have a picnic table and a fire ring, but no bathroom or water facilities. And most are accessed by dirt road, so high-clearance vehicles are recommended. To find areas where Yellow Post Sites are located, look for them on this list.

Note: We do not keep a real-time list of walk-in availability and all group campgrounds are reservation only.

Can I have a fire in the campground?

As of June 29, 2018 (when this Q&A was published), fires are allowed in developed campgrounds in Forest Service-provided fire rings.

The same goes for Yellow Post Sites if there’s a Forest Service-provided fire ring (no rock rings or personal rings allowed). If there is one and you want to use it, the group must have a California Campfire Permit, which is also required for using gas or propane stoves. Get the permit online or at a visitor center.

If you’re dispersed camping, using a gas or propane stove also requires the California Campfire Permit. Ground fires are never allowed, not even with a rock ring or personal fire ring.

What are the road conditions?

High-clearance vehicles are always recommended on the dirt roads of the San Bernardino National Forest. Expect rocks and ruts. Although low-clearance vehicles can navigate some areas, we never recommend them for dirt road travel.

Use the forest Motor Vehicle Use Map to know which Forest Service roads are open to the public and to which type of vehicle.

Photo courtesy Big Bear Chamber of Commerce via Flickr under a Creative Commons License.