If you're seeking a great place to stay while you explore the Los Padres National Forest, look no further than the Wheeler Gorge Campground in Ohai, California. Campers will have unparalleled mountain views during their stay, and the flow of a nearby stream provides a beautiful sound to fall asleep to. The campground can accommodate RVs up to 35 feet, and the parking spurs are paved. Doggos can accompany their humans for a camping adventure at Wheeler Gorge, but they're required to remain on-leash.
Boy Scouts built this campground more than 100 years ago, and there's still a historic stone house on-site. Each campsite at Wheeler Gorge is equipped with a picnic table and a campfire ring with a grill. Please note that the Los Padres National Forest updated its fire restrictions in August 2018; you will need a California Campfire Permit to use gas-powered stoves and lanterns.
The daily rate for a spot at Wheeler Gorge is $25, but if you'd just like to visit the area for a day, you'll pay a $10 fee. Visitors must bring their own drinking water and firewood and remove their own waste. At 10 PM each night, the campground's gate is locked, so be sure to arrive before then and make sure your visitors leave before it's closed.
At the upper end of the campground, the Wheeler Gorge Nature Trail begins, and this 0.5-mile path is dog-friendly. There's a creek near the campground with a small swimming hole that makes for a great place to cool off on hot summer days when the campground is busiest. Some anglers try their luck catching trout in the stream, but the water isn't stocked with fish. Kayaking and canoeing aren't allowed in the creek, but if you're looking for something to do, there are ranger-led activities every month of the year. If the swimming hole isn't cutting it, you can head to the ocean in Ventura, which is just 20 miles away.
If you plan to visit on the weekend, a minimum two-night stay is required, and a three-night stay is required for holiday weekends. You can book your spot at Wheeler Gorge as soon as three days before your trip or up to six months in advance.