Crystal Lake, Blue Ridge: Camp spot picks from ‘The Hiking Guy’

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“You wouldn't think of LA as a camping spot, but there's really tremendous diversity … with the mountains and Angeles National Forest. We have campsites on the coasts like in Laguna and Malibu. And then you can go camping on Catalina or the Channel Islands,” says Cris Hazzard, “The Hiking Guy.” Photo by Shutterstock.

Cris Hazzard is known as “The Hiking Guy,” but he does all things outdoors. As LA prepares for a heat wave, he gives tips on where to camp and hike in the Southland.

Crystal Lake: “It's a really big campground in Angeles National Forest. A lot of it's first come, first served. You can park there; there's a little general store. And there's lots of great trails. You can hike up to Mount Islip and Windy Gap, and it's a good way to dip your toe into hiking [and camping] here in SoCal.”

Blue Ridge and Guffy: “They're just west of Wrightwood. … You're on the north side of basically the canyon that separates the mountain where you are with Mount Baldy, and they’re really peaceful, they’re really mellow. You get these epic views of the high mountains. And it's right on the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) too, so you can do some little hikes.”

Mount Pacifico: “It's hike-in only. And the campground is right on top of the mountain. And it's not a long hike, you can basically go up a forest service road, but you're camping on a mountain summit. And there's a vault toilet, there are some basic facilities. But it's a beautiful one that you have a chance to go to now without having to deal with cars.”

Barton Flats and Serrano: “If you go up towards Big Bear, there's some good ones … on the lake there. Those can be a little bit cooler a little bit higher up.”

One thing to be aware of: “The bugs are pretty intense because of all the moisture we had, so bring your head net or be prepared to duck into your tent or have a fire just to keep the bugs away.”