Description - The Cajon Ranger District has much the same charm it had in 1851 when Captain Andrew Lytle and his company of soldiers camped at its mouth while making preparations for the settlement of San Bernardino. The desolate, open landscape is punctuated by an immense rock formation known as Mormon Rocks, one of the youngest and most active geological regions in North America. Also found within the Cajon is Cucamonga Wilderness, a pristine and rugged designated wilderness area that rises steeply from the valley floor with rock cliffs and silvered summits towering between 5,000 to 9,000 feet elevation. Chaparral, yucca, sage, seasonal streams and small mountain lakes are preserved habitat where a variety of wildlife thrives from coast horned lizards to California thrashers to bighorn sheep.
- Lytle Creek is the center of activities on the District with picnic and campground facilities near its bank. Applewhite Campground is a non-reservable site suitable for tents and RVs. Across the road is the picnic facility featuring typical picnic ground amenities, but also has swimming and fishing opportunities along with paddling enjoyment.
Anglers find pleasure in knowing Lytle Creek is usually stocked with catchable size trout every two weeks spring through fall, on the North and Middle Forks.
Hiking opportunities abound. Free hiking trail brochures are available at Ranger Stations. The Cucamonga Wilderness, which is jointly managed by the Angeles and San Bernardino National Forests, offers 12,781 acres of natural, unspoiled beauty. You can either venture into the desolate region for a day hike or camp overnight at Commanche or Third Stream Crossing. Just outside the Wilderness are two primitive sites, Stone House and the Joe Elliott area. If venturing to the Joe Elliott Memorial Tree area, be sure to enjoy one of the most popular points of interest on the District, Bonito Falls. Visitors can view this 90-foot fall from either the car or foot. Western access to the Wilderness is also available at Icehouse, Manker Flats, and Mt. Baldy.
Car touring is enjoyed along both Rim of the World National Scenic Byway and Cajon Pass Scenic Drive. Cajon Pass is oftentimes combined with Mormon Rocks Nature Trail; a venture through earthquake country! The trail offers a good view of the San Bernardino and San Gabriel Mountains as well as the Mormon Rocks.
Lytle Creek Firing Line offers year-round target shooting for visitors. See Contact Information for phone number.
Note: Summer weekends and holidays are crowded along Lytle Creek. Alternate areas for day use are Lost Lake, Swarthout Canyon, Middlefork Road, and Cucamonga Canyon. Wilderness permits required. Detail maps available for sale at Ranger Stations.
Recreation - An assortment of recreations await the outdoor recreationist: backpacking, hiking, horseback riding, camping, fishing, swimming, picnicking, and perhaps one of the most memorable recreations is sightseeing.
Forest visitors on the San Bernardino, Cleveland, Angeles and Los Padres National Forests of Southern California are required to purchase an Adventure Pass and display it on their vehicle when parked in the Forest. The cost is $5 per day or $30 per year and can be purchased in any Forest Service office or over 350 businesses throughout Southern California.
Climate - Climate on the San Bernardino varies greatly with elevation. Temperatures can be 70 degrees F in Los Angeles while only 40 degrees F at Big Bear Lake. It can snow almost any month of the year in the highest elevations. Heavy snow is possible in the high elevations during the winter months. Most of the precipitation comes between November and April so summers tend to be dry. Summer temperatures are normally warm to hot at the low elevations and more moderate at the higher elevations. Nighttime temperatures can be cool in the mountains, even during the summer months. Weather can change quickly, especially in the high elevations. Check weather forecasts and avoid storms.
The Lytle Creek area is easily accessible from Interstate 15 and Interstate 215. The Lytle Creek Ranger Station is located 5 miles north of Interstate 15 on Lytle Creek Road (take the Sierra Avenue exit north).