Heaton Flats was the campsite that turned me into the camper I am. I went in November 2011. The weather was freezing! I knew nothing about camping! But I fell in love with the tall trees, the stream filled with gold prospectors, and the hike to get to the spot.
Heaton Flats is in Angeles National Forest in the San Gabriel mountains off East Fork Road. You basically drive until the road ends. There is a parking lot that fills up by 7:00am on the weekends by hikers- mostly hiking to “The Bridge to Nowhere”- a popular bungee jumping spot. You follow the dirt road (with no vehicle access except the ranger) about 1/2 mile down to Heaton Flats- the first campground you come to.
There you will find about 4-5 campsites. There are no picnic tables or outlined spots but there are sometimes manmade fire pits (even though fires are prohibited). An outhouse is within walking distance and two dumpsters are provided. Other than that, you’re on your own. That’s what I like about this spot- you have to pack a stove, carry your chair, and it feels as close to backpacking as possible (while you still aren’t out in the woods completely).