7N01 – Stanislaus NF

Spicer Meadow Reservoir & more lakes: Paved Forest Rd #7N01

Spicer, Utica & Union Reservoirs, Central Sierra, Stanislaus National Forest

summit lake

Stanislaus National Forest
North Fork of the Stanislaus River
Highland Creek
Carson Iceberg Wilderness Area
Spicer Meadow Reservoir (6418′ elev)
Union Reservoir (6850′ elev)
Utica Reservoir

Spicer Meadow Reservoir can also be found on various publications, listed as Spicer Meadows, Spicer Mdws, Spicer Lake and Spicer Reservoir.

tent camping

Ebbett’s Pass is California State Route (SR 4) Highway 4, which cuts thru the middle of the Sierra Nevada mountains (east-west). Wilderness peaks and rivers surround this whole region. Deep snow pack is common, so much of this region is off-limits half the year (or more). Always check with local rangers by phone before venturing out, as winter conditions can keep these roads closed late into the year.

Topo Maps of this Region:

Stanislaus National Forest Map USDA
Carson Iceberg Wilderness Map USDA
Carson, Emigrant, Mokelumne Map NatGeo
Sierra Nevada Topo Map

Wilderness Maps

N of Arnold, California; Continue up SR 4. Passing Calaveras Big Trees State Park & Camp Connell; After Big Meadow Campground, take the paved right turn for Spicer Meadow; This is forest road 7N01. Meandering thru a forest and descending in elevation, road will dead end at Spicer Reservoir.

7N01, the main paved mountain road, is located on the south side of the highway. The highway turn off reads ‘Spicer Reservoir’. Suitable for travel w/ RVs and trucks with boat trailers. Quite curvy, scenic and about 7 miles long. There are developed campgrounds in the vicinity.

The dirt side roads off the pavement can be narrow, muddy, rocky and overgrown, so be cautious when exploring. Choosing a dispersed camp site should be done during daylight hours, and will require a campfire permit ahead of time. Use an existing camp site whenever possible, instead of creating new ones.


Several man-made reservoirs attract outdoor seekers, mountain bikers, campers, canoes and fishermen. Kayakers tend to love Union and Utica, but power boats and sail boats prefer Spicer Lake.

Volcanic features mix with Sierra granite in this part of the forest, and geologic formations make for interesting hikes. Mountain biking is common around these lakes, as well as day hiking and backpacking.

Spicer Lake

NFS Campgrounds in the region: NFS

  • Stanislaus River Campground
  • Spicer Campground
  • Spicer Group Camp
  • Campgrounds only open June-September. Some campsites at the campground are wheelchair accessible. Boat ramp located near campgrounds.

    outdoor recreation:
    mountain biking

    Left fork turn off, Dirt Road #7N05 leads out to Utica & Union Reservoirs. No motorized boats allowed on those two lakes. No developed campgrounds back that way either. No RV spots; only primitive style camping.

    Another dirt road treks steeply up the hill from Union Reservoir to Lake Alpine (at the highway). That primitive truck trails is actually a (somewhat designated, but not well-signed) 4×4 route and suitable for high clearance vehicles only.

    car camping lakes

    Spur Road #7N29Y is a small dirt road which leads a couple miles into the forest, over to trailheads and primitive camping options. Ideal for accessing all the lakes (on foot) from this prime location. A fire permit is required. No water, no bathrooms, no facilities.

  • Elephant Rock Lake
  • Summit Lake (7068′ elev)
  • elephant rock

    Closest small towns are:


    lake camps

    7N01 – Los Padres NF
    There is another Forest Road in California named 7N01, but that one is a 4×4 OHV access route @ Dutchman Campground, located in south part of Los Padres National Forest. We have mention of it on the page for Frazier Park Camping.

    Lake Campgrounds

    Rancheria Falls

    Rancheria Falls, Huntington Lake, CA

    California Lake Campgrounds

    Wanna Camp at the Lake?
    (you’re not the only one)

    lakes  fishing boating mountains backroad horseback trails picnic mountain bike camps hikesnight skies

    Nothing beats fresh, cold, clean water from the California mountains, in the summertime. Find time to exit the urban rat race, soon. Escape the smoggy city life and the triple-digit heat for a road trip to the higher elevations.

    View East from Davis

    Crocker Mountain @ Lake Davis, California

    Lake Campgrounds are abundant in California, where man-made reservoirs and recreation abound. Alpine lakes in pine forests are also numerous in the west, although only accessible for a portion of the year, they draw in the campers all summer long. A majority of the small lakes are located inside the California National Forests.

    NFS State Parks

    Larger reservoirs can often be managed by California State Park system. State Parks, SRA, State Recreation Area. Suburban lake locations can be local County Parks. A few locations listed could even be desert lakes.

    Many ideal secluded lakes are only accessible with a 4WD vehicle, by foot or horseback. Super scenic, backcountry lakes are so far out – that a day hike is usually required.

    tent camp developed campground

    primitive camping primitive campsites

    RV camper trailers allowed RV campground

    hikes wilderness access


    No motorized boats, camping on west shoreline only, no fishing from the dam, catch & release?

    No access for trailers? Individual rules for each lake are different. Learn the basic before you get out there.


    Lake Campgrounds are so popular in California that many require reservations during summer. Many locations accept reservations online and we have links for those too. Other lakes are so small and remote, that only the fishermen, hikers and 4×4 gear-heads know of them.

    outdoor recreation found at or near lakes

    • backpacking
    • boating
    • camping
    • canoeing
    • creeks
    • fishing
    • floating
    • four-wheelin
    • hiking
    • horseback riding
    • house boating
    • jetski
    • kayaking
    • mountain biking
    • OHV trails
    • picnicking
    • rivers
    • river rafting
    • swimming
    • water skiing
    • waterfalls

    Silver Lake from Above

    Lake destinations listed here have some sort of campground facilities. Some may be mini resorts with boat launch, marina or bait shop/general store. RV hook-ups, maybe. Dump station, it will cost you. Usually these bigger lakes are busy centers of tourists activity with boat rentals, RV camping and certain locales are even walking distance from ‘town’.

    Fine dining is a rare find on the lakes, but some lake side restaurants (open seasonally & with limited hours) can be found. Most will require reservations, especially on the weekends.

    Other lake camps listed are literally on the edge of wilderness – with trails to the high country. The best little lakes will have one dirt road access. Below is a wide variety of lake destinations within California.


    Floating Flyfishing Tube

    Red Lake, 4×4 access (primitive, no facilities)

    and let’s not forget the ever-popular California Lake List

    Grassy Picnic Faucherie Lake

    Lake Mohave

    viewpoint mohave

    Lake Mohave NRA

    Lake Mohave National Recreation Area

    Mojave Reservoir @ Colorado River: AZ / NV / CA
    @ the V: Arizona – Nevada – California

    National Park Service

    The Colorado River travels through the southwest desert, splitting the Grand Canyon and further south, separating California from Arizona at the southern tip of Nevada. Agriculture lines the big river down to Baja, Sea of Cortez, Mex.

    Up near Las Vegas

    Above Hoover Dam is Lake Mead, red dirt and silt shorelines. South of the dam is a deep gorge w/ hike-in hot springs and then this beauty, called Lake Mohave with the super clear water, secluded coves and abundant fishing.

    Lake Mohave: elevation 647′

    Desert peaks in this region are around 2000-3000′ elevation. Mohave Lake is actually a wide section of the Colorado River, spanning the region from massive Black Canyon south to busy Laughlin w/ river casinos. This lake is long and skinny in spots with lots of shoreline cliffs, canyons and coves.

    boating, camping, fishing, hiking, hot springs, kayaking, off-road, picnics, viewpoints

    camping areas below listed from north to south

    Willow Beach RV Park & Campground
    Arizona side, off Hwy 93

    car camp mohave


    El Dorado Canyon Road, main paved route can be accessed near California’s state border. North of Searchlight, Nevada – off main highway 95, on side route 165 to Nelson, NV

    Secluded dirt roads up and down canyons near El Dorado Canyon Rd. Minimal vegetation, maximum open scenery and dark skies. Kayak rentals @ El Dorado Canyon.

    No facilities, no fees. No buildings. No campfire rings, no picnic tables, very few vault toilets. Bring your shovel!

    desert badlands erosion

    deep washes

    15 day camping limit

    Find your own route with many to choose from, drive the soft sandy washes (with a few boulders to dodge) and camp for free, right at the waters edge. Adventurers: Only for the self-contained campers. Pack it in, pack it out.

    Driving off the roads is strictly prohibited. Primitive camp sites can be found both at numerous coves and also inland inside the canyons. The ridges get windy in the deserts.

    Always know the weather forecast, cuz flash floods are possible and these dirt roads will be impassible during big rain. This is the main drainage to the big river!

    Dogs Allowed

    Most desert washes here are signed routes 4×4, but mini vans, AWD sport-wagons, trucks, SUVs, small RVs can all be found camping near Lake Mohave. That is – if you know how to ‘drive off road’, which is not fast, but not too slow either.

    Avoid getting stuck in the deep sand: keep speed up and do not brake hard. Carry tow strap in case you need an emergency pull.

    Campfires are allowed, but you need to bring firewood. Dogs are allowed. Party animals tend to trash these desert coves, so be warned that there is a fair amount of litter. Bring a black trash bag and take some out! This trash problem could get the area closed off to vehicles so keep that in mind.

    The canyons here have giant power lines that cross @ Aztec Wash; they can easily be avoided.

    montana wash

    primitive camping 4x4 camping boat camping

    4×4 recommended @ MOHAVE:

    Eagle Wash Road #46 – popular spot
    Montana Wash #45 – camping ok
    Placer Wash #47 – no camping

    The NPS rangers don’t wanna be pulling your ass out of the sand, which is why they post the 4×4 signs. Don’t expect to find help without walking a few miles first.


    RV camp campground marina

    developed campground, boat launch, marina, lodging, hiking, picnic areas

    Cottonwood Cove Resort
    near Searchlight, NV

    primitive camping boat camping RV camp campground marina

    Nevada, California and Arizona states join down in this part of the world. Katherine Landing, full service marina, slip rentals, lodging, city services and casinos.

    Lake Mohave Resort

    clearest water

    Lake Mohave NRA
    NPS Headquarters
    601 Nevada Way
    Boulder City, NV 89005
    Visitor Center open daily

    maps of the region:

    Lake Mohave Map (South) PDF

    Boulder City River Map PDF

    Nat Geo Map Mead


    Recreation Map of Lake Mead, Lake Mohave & Lake Havasu, w/ Hoover Dam & Parker

    Hiking Las Vegas Book


    This Mojave Desert river-created lake is located on the Colorado River, in between Las Vegas, Nevada and Needles, California

    nearby towns: (with elevation)

    Bullhead City, AZ (540′)
    Laughlin, NV (535′)
    Kingman, AZ (3340′)
    Nelson, NV (2954′)
    Nipton, CA (3042′)
    Searchlight, NV (3470′)

    1N02 – San Berdu NF

    Heart Bar Camps

    Heart Bar Camp: Forest Road #1N02 – San Bernardino National Forest

    Heartbar Campground, Hear Bar Horse Camps, RV Dispersed Sites, Coon Creek Cabin. SE of Big Bear Lake; Hiking & Equestrian Trails

    Hwy 38 , the long way into Big Bear Lake, up thru Angelus Oaks CA. Heartbar Campground is a developed recreation area, right up front. 94 camp sites, plus the recreation goes on & on. Big equestrian area. Picnic, hiking, mountain biking, horseback trails, plenty RV spots, even a creek. (Oooops I meant the Santa Ana River)

    Heart Bar is large pine valley w/ alpine meadows, great camping, San Gorgonio looms overhead with ridges of 10,000′ elevation.

    Heart bar campsites

    Forest Service Rd #1N02 – the dirt road is graded & maintained. Many of these roads can close due to heavy snows or rock slides. Best traveled in the warmer months. Winter can be questionable with open road access. Large open sites, with tables & moderately level dirt access. Seen RV campers way back here. RV’s beyond 30′ are not recommended in the last half of Heartbar Road. At end of this 5 mile route is a hiking trail to Big Morongo Canyon & also, a really neat historic place called the Coon Creek Cabin.

    Coon Creek Cabin

    Totally worth a visit, if you plan on driving to the end of the road – just for the heck of it. Cabin area can be reserved for small group camping in summer months.

    COON CREEK CABIN reservations

    San Bernardino forest maps:

    nearby Big Bear mountain communities:

  • Angelus Oaks CA
  • Big Bear City CA
  • Big Bear Lake CA
  • Forest Falls CA
  • Sierra Nevada Lakes

    Crystal Clear Faucherie

    California Sierra Lakes
    Sierra Lake Destinations
    Sierra Lake Campgrounds

    One of the best physical features about California is the amount of lakes and reservoirs it holds – in the mountains, foothills and the canyons, throughout the state.

    recreational lakes – Huge, dammed reservoirs to the secluded, alpine lakes in the high country and all the variations in between.


    There are literally thousands of lakes located within the Sierra Nevada mountains and it would be ridiculous to try to list them all here. Many of them can only be reached by hiking into Wilderness.

    Most California lakes are popular and well known recreation spots, but others are secluded – if you drive far and long enough back on the dirt road. Some do not allow motorized boats and most do allow fishing and swimming. Some have campsites on the waters edge, while other camps are up on a hill over looking the lake.

    Below listed are some Sierra lakes that allow camping on the lakeshore or nearby. Most campgrounds are suitable for RVs, tent camping, and some may require 4 wheel drive to reach them. bass lake

    huntington lake

    Total Escape has several hundred more lakes & obscure camps listed under Almanor, Lakes Basin, Secluded Lakes, Yosemite Lakes, Tahoe & the Eastern Sierra Lakes page.

    Or just check the tag for Lakes & Reservoir

    sierra lakes