Kirkwood Lake

Kirkwood Lake Campground

kirkwood granite

Central Sierra Nevada mountains
Kirkwood Lake is west of Kirkwood Ski Resort;
west of Silver Lake @ Carson Pass Hwy 88

Kirkwood, CA
El Dorado National Forest

Inside the granite maze of rock known as Caples Creek, you may find this small lake, just off the highway. Paved access camp ideal for quiet weekends – fish, hike, stargaze and relax. Snow is deep in these parts of the Sierra, so the campground closes annually for winter.


No motor boats
No RV or motorhomes
No horse trailers

Small Camping Lake

Kirkwood Campground

• Elevation: 7,600′
• Number of Sites: 12
• Vehicle Accessibility: No RVs
• Campsites Reservation: No
• Campsite Fee: Yes
• Length of Stay: 14 Days
• Season: June – October
• hiking trailheads, fishing, swimming, kayaking, canoe, rock climbing

Bears are active in this region, so use the metal bear boxes provided to store all food items.

Canoe Lakes

Extra precautions should be taken with human waste around fragile eco systems, like lakes and meadows. Use the new bathroom, instead of the bushes (or granite crack).

new toilets

new toilets

pipe drinking water

piped drinking water, a camp luxury

El Dorado Camping

Primitive Camping in El Dorado County

Camping Rivers

More & more people are venturing off the beaten touristy path of Gold Country. Getting outta the developed campgrounds to discover the joys of dispersed back woods camping is a new adventure, not to be taken lightly.

With truck or SUV ownership come some great rewards! Order a good map & go find some dirt roads. Waterfalls, dense forests, secluded creekside camp sites & more await you. Obtaining a camp fire permit is mandatory for this style of camping. Campfires are often banned in California, due to extreme wildfire danger. Since the gold mining foothills are usually oak and dry grass, with large steep river canyons, extra caution should be given. Always know the fire conditions before you build a campfire. Caldor Camping

Discover the hidden back roads: like Caldor Road off of Grizzly Flat Rd. – up above Placerville CA

Hey, now this is what we’re talking about. Plenty great dispersed camping down by the Cosumnes River & Consumnes Mine Rd. There are hundreds of miles of small roads to discover back behind this historic mining area. Rivers, waterfalls & decent fishing too. Make sure you clean up some litter. This is the only price you pay for the beauty, serenity, peace & quiet & no neighbor campers next to you.

Out exploring these parts, you may run into a dead end road that peters out at some Private Property, which is usually signed & fenced. Make nice with the old crazy miner dude & turn your ass around politely, everything will be okay as soon as you are not within gun shot of him. Yes, there still are plenty of small time mining experts tucked away back here in the hills.

river camping
Premium and secluded river side camp sites in El Dorado National Forest

Plenty creeks and rivers run throughout this central Sierra region, so you can fish all day – until your hearts desire. River rafting and river kayaking opportunities are also great reasons to get wet.

Several mountain reservoirs around offer camping and boating too. Eldorado lakes are listed below.

CAMPGROUND RESERVATIONS

  • Caples Lake @ Carson Pass
  • Ice House Reservoir
  • Jenkinson Lake – US Hwy 50
  • Kirkwood Lake
  • Lower Bear River Res. – South Shore Campground
  • Salt Springs Reservoir
  • Silver Lake @ Carson Pass
  • Union Valley Reservoir
  • nearby towns –

    El Dorado Forest Maps –

    Silver Lake @ Carson

    silkysilver

    Silver Lake @ Carson Pass

    (Alpine Co)

    7250′ elev.
    on Highway 88 near Carson Pass, California
    El Dorado National Forest
    near Kirkwood Ski Resort & the Bear River

    Large, granite, alpine lake in the Central Sierra Nevada Mountains. Abundant trout fishing, swimming, camping, boating, hiking, floating, kayaking, picnic sites, and high altitude backpacking trailheads. Shoreline fishing is just as good as by boat. Fishing boats can be rented at Kit Carson Lodge.

    granitesilver

    The high altitude location makes this a winter wonderland half the year w/ snow ski resorts nearby! It is an awesome summertime family vacation destination as well. Fishing is excellent through Autumn months. Campgrounds close up shop in October, generally when the snow starts. High Sierra – Deep snow pack means they will not reopen until May (at the earliest).

    Carson is major Sierra Pass highway, but it closes for big snows, so always check CalTrans before you make the drive up the mountain. Carson Pass is California State Route 88, which connects the Gold Country (on the western slopes) to the South Lake Tahoe region (on the eastern border), near Nevada.

    Check Current Highway Conditions
    dot.ca.gov/cgi-bin/roads.cgi?roadnumber=88
    Cal Trans 800-427-7623

    Silver Lake Day Use Areas

    fishing lakes picnic grounds fishing lakes boat ramp

    These areas listed below are operated by El Dorado Irrigation District and they do charge a day-use fee for many of the amenities provided. Boat Launch fee? Yep. Parking fee? Maybe. Picnic stop! How much? Eat fast!

    • Ferguson Point is located on the north shore of Silver Lake: 10 picnic tables & vault toilets.
    • Sandy Cove is on NW shore of Silver Lake: Wheel-chair access to lake edge, 5 picnic tables, piped water & vault toilets.
    • Oyster Creek Rest Area, up along Highway 88, 1 mile NE of Silver Lake: 10 picnic tables & vault toilets.

    kaysresortsign

    Historic Memories: Camp Minkalo, Camp Silverado & Kays Silver Lake Resort are all closed now.

    National Forest Campgrounds in this lake vicinity:

    East Silver Lake Campground – 62 sites
    West Silver Lake Campground – 42 sites
    Kirkwood Lake Campground – 12 sites

    CAMPGROUND RESERVATIONS

    campground RV campground

    Silver Lake Campground NFS

    • Elevation: 7200′
    • Number of Sites: 62
    • Vehicle Accessibility: RV 30′
    • Campsite Reservations: Yes
    • Camp Fee: Yes
    • Toilet: Vault
    • Length of Stay: 14 Days
    • Season: June – October
    • Trailheads: Hidden Lake, Sandy Cove

    NFS
    El Dorado National Forest
    Amador Ranger District
    26820 Silver Drive
    Pioneer, CA 95666
    209-295-4251

    silver from highway

    Older lodges, resorts, camps and cabins at Silver Lake were mainly built in the 1920s, while the oldest resort dates back to the mid 1800s. Wow, how cool is that! Much history in this mountain region w/ Kit Carson Emigrant Trail, all stories totally worth exploring.

    Kit Carson Lodge
    Rustic Silver Lake Cabins & Restaurant
    kitcarsonlodge.com
    209-258-8500

    Historic Plasse’s Resort
    One of the Oldest Camps in the USA
    plassesresort.com
    209-258-8814

    Gold Miners

    See all Silver Lakes in California

    Group Campgrounds El Dorado

    Group Campgrounds in El Dorado National Forest

    CAMPGROUND RESERVATIONS

    group campground elev sites veg toilet water notes
    Bear River Campground @ Lower Bear Reservoir 6000′ 3 pines vault piped boating, fishing
    Black Oak Campground @ Stumpy Meadows Lake 4400′ 4 oaks vault lake boating, fishing
    Loon Lake Group Site 6500′ 3 pines vault lake equestrian
    Middle Meadows Campground near Hell Hole Reservoir 4700′ 2 pines vault piped fishing
    Red Fir Campground @ Loon Lake 6500′ 1 pines vault pipd handicap access
    Wench Creek Group @ Union Valley Reservoir 4900′ 2 oaks flush piped fishing

    see more about El Dorado National Forest, California

    nearby towns –

    El Dorado Forest Maps –