Spicer Reservoir

spicer terrain


Spicer Meadow Reservoir

Spicer Meadows, Spicer Reservoir, Rd #7N01
Spicer Lake, Stanislaus National Forest

lake elevation 6418′
227 surface acres

public boat ramp
hiking trail around lake
more lakes nearby

Ebbetts Pass Sierra Hwy 4

Ancient volcanic peaks mix with Sierra Nevada granite rock, pine forests and fresh, clear, clean mountain water! California, of course.

Stanislaus Forest Road #7N01 leads down from Highway 4 to this popular series of alpine lakes and reservoirs. Camping, fishing, hiking and mountain biking. Sailing, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, floating and fishing are also popular water activities.

Rules of the Reservoir:
10 mph speed limit on Western Arm.
No motorized boating in Eastern Arm.
Camp only in developed Campgrounds.

NFS
2 NFS Campgrounds at west end of lake:

  • Spicer Campground (60 sites)
  • Spicer Group Camp (75 people max)
  • Campgrounds only open June-September. Some campsites at the campground are wheelchair accessible.

    Additionally, Stanislaus River Campground w/ only 8 sites, is located just off the main access road #7N01, right near the river.

    spicer lake shore

    Spicer #7N01

    Numerous smaller lakes in the region make this a hot spot for summer vacations. Union and Utica Reservoirs (both with dirt road access) are good for kayaking and canoes, while power or sail boats prefer the larger Spicer Lake. Summit Lake and Elephant Rock Lake are perfect for quite picnics and day hikes. Trails (many unmarked) connect the lakes to each other. Area gets buried with snow in winter, so these roads are generally only open half the year.

    More reservoirs and lakes nearby:
    Highland Lakes
    Mosquito Lakes
    Lake Alpine, CA
    (all along Hwy 4)

    Stanislaus National Forest Map USDA

    Stanislaus National Forest Map USDA

    Nearby mountain towns:
    ARNOLD, CA
    BEAR VALLEY, CA
    Lake Alpine, CA

    Redinger Lake

    redinger lake

    Redinger Reservoir

    south of Yosemite NP, Bass Lake, CA

    dammed lake canyon NFS sierra river sierra mountains

    Officially this lake is actually a reservoir, located in the low lands of the Sierra foothills country. Narrow, winding back roads, a way outta the way kinda spot.

    a long, narrow lake w/ steep hills, inside a tight canyon

    • canoe
    • fishing
    • hiking
    • jetski
    • kayak
    • waterski

    The San Joaquin River flows west, down from the highest granite peaks of the Sierra Nevada and into the Central Valley foothills. If you find your way off the main highway 41, exploring way back behind Bass Lake, CA – then you may consider this scenic loop to Redinger.

    off the beaten path

    Truthfully, this place is usually an afterthought, sorta near Yosemite National Park. Not exactly a top destination for tourists, but it is very accessible most anytime of the year due to low elevation.

    Spring wildflowers can be decent. Summers do get super hot here, so take that into consideration when planning your visit. Due to extreme wildfire danger, no campfires are allowed at any time.

    redinger bridge

    Lake, Reservoir, or a good wide section of the San Joaquin River w/ hydro-electric dam.

    elev. 1000′

    open camp no fires boating fish

    public boat launch ramp
    Camping is restricted to a large open area near the dam. No fee is charged. No campfires are permitted. Services limited, no drinking water or garbage pick-up available. Nearest town 7 miles away.

    NORTH FORK, CA

    Redinger Lake Road (Rd# 235) can be found south of the town of North Fork, CA. The paved route down is long, steep and winding. At the bridge crossing, the road loops to Joe Basin Road, which connects to the small community of Auberry, CA

    Way up river, a dozen plus miles, is the utterly beautiful Mammoth Pool, only accessible half the year.

    A few miles down river from Redinger, around the horse shoe bend, another neighboring reservoir called Kerschoff Lake (elev 971′) has a developed campground.

    campSmalley Cove Campground NFS

    Contact:
    Bass Lake Ranger StationNFS
    559-877-2218

    https://www.fs.usda.gov/


    Oroville Dam Emergency

    Repairs @ Oroville Dam

    spillwaycrews

    Last night the town of Oroville, California was evacuated due to an emergency at the dam. Downriver – Gridley, Marysville & Yuba City were also evacuated. And the evacuation has not yet been lifted. So today, I went for a hike over at Foreman Creek, which joins the Lake Oroville Reservoir – directly east of the dam.

    The waters edge is super high, coming up the paved access road and drowning the green grassy canyon and trees. A gaggle of geese greeted me and then swam away. I looked for the helicopters that were supposed to be working on the tallest dam in the nation. Nothing!

    foreman creek

    Although I did hear the crews working on the opposite side of the lake, I could not see them. I did not bring my binoculars, nor my tripod. Bummer.

    I sat down on the road with my Nikon Coolpix camera and began to use the digital zoom feature, which sometimes works. I had to use my knee to balance the camera so my shots would not be blurry.

    The geese decided to come back into view. With the zoom feature of my camera, I was able to make out the work vehicles that were parked on the Oroville Dam. These are the best shots of the day. Click to expand images.

    On my way back to the car I started to hear helicopters, more than one – so I do know that the crews are working hard on a plan to fix the dam. All through the night 24/7, plugging the holes on the damaged spillway with rock, boulders, debris, cement, metal, whatever they can. Timing is crucial now, cuz more rain is due in later this week!

    Several local creeks and 4 forks of the Feather River empty into Lake Oroville. Count ’em FOUR!

    We’ve had 20 something inches of rain recently in the North Sierra Nevada mountains, so this winter is helping drought conditions in NorCal, but also putting major pressure on California’s reservoirs. Recent warm storms melted snowpack at higher elevations (Lassen), which is why the dam is currently maxed out.

    gaggleofgeese
    Geese swim by, with work crews on the dam in the background.

    Polymers?

    KwikBond

    Construction materials, including plastics, have come a long way since 1968. Trucks seen rolling thru town this week include: double trailer semi rigs “rock trucks”, cement trucks, and flatbeds w/ kwik bond polymers, by the ton, coming from outta state.

    Oddly, DWR – Department of Water Resources, does not mention the POLYMERS, or shall we say “plastics”, in the recent news updates.

    “Rock, aggregate and cement slurry are being used to repair and backfill the affected areas.” (02/17/2017)

    #OrovilleDamSpillway

    DWR Spillway Updates
    http://www.water.ca.gov/oroville-spillway/index.cfm

    Lake Oroville State Park web cam
    https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=29411


    Wishon Reservoir

    Lake Wishon – Sierra NF

    Western Sierra Nevada Lake
    Central Sierra California

    lake wishon

    East of Fresno, CA
    East of Shaver Lake

    EB from Fresno, Hwy 168 up to Shaver, w/ another 30+ miles on paved backroads
    (Dinkey Creek Rd & then McKinley Grove Rd)
    Way, way back, beyond Dinkey

    You gotta really wanna BE at places like this. Magical High Sierra mountains – California’s finest. Sheer beauty surrounds this lake w/ granite domes, granite cliffs, granite trails, forests, peaks and plenty hiking, fishing, water and boating. It does take planning (way ahead) to make it out here, cuz the area is only accessible during summer months. Typical of high altitude lakes, snow buries them annually and the roads get closed off to the public (usually NOV-MAY is winter). Some backcountry routes become snowmobiling trails during winter, and the Sierra National Forest has plenty of great snomo action (if snow is deep).

    Wishon Lake, California
    elevation: 6600′

    High Sierra Granite Reservoir with pines trees and rocky, granite shoreline. Not nearly as amazing as its cousin w/ the domes to the north, Courtright, Wishon has less granite & less wind, but more accessible backroads to explore, plus more car camping options. Both lakes are part of the Helms Creek hydro-electric project (dams) that make up the PG&E water infrastructure out in these parts – The Kings River Drainage System.

    Backpacker trailheads, Woodchuck, Rancheria & Crown Valley all lead to dead end dirt roads – with nothing but solitude for miles & miles. Some might be passenger car accessible. Winter weather changes dirt road conditions (often).

    The Kings River Geological Area is nearby, as well as both the John Muir Wilderness & Dinkey Lakes Wilderness.

    Wishon Sierra Nevada

    Large Reservoir with 8,000-10,000′ high sierra mountain peaks surrounding. Pine forests, views, fishing, camping, hiking in every direction, secluded dirt roads. Perfect high elevation trailheads, next to John Muir Wilderness. Great for backpackers!

    All boating, but no waterski or jet ski.
    One public boat ramp. Fishing boat rentals available.

    WARNING: Water level changes daily.

    lake area recreation:


    Backpacking
    Boating
    Campground Camping
    Dinkey Lakes Wilderness
    Fishing
    Hiking
    Horse Pack Trips
    John Muir Wilderness
    Mountain Biking
    Primitive Camping
    Sierra National Forest
    Snowmobiling the Sierras
    Spanish Lake 4×4 Route

    bridgewishon

    Wishon is a summer vacation paradise for trout fishing, hiking, backpacking and back road exploring.

    CLOSED FOR WINTER: NOV-APRIL = Snow closes the road for winter. For all you hardcore campers and hikers, you must call ahead to see if roads are open. It is rural forest, well traveled, but snow storms will shut everything down out here (for many months). Although, in some mild winters you can drive as far as Dinkey Creek on pavement. Gates are locked beyond that.

    Central Sierra Wishon Lake Camping

    LilyPad Campground @ Wishon Lake

    Upper Kings Group Campground (by reservation only)

    helpful numbers:

    High Sierra Rangers Office: 559-855-5355
    Pineridge and Kings River Ranger Districts
    29688 Auberry Road, Prather, CA 93651

    Dinkey Creek Ranger Station
    (June thru September)
    559-841-3404

    Wishon Village RV
    66500 McKinley Grove Road, Shaver Lake, CA 93664
    559-865-5361

    Engineering

    Other places nearby


    Black Rock Lake
    Sierra Forest Road #11S12
    Courtright Lake
    Dusy Ershim 4×4 Trail

    Dinkey Creek Campground
    Dorabelle Campground
    Gigantea Campground
    McKinley Sequoia Grove
    Sawmill Campground (dirt road)

    Free, primitive or open camping abundant on the dirt backroads in Sierra National Forest. 4 wheel drive is not required for most routes, but a high clearance rig would help. Some gravel roads are graded annually and suitable for passenger cars – during summer months and only for about the first mile or two, off of the main road (pavement). Mud and snow are common on backroads!

    Aspens @ Wishon, Western Sierra
    nearby towns:
    Fresno, CA
    Huntington Lake
    Lakeshore
    Pine Flat
    Prather
    Shaver Lake

    Sierra National Forest Map
    Sierra National Forest Map
    Dinkey Lakes Map
    Dinkey Lakes Map
    John Muir Wilderness Trail Maps Sierra Nevada Topo Map

    Wilderness Wishon California

    wish on

    NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH: Wishon Sequoia
    There is another popular camp spot called Wishon, on the Western Divide Highway, much further south in the Sequoia. Wishon Campground on the Tule River in the Giant Sequoia National Monument. Just up from Springville, CA. And Bass Lake Wishon; there is another WISHON Campground at popular Bass Lake, South of Yosemite NP.

    Sawmill Lake Sierra

    primitive camp spots

    Sawmill Lake, California


    N of Donner Pass, Sierra Nevada

    elevation 5800′Canyon Creek connects Lake Faucherie, Sawmill Lake and Bowman Reservoir in the Sierra, Tahoe National Forest. 20+ miles of backroad travel, off I-80.

    While many consider Faucherie to be the most beautiful scenic lake, Sawmill Lake just downstream a couple of miles is still quite attractive – with dense forests and a granite mountain backdrop. Sawmill is especially nice for those who like to primitive camp, ouside of developed campgrounds. Way off the interstate @ Hwy 20, tucked in way back behind Bowman Lake a few miles, you can find Sawmill Lake.

    Sawmill Lake California

    Fishing and camping, kayaking and canoeing are all popular recreation around this lake. A trailhead on the northend of the lake leads out to even more alpine lakes (a day hike “lake loop” or backpacking option). The Pacific Crest Trail is also routed nearby.

    No motorized boats or watercraft allowed. No boat ramps, no pavement, no picnic tables, no bathrooms, no fees.

    4×4 Lake
    Fishing Lake
    Free Camping Lake

    The north shoreline is abundant with dispersed campsites: metal fire rings and a clearing only; no picnic tables, no toilets. Self sufficient campers only. Campfire permits, a water bucket and a shovel are required. During extreme fire restrictions campfires may not be allowed. Check with local rangers for up to date info.

    Tahoe National Forest
    Truckee Ranger Station
    530-587-3558

    National Forest Lake & Forest Lake Fishing Kayak lake hiking lake

    Most campsites are drive up and park, while others closer to the shoreline have only walk-in access. Hauling your gear down hill won’t seem unthinkable once you’ve seen the lakeside views. There is even a camp below the dam, next to the waterfall.

    waterfallfromdam

    The main access Road #843-037 is very rocky and 4x4s love to frequent the area. The backroads here are best suite for truck travel, high clearance vehicles, off-roaders and SUVs. No small RVs or trailers. Passenger cars are not recommended. The access roads around the lake and up to the lake are dusty and rugged. The road below the dam is quite rough w/ rocks.

    For more driving details, please see entry on Canyon Creek Campground.

    road at dam
    The water at Sawmill Lake is crystal clear snowmelt. The lakes around here are managed by Nevada Irrigation District, so this is why there are no engines allowed on the lake. This canyon area closes to public entry during winter months (NOV-APRIL), due to deep snow.

    clear water