Tag Archives: elevation

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.

22S05 – Sequoia NF

Sherman’s Pass Road: J41 Mojave to Sequoia Forest Rd# 22S05

Sequoia National Forest

sherman snows
Snow Closes Sherman’s Pass

This paved Southern Sierra highway (aka J41, off US 395) is a paved route thru the eastern portion of the Sequoia National Forest. A curvy mountain corridor which crosses over the South Fork of the Kern River, and skirts the Domeland Wilderness & the South Sierra Wilderness. East side of Sequoia National Forest, the Kern Plateau meets the Mojave desert w/ BLM Camping & Inyo National Forest.

22s05 snowy
The Sherman route connects the Kern River, near Fairview to Kennedy Meadows & closes for snow in winter months. There are plenty seasonal creeks, meadows & forests in this region. Elevations range from 4000′ near the Kern River to 8000′ at Black Rock Station.

BIG MEADOW
Horse Meadow Campground
Long Valley Campground
Chimney Creek Campground
Chimney Peak Backcountry Byway

Bald Mountain Fire Lookout is an excellent stop for sightseeing over Domeland Wilderness. Access it via dirt road# 22S77

Steep Grades

Ranger Stations:
Black Rock Station
760-376-1666

Snowy Springs

Campgrounds along Sherman’s Pass Road include –

  • Rincon Camp (primitive campsite) – just up from Brush Creek & Kern River; Rincon Trail #33E23 runs North/South near here.
  • Big Meadow / Horse Meadow Campground
  • Troy Meadows Campground
  • Fish Creek Campground
  • Kennedy Meadows Campground

westbound

nearby towns:

FAIRVIEW
KENNEDY MEADOWS
KERNVILLE
RIVERKERN

Snag Lake California

Snag Lake California

Lakes Basin Recreation Area
Snag Lake


A free lake camp in between Truckee & Quincy, CA

This is one of many small lakes situated within the Lakes Basin Recreation Area , in the Northern Sierra Nevada mountains. Just north of Downieville & Historic Gold Country. Snag Lake is nothing special compared to the rest of the scenic lakes close by, but it is worth a mention due to a few fun facts.

Sierra Nevada Lake

One thing this small lake campground does have is convenience, located right on the Gold Lake Highway – next to Goose Lake, plus hiking distance to the largest of the lakes, Gold Lake. The second feature is the campground is small, 16 primitive sites, picnic tables & one vault toilet. The third thing is that this is a FREE campground; no charge.

campsite snag lake

Snag Lake Campground

• Elevation: 6600′
• Number of Sites: 16
• Vehicle Accessibility: Small RVs
• Campsites Reservation: No
• Camp Fee: No
• Length of Stay: 14 Days
• Season: June – October
• Trailheads: Gold Lake

Boulder Hopping

dirt drive (no pavement)

No motorized boats allowed. No paved boat ramps. Kayaks & canoes can hand launch from several spots. The dirt driveway is easily missed, especially at night. The old wooden, forest service sign is not reflective. The vault toilet is close to the highway and the camp sites are along the lake edge. No pavement anywhere!

Upon arrival, camper trailers will want to get out and select the best route to a camp site. The small boulders, dead trees, root and rock obstacles are abundant on the dirt road entry, all around the campground, and at each camp site. High clearance vehicles would fair best at this camp, but some passenger cars may be able to manage the rocky entrance. Get out and look at the road, before scraping across the biggest rock. Slowly, carefully, maybe… and preferably an arrival before dark.

LOCALS TIP: The wind tends to pick up at night around these lakes, so brace your tent well and position your vehicle appropriately.

NFS lake camping lake fishin hiking lakes lakes

fishing lake?

rainbow trout

Obviously with a name like SNAG, you can imagine that the fishing here is not the best, since roots and old tree stumps make up a good portion of the shoreline. Luckily there are a dozen alpine lakes within a 20 mile radius to choose from for another fishing spot. Some lakes are hike-in only, some require 4×4 to reach and others have cabin resorts.

towns nearby –

  • Downieville
  • Gold Lake
  • Quincy, CA
  • Sierra City, CA
  • Sierraville, CA
  • Truckee, CA
  • sierra snow

    SEASONAL SNOW CLOSURES

    snowmobile
    Gold Lake Hwy (or Gold Lake Road) closes in the winter months (NOV-APRIL) due to snow and the region is used as a winter recreation area. Cross-country skiing and snow-mobiling are both popular activities.

    SIERRA LAKES


    4×4 lakes
    backpacking lake
    camping lakes
    canoeing lake
    fishing lakes
    hiking lake
    kayaking lakes
    waterfalls

    Cold Creek Campground

    Cold Creek Camp

    Truckee Campgrounds, Tahoe NF

    Cold Creek Campground: N of Truckee, CA

    DSCN0046

    A small developed campground along forested Highway 89, with raging creek, fishing spots, and hiking trails and mountain biking trails nearby. Paved, level camp sites, small RVs okay w/ access to the numerous Sierra Nevada destinations with several lakes and reservoirs nearby.

    This is a popular overnight stop “in route” for many campers and bikers traveling further on to the Northern Sierra Nevada mountains. You can exit off Interstate 80 @ Truckee, and be at this camp in minutes. Car camp, tent camping, a few spaces for small motorhomes. Plenty hiking and mountain biking trails.

    Cold Creek Campground, California

    on the Cold Stream;
    Campground open May-October
    (depending on snow)

    High Sierra / Tahoe Truckee Camping

    13 camp sites on Cold Stream @ 5800′ elevation; vault toilets, river and piped water, bear boxes; first come, first served camping

    Max Camper Length: 22′

    Rangers Office: 530-265-4531

    The highway traffic noise makes this place a ‘short and sweet’ one nighter top pick, great for those camping in route to another destination. Another developed camp is on the opposite side of the highway, less than a mile north called Cottonwood Campground.

    Free Camping nearby.
    If you are seeking primitive camping near this area, start with Little Truckee Summit at the lakes turn off road on SR 89 – about 2 miles south of the Cold Creek Campground.

    Tahioe USDA MapTake Tahoe Forest Road #5, a major paved road, approximately 12 miles back to the big meadows. Look for the unsigned dirt roads on left side of road nearing Webber Lake. The largest lake in the region, Independence Lake, is a paved side route off to the south. Further back on Road #5 the pavement ends at Jackson Meadows Reservoir. Very rough rocky road out to Bowman Lake w/ several developed campgrounds in the vicinity.

     

    Tahoe trailheads lead out to –
    alpine fishing lakes
    mountain peaks
    Treasure Mountain 7085′
    Tahoe National Forest 
    OHV Area @ Prosser Reservoir

    NEARBY TOWNS:

    ROAD CONDITIONS:

    Tahoe and Truckee are known for their brutal winters and deep snows pack. Call CalTrans ahead of your departure if you are even slightly expecting any kind of precipitation. Truckee – winter road conditions

     


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    Castle Crags Wilderness

    NorCal Hiking
    Castle Crags State Park
    CastleCrags Wilderness

    12,232 acres
    Northern California Mountains
    South of Dunsmuir, CA
    Interstate 5
    exit #724 – Castella

    backpacking, camping, creek fishing, hiking, mountaineering, lakes, rock climbing, snowshoeing, swimming, waterfalls

    About an hour north of Redding, you can see those impressive peaks off to the left above the lush forest. Way up off the west side of I-5, lies a hiking paradise of scenic lakes, waterfalls and wildflowers. Opposite the freeway from Mount Shasta; Just south of Lake Siskiyou.castle crags

    Castle Crags Wilderness neighbors the Castle Crags State Park, which is surrounded by Shasta-Trinity National Forest. This area is named for 6,000′ tall glacier-polished peaks and pointed crags. Due to their relatively low elevation, year-round recreation, hiking, backpacking, and rock climbing are popular spring through fall. Snowshoeing near Castle Lake is excellent.

    Castle Crags State Park
    530-235-2684

    Castle Crags State Park Campground
    76 developed campsites
    6 environmental campsites

    Max Camper Length: 27′
    Max Trailer Length: 21′

    28 miles of hiking trails (2.7 mi access trail to Castle Crags Wilderness)
    The Pacific Crest Trail also passes through the park.
    Dogs not allowed on park trails.

    Shasta-Trinity National Forest
    Mount Shasta Ranger District
    204 West Alma
    Mt. Shasta, CA 96067
    530-926-4511

    Climbing at the Crags:
    the Cosmic Wall & beyond

    regional history: The northwest area contains the largest glacial cirque, Castle Lake, which is near where the Modoc War’s 1855 Battle of Castle Crags took place. Now a historical landmark, the battle was fought on a ridge saddle between the lake and what is known as Battle Rock. The Wintu tribe inhabited the area, they called the crags the Abode of the Devil and the Spanish explorers called it Castle del Diablo (Castle of the Devil.) read more on wiki

    nearby towns –

     


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    Lily Pad Campground

    Lilypad Campground @ Lake Wishon Reservoir
    Sierra National Forest, California

    The long journey up the mountain into the Sierra National Forest is only for the true adventure seekers. First off, get a good forest map. Second, plan several days if not a full week off of work to explore this region in depth. It is a long drive from most anywhere in California, and this spot is way, way tucked back in there right up against the High Sierra peaks and wildness.

    East of in Fresno, historic village of Clovis is a good lunch stop in route. Drive up mountain on Hwy. 168, turn right at Shaver Lake on to Dinkey Creek Rd. Now you will clock the mileage 28.7 miles to the camp. Drive past McKinley Grove and past Dinkey Creek. Follow signs to Wishon Reservoir. This campground is located adjacent to the road before you reach the dam.

    All this travel time will have you asking ‘is it worth it’? The answer is ‘yes’….. if you want an uncrowded lake with plenty of wilderness surrounding you. Granite rock and forest all around. Lake Wishon is a hydroelectric reservoir operated by PG&E

    Lily Pad Campground

    Central Sierra Camping – Wishon Lake

    High Sierra Rangers Office: 559-855-5355

    • Elevation: 6,500′
    • Number of Sites: 15
    • Camping Reservations: No
    • Sites Available: First come, First serve
    • Vehicle Accessibility: 35′ limit on RVs & trailers
    • Length of Stay: 14 Days
    • Toilet: Vault
    • Water: Piped
    • Season: Closed in Winter Snow
    • Fee: Yes

    camp sites at lake

    Large granite boulder coves provide cubby-hole privacy w/ shady trees and well spaced camp sites. Very unique design with paved driveways, adequate for handicapped camping with some sites with better access than others. 4 camp sites are considered walk-in sites.

    Lake views from camps are only a mere climb up to the top of the nearest granite, which will show you just how close you are sleeping to the big water.

    As with any Sierra location, holiday and summer weekends are the most busy. Tourists, family campers and RVers are all out enjoying the sunshine. Mid-week camping is good for fishing, relaxing w/ peace and quiet. Off season is best for having the place to yourself.

    Outdoor recreation in the area include – hiking, camping, backpacking, rock climbing, mountaineering, sightseeing, kayaking, canoeing, mountain biking, off-roading, creek fishing, lake fishing.

     

    Neighboring Wishon Village has a small general store, RV park w/ wifi & boat rentals.