Central Valley Reservoirs

California’s Central Valley Recreational Lakes & Reservoirs

CAMPGROUND RESERVATIONS

boatingcampingRV campshiking fishing

(listed from north to south)

North State Sacramento Valley

Black Butte Reservoir
Stony Gorge Reservoir
East Park Reservoir
Lake Berryessa
Lake Oroville SRA
Thermalito Forebay
New Bullards Bar
Collins Lake

Sunset at the Lake
Oak foothills of the Historic Gold Country, at the edge of the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Central Sacramento & California Delta

Central Valley / San Joaquin

Lake Amador
Lake Camanche
Pardee Reservoir
New Hogan Lake
New Melones Lake
Woodward Reservoir
Salt Spring Valley Reservoir
Lake Tulloch
Don Pedro Lake
Turlock Lake SRA
Modesto Reservoir
Lake McClure
San Luis Reservoir SRA
Eastman Lake
Hensley Lake
Mariposa Lakes
Millerton Lake SRA
Redinger Lake
Pine Flat Reservoir
Lake Kaweah
Lake Success
Buena Vista Reservoir

Trimmer Boat Ramp

Walk-In Camp Site at Lake

Kaweah Sequoia Sierra

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 –

    Bear in California

    California Black Bears

    California Black Bears

    Although the grizzly bear image graces the state flag, grizzlies were killed off during the gold rush days. Black bears are found in California mountains and foothills, down to lowest elevations in NorCal. California black bears come in more than one color –  light brown, cinnamon, dark brown, and of course, black. For the most part, bears usually stay away from people.

    Some areas are more prone to bear problems due in large part to the overpopulation of tourists and abundance of food provided by them. Certain California National Parks are particularly notorious for their brazen bear populations. Concentrated bear problems are sometimes posted so be very aware.

    Bear Habitat

    Follow some simple rules:

    • Keep a very clean campsite
    • Clean up all dirty dishes & beverage containers (especially before bedtime)
    • Keep clothing & sleeping bags free of food odors or heavy scents
    • Never leave any type of food garbage outside of a cabin or mountain home
    • Store garbage properly inside a locked, sturdy container inside garage or a shed
    • Stay away from bear cubs, there is sure to be a mother in close proximity
    • Try not to hike alone. Make noise & sing on trails to scare away any unwanted animals.
    • Bear storage canisters are available at sporting good stores & at stores in most National Parks.

    Proper Food Storage Outdoors:

    Bear Boxes @ Campground

    Store food in closed up automobile, not visible. Store food correctly: in trunk of your car, or hidden from sight; in campground food lockers when available.

    Lock all food, beverages and coolers in the provided metal bear boxes or bear lockers where available.

    Toothpaste, deodorant & anything that has a scent should be thought of as food and stored accordingly.

    Bears are so strong they can rip your car door open (in places like Yosemite, where bears are problem and you can get cited for not storing food items properly)

    Bears are so strong they can break open a garage door to get to the smelly trash inside, so make sure you utilize the curbside pickup service available in some mountain communities or take a trip to the dump once per week.

    carcampers

    DO NOT LEAVE FOOD OUT, UNATTENDED, outdoors…
    during a picnic lunch, during a barbeque, or dinner at the campfire.
    (Birds, dogs, squirrels and wild animals can move in quickly.)

    Backpackers should hang food in nylon bag & drape over weak branch in high in tree: hang your food using the counterbalance method. Ranger who issues your wilderness permit can explain the hanging procedure;

    2 stuff sacks (with drawstrings) for your food items, and 60 feet of medium weight cord. 2 carabiners make hanging much easier.

    Bear Canisters

    Bear Canisters

    for your food
    when exploring the wilderness

    hikers tent campers mountains rivers picnic lakes

    Bear Repellent / Bear Mace
    Bear Pepper Spray

     

    Additional Storage Tip

    As for storing food inside cars:

    When primitive car camping on a dirt road, which does not have campgrounds, nor bear lockers, it is possible to store food in the vehicle. BEST location is on the front floorboards with towel over it. With the car alarm set at bedtime, any ruckus should trigger a decent alarm. Any large animal trying to break in will get blasted with alarm siren & most likely will run away. The noise will wake you up as well, to deal with the intruder, if need be.

    If a bear does get into your camp area:

    • Make as much noise as possible: yell, bang pots/pans, whistle, air horn and get your bear mace or pepper spray ready in hand
    • Raise your hands up to appear larger
    • Get your entire camp group together, join hands and spread out everyone at the camp should be outside the tents in order to be as effective as possible
    • Throw rocks & small objects
    • If possible, try to get to your car for protection & honk the horn
    • If a bear charges at you, drop to the ground and curl up in a tight ball. Cover your head, face and vital areas. Play dead.

    If you encounter a bear on a hiking trail:

    • Make as much noise as possible while walking solo. Hum, sing, talk to the birds. Sing or talk to yourself – out loud.
    • Carry bear spray (mace or pepper) or a weapon for added protection
    • If a bear approaches: stand still, slowly retreat, say a few calming words in a friendly voice and never make eye contact
    • If a bear charges at you, drop to the ground and curl up in a tight ball. Cover your head, face and vital areas. Play dead.

    bearcreek

    Balch Park

    Balch Park / Sequoia Park

    Balch Park Campground

    BALCH PARK campground is on a first come basis; no campground reservations needed.

    Balch Park open May to October
    Park info # 559 539-3896

    Hedrick Pond lined w/ Sequoia trees

    Balch County Park is right in the middle of Mountain Home State Forest, which is within the bigger Sequoia National Forest (aka Giant Sequoia National Monument). But don’t let all the bureaucracy mislead you, this is an ideal park and location, well worth your trip. The campground is the most developed one within the area – with paved roads, RV spaces, flush toilets and a fee to go along with all that. Even gotta fishing pond.

    • Bears are a big deal in these neck of the woods. Please store all your food properly to avoid a un-welcomed visitor
    • A Sequoia Grove is nearby with plenty of creeks & meadows.
    • Trailers not recommended due to the long curvy road leading up the mountain.

    Balch Park & Campground NOT TO BE CONFUSED with utility company residences of BALCH CAMP between Pine Flat & Blackrock Reservoirs


    View Larger Map

    Helpful Maps:

    Nearby cities & towns:

    campground elev. spots veg toilet water fee
    Balch Park
    559-539-3896
    6500′ 71 pines flush piped yes no reservations
    first come basis

    DSCN0021

    Angeles Crest Hiking

    Hiking Trails Los Angeles

    another two bite the dust

    localhikes.com – GONE
    latrails.com – GONE

    Millard Falls
    2 mi RT; 1200′ elevation; oaks.
    Arroyo Seco District –
    of Angeles National Forest
    818-790-1151
    Altadena CA
    From Interstate 210 in San Gabriel Valley, exit Lake Ave., go N & turn left/west onto Loma Alta Dr. & to Chaney Trail & follow signed dirt road

    LA waterfalls

    Sturtevant Falls
    5 mi RT; 4600′ elevation; oaks, creek-crossings.
    Santa Anita District –
    of Angeles National Forest
    818-899-1900
    inside Big Santa Anita Canyon
    From Interstate 210 in San Gabriel Valley, exit Santa Anita Ave.Go North/East, through neighborhood & up mountain to paved parking lot.

    More hikes on Angeles Forest

    • Big Tujunga Wash
    • Circle X Ranch
    • Mendenhall Ridge
    • Mount Lukens
    • Newhall Pass
    • Strawberry Peak
    • Towsley Canyon
    • Verdugo Mountains

    Hiking Los Angeles Area

    Angeles Forest – Los Angeles California

    nearby towns –

    Angeles Maps – hiking, OHV & mountain biking –