NorCal Roadtrips

An Explorer's Guide to Northern California

Caples Lake Resort

Caples Lake Resort

Caples Lake is one of those pretty alpine lakes in the High Sierra, sitting at about 7,800 feet within the boundaries of the Eldorado National Forest. It's on the larger side for the area, with 600 surface acres, and is particularly popular with anglers for its populations of mackinaw and rainbow trout. Within shouting distance are many other choices for the mobile fisherperson, including Silver and Blue Lakes as well as the west fork of the Carson River. When civilization beckons, Lake Tahoe is about 40 minutes distant and the Kirkwood Ski area is but a mile or two away. Day hikers and backpackers have a myriad of trails at their disposal, including a number of back-country lakes. Its a three-season kind of place. Warm-weather fans include anglers, hikers, mountain bikers, wildflower enthusiasts and readers of good books. Winter visitors have easy access to Kirkwood ski area or they can create their own fun with snowshoes or cross-country skis. Reading is still permitted.

As pretty as this area is, lodging choices perched right on a lake with very little evidence of development are rare indeed. On Caples Lake the Caples Lake Resort is it; leave your cabin and you'll see another cabin or two, the main lodge, some fishing boats and kayaks and trees. With no telephones or televisions, light sleepers may be awakened by the splashing of a rising trout while heavy sleepers will be left to fend for themselves. It's a hardscrabble life here in the wilderness. The resort is operated under a special use permit with Eldorado National Forest.

The main lodge houses six private rooms, each with a private bath. Outside sit eight housekeeping cabins with accommodations for up to six people each; all are self-contained with a full kitchen, linens, propane fireplaces and BBQ's, a fire pit and lawn furniture so you can sit and count the fish that you didn't catch. You can rent a kayak, canoe or fishing boat or dock your own at the on-site boat ramp and dock.

Caples Lake Resort has been around since 1939 and is family owned so they aim to please. It's one of those places where the annual visit becomes a family tradition, along with those tall tales about the one that got away.

The resort closes from November until Christmas and again from early April until Memorial Day.

Directions: Get to historic Jackson and follow Hwy. 88 northeast for about 60 miles right to the lake. From Stockton you can follow Hwy. 88 all the way. From Sacramento you can drive east on Hwy. 16 to the junction of Hwy. 88 and head northeast from there.

Caples Lake Resort

1111 Highway 88

Kirkwood, CA  95646




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