NorCal Roadtrips

An Explorer's Guide to Northern California

Gold Lake
Gold Lake

Description: This natural lake in Plumas National Forest is the largest and most developed (a relative term) of the many lakes in the Lakes Basin Recreation Area. Sitting at 6,400 feet, it is stocked with rainbow trout, but also features brown and brook trout as well as Mackinaw. Camping at Gold Lake is limited to a single undeveloped site, but numerous Forest Service campgrounds are in the area. There are also 2 resorts on the lake and more yet in the area. The Lakes Basin Area straddles both the Plumas National Forest and the Tahoe National Forest. There is a boat ramp with a dock for launching your craft. Boats with motors are allowed; most appropriate would be a fishing boat to 15 feet with a small outboard. The winds can come up and make for rough going, but the lake is small enough that you can get home before swamping.

Location: Drive Hwy. 89 north from Truckee 20 miles to Sierraville and the intersection of Hwy. 49. Turn left on Hwy. 49 and drive about 10 miles to Bassetts where you will pick up Gold lake Highway. Turn right and follow to Gold Lake and the other lakes and campgrounds along the way. Another option would be to take Int. 80 to Truckee, turn north on Hwy. 89 heading for Graeagle, and just before getting there follow the signs to the Lakes Basin Recreation area.

Nearest Town: Bassetts. Truckee is about 50 miles away. Graeagle is about 10 miles away.

Camping: Lakes Basin Campground: 23 sites for tents or RV's to 30 feet. Picnic tables, fire grills, drinking water and pit toilets. Some sites with wheelchair access. Reservations are accepted at 877-444-6777 or www.recreation.gov. Packsaddle Campground: Near Packer Lake. 15 sites for tents or RV's to 35 feet. Pit toilets and drinking water. targeted at equestrians with corrals and hitching posts. Reservations are accepted at 877-444-6777 or www.recreation.gov. Berger Creek Campground: 10 sites for tents or RV's to 16 feet. Picnic tables, pit toilets and fire grills. No drinking water. An overflow camp for Diablo Campground. Reservations not accepted. Snag Lake Campground: 12 sites for tents or RV's to 16 feet with picnic tables, fire grills and pit toilets. No drinking water. Reservations not accepted. Salmon Creek Campground: 31 sites for tents or RV's to 30 feet. Picnic tables, fire grills, pit toilets and drinking water. Reservations are accepted at 877-444-6777 or www.recreation.gov. Sardine Lake Campground: 29 sites for tents and RV's to 22 feet. Picnic tables, fire grills, pit toilets and drinking water. Some sites with wheelchair access. Reservations are accepted at 877-444-6777 or www.recreation.gov.  Open June thru October, weather permitting.

Fishing: Gold Lake has rainbow, brook and brown trout along with Mackinaw. Snag, Salmon and Sardine lakes have good trout fishing. Gold is best fished by boat. Salmon & Sardine lakes offer good fishing from shore.

Boating: All allow boats with motors. Other than Gold Lake, the lakes are small so logic dictates small boats.

Backpacking Hikes in Area: Plumas and Tahoe National Forests.

Off-road Opportunities in Area: Deer Lake. 6.8 miles rated moderate (5). Gold Lake Trail. 6.4 miles rated 5 (moderate) for difficulty (4).

Information: Plumas National Forest, Beckwourth Ranger District. 530-836-2575. Tahoe National Forest, Yuba River Ranger District. 530-288-3231.

Lodging/Services: Gold Lake Lodge. 530-836-2350. Gold Lake Beach Resort. 530-836-2491. Salmon Lake Lodge. 530-757=1825. Sardine Lake Resort. 530-862-1196. Packer Lake Lodge. 530-862-1221.

Gear: Sportsmen's Den, Quincy. 530-283-2733. Tahoe Flyfishing Outfitters. 530-541-8208. www.tahoeflyfishing.com.