NorCal Roadtrips

An Explorer's Guide to Northern California


Highway 88 Campgrounds

Near Silver Lake

Near Silver Lake

Indian Grinding Rock State Historical Park

We always try to find at least one spot on each trip where you can take a shower. Pay showers here fill the bill. Grover Hot Springs State Park, listed later, also fills that need. The State parks adjacent to Lake Tahoe are also relatively close and are probably the best option. Emerald Bay and D.L. Bliss State Parks are the closest choices on Lake Tahoe. This park can only be described as one of the more limited parks in the State system and will probably not make anyone’s favorites list but does have some historical interest. Esthetically it is rather bland. Click the Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park link for more information.

Location: 11 miles northeast of Jackson, 1.4 miles from Hwy. 88 on Pine Grove-Volcano Road.

Attraction: State Park with showers and a site of historical interest. This site is where the Miwok ground corn into flour. Petroglyphs, a round house and other reproductions of Native American structures exist to educate. The site contains a museum and 2 nature trails.

Campsite Description: 23 developed campsites for 27 ft. trailers and campers. Group site for up to 44 people. Picnic tables, fire grills, and food lockers. Drinking water and restrooms with flush toilets and coin-operated showers complete the picture. Supplies available in nearby Jackson.

Season: Year-round

Reservations: Yes. www.reserveamerica.com

Public/private Public   Wheelchair Access Yes
Fees $25/85   Fishing No
Hook-ups No   Boating No
Drinking Water Yes   Lake on Site No
Showers Yes   Elev 2,418 ft.
Toilets Flush   Supplies Nearby

Information: Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park. 14881 Pine Grove-Volcano Road. Pine Grove, CA 95665. 209-296-7488

Day Hikes in Area: Nature trails in park.

References: Any guide to State Parks.

Grover Hot Springs State Park

Natural hot springs are the attraction here. The pool (with hot water) is open all year; in winter the area attracts cross-country skiers. Nearby Hot Springs Creek offers trout fishing in season. The campground is quite nice with plenty of room between sites. Click the Grover Hot Springs State Park link for more information.

Location: The park is located 3 miles west of Markleeville on Hot Springs Road. There are two campgrounds: Quaking Aspen and Toiyabe. From Markleeville take Hot Springs Road 4 miles to the park.

Attraction: Natural hot springs, hiking, fishing, cross-country skiing. Fishing for trout in Hot Springs Creek and side trips to Carson River.

Campsite Description: 26 sites for tents, 50 sites for tents or RV’s to 27 feet (no hookups) and trailers to 24 feet. Some sites with wheelchair access. Picnic tables, fire grills and food lockers. Restrooms with flush toilets and coin-operated showers are available in summer. The "hot spring" pool is nearby.

Season: Year-round but campgrounds closed October to May. Limited camping in picnic area in winter; no showers.

Reservations: yes (www.reserveamerica.com or 800-444-7275)

Public/private Public   Wheelchair Access Yes
Fees $35   Fishing Yes. River.
Hook-ups No   Boating No
Drinking Water Yes   Lake on Site No
Showers Yes   Elev 5,900 ft.
Toilets Flush   Supplies Nearby

Information: Grover Hot Springs State Park, 530-694-2248. www.parks.ca.gov

Day Hikes in Area: Grover Falls (65)- 3 miles round trip rated easy.

References: Any guide to State Parks.

Woods Lake Campground- Eldorado Nat’l Forest

On a natural lake 2 miles from Hwy. 88. This can be a destination or provide access to a 3 mile loop hike to Round Top Lake and Winnemucca Lake. Trailers & RV’s not recommended. Within a relatively short distance one can choose between Silver Lake, Caples Lake, Woods Lake, Kirkwood Lake, Upper and Lower Blue Lakes, Red Lake and the West Fork of the Carson River.

Location: From Jackson drive east on Hwy. 88 to Caples Lake and continue a mile to the Woods Lake turnoff. Turn south and drive to the campground. Last part unpaved but easy.

Attraction: Camping, hiking, fishing, boating. Winnemucca Lake and Round Top Lake nearby. 2.2 miles from Caples Lake Resort for those craving creature comforts.

Campsite Description: 25 shaded tent sites; drinking water, pit toilets, picnic tables, fireplaces. Some facilities wheelchair accessible.

Season: June thru October

Reservations: No

Public/private Public   Wheelchair Access Yes
Fees $20   Fishing Yes
Hook-ups No   Boating Yes. No motors.
Drinking Water Yes   Lake on Site Yes
Showers No   Elev 8,200 ft.
Toilets Pit   Supplies Nearby

Information: Eldorado National Forest, Amador Ranger District, 209-295-4251.

Day Hikes in Area: Round Top Lake- overnight or day trip. Lake Margaret- 5 miles round trip rated easy. Fishing. Emigrant Lake- 8 miles round trip rated moderate. Meiss Lake- 8 miles round trip rated moderate.

Lower Blue Lake Campground

A PG&E facility on Lower Blue Lake. Fishing is for rainbow, brook and cutthroat trout. The lake is stocked and a boat ramp is adjacent to campground. A better choice than Upper Blue Lake, particularly in the fall when water levels are not at their peak. The access road is paved the entire way. Kind of a homely lake with little vegetation to break up the monotony but the fishing can be good if you fail elsewhere. Small boats are okay. The Pacific Crest Trail is nearby.

Location: Turn off Hwy. 88 at sign for Blue Lakes, 6.6 miles east of Carson pass and 2.5 miles west of the junction of Highways. 88 and 89. Follow Blue Lakes Road 11.7 miles to a junction with a sign for Blue Lakes. Turn right and travel .1 mile to campground.

Attraction: Camping, fishing, swimming.

Campsite Description: 16 sites for tents or RV’s to 25 feet. No hookups. Picnic tables, fire rings, vault toilets and drinking water are available.

Season: June thru September, weather permitting.

Reservations: No

Public/private Public   Wheelchair Access No
Fees $23   Fishing Yes. Stocked with trout.
Hook-ups No   Boating Yes. Boat ramp.
Drinking Water Yes   Lake on Site Yes
Showers No   Elev 8,400 ft.
Toilets Pit   Supplies Nearby

Information: PG&E Land projects. 916-386-5164 or www.pge.com/recreation.

Day Hikes in Area: Granite Lake- 4 miles round trip rated easy. Raymond Lake- 11.2 miles round trip rated strenuous.

Middle Creek Campground

A small PG&E campground adjacent to the trailhead for Granite Lake along Middle Creek. Middle Creek connects Upper & Lower Blue Lakes. A nice campground with many sites along the lakeshore where you can walk to the lake to swim or tie your boat up. For many the best choice at Upper and Lower Blue Lakes.

Location: From Jackson drive east on Hwy. 88 five miles to Blue Lakes Road. Turn south 12 miles (partly dirt) to junction at south end of Lower Blue Lake. Turn right 1.5 miles to campground.

Attraction: Camping, fishing, hiking.

Campsite Description: 5 sites for tents or RV’s to 30 feet, plus 35 sites for tents or RV’s to 45 feet in expansion area. No hookups. Some sites wheelchair accessible. Drinking water and vault toilets are available in the expansion area.

Season: June thru September

Reservations: No

Public/private Public   Wheelchair Access Yes
Fees $23   Fishing Yes
Hook-ups No   Boating On Blue Lakes.
Drinking Water No   Lake on Site No
Showers No   Elev 8,200 ft.
Toilets Pit   Supplies No

Information: PG&E Land projects. 916-386-5164 or www.pge.com/recreation

Day Hikes in Area: Granite Lake, Raymond Lake.

Upper Blue Lake Campground

The last of three campgrounds at Blue Lakes.

Location: On Upper Blue Lake. See Lower Blue Lake above. The two lakes are adjacent to each other. This lake tends to have a lower water level so is less attractive and as the water recedes the upper section can become fairly barren and the campground far from shore. Recommended as a default or if you want more solitude. Supplies at nearby Caples and Silver Lakes. PG&E property.

Attraction: Camping, swimming, fishing.

Campsite Description: 25 sites for tents and RV’s to 25 ft. No hookups. Picnic tables and fire grills at 10 sites. Located at north end of lake so can be subject to low water levels. Lower Blue Lake and Middle Creek probably better choices for most. Access road is gravel but easy.

Season: June thru mid-September, weather permitting.

Reservations: No

Public/private Public   Wheelchair Access Yes
Fees $23   Fishing Yes.
Hook-ups No   Boating Yes
Drinking Water Yes   Lake on Site Yes
Showers No   Elev 8,400 ft.
Toilets Pit   Supplies Nearby

Information: PG&E Land projects. 916-386-5164 or www.pge.com/recreation

Hope Valley Campground

On the road to Upper and Lower Blue Lakes. The West Fork of the Carson River passes thru the campground. A very pretty area with good fishing choices within a few miles.

Location: On the access road to Blue Lakes, just off Hwy. 88.

Attraction: Camping, fishing.

Campsite Description: 15 sites for tents or RV’s to 22 ft. and 6 group sites that can accommodate up to 12 people each. No hookups. Picnic tables, fire grills, drinking water and vault toilets. Some facilities offer wheelchair access.

Season: June thru September.

Reservations: Accepted for individual sites and required for group sites at www.recreation.gov (877) 444-6777.

Public/private Public   Wheelchair Access Yes
Fees $16/32   Fishing Yes
Hook-ups No   Boating Nearby
Drinking Water Yes   Lake on Site No
Showers No   Elev 7,300 ft.
Toilets Pit Supplies Nearby

Information: Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, Carson Ranger District, 775-882-2766.

Kirkwood Lake- Eldorado Nat’l Forest

A small lake with shoreline access and fishing for rainbow trout. Close to Silver and Caples Lakes as well as Red Lake and Blue Lakes. No trailers; narrow access road.

Location: From Jackson drive east on Hwy. 88 for 60 miles (4 miles past Silver Lake) to the campground entrance. Turn left and drive .25 miles to the campground. Trailers and RV’s not recommended.

Attraction: Fishing, swimming, near Kirkwood Ski area.

Campsite Description: 12 sites for tent only. Picnic tables, fire grills, food lockers, drinking water and vault toilets. Some sites wheelchair accessible.

Season: June-October, weather permitting.

Reservations: No

Public/private Public   Wheelchair Access Yes
Fees $22   Fishing Yes. Rainbow trout.
Hook-ups No   Boating Yes. No motors.
Drinking Water Yes   Lake on Site Yes
Showers No   Elev 7,600 ft.
Toilets Pit   Supplies Nearby

Information: Eldorado Nat’l Forest, Amador Ranger District, 209-295-4251

Backpacking Hikes in Area: Showers Lake. Echo Summit Trailhead-Fourth of July Lake. Tahoe-Yosemite Trail.

Caples Lake

A man-made Lake in Eldorado National Forest on Hwy. 88. Largest of the local lakes, with good fishing and boating. A commercial resort (very nice) provides boat rentals and services. Silver Lake, another fine destination, is right down the road. The campground is across the road from the lake, so you are not right on the lake.

Location: From Jackson drive east on Hwy. 88 for 63 miles (1 mile past Kirkwood Ski area) to campground.

Attraction: Fishing for trout. Swimming. Boating. 3.5 mile hike to Emigrant Lake. Boat rentals nearby at Caples Lake Resort.

Campsite Description: 30 sites for tents or RV's to 35 feet plus 7 walk-in tent sites. No hookups. Some sites wheelchair accessible. Picnic tables,  fire grills drinking water and vault toilets are available.

Season: June thru October

Reservations: No

Public/private Public   Wheelchair Access Yes
Fees $24 Fishing Yes. Trout.
Hook-ups No   Boating Yes. 5 mph limit.
Drinking Water Yes   Lake on Site Yes
Showers No   Elev 7,800 ft.
Toilets Pit   Supplies Nearby

Information: Eldorado Nat’l Forest, Amador Ranger District, 209-295-4251.

Day Hikes in Area: 3.5 mile hike to Emigrant Lake.

Silver Lake West

On Silver Lake in Eldorado National Forest. Horseback riding is available at nearby Plasse’s Resort. Amenities available at nearby Kit Carson Lodge and Plasse’s Resort. Several day and backpack hikes in area. A nice campground a few hundred yards from the lake, which is as close as it gets. Silver Lake West and Silver Lake East campgrounds are across the street from each other, with "east" being slightly closer to the lake if you are hand-launching a kayak or canoe and "west" being better located if you need the boat ramp. The other difference is that "West" is managed by the local irrigation district and doesn't take reservations while "East" is managed by the forest service and does take reservations. In season this is a popular spot so plan to arrive by Thursday afternoon if you expect to spend the weekend. If you are arriving later you'd better have a back-up plan. Both of the day hikes noted below are recommended.

Location: From Jackson drive east on Hwy. 88 for 50 miles to the north end of Silver Lake.

Attraction: Camping, hiking, trout fishing, horseback riding. Cabin rentals available. Boat ramp and boat rentals nearby.

Campsite Description: 42 sites for tents or RV’s to 24 feet. No hookups. Food lockers, picnic tables, fire pits, drinking water and vault toilets. Bears frequent the area so take precautions. Not all sites are level.

Season: Memorial day thru October, weather permitting.

Reservations: Not accepted.

Public/private Public   Wheelchair Access No
Fees $20-25   Fishing Yes. Trout.
Hook-ups No   Boating Yes
Drinking Water Yes   Lake on Site Yes
Showers No   Elev 7,200 ft.
Toilets Pit   Supplies Nearby

Information: Eldorado Irrigation District, 530644-1960.

Day Hikes in Area: Shealor Lake (57)- 2.8 miles round trip rated easy. Granite & Hidden Lakes- 6.4 miles round trip rated moderate.

Backpacking Hikes in Area: Long Lake- 18 miles round trip; moderate; recommended duration 2 days. Scout Carson Lake. 13 miles round trip rated leisurely with a recommended duration of 2 days. Summit City Canyon- 22 mile round trip rated leisurely with a recommended duration of 4 days. Silver Lake-Granite Lake Trailhead- 32 mile round trip (shuttle) rated strenuous with a recommended duration of 5 days. Mokelumne River- 33 mile round trip rated strenuous with a recommended duration of 6 days. Reference: Sierra North.

Silver Lake (East)

A camp on the northeast side of Silver Lake managed by Eldorado Nat'l Forest rather than Eldorado Irrigation District. Comparable to Silver Lake West but takes reservations. Offers the best deal on firewood. The entrance sign simply says Silver Lake (without the "east") but its right across the street from Silver Lake West, which is signed as such. If you are hand-launching a kayak or canoe drive to what they describe as the beach, park and carry the boat a short distance. This is a popular spot during the high season so plan ahead. Fishing is quite good from the bank near the beach, near the dam and downstream from the dam. Most anglers troll with flashers. The day hikes to Shealor and Granite Lakes are recommended.

Location: See Silver Lake West

Attraction: Camping, boating, fishing, hiking.

Campsite Description: 59 sites for tents or RV’s to 24 feet. No hookups. Picnic tables, fire grills, drinking water, vault toilets and food lockers are provided. Nearby Kit Carson Lodge has a grocery store with boat rentals, a boat ramp, propane gas and a restaurant. Most, but not all, sites are level or nearly so. Site #14 is a small group site with about 5 parking spots and room for 10 folks or so.

Season: May-mid-November

Reservations: www.recreation.gov.

Public/private Public   Wheelchair Access No
Fees $24   Fishing Yes
Hook-ups No   Boating Yes
Drinking Water Yes   Lake on Site Yes
Showers No   Elev 7,200 ft.
Toilets Pit   Supplies Nearby

Information: Eldorado Nat’l Forest, Amador Ranger District, 209-295-4251.

Day Hikes in Area: Shealor Lake (57)- 2.8 miles round trip rated easy. Granite & Hidden Lakes- 6.4 miles round trip rated moderate.

Backpacking Hikes in Area: Long Lake- 18 miles round trip; moderate; recommended duration 2 days. Ref: Sierra North.

Sugar Pine Point- Bear River Reservoir

One of several small campsites at Bear River Reservoir. Set at 5,900 feet it is 725 surface acres where all water sports are allowed and fish are stocked. A boat ramp, boat rentals and supplies are available at nearby Bear River Resort. Pardoes Point Campground at the other end of the lake has drinking water; this does not. See below.

Location: From Stockton drive east on Hwy 88 for 80 miles to Bear River Road. Drive 2.5 miles south on Bear River Road to Forest Road 8N20. Turn right and drive 3 miles to the lake.

Attraction: Camping, fishing.

Campsite Description: 8 sites for tents only including 2 double sites. Picnic tables, fire rings and vault toilets. No drinking water.

Season: May-mid November

Reservations: No

Public/private Public   Wheelchair Access Yes
Fees $20   Fishing Yes
Hook-ups No   Boating Yes
Drinking Water No   Lake on Site Yes
Showers No   Elev 6,000 ft.
Toilets Pit   Supplies Nearby

Information: Eldorado Nat’l Forest, Amador Ranger District, 209-295-4251.

Pardoes Point- Bear River Reservoir

Similar to Sugar Pine Point but on opposite side of lake. This one has drinking water.

Location: On Bear River Reservoir.

Attraction: Camping, swimming, boating, fishing.

Campsite Description: 10 tent sites including 1 double site. Picnic tables, fire rings, vault toilets and drinking water are available. Some facilities wheelchair accessible.

Season: May to mid-November

Reservations: No

Public/private Public   Wheelchair Access Yes
Fees $20   Fishing Yes
Hook-ups No   Boating Yes
Drinking Water Yes   Lake on Site Yes
Showers No   Elev 6,000 ft.
Toilets Pit   Supplies No

Information: Eldorado Nat’l Forest, Amador Ranger District, 209-295-4251.

South Shore Campground- Bear River Reservoir

A Campground on southern shore, just east of the dam.  A 5 mile side trip is available to Salt Springs Reservoir with the trailhead and hike around the lake from the north side of the dam. Supplies, a boat ramp, and boat rentals available at nearby Bear River Resort.

Location: Same as other sites but 4 miles from the lake entrance.

Attraction: Camping, fishing, boating

Campsite Description: 22 sites for tents or RV's to 35 feet. No hookups. Drinking water, picnic tables, fire pits and vault toilets. Some facilities wheelchair accessible.

Season: Mid-May thru mid-October, weather permitting.

Reservations: No

Public/private Public   Wheelchair Access Yes
Fees $20   Fishing Yes
Hook-ups No   Boating Yes
Drinking Water Yes   Lake on Site Yes
Showers No   Elev 5,900 ft.
Toilets Pit   Supplies Nearby

Information: Eldorado Nat’l Forest, Amador Ranger District, 209-295-4251.

Day Hikes in Area: Devils Lake: 2.2 miles round trip rated easy. Shriner Lake: 4.2 miles round trip rated easy.

Bear River Group Camp

Location: On Bear River Reservoir. From the lake entrance drive 5 miles to the campground.

Attraction: camping, boating and fishing.

Campsite Description: Four group sites for tents only that can accommodate up to 50 people each. Picnic tables, fire grills, drinking water, vault toilets, food lockers, communal cooking facilities and coin-operated showers are available.

Season: Mid-June-September.

Reservations: Required at www.recreation.gov or (877) 444-6777.

Public/private Public   Wheelchair Access No
Fees $75/150   Fishing Yes
Hook-ups No   Boating Yes
Drinking Water Yes   Lake on Site Yes
Showers Yes   Elev 6,000 ft.
Toilets Vault   Supplies Nearby

Information: Eldorado National Forest, Amador Ranger District. (209) 295-4251.

Day Hikes in Area:

Backpacking Hikes in Area:

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