Eldorado National Forest

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About Eldorado National Forest

El Dorado is the land of gold, and although the gold in this forest is long gone by now, this national forest is still a land of wealth in terms of its diverse habitats. The forest holds some of the Sierras, two incredible wilderness areas, hundreds of lakes, and much more for you to explore. Once you visit, you’ll want to keep coming back for more. There’s so much to see and do: hiking into the famous Desolation Wilderness, climbing Lover’s Leap, spending a day by the lake, and discovering secret swimming holes after a long hike, are only a few amid a plethora of options.

Campgrounds in Eldorado

Wrights Lake Campground
Maya
Maya: We came here on the suggestion of rangers when we failed to find an open space at the neighbouring...
Fashoda Campground
Katie
Katie: This is a walk-in campground. You can park near your site to unload your gear, but you must park the...
Stumpy Meadows Campground
Misha
Misha: Watch out for mosquitos but overall lovely camp site!
Strawberry Point Campground
John
John: Small campsites and a small campground. (10 sites) That being said, it is also quiet and...
Big Meadows Campground
Feel in a dream as you camp surrounded by groves of cedars and firs, grasses and shrubs, and last but...
Jones Fork Campground
Nothin’ like wakin’ up lakeside in the summertime! So ditch your summertime sadness, and come...
Mokelumne Campground
For some secluded camping with peace, quiet, and good vibes, check out Mokelumne Campground. With just...
Yellowjacket Campground
Katie
Katie: The fee is $25 and we found an empty spot at site #1. This was a large site, and it is considered...
China Flat Campground
Linda
Linda: Lots of yellow jackets in the summer. Lots of nice views.
Ice House Campground
Michael
Michael: I have camped here as a kid with my parents. Know the place pretty well. Beautiful campground, great...
Gerle Creek Campground
Katie
Katie: This place is beautiful! Lots of trees and granite everywhere. The campground feels very spacious. The...
Airport Flat Campground
Katie
Katie: Managed by SMUD and USFS. No piped water available.
Lone Rock Campground
It take two at Lone Rock Campground, two legs or two wheels thats is! Only accessible by bike, foot,...
Robbs Hut
Andrew
Andrew: For those who have been here, is it possible to bring a camping trailer to the location? Looking for...
West Point Campground
On the shores of Union Valley Reservoir lives a small, but sweet campground by the name of West Point....
Camino Cove Campground
Entering Camino Cove is entering an oasis of calm. Even though this campground isn’t too far of a...
Hell Hole Campground
Whatta name—but don’t be scared off, Hell Hole Campground is actually pretty damn gorgeous!...
Moore Campground
Get the best of both worlds at Moore Campground. Right on the border between Eldorado National Forest...
Pleasant Campground
Get into the wild at Pleasant Campground. This is a hike-in or boat-in only campground, but it...
Black Oak Group Campground
"Tired of looking at everyone else’s epic kayak + lake + mountain peak Instragrams? It’s your time to...
Ponderosa Cove Group Campground
Looking for shade on these hot summer days? Look no further than Ponderosa Cove Group Campground! This...
Wentworth Springs Campground
Got a hankering for some rustic and remote camping? Set up camp at Wentworth Springs Campground. Sites...
Van Vleck Bunkhouse
If you're up for some serious action, Van Vleck Bunkhouse offers just about every activity in the...
Big Silver Group Campground
Nestled alongside Big Silver Creek, Big Silver Group Campground is a perfect place to escape into the...
Silver Fork Campground
Itching to take the weekend off and venture into the outdoors? Silver Forks Campground is home to...
Red Fir Group Campground
With an elevation of 6,400ft, shaded by a forest of pine trees, and just a walk away from the water,...
Sand Flat Campground
Take a cruise down a sandy road just east of Sacramento, and you’ll wind up at Sand Flat Campground....
Northshore Campground
Awe-inspiring lakeside views, peaceful campsites, and rugged forest wilderness? Northshore Campground...
Middle Meadows Group Campground
"Escape for the weekend or a bit longer at Middle Meadows Campground. Here, you will stumble upon a...
Sunset Campground
"Get your lakeside party game on at Sunset Campground. Set right on the shores of Union Valley...
Wench Creek Group Campground
What are you doing May-September? Even if you can only squeeze two days, Wench Creek Group Campground...
South Fork Group Campground
This remote area lends itself to a true-life camping experience at South Fork Group Campground. The...
Wolf Creek Campground
Boating enthusiasts, meet your new favorite place. Wolf Creek Campground offers an awesome launch site...
Harvey West Cabin
Fancy the cozy atmosphere of a woodland cabin? Located across the bridge from China Flat Campground at...
Dru Barner Campground
Susan
Susan: Not sure where you got your information but Dru Barner is NOT on the shores of Lake Walton. Nowhere...
Upper Hole Campground
Adam
Adam: Quiet, peaceful, likely all yours and great swimming. You have to work to get here but it's worth it. ...
Northwind Campground
Set up camp at Northwind Campground, and get a feel for the breathtaking, raw beauty at Eldorado...
White Azalea Campground
Wanna escape from campground busyness, and just retreat into the wilderness? White Azalea Campground...
Azalea Cove Campground
Travelling by car or on foot? How about on bike or boat? Not a problem! Azalea Cove is about as...

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Hipcamper Adam

Quiet, peaceful, likely all yours and great swimming. You have to work to get here but it's worth it. Be prepared. The hike in is rough even without a pack. If you tend to drink lots of water, bring a bladder so you don't run out. Hike will test your mettle.

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Hipcamper Maya

We came here on the suggestion of rangers when we failed to find an open space at the neighbouring lakes before the 4th of July rush, and they were spot on about it being worth the drive. Quite a few spots were open and we snagged #4 & 14, both of which were close to bathrooms and 14 having a water spigot next to it. We had a slight view of the lake from #4 and views of the boulders from #14; #4 is a pretty decent sized space which can easily accommodate at least 4 or 5 tents. All the sites came with a table, bear box, fire ring, and freestanding grill; OK amount of space between sites. Skeeters & flies ate us alive but relief was found in the lake. Water was clear, shallow (3 ft?), and a great temp. Can't wait to head back!

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Hipcamper

Campsites in Upper Hell Hole aren’t straight out of a nightmare… In fact, they offer some of the best camping in CA! Scenic meadows, views overlooking the Hell Hole reservoir, it’s to die for.

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Hipcamper Adam

Not a bad idea to call ahead to the ranger station to find out where water levels are: the recent drought, and what time of year you go will affect water levels and possibly where you camp. August water levels tend to be much lower than June.

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Hipcamper John

Small campsites and a small campground. (10 sites)
That being said, it is also quiet and beautiful.

Several sites are right on the reservoir (1-5) and the fishing is good (rainbow trout).

$10 a night is hard to beat.

Hurry though, it closes for the season soon

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Hipcamper Susan

Not sure where you got your information but Dru Barner is NOT on the shores of Lake Walton. Nowhere near. I horse camp there a few times a year. Great trail riding and many sites with horse pens. Can be black widow spiders at the wood picnic table sites so beware. Closed right now as they're clearing dead trees from the beetles. Hopefully are opening soon. Waiting! !

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Hipcamper KATIE

This is a walk-in campground. You can park near your site to unload your gear, but you must park the car up in the above parking area. Showers are up in the parking lot.

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Hipcamper Andrew

For those who have been here, is it possible to bring a camping trailer to the location? Looking for slightly better sleeping arrangements. Wondering about the road conditions (during the summer). Are there ruts? Gullies?

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Hipcamper KATIE

The fee is $25 and we found an empty spot at site #1. This was a large site, and it is considered "difficult access" because it is a walk-in site. This means you park near the site, but you have a longer walk to where the picnic table and fire ring are located. It is near the bathroom which has a flush toilet. There are many other good sites around, but I would try to get site 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, or 20.
Bring your bikes or take a walk around for exercise. You will find a short 0.8 mi, paved trail that leads from Yellowjacket to Wolf Creek CG to the West. It is a nice walk with views of the lake and a good time to take a break from being inside the campground. The boat ramp parking is a little far from the boat ramp, so expect to walk.

Hipcamper Beth

Gets packed on weekends with climbers

Hipcamper Hipcamper
Hipcamper

You can find campground recommendations specific to the activities you’re interested in, such as swimming and boating, under the activities section. We recommend Ponderosa Cove campground, a spacious spot by Stumpy Meadows reservoir. This is a great place to swim and go paddling!

Hipcamper Hipcamper
Hipcamper

Trout fishing here is pretty epic. Anglers won’t leave disappointed.

Hipcamper Hipcamper
Hipcamper

Whitewater rafting on the American River is a must! Probably the most popular rafting spot in California.

Hipcamper George

Stayed there back in 2004 Oct 31-Nov 1 first night was so windy I thought the roof was going to lift off. Second night was very foggy. Had a blast.

Hipcamper Michael

I have camped here as a kid with my parents. Know the place pretty well. Beautiful campground, great trout fishing, and best of all, it's peaceful. Occasionally you might get some other campers near you, but they will not be a bother. Besides, it's not too often at all. Beautiful place to hike wherever you feel like. If you ever get the opportunity, I recommend this place. I know I will be going again.

Hipcamper KATIE

Managed by SMUD and USFS. No piped water available.

Hipcamper Linda

Lots of yellow jackets in the summer. Lots of nice views.

Hipcamper Kym

Small intimate campground with only 30 sites.

Hipcamper KATIE

This is a free campground in Eldorado National Forest that usually opens Memorial Day weekend and closes mid-October. It is a paved road all the way here. You can't make reservations as it is first come-first served and there are only 16 sites. Amenities include bear box, picnic table, fire pit, and vault toilets. There is no piped water so you must bring your own. Some weekends it is hard to get a spot since the Rubicon 4WD crowd uses it. A few times we have gone here people have left all their trash at the site instead of putting it into the dumpster provided. Please pick up after yourself so we can keep this as a non-fee campground.
The Gerle Creek Campground and Reservoir are nearby and take camping reservations.

Hipcamper KATIE

This place is beautiful! Lots of trees and granite everywhere. The campground feels very spacious. The reservoir does not allow motorized boats. The boat ramp and day use area is free to use! The toilets are all vaults here. Check in time is 2:00 p.m. Check out time is 1:00 p.m.

Reservations are $25. This campground takes reservations and does fill up during the busy season. There are 50 sites and 2 are group sites ($50).The best will be to bring your kayaks, paddle boards, or anything to take out on the lake. There is a fishing pier and a good spot to take photos.

Hipcamper Amber

This was my first time camping at Ice house. We went Sunday-Tuesday During Memorial day Weekend. I thought Sunday night would be packed since the campground was fully booked. I was happy to find the sites were very spread out so it didn't feel crowded at all! We stayed at site 57 the first night and site 55 the next night. Both were a short walk to the water and close to the toilets.

On Monday we took our kayaks out on the lake which was a lot of fun. The water was calm and there was very few people on the water. Later that day a thunder storm rolled in and it rained for about 2 hours so we drove to the nearby Ice House Resort and played pool until the sun came out.

Overall the lake was beautiful and the sites were spacious and clean.

Hipcamper Terri

Reservations are required 6 months in advance.

Hipcamper Ze

Silver group is the best campsite for 20+ people. Spacious with several fire rings, vault toilet, no showers but you can bathe in the reservoir and stream nearby.

Hipcamper David

Great camping area. Don't forget your canoe or kayak!!

Hipcamper Misha

Watch out for mosquitos but overall lovely camp site!

Hipcamper Abbey

Book it a week or two in advance

History of Eldorado National Forest

The Eldorado National Forest was established from part of Tahoe National Forest and surrounding lands on July 28, 1910. It is made up of about 780,000 acres. Water is used for hydroelectric power as well as municipal, industrial, and agricultural purposes. This was a huge center for gold mining activity during the gold rush, hence the name, El Dorado. There are many nearby historical sites, such as the El Dorado County Historical Museum, the Gold Bug mine (open to the public), and Pacific House, where Mark Twain once stayed.