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

Loon Lake Campground

1. Loon Lake Campground

100% Recommend (7 Responses)

Don't forget to grab your California fishing permit, because Loon Lake Campground is the spot you wanna cast a line. Rev up your motorized boat,...

62 Saves
Ice House Campground

2. Ice House Campground

93% Recommend (7 Responses)

Soak up the rays at Ice House Campground, with plenty of jet skiing, fishing, and swimming to be done at this 700 acre reservoir. Surrounded by...

Michael
Michael: I have camped here as a kid with my parents. Know the place pretty well. Beautiful campground, great trout fishing, and best...
42 Saves
Wrights Lake Campground

3. Wrights Lake Campground

100% Recommend (3 Responses)

"Nestled in amongst a heavy timber belt, Wrights Lake Campground offers great shoreline spots that are set against the background of the epic...

Maya
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...
36 Saves
Upper Hole Campground

4. Upper Hole Campground

If you’re looking for more than what Hell Hole Campground has in store, venture up further north to Upper Hell Hole Campground. No worries though,...

Adam
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...
32 Saves
Stumpy Meadows Campground

5. Stumpy Meadows Campground

If you’re NOT looking for paradise, keep scrolling because Stumpy Meadows Campground is everything you need for a weekend—or let’s be real—week...

23 Saves
Harvey West Cabin

6. Harvey West Cabin

Fancy the cozy atmosphere of a woodland cabin? Located across the bridge from China Flat Campground at an elevation of 4,720 feet, Harvey West...

16 Saves
Hell Hole Campground

7. Hell Hole Campground

Whatta name—but don’t be scared off, Hell Hole Campground is actually pretty damn gorgeous! Overlooking Hell Hole Reservoir, sites are nestled...

12 Saves
Lovers Leap Campground

8. Lovers Leap Campground

100% Recommend (3 Responses)

Oh man, this is one seriously great piece of camping in Eldorado. Lovers Leap Campground is known for its picturesque sites and for being right...

Beth
Beth: Gets packed on weekends with climbers
12 Saves
Ponderosa Cove Group Campground

9. Ponderosa Cove Group Campground

Looking for shade on these hot summer days? Look no further than Ponderosa Cove Group Campground! This site can hold up to 75 guests, whether...

9 Saves
China Flat Campground

10. China Flat Campground

How does pitching a tent under the cover of a piney forest, just steps from the banks of Silver Fork River sound? Not too shabby? Yep, that’s what...

Linda
Linda: Lots of yellow jackets in the summer. Lots of nice views.
8 Saves
Black Oak Group Campground

11. Black Oak Group Campground

"Tired of looking at everyone else’s epic kayak + lake + mountain peak Instragrams? It’s your time to shine. Black Oak Campground offers prime...

8 Saves
Van Vleck Bunkhouse

12. Van Vleck Bunkhouse

If you're up for some serious action, Van Vleck Bunkhouse offers just about every activity in the book. Whether your style is hiking, biking,...

7 Saves
West Point Campground

13. West Point Campground

On the shores of Union Valley Reservoir lives a small, but sweet campground by the name of West Point. You can wake from your tent to a short walk...

6 Saves
Wentworth Springs Campground

14. Wentworth Springs Campground

Got a hankering for some rustic and remote camping? Set up camp at Wentworth Springs Campground. Sites are tucked away in Eldorado National Forest...

5 Saves
Strawberry Point Campground

15. Strawberry Point Campground

With rustic campsites, hiking trails, and trees a’plenty, Stawberry Point Campground is one heck of a spot in Eldorado National Forest. Get blissed...

John
John: Small campsites and a small campground. (10 sites) That being said, it is also quiet and beautiful. Several sites are right...
5 Saves
Wench Creek Campground

16. Wench Creek Campground

The pines here don’t just filter your air, but also your mind, clearing it for a dose of tranquil vibes. On the forested bank of Union Valley...

Lindsey
Lindsey: Can get crowded...
5 Saves
Mokelumne Campground

17. Mokelumne Campground

For some secluded camping with peace, quiet, and good vibes, check out Mokelumne Campground. With just a handful of spots to set up camp and right...

5 Saves
Yellowjacket Campground

18. Yellowjacket Campground

Animal-lovers, come on down to Yellowjacket Campground, only don’t be fooled by its name; this campground is host to loveable creatures. Camping...

KATIE
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...
5 Saves
Fashoda Campground

19. Fashoda Campground

Mosy on over to the popular Fashoda Campground for some seriously beautiful camping in Eldorado National Forest. Camp right on the banks of the...

KATIE
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...
4 Saves
Azalea Cove Campground

20. Azalea Cove Campground

Travelling by car or on foot? How about on bike or boat? Not a problem! Azalea Cove is about as accessible as they come, and offers some seriously...

3 Saves
Dru Barner Campground

21. Dru Barner Campground

Located in the depths of Eldorado National Forest, Dru Barner Campground is home to some serious wildlife and wilderness. Horse lovers will be...

Susan
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...
3 Saves
Pleasant Campground

22. Pleasant Campground

Get into the wild at Pleasant Campground. This is a hike-in or boat-in only campground, but it definitely offers more than just pleasant camping....

2 Saves
Silver Fork Campground

23. Silver Fork Campground

Itching to take the weekend off and venture into the outdoors? Silver Forks Campground is home to secluded, but still spacious, drive-in sites....

2 Saves
Wench Creek Group Campground

24. Wench Creek Group Campground

What are you doing May-September? Even if you can only squeeze two days, Wench Creek Group Campground is the place to spend them. At an elevation...

2 Saves
Moore Campground

25. Moore Campground

Get the best of both worlds at Moore Campground. Right on the border between Eldorado National Forest and Stanilaus National Forest, you’ve got too...

2 Saves
Sand Flat Campground

26. Sand Flat Campground

Take a cruise down a sandy road just east of Sacramento, and you’ll wind up at Sand Flat Campground. Feel shaded by pines and cedars as you pitch...

2 Saves
Robbs Hut

27. Robbs Hut

Remote and with views that’ll make your eyes widen, Robbs Hut has some real backwoods charm. The hut provides most of the comforts of home with a...

Andrew
Andrew: For those who have been here, is it possible to bring a camping trailer to the location? Looking for slightly better sleeping...
2 Saves
Northshore Campground

28. Northshore Campground

Awe-inspiring lakeside views, peaceful campsites, and rugged forest wilderness? Northshore Campground is home to all of this and more. Campsites...

2 Saves
South Fork Group Campground

29. South Fork Group Campground

This remote area lends itself to a true-life camping experience at South Fork Group Campground. The largest group campsite (up to 125 guests) in...

1 Save
Camino Cove Campground

30. Camino Cove Campground

Entering Camino Cove is entering an oasis of calm. Even though this campground isn’t too far of a drive from both Sacramento and Reno, Camino Cove...

1 Save
Wolf Creek Campground

31. Wolf Creek Campground

Boating enthusiasts, meet your new favorite place. Wolf Creek Campground offers an awesome launch site with swimming, fishing, and jet skiing...

1 Save
Airport Flat Campground

32. Airport Flat Campground

While the name Airport Flat doesn’t exactly conjure up an image of an idyllic, nature-filled paradise, this campground actually lies deep in...

KATIE
Katie: Managed by SMUD and USFS. No piped water available.
1 Save
White Azalea Campground

33. White Azalea Campground

Wanna escape from campground busyness, and just retreat into the wilderness? White Azalea Campground only has a handful of secluded sites deep in...

1 Save
Big Silver Group Campground

34. Big Silver Group Campground

Nestled alongside Big Silver Creek, Big Silver Group Campground is a perfect place to escape into the wild. A lack of electricity might keep some...

Jones Fork Campground

35. Jones Fork Campground

Nothin’ like wakin’ up lakeside in the summertime! So ditch your summertime sadness, and come experience the appeal at Jones Fork Campground. A...

Middle Meadows Group Campground

36. Middle Meadows Group Campground

"Escape for the weekend or a bit longer at Middle Meadows Campground. Here, you will stumble upon a secluded, forested beauty that is hard to part...

Sunset Campground

37. Sunset Campground

"Get your lakeside party game on at Sunset Campground. Set right on the shores of Union Valley Reservoir, you’ll be enjoying the sweet sunshine all...

Lone Rock Campground

38. Lone Rock Campground

It take two at Lone Rock Campground, two legs or two wheels thats is! Only accessible by bike, foot, or boat you could make a mini adventure out of...

Northwind Campground

39. Northwind Campground

Set up camp at Northwind Campground, and get a feel for the breathtaking, raw beauty at Eldorado National Forest. Campsites are right on the banks...

Gerle Creek Campground

40. Gerle Creek Campground

88% Recommend (4 Responses)

"At Gerle Creek Campground, you’ll find yourself amongst lush forest and the sweet sound of rushing water. Plenty of fishin’ and skinny dippin’ to...

Big Meadows Campground

41. Big Meadows Campground

Feel in a dream as you camp surrounded by groves of cedars and firs, grasses and shrubs, and last but not least—peace and quiet. Despite its large...

Red Fir Group Campground

42. 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, you really can't beat Red Fir Group...

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19 Reviews

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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 A
A

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 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 A
A

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!

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Hipcamper A
A

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

Hipcamper A
A

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

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

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 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 Linda

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

Hipcamper Beth

Gets packed on weekends with climbers

Hipcamper Kym

Small intimate campground with only 30 sites.

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.