Conifers—the word from Latin meaning “to carry (pine) cones”—surround this charming lake that invites you to relax and sit back in ease. Letts Lake Campground hosts a popular fishing pier and is well suited for pond fishing. If you’re not looking to cook up trout for dinner, bring your bathing suit and take a dip—there’s a small beach area for swimming and picnics. A scenic 1 mile trail traces along the shoreline.
Offered near the campground.
Natural features you'll find at Letts Lake Campground.
The vibe at Letts Lake Campground
Drop some Letts Lake Campground knowledge on us.
So I tried to find my way there last year and almost got my giant 4x4 trapped in a creek that was crossing the road in! It's a fairly rigorous National Forest road...if you aren't used to backcountry driving, make sure you bring a 4wd with high clearance...and make sure you check the ranger station at the park entrance to check road closures (I didn't, hence the creek scare.) I ended up driving all the way back home after that, finding no camping at nearby Lake Mendocino! Learn from my stupid mistakes :D
Lett's Lake is a beautiful lake chuck full of feisty largemouth bass right on the edge of the Mendocino National Forrest (MNF). Spring camping is nice, bug free, though too cold to swim, and summer camping though more buggy with mosquitos and yellow jackets lends itself to the full lakefront camping experience. My favorite trip is to enter MNF from stonyford, spend 2 nights at Lett's Lake with my little inflatable boat, rod, and soft plastics, then drive out on m10 across bear creek to M1 then down to Upper Lake for lunch at the Blue Wing Saloon.
This place is cool if you can snag a spot. The best tip is to pull into the fist open spot you see because they fill up fast on the weekends.
Wake up early and take a short 1.2 mile hike around the lake. There are a few rope swings here and there so go find them. The sites on the lake are nice, but there are a few loops so keep your eye out for a spot.
The vault toilets were a little smelly and hopefully your spot isn't super close to one. It's $12 per night. There are no motorized boats allowed on the lake.
While Lett's lake is quite picturesque, the drive there from SF is 3.5 hours IF you don't hit traffic or stop to get gas or something to eat. Coupled with the fact that you can't make reservations and potentially not getting a spot, it's tough to commit to making the trip. The nearest store is 45 minutes away and is a small general store. You can get ice and water if you don't have enough. Someone said there was blue-green algae in the lake this year. Not sure if that's true or not but I did hear that from another camper.
I have been camping at Letts Lake for 20 years and going up there last weekend was tough. It was the first time it's been opened since the Ranch/Mendocino Complex fire in 2018. Even though I knew it was burned badly, I was still shocked to see it in person. The trees in the campgrounds were mostly saved but the ones around the lake didn't fare so well. The lake was still clear, refreshing and beautiful.