The Eldorado National Forest is over 500,000 acres of beautifully wooded area in eastern California between Placerville and Lake Tahoe. The elevations vary from 1,000 to 10,000 feet above sea level, so the average temperatures are varied as well. In elevations above 6,000 feet, you can find a snowpack from 5 to 10 feet between December and May. This park has mountains, streams, lakes, and plenty of other areas to explore.
There are plenty of beautiful areas to camp while you explore this vast forest. Making the trip in an RV means that you can stop whenever you like to spend the night or have a meal. It complements your flexible vacation schedule. If you do not own an RV, it is easy and convenient to find exactly what you need through RVshare.com.
The West Point Campground is in Pollock Pines on the shore of the Union Valley Reservoir. This is an intimate little park with only eight sites, which come with a picnic table and fire pit. The park is right next to the boat dock, so you can go boating or fishing. Enjoy spotting wildlife like bears, squirrels, and a wide variety of birds.
The Big Meadows Campground is a beautiful spot with plenty of trees, grasses, scrubs, and, most of all, peace and quiet. This is a large park with 54 sites that come with picnic tables, fire pits, and a food storage box to keep your supplies away from bears. It is close to Hell Hole Reservoir, so you can enjoy swimming, fishing, or boating. The camp has toilets and potable water available. There is also a camp host on-site and firewood for sale.
Loon Lake Campground is the perfect spot if you enjoy fishing. It is accessible to the boat ramp, so you can easily get on the water. Sites come with a picnic table and fire pit with drinkable water and restrooms available. The campground is good sized with 65 sites that can get busy during the summer months. There are plenty of trails nearby for hiking, biking, or horseback riding.
Bassi Falls is a gorgeous trail near Kyburz that is a nice hike for the whole family. You can bring the kids and the dogs. The best time to go is between May and October when there is enough water in the creek for you to see the falls at their best, 109 feet of cascading water. During the winter, you can enjoy snow hiking or snowshoeing, but be careful to follow the map and stay on the trail.
Length: 3.6 miles
Lake Margaret Trail is an in-and-out trail that has plenty of traffic and features a beautiful river. The trail is open to dogs and even horses. The best time to hike here is between June and October. You can enjoy lush green banks of the creek and huge slabs of granite before you reach Lake Margaret, a great place to swim, have a picnic, or just enjoy the scenery of the mountain.
Length: 6 miles
Intensity: Easy to Moderate
If you want to enjoy a refreshing hike through the forest, check out the trail from Wrights Lake to Enchanted Pool. This trail is a little less used and rewards you with a gorgeous pool of water at the end. The best time to go is between May and September. Before May, there is often still snow on the ground, so the trail is harder to follow. After September, the water can become stagnant or even dry up. There are lots of gorgeous views along the way as well, and once you get to the pools, you can enjoy a cool swim.
Length: 3.4 miles
The Thunder Mountain Summit trail is located near Kirkwood. It is a nice place for a hike or a nature trip. Along the way, you will enjoy beautiful meadows, volcanic outcroppings, and forested slopes. The landscape changes as you go along, so it keeps your hike interesting.
Length: 7.5 miles
The Caples Creek Loop Trail is a popular running path, as well as a hiking and backpacking route. There are plenty of places to access the creek along the route, so you can enjoy the cool water with a little wading. You could even find places to camp. This is the perfect hike for early in the season since you can enjoy huge meadows full of wildflowers.
Length: 9.1 miles
During the summer months, this park is a great place for swimming, boating, windsurfing, hiking, and picnicking. In the winter, you can enjoy sledding, tubing, snowshoeing, or snowmobiling. There are many ways to enjoy and explore the area, and you will want to bring a camera to capture every moment. The darkness of the forest creates ideal conditions for stargazing, and those who like to explore the wilderness with a purpose in mind will enjoy searching for the geocaches hidden in the Eldorado National Forest.
Address: 100 Forni Road, Placerville CA
Fee: Entry fee (per vehicle, per day) $5
Visiting the Eldorado National Forest is an excellent way to experience all the Sierra Nevada mountains have to offer. The varying elevations mean plenty of different environments to explore depending on what area you visit and the time of year. You will delight in the hiking opportunities with breathtaking views, fishing in lakes and streams, and camping in the heart of nature’s beauty. Traveling by RV means that you can enjoy the forest on your own schedule, not worried about reservations or finding a place to eat. You can focus on enjoying the serenity.