Union Valley Campgrounds - Best Sites for Camping

Union Valley Campgrounds - Best Sites for Camping

Oct 13, 2023

For those who enjoy the great outdoors, going camping at the Union Valley Reservoir Camping will give you a beautiful place to feed your eyes.

The Union Valley Reservoir is a hidden treasure that may be found between Reno and Sacramento.

Travelers are drawn to this stunning spot in the Sierra Nevada mountains by the serene waterways and verdant surroundings. You can set out on an adventure filled with starry nights that will be spent mountain biking, fishing, and camping.

If you're looking for a lonely retreat or organizing a gathering with friends and family, Union Valley Reservoir offers an unforgettable experience for everyone.

Let's tell you a little about how the Union Valley Reservoir came to be, and the beautiful campgrounds that can be found here.

History of Union Valley Reservoir

In California's Eldorado National Forest, Union Valley Reservoir Camping is a well-liked outdoor recreation area. When the Union Valley Dam was built across the South Fork of the American River in 1963, a reservoir was created.

Flood control, water storage, and the production of hydroelectric power were the main reasons for the creation of the dam.

There is ample historical evidence of Native American settlements in the Union Valley Reservoir area, spanning back thousands of years.

During the California Gold Rush in the middle of the 19th century, the area saw a surge in prospectors looking for gold. But gradually, the gold rush faded and attention turned to the harvesting of timber and logging.

The United States Forest Service started creating campsites and paths in the early 20th century after realizing the area's recreational potential. The management and protection of the area for public usage were further cemented in 1910 with the establishment of the Eldorado National Forest.

Outdoor enthusiasts began to flock to Union Valley Reservoir Camping because of its picturesque surroundings, immaculate waterways, and recreational offerings.

It now provides a variety of recreational opportunities to guests, such as hiking, boating, fishing, camping, and wildlife viewing.

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Union Valley Campgrounds

There are several campgrounds near the reservoir that offer different amenities and degrees of seclusion to campers. These campgrounds are:

1. Sunset Campground

Sunset Campground

Situated between the towering cedar and ponderosa pines on the reservoir's coast, this is one of the national forest's most well-liked camping areas. This park got its name because of the breathtaking sunset views it offers.

From this base camp, all water and bike activities are very popular. It's interesting to study the area's gold mining remnants. There are 111 non-electric camp sites accessible, including 30 sites designed exclusively for tents.

A paved parking lot, drinking water, vault toilets, and a boat ramp are all present. Additionally, there is a disposal station on the property.

Every camp site has piped water, fire rings, and a grill. There's a beach, picnic spaces, and restrooms. Rates during peak season are from  $28–$56 per night plus additional fees for online registration.

You need to come prepared because there are no bear boxes, there is a daily pet fee, and there are some first-come, first-served locations.

2. Fashoda Campground

Fashoda Campground

The Union Creek Reservoir offers camping in this incredibly picturesque environment.

It's a walk-to tent camping at all locations. Showers, vault toilets, barbecues, drinking water, and thirty tent-only, non-electric sites are available for $28 per night.

3. Wolf Creek Campground

Wolf Creek Campground

This campground can be found on the north shore of Union Valley Reservoir. Each camp site has picnic tables, fire rings, and bear lockers.

There are two tent-only sites and three group sites among the forty-four non-electric sites.

You will have to pay $28–$56 per night, from late May to early September. Meanwhile, if you're coming as a group, you will pay an additional fee of $140–$170 per night.

4. Wench Creek Campground

Wench Creek Campground

This basic campground is close to the water and is accessible by well-paved roads on the east coast of the reservoir. From here, you can climb the 4.5 miles to the Upper Falls of Bassi Creek.

Bear boxes, grill grates, fire rings, vaults, and flush toilets are available. The reservation fee is $28 per night.

5. Camino Cove Campground

Camino Cove Campground

Many people believe that Camino Cove is the reservoir's most picturesque camping area. Like everyone else, you are in the forest and near the lake, and you can see the mountain range in the distance.

Nevertheless, this facility lacks piped water, grills, and picnic tables. This area has 32 first-come, first-served basis camp sites. Vault toilets and fire rings are available. This area is free to camp.

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6. Big Silver Group Campground

Big Silver Group Campground

There are three walk-in tent sites, four RV-accessible sites, three tent sites, a group kitchen area with grills and tables, and a communal campfire circle in this group area.

Trash cans and vault toilets are available. However, you will need to carry your own water and there won't be any electricity. The closest town is twenty-five miles distant,  and there's a store ten miles away with a phone, gas, and restaurant.

In this campground, you're expected to pay a reservation fee of $145 a night.

7. Azalea Cove Campground

Azalea Cove Campground

Only walk-ins, bikers, and boaters are permitted at this campground. The closest boat ramp is one mile across the sea, while the closest parking place is half a mile away. There are 10 very private camp sites here.

However, guests need to bring their own water. Other amenities include picnic tables, campfire rings, and vault toilets.  This campground is closed from late May to early September. Also, the reservation fee is free.

8. YellowJacket Campground

YellowJacket Campground

This campground has vault and flush toilets, picnic tables, grills, and fire rings as well as a dump station. On-site is a host. Certain sites are first-come, first-served, while others require reservations.

There are just 10 tent sites and nine regular-sized sites available. All sites lack power, and there is a $10/$28 reservation fee.

9. Jones Fork Campground

Jones Fork Campground

This campground is open from June to October. You only need to pay a reservation fee of $10 for family sites and $5 for motor vehicles. Vault toilets are first come, first served.

10. West Point Campgrounds

West Point Campgrounds

This campground has eight sites, a boat ramp, and vault toilets. You can usually find it open from June to October. You just have to pay $25 per night and there are no bookings.

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Things to Do When Camping at Union Valley Reservoir

When you go camping at Union Valley Reservoir, you can do the following things for fun:

1. Hiking 

To have a more satisfying stay, trek along the reservoir's picturesque pathways. Union Valley Reservoir is a popular hiking site with multiple trails to choose from, like the Bassi Falls hiking trail.

With paths ranging from easy to challenging, there is something for everyone. Hikers can enjoy stunning views of the mountains, forests, and reservoirs.

There is a path in Union Valley Reservoir that you will enjoy, regardless of your level of skill. So grab your hiking boots and explore the splendor of this amazing place!

2. Taking Pictures and Stargazing

With your camera, you can record the breathtaking moments of dusk and dawn. And after dark, get away from the lights of the city and stargaze, marveling at the pure night sky.

You can always capture the starry night with photos and record special moments while visiting.

3. Swimming 

In the crystal-clear waters of Union Valley Reservoir, swimmers and water sports enthusiasts can have fun while doing some water activities.

Bring along your bathers and all the essentials for an unforgettable stay.

4. The Paddle Board

For those looking for an even more daring activity, Union Valley offers paddle-boarding options.

Take a swing at kayaking or paddle boarding on the calm waters.

5. Fishing

Many different kinds of fish can be found at Union Valley Reservoir. You may fish the reservoir for a variety of fish species, including bass and mackinaw trout. To prevent crossing any limits, make sure your actions are in accordance with the water authority.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Which amenities can you find at campgrounds near Union Valley Reservoir?

A: Campsites around Union Valley Reservoir have amenities like picnic tables, fire rings, and vault toilets. Although some locations could provide drinkable water, it is still advisable to bring your own.

These campgrounds can have spotty or no cell phone service. So, you need to bring important necessities for camping, such as food, cooking supplies, and trash cans.

Q: How do I schedule a campsite at Union Valley Reservoir?

A: Go to the official websites of Union Valley Reservoir or gov websites to reserve a camp site.

These websites provide online reservation tools so you can choose the style of campground and the date information that works best for you. It's best to book in advance, especially during busy times of the year, to guarantee your space and prevent disappointment.

Q: What are the directions to Union Valley Reservoir?

A: You will have to travel Highway miles east of Placerville, then turn left into Ice House Road (FS 3). Proceed north 14 miles to the Jones Fork Campground. That place has a parking lot.

Starting close to the campground, the paved trail winds over rolling terrain and is good for hiking or bicycling along the east shore. Apart from the parking area at Jones Fork, there is another parking lot at the Big Silver group CG.

Riding logging dirt roads is another option for getting around the lake to reach the north shore, or you can take FS 12N78 towards Yellowjacket Campground.

Union Creek Reservoir is a great place to get away from the city. For those who like to get away from all the distractions, there are lots of first-come, first-served basis camping places along the lake.

These areas have limited amenities. However, it is surrounded by National Forest territory, offering wonderful forested areas and breathtaking scenery for popular activities like bicycling, hiking, boating, fishing, and camping.

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