Your One Page Guide to Sugar Pine Reservoir Camping

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Sugar Pine Reservoir with trees surrounding it and blue skies with clouds

If you want a serene experience in nature, try Sugar Pine Reservoir camping. The peaceful waters help you get away from it all, even if for a short time. You can find simple and affordable campgrounds within the Tahoe National Forest landscape.

This guide gives you an overview of Sugar Pine Reservoir and three campgrounds from which to access it.

Where Is Sugar Pine Reservoir? 

Sugar Pine Reservoir sits in the Tahoe National Forest in Northern California. It lies 80 miles east of Lake Tahoe. The reservoir, created in 1982, supplies water to the nearby town of Foresthill, California. 

When Is the Best Time to Visit Sugar Pine Reservoir?

April to November is the best time for Sugar Pine Reservoir camping. These months provide the warmest weather and water temperatures. Late spring and early fall typically have fewer people than peak summer months. 

A little boy with a life jacket on rowing a boat. When Sugar Pine Reservoir camping you can take a boat out.

Can You Swim in Sugar Pine Reservoir?

You can swim in a designated area. Sugar Pine Reservoir has clear water that warms up in the summer months. You can jump in for a swim after hiking on the trail that loops around the reservoir.

What Amenities Are at Sugar Pine Reservoir?

The reservoir has one hiking trail. The Joshua M. Hardt Memorial Trail, also known as the Sugar Pine Reservoir Loop Trail, is 4 miles long and hugs the shoreline. Hikers of all skill levels will enjoy this trail which you can access year-round. You can even bring dogs.

You can also find well-groomed trails near the reservoir for off-highway vehicles such as trail bikes, dirt bikes, and quads.

Many people enjoy boating, kayaking, and canoeing at Sugar Pine Reservoir. You can take a boat out from the boat ramp, but the lake has a speed limit of 10 mph. So this isn’t an all-sports lake. If you’re looking for a peaceful time on the water, this is an ideal location.

You can also fish. The California Department of Fish and Game stocks the reservoir with rainbow trout all summer. You must have a California fishing license to fish here.

The nearby area of Placer County offers shopping, art, wineries, and distilleries to fill up your days.

A man on a stand up paddle board with a dog watching him. When Sugar Pine Reservoir camping you can swim in the water

Best Camping Near Sugar Pine Reservoir

Sugar Pine Reservoir camping is a great way to visit the area. Take a look at three of the best campgrounds.

Giant Gap Campground

Giant Gap Campground, located on the north shore of Sugar Pine Reservoir, has RV and tent campsites. They have no hookups. However, the campground does have vault toilets, water stations, campfire rings, and picnic tables. Giant Gap opens in May and closes in October.

Shirttail Creek Family Campground

Shirttail Campground, also on the reservoir’s north shore, has RV and tent camping with and without hookups. The campground has accessible vault toilets, campfire rings, grills, drinking water stations, shade, and picnic tables. You can bring pets and access nearby trails. Shirttail is open from May to October.

A boy at Sugar Pine Reservoir camping with smores and a fire

Forbes Creek Group Campground

Forbes Creek Group Campground, located near the southeast shore of Sugar Pine Reservoir, has two accessible RV and tent group camping sites without hookups. One group site has a maximum of 18 vehicles up to 45 feet, and the other allows for a maximum of 20 vehicles. Each has a limit of 50 people. Forbes Creek has vault toilets, drinking water stations, campfire rings, grills, and picnic tables. It is open from May to October.

Be sure to check on the booking windows for all three of these campgrounds to make sure you get a reservation.

Enjoy Your Stay At Sugar Pine Reservoir

We hope you put Sugar Pine Reservoir camping on your road trip itinerary when in Northern California. If you want a quiet area with activities nearby, this might check your boxes.

Driving through Tahoe National Forest makes for inspiring views as it is. You may get the bonus of ending up at the reservoir for a relaxing kayak or canoe ride. You never know what surprises you’ll find!

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