Need some nature? If you happen to be traveling in between Reno and Sacramento, Union Valley Reservoir is a hidden camping gem.
About Union Valley Reservoir
Located 20 miles northeast of Placerville, CA, the Union Valley Reservoir is a 277,000-acre body of water in Eldorado National Forest in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. The reservoir is at a good elevation of 4,870 feet, making it a great respite from the summer heat.
Best Time of Year to Visit Union Valley Reservoir
Summer and fall are the best times to visit. With the elevation, you can enjoy the water activities and a break from the heat down at lower elevations. Fall is an excellent time for hiking and biking to enjoy cooler temps. Winter visitors can enjoy the snow, but this area is on the verge of the snow/rain area, so it may just be muddy!
Things To Do While RV Camping at Union Valley Reservoir
With the reservoir at hand, of course, any water activity is attractive. Boating, fishing, swimming, and kayaking are all popular activities. Fishermen will enjoy catching rainbow trout, brown, and mackinaw, as well as kokanee salmon.
There are numerous trails for mountain biking and hiking, such as the Union Valley Bike Trail and Bassi Falls hiking trail. The bike trailer connects with the campground and follows the lake for 4.8 miles.
Union Valley Reservoir Camping
West Point Campground
This campground is open from June-Oct and is a no-frills campground with eight sites, a boat ramp, and vault toilets. $25/night, no reservations.
Wolf Creek Campground
This modern campground is on the north shore of the Union Valley Reservoir. There are two loops, and each site has picnic tables, fire rings, and bear lockers. There are 44 non-electric sites, including 3 group sites and a couple of tent-only sites. $28-$56 per night, group $140-170/night from late May to early September.
Yellow Jacket Campground
Sites at this simple campground include picnic tables, grills, and fire rings, and there is a dump station and flush and vault toilets. A host is on-site. Some sites are reservable, and some are first-come, first-serve. There are nine regular size sites and ten tents only, no electricity at any sites here—$ 28/$10 dump fee. Reviews mention spacious sites!
Wench Creek Campground
Nicely paved roads lead to the camping area, located on the east shore of the reservoir, and this simple campground is near the water. You can hike the Bassi Creek Upper falls from here, a 4.5-mile hike out and back. Flush and vault toilets, fire rings, grill grates, and bear boxes. $28/night first come, first serve.
Azalea Cove Campground
This unique campground is a Walk/bike/boat-in only campground. It is ½ mile from the nearest parking area and a mile over water from the closest boat ramp. There are ten campsites here with a lot of privacy, but campers must bring their own water, but there are picnic tables and campfire rings, along with vault toilets. Open late May-early Sept. No fee.
Big Silver Group Campground
This group area includes three tent sites, 4 RV accessible sites, three walk-in tent sites, a group kitchen area with tables and grills, and a group campfire circle. There are vault toilets and trash pickup. There is no water available so you must bring your own and no electricity. The nearest town is 25 miles away, but there is a store with a restaurant, gas, and phone within 10 miles. $145/night.
This is a very scenic area to camp at the Union Creek Reservoir. All sites are walk-to tent camping. There are showers, vault toilets, grills, drinking water, and 30 non-electric tent-only sites for $28/night.
This is a more popular camping area in the national forest, on the reservoir’s shores amid the towering cedar and ponderosa pines. The sunset views are spectacular here, hence the name of the park. All water and bike activities are popular from this base camp. Remnants of the gold mining in the area are fun to explore. One hundred thirty-one campsites are available, including 30 tent-only sites, ALL non-electric. There is a boat ramp, paved parking area, vault toilets, and drinking water. A dump station is available on site as well.
Each site has a grill, campfire rings, and water. There are picnic areas, showers, and a beach. Peak season rates $28-$56 per night plus online registration fees. There are some first-come, first-serve sites, there is a daily fee for pets, and there are no bear boxes, so you must be prepared.
Jones Fork Campground
This simple park is open from June to October, at $10/single family site and $5/each extra vehicle. Only first come, first serve with vault toilets.
Camino Cove Campground
Many think Camino Cove is the most beautiful camping spot on the reservoir. While in the forest and on the lakeshore like the others, you can see the mountain range in the distance. However, there are no picnic tables, grills, or piped water at this location. There are 32 campsites here, which are first-come, first-serve. There are fire rings and vault toilets. Camping here is free.
The Union Creek Reservoir is an excellent location for an escape from the city. There are numerous camping areas around the water, many of which are first-come, first-serve, and with few amenities for those who want to get back to nature. National Forest land surrounds the area, leading to fantastic forest surroundings and natural beauty to bike, hike, boat, fish, and camp. If you’re able to camp while “roughing it” a little, the sites’ natural beauty and excellent summer weather are easy to enjoy.