One Page Guide to Camping Utica Reservoir

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A clear blue day perfect for camping on Utica Reservoir or simply kayaking along it!

If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life in California, look no further than Utica Reservoir. Camping, boating, and fishing await you there! Today, we’ll talk about why Utica Reservoir should make your summer travel list. 

Two kayaks sit on the shoreline ready to go into the Utica Reservoir with rocky islands and trees throughout.

Where Is Utica Reservoir? 

Utica Reservoir sits in east-central California in Stanislaus National Forest. If you were flying, you’d likely come from Sacramento, where the nearest major airport is. A typical drive from Sacramento takes close to three hours. Those visiting Yosemite National Park can make the trip in just under three hours as well. 

Your other option is to approach it from Nevada. Carson City is about two and a half hours from the reservoir, and Reno is about 20 minutes farther than that. 

What Is Utica Reservoir Known For? 

Utica Reservoir is known for its beautiful rocky and wooded shoreline. It’s a somewhat rural area that can be difficult to reach, but the payoff is worth it. 

There are many things to do at Utica Reservoir! Recreationalists love camping, fishing, and non-motorized boating here. This out-of-the-way reservoir is excellent for getting off the beaten path from the usual tourist spots while still getting breathtaking views and endless recreational opportunities. 

When Is the Best Time to Visit Utica Reservoir?

The best time to visit Utica Reservoir is during the summer, with fall being a close second. With the summer temperatures reaching an average high of only 78 degrees, most summer days make for a pleasant trip on the water. It can get crowded in the summer, so plan according to your crowd tolerance. 

The fall finds itself a bit cooler but still enjoyable. While you might have fewer opportunities to enjoy the water, you can enjoy hiking, fishing, and camping amidst changing foliage. 

A mountain lake escape can be found by camping on Utica Reservoir with its rocky shoreline and islands and lush forests.

Camping at Utica Reservoir

If you find yourself entranced by the beauty found here, consider trying your luck with Utica Reservoir camping. Check out a few of our favorite options for camping in the area. 

Sandy Flat Campground

Sandy Flat Campground has eleven single sites and one triple site, all primitive with only a vault toilet. There’s no dump station, but bear boxes are available for camper safety. The campground also features picnic tables for both overnight campers and day-use visitors. 

At $16 a night, this is a budget-friendly place to stay over. Each site is first-come, first-served, so come with a backup plan in case it’s full. If you stay here, you’ll just fill out a reservation envelope with the money for your campsite included, and then detach the tear-off stub and attach it to the post at your camp. This system helps rangers and other campers know how long you plan to stay.

Rocky Point Campground

Rocky Point Campground features twelve campsites, each with a picnic table but no water or electrical hookups. Although there is a vault toilet, you won’t find a dump station within the campground. For your peace of mind, bear boxes are there to keep campers safe and animals out of the campground. 

This first-come, first-served campground costs $16 a night. You’ll find the same envelope system Sandy Flat Campground uses here as well.

Things to Do While Camping at Utica Reservoir

Utica Reservoir is ideal for fishing, camping, and boating. However, the reservoir is only open to non-motorized watercraft, making it a safe and fun place to launch your kayak. It features a beautiful rocky shoreline that feels like the landscapes are right out of a magazine. There are many islands that kayakers can paddle to and explore.

However, if fishing or kayaking aren’t your things, you can still make use of the water. Utica Reservoir makes for a great place to cool off in the heat of the summer. You can spend hours splashing in the water!

If you’d like to go for a drive, you’re in luck! The park is just off one of the seven nationally designated highways in California, Ebbetts Pass National Scenic Byway. It’s a 61-mile drive from the towns of Arnold and Markleeville. If you decide to make the entire byway drive, you’ll experience elevation changes from 4,000 to 8,700 feet. You’ll also have some of the best views of the Sierra Nevada mountain range! 

Enjoy Utica Reservoir Camping! 

To get away from the summer heat and find a place to dip your toes in the cool water, the place to be is Utica Reservoir. Camping here should leave you relaxed and feeling restored. It’s somewhat off the beaten path, but it’s ideal for those seeking hidden beauty and plenty of things to do! 

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