PLACERVILLE, Calif. – Memorial Weekend kicks off the busy summer recreation season for the Eldorado National Forest. Crews have been busy getting recreation sites prepared for the public to enjoy. Not all facilities are typically open by Memorial Day depending on their elevation, winter damage, and staffing availability. It takes a tremendous amount of work to ensure that the facility is safe and ready to open to the public. Hazard tree inspections and removal, extensive cleanup of the general area, repairs caused by winter damage, signs installed, vault toilets pumped, repairs made to several waterline breaks and general water system routine maintenance must all be completed before the opening of the facility.
Visitors are reminded to Recreate Responsibly
by planning ahead and checking the status of their favorite campgrounds. The mountain environment is very dynamic so take time to properly prepare before you arrive. Here are a few things to “Know Before You Go”:
- WEATHER: Check the weather forecast. Thunderstorms may occur throughout the summer. Visitors need to exercise caution as they enjoy the outdoors. Rivers and streams are running swift and cold due to melting snow which can result in suddenly hazardous conditions.
- STATUS: Check the forest website for the current condition of our roads, trails, campgrounds, and other facilities at www.fs.usda.gov/goto/enf/currentconditions. Some facilities, roads, or trails are may still be closed due to snow, , winter damage, or planned renovations.
- CAMPFIRES: Obtain a campfire permit if you are not camping in a developed campground and check for fire restrictions which may affect your camping experience. California Campfire permits are available free of charge online at www.preventwildfireca.org. Forest conditions are unusually dry making fire starts very likely. Please make sure your campfire is drowned out when you leave and go the extra mile and check the surrounding campsites for abandoned campfires.
- OFFICES: Eldorado National Forest offices are still in virtual status due to COVID19. Call ahead for information or check our website at www.fs.usda.gov/eldorado. To stay updated on forest related information visitors can also follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/eldoradonf and “Like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/EldoradoNF. Our virtual offices are staffed to provide visitor information from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday:
- Forest Supervisor’s Office – 530-303-2412
- Georgetown Ranger District – 530-334-6477
- Placerville/Pacific Ranger District – 916-500-4712
- Amador Ranger District – 209-259-3774
- ACCESS: The forest experienced significant blow down of hundreds of trees this winter; blocking roads, trails, and causing damage to some facilities. Crews and volunteers have been working hard to open roads and trails before Memorial Weekend. The Mormon Emigrant Trail (Iron Mountain Road) should open in the next few days. Crews are still working on the Silver Fork Road and surrounding areas. The forest website will be updated as conditions change. Visitors should use caution when recreating in the forest. Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUM) are available free of charge) to download from our forest website, available on AVENZA https://www.avenzamaps.com/, or from any of our Ranger Stations (once they are open for in person service.
- FEES/ RESERVATIONS: Reservations for many of our campgrounds and overnight Desolation Wilderness camping can be made at www.recreation.gov. Dru Barner, Northshore and Wench Creek Campgrounds now have sites available on the Reservation system. Some concession operated sites have had fee changes to level fees across the forest and align with operating cost. In general, Day Use fees are $10, campsites with water are $28 for a single-family site per night, and a standard site without water is now $25 for a single-family site per night. Group sites (planned to open as early as June 15th) have fees that are varied and based on the capacity, location and amenities available.
Crystal Basin / Icehouse Road Area
Many of facilities in this area are at higher elevation and are not planned to open until June or early July (Loon and Wrights Lakes).
- Open: Ice House Campground, Boatramp and Day Use Areas, Lyons Creek Trailhead, Wench Creek, Northwind, Strawberry, Azalea Cove, Jones Fork, Lone Rock Campgrounds, and Sunset Campground and Boatramp.
- Planned to Open by Memorial Weekend : Fashoda Tent Campground and Day Use area, Wolf Creek Campground, Westpoint Boatramp, Airport Flat Campground, and Gerle Creek Campground and Day Use areas.
- Crystal Information Station is planned to open Memorial Weekend for limited services.
- Most Group Campgrounds open June 15.
- Closures for 2021 season: Yellowjacket Campground and Boatramp, Camino Cove Campground, Westpoint Campground, Wolf Creek Group Campgrounds, and Loon Lake Chalet are closed all season for facility renovations or to accommodate the extension of the Union Valley Bike Trail. Van Vleck Bunkhouse and Robbs Hut are closed.
- Closures after Labor Day: Westpoint Boatramp, Sunset Boatramp, and Wolf Creek Campground will close for renovations or to accommodate the extension of the Union Valley Bike Trail.
Georgetown/ Hell Hole Area
- Open: All day use areas. Stumpy Meadows Campground, Hell Hole Boatramp, and the Long Canyon camping area. Dru Barner Campground is open for the summer but is expected to be completely full due to an equestrian recreation event from May 27 through May 31. There will be no campsites available for anyone not participating in the event.
- Planned to Open by Memorial Weekend: Big Meadows Campground will open without drinking water.
- Group Campgrounds open June 15.
- Closures for 2021 season: Dru Barner Campground and Day Use Area will experience a partial closure this season for renovations. Upper Hell Hole Campground is closed indefinitely due to a large amount of blowdown trees impacting the site.
Highway 50 South Area
- Open: Most day use areas including Pyramid, Mt. Ralston, Sayles/Brian Meadow, Pony Express, Fleming, Cedar Park, and Elkins Trailheads. Sand Flat Campground, Lovers Leap Campground and Day Use area, and Gray Rock Camping Area .
- Planned to Open by Memorial Weekend: Bridal Veil Picnic Area, China Flat Campground, Silver Fork Campground,
- Caples Equestrian Trailhead has many downed trees and while the Caples Creek Trailhead is accessible the trails haves a large number of downed trees.
- Group Campgrounds open June 15.
- Closed for 2021 season: Sly Guard Station and Harvey West Cabin.
Highway 88 / Salt Springs/ Carson Pass
Many of facilities in this area are at higher elevation and are not planned to open until June or early July (Kirkwood, Caples, Martin Meadows, and Woods Lake).
- Open: Pipi Campground and Day Use Area, Meiss and Carson Pass Trailheads, Gold Note Trailheads, Mokelumne Campground, , Sugar Pine Point Campground, South Shore Campground, Pardoes Point Campground and Day Use area.
- Planned to Open by Memorial Weekend: Middle Fork Cosumnes Campground, Silver Lake East Campground, Salt Springs Trailhead, and White Azalea Campground.
- Group Campgrounds open June 15.
- Carson Pass Information Station opens Saturday, May 29 and Mokelumne Wilderness overnight permits will be issued through the Station on a first-come, first served basis.