Loon Lake Campground is situated on the south shores of Loon Lake, and attracts many visitors with its variety of campsites and beautiful waterfront setting. Popular activities include boating, swimming, fishing, hiking, horseback riding and exploring off-road vehicle trails.
The campground sits just west of Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada Mountains at an elevation of 6,500 feet. The climate is similar to that of the Mediterranean with warm, dry summers and cold, wet winters.
Anglers delight in fishing for rainbow and brown trout, while boaters head out for water skiing. Five picnic areas in the campground and a day-use area provide visitors with nice lake views.
Campsites come with picnic tables, grills, campfire rings and bear-proof food storage lockers. Firewood is sold on-site.
The 18-mile Rubicon Jeep Trail begins nearby. An exciting stretch of scenic, un-maintained, rocky road awaits off-road thrill seekers.
Loon Lake is a large reservoir in El Dorado county located in the Crystal basin. Boasting a large 52 site campground, Loon Lake is a great option for large groups, horses and boating. While the campground is large, it was quiet and peaceful-you’d never guess it was as large as it is!
Late July had the ground pretty dusty so be prepared for that but overall great campsites with decent fire rings. The picnic tables are a little worse for wear, so bring a table cloth. Water faucets for drinking/cooking water are plentiful and the water is cold!! The pit toilet bathrooms have definitely seen better days, so practice your hover stance and being hand sanitizer. Bear boxes at each site for food and large bear proof trash cans.
I spent the hot afternoons out on my SUP and lounging around on the rocks and when it was time to dry off, I grabbed my Matador NanoDry Shower Towel—I opted for the large size and I’m glad I did because when I wasn’t using it as a towel, it made the perfect sarong! The fabric is buttery soft and dries you off like the most plush cotton bath towel would. When I was done with my towel I simply hung it up to from my hammock strap and it was dry within minutes (it was pretty hot with a breeze). This towel packs down so small into a little case that actually allows for the towel to dry if you don’t have time to hang it up. I’m so impressed with this towel, I’m going to take it on my next backpacking trip!
www.matadorup.com. Put Yourself Out There
Nature’s Coffee Kettle
We all know how important that first cup of coffee is in the morning, especially when camping. I was stoked to try out Nature’s Coffee Kettle for a few reasons: ease of brewing, no mess, quick clean up and reusable “kettle.” Sadly, when I went to pour my first bit of hot water into the “kettle” there was a gash in the side of the kettle and my precious coffee spilled out onto the ground. So unfortunately, I can’t speak to the functionality of Nature’s Coffee brewing method, but let me tell you-they make some damn fine coffee. Quickly, I threw the prepackaged coffee filter into my pot of hot water and let it boil away for a good 5 minutes and then let it “steep” for another 10. Great tasting cup of joe! The rest of the coffee pouches I’d received I decided to do a cold brew test on—threw the pouch into a mason jar and filled it with cold water and let it sit at room temp overnight—another great tasting cup of joe! And iced coffee definitely hits the spot when it’s 3pm and you’ve been playing all day! https://www.naturescoffeekettle.com/
Just returned from a weekend getaway to Loon Lake. We (2 people, 1 pup) stayed two nights at site #25 at Loon Lake Campground. Perfect location for daytime fishing and nighttime stargazing.
Highlights: Clear skies (above the smoke from wildfires) and crystal-clear water (warm) made for the perfect escape from the valley smog and smoke. The drive from Sacramento took less than the estimated 2hrs (even on a Friday night at 7 p.m.) and we arrived just before dusk.
Campground: Easy to find and easy to navigate. campsite was clean and flat enough for one tent. the table was slightly broken but not enough to cause any problems. definitely bring something for shade. Bathrooms and water spigots were nearby and you can cut through the back of the site to the Loon Lake trailhead for a nice hike around the lake. For lake access, look for trail near site #29.
Lake: Warm, clear water with sandy/grassy beaches all around. No luck fishing but the lake was stocked with trout late July so sure it was just us.
Considerations: Don't stay at site #25 if using more than one medium tent. Bring extra ice and supplies–the nearest market was too far to justify a trip (40+ mins one way). Drive around the lake to Rubicon 4X4 trailhead. Saw so many beautiful Jeeps and off-road vehicles.
we came up on a whim with no reservations and ended up getting a spot in the parking lot right by the water. Pet friendly. Beautiful sunsets!! It was difficult getting our rig though the sites but we managed. You are required to have life jackets with you on the water.
The lake and surroundings are absolutely gorgeous, but we had cut our camping trip short due to meat bees (Labor Day weekend, 2016). There were TONS of them! They were all over our campsite, the campground, and the waterfront (which is a short walk from the sites).
Also note, there’s no cell service in the area, and finding the campground can be a little challenging. We drove past it the first time.
If you have a large group (up to 50), Loon Lake Campground is a great option! The group camping is separate and private from the rest of the camp that is located right on the water. The big group campsite has individual sites within. Lot's of room and space.
I have come here for years and it's a great spot only the locals seem to know. There are 2 paid sites, one right when you get to the lake and one past the dam on the back side, but in-between there is plenty of free sites that are much nicer in my opinion! After you cross the dam you can pull off anywhere to camp for free up until the next paid sites, then there are a few sites after the paid campground also. I have never camped at the paid sites, so I can't speak for them. They are a little too close together for my tastes. The free sites are primitive with no tables, faucets or bathrooms, but the bathroom is a 5 minute walk/drive to the nearest campsite down the road if you really need one. They do have fire pits and plenty of room to spread out if you don't like camping on top of your neighbors like the paid sites, and I think they have better views and waterfront access. They are large sites for big groups and will easily fit 20+ people. The sites right after the dam go right to the water, and the ones past the campground (on the back side) are on a hill overlooking the water. You can also camp on the island for free if you boat in all your gear. The water is clear (but cold) and lots of good fishing and swimming here! The Rubicon trail and desolation wilderness start just past the last dam and sometimes there's a bit of traffic from the off roaders, and many people go shooting here as well, but a great place to camp overall! Gorgeous views everywhere and not too crowded. It can get cold at night because of the high elevation but so worth it to not have the crowds like the campgrounds farther down the mountain. Holiday weekends will fill up by Thursday, so go early to get a spot! Other weekends you can always find one on Fridays or sometimes even Saturdays. Plenty of parking anywhere on the road for extra campers. Make sure to stop at the ranger station at the bottom of Ice House road for a fire permit. You will need one! Bassi falls is down the mountain a bit but a great spot to hike and swim nearby!
My family had a great time on the Rubicon & camping on the lake. My little brother caught his first fish here! Great memories.
Okay, I have been coming to Loon Lake since I was a kid, still love the area at 40. I have been to a lot of beautiful places but this is still my favorite. I love this lake… it's clean, clear and with not a ton of motor boats. It takes a little extra time to get there, most folks stop at Union Valley or Ice House, but the extra time is worth it! It's a great place to paddle and find a quiet place for a swim. Also, a great place to take hikes, you can head into Desolation Wilderness from a trail heads starting in this campground. The campground is rustic but well maintained (okay I'm biased… my dad has been the host for the past 7 years!), it is dry camping so be prepared. There is water faucets, pit toilets, camp fire rings, picnic tables, bear boxes and you can by wood from the hosts. The campground is typically open Late May/Early June (depending on snow melt - this year will be mid-June) through mid-October. I have stayed up there during the summer and fall. I have also snowshoed up in this area in the winter months.