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Good for camping on the delta with green grass and close to the boat spots
We drove into the campground on a Friday night and were surprised to see that the 5.5mi dirt road was on the side of the mountain and had a lot of ruts. We were driving a Prius Prime with low ground clearance, so it took us nearly an hour to get down to the campground from Hwy 120. Others driving a truck and a Chevy Suburban passed us pretty quickly during turnouts.
Though 4WD or higher ground clearance is not required, I would recommend it! Otherwise, be prepared for a slow drive down to the campground.
Campsites are free, and the facilities are pretty bare bones (you have a picnic table, a fire pit, and a bear box at each site plus a single toilet at the campground entrance), but we got excellent views of the stars and were the only group at the campground. I definitely recommend this campground if you're looking to get away from everything and everyone.
Other than the unexpectedly difficult drive down (for a sedan/Prius), we all enjoyed this campground. We will be returning in a more appropriate vehicle in the future.
We stayed here for a weekend at one of the hike-in sites in the Chamise area. We were the only ones in this area, and had a decent view of the lake. We even managed to make a path down to the water from our site, so we could swim. Lots of good trees around for hammocks.
The hike-in sites were relatively close to the parking area, so not a huge hike, though a little steep. We probably brought too much stuff, so it might have been a little easier if we pared down a little.
Not a whole lot of people when I visited in March— pros and cons to having the campground to myself. A lot of privacy but almost a little to much privacy as a woman. Set up my tent near a couple as I was bike packing down US 1 for some protection. Fire wood available but I was able to find some left over from people’s campsites that went unused.
We camped out for 2 nights in spot 96 in the height of summer and just before all the fires started. New Melones was not a top destination but it was close to a very special place for us, Natural Bridges. Also, at the time of booking it was one of the few campgrounds accepting new reservations in this age of COVID. We selected spot 96 as it was the furthest from any other spot (situated on a bend and the only site on that part of the road for a while). It was something like 107 when we were setting up the tent and most of the day time but on the lake itself, the temperature was perfect. One thing to be aware of, most of the drive in camp sites, including ours, had absolutely no shade (including nowhere to hang a hammock).
- The view was amazing
- The tent spot was level and clear of big rocks
- All the campers abided by quiet time
- It was so dark that I was able to do some great astrophotography
- The location was a great step off point for adventure in Gold Country
- The last campers in our spot left garbage everywhere. We filled up a large garbage bag before we could setup camp.
- Some bathrooms were closed but port-o-potties were there instead (as if somehow that is more clean???)
- The bathrooms that were open were disgusting
- No camp host onsite while we were there
We don’t have a boat but the boat launch was pretty busy all day and the day use spots were packed.
All in all, Tuttletown wouldn’t be our first choice but we would go back - probably later in the season since we aren’t there for boating.
I was debating on 3 or 4 stars. Showing up in 107 heat and wanting to set up a tent but having to clean up that much garbage was a huge turn off and having bathrooms closed with no notice was also a disappointment. I know these things aren’t normal but more notice on facilities and finding ways to get this cleaned up first would be a start.