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Smith Valley, NEVADA

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Camping Nevada Smith Valley
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If you love the mountains and the beach, this is the place to be! This campground is tucked away in the forest. Not far from a local town to gamble if you like but far enough away you’d never know it was there. Once you’ve entered the campsite area there’s plenty of sites to choose from and plenty of room for privacy. Reservations can be made but are not necessary, once settled it’s just a short walk to the lake and it feels like you’re at the beach. Beautiful sandy shores with glacier clear water at the lake. Winters here are just the best. Sunsets are colorful and vibrant and you will not want to leave when you can catch fresh Salmon! Tree top adventures zip-lining is also not far away and it was one of the best trips we’ve made to date! All amenities are here, as needed. Small shop for wood at the entrance, restrooms, fire pits, tables and secured bear lockers. It is incredibly clean and an overall beautiful campground, we can’t wait to go back!

Long dirt roads often carry you to super camping

Be prepared for a long bumpy ride but it's well worth it!

There are several areas/loops to camp.  Driving in you will cross over a bridge and just up and off to your right you will see the parking area for the hot springs.

To the left just after crossing the bridge is a road you can pull off on and there is excellent fishing.  

I grabbed campsite #28.  There are fire rings and picnic tables. 28 also is close to one of the pit toilets and also has a path down to the river.  It's a bit of a steep grade down to the river but worth it for the solitude while fishing.

Was super quiet even though there were a few campers close by.

Great shade from the trees.

Alpine Lakes

This is a great glimpse at what the High Sierra lakes further south look like… but better. Dispersed camp sites all over. (Make sure to follow signs and camp appropriately distanced from the lakes)

Beautiful and peaceful

For beauty and solitude alone this is a five star spot. Follow the dirt road into the little valley and soon a beautiful meadow opens up ahead with a small creek running through. Sites are located along the meadow and around a loop in the back portion of the campground where there’s a trail head into the wilderness. Camping here requires some planning ahead as there is no potable water available and only pit toilets but the trade off is the incredible scenery and peaceful surroundings. Keep your eyes open for horses and cattle!

Beautiful but crowded

Great family campground but if your in search of solitude this is not the spot. Situated across from the campground is the day use area which is very popular and noisy.
Facilities are clean and the campground is beautiful, great walking path too!

Awesome Location

Amazing location! We camped across from the hot springs and got to watch the sunrise whilst enjoying hot springs. The dispersed camping offers many beautiful spots! The drive to the hot springs / campground can feel a little sketchy but really isn’t too bad.

First to Review
Not open off season

The open season is not listed on their website, but I can confirm the campground is closed in November.

http://www.tahoeactivities.com/lake-forest-campground/

Nice and quiet and beautiful under the moonlight

We came here because Dardanelle was closed down and we are absolutely grateful for that. This quiet piece of gem sits next to the river which shone so beautiful under the silky moonlight. It is clean and well maintained.

Great place

Beautiful place in the middle of pines. Spots are big, sanitary are clean. Hot showers, drinkin water, no place for dish. Calm and you can see bears!! Hosts are very kind.

Especially Beautiful

Fallen Leaf Lake and its campground were really beautiful and felt remote despite being pretty close to the development of South Lake Tahoe. Our spot (84) was not very private or great for a tent, but it worked for our overnight. The bath house was nice and new/clean. The hosts were super super friendly, but they called it a day pretty early (5?) so we missed out on buying firewood onsite. They did warn us about bears in such an admiring way, it was really sweet. However, we didn't see any bears, just poo about 20 feet from our tent (!). Fire ring, giant table, bear box, water, all as expected.

The lake itself is stunning. Seriously. Dusk was perfectly still and calm, but early morning was also beautiful. Would absolutely stay or visit here again.

Great for anglers!

We camped at Spicer on Labor Day weekend with our 28’ toy hauler (no OHV allowed on site). The campsites have a variety of trees/rocks and many are fairly private. We got one close to the walking trail down to the lake, which took just a couple minutes. The lake is nice but better for fishing than swimming/paddle boarding/kayaking. We did find swimming at the river leading to the lake, and it was only a short hike down. Utica is also a quick 10-15 minute drive and perfect for the activities mentioned.

The camp hosts were pleasant and helpful. The vault toilet bathrooms were clean. No reservations (except group camp, I think), hookups, or America The Beautiful pass discounts (but they do take Golden Age). There is AT&T cell service down by the lake. At the time (early September), there were a lot of bees and we saw some fresh bear poop right behind one of the sites.

Isolated and Perfect

Unsure what everyone is talking about below in regards to "beaches" or "showers", this is right off 108 and as you can see on the map it's nowhere near beaches… I think there is some confusion. Maybe two mill creek campgrounds in Cali? I'll explain my experience. This campground is only 8 DOLLARS A NIGHT Y'ALL. This is because it does NOT have any running water whatsoever. Luckily we packed in enough jugs to be totally fine. Obviously this also accounts for showers. There are no showers. There also isn't a bear box on site. But the host explained bears weren't an issue in that specific area and to follow normal rules of putting it away in the car. It was fine. The host was thorough and caring, thanks Duane! The site was raked up before we got there and was very kept. So were the bathrooms, even though our campsite was pretty far away from it. Our campsite had some large rocks nearby we loved to climb on, you'll see pictured. A small creek nearby that was very very low. We were the only ones in that side of the campground and it was seriously awesome. Lake Donnell has a vista point nearby that is easy to get to, paved and all. Overall, if you're okay without water, this site is beautiful, isolated and cared for. I recommend it! Just be ready to swat away the bees when you eat. 🐝

Cozy

Nice bear boxes and bathrooms. Tent sites were big

Tranquility

At the top of the Sierras, El Dorado national forest, tucked in away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Stunning views, and blue skies, campground is well maintained and accessible. Rvs and tent camping. Shallow lake that warms up a little for kayaking and swimming. Great family lake.

Beautiful Serene Campground

Stayed at this Campground in the beginning of August. It was absolutely stunning. Super close to this place called The Pots. We arrived near sundown. Unpacked our gear and then walked to The Pots from our campsites. The views were amazing. The campsite host had fire wood for sale. There were new bathroom facilities installed. There were no showers or sinks. There was a fire pit at every campsite and a picnic table as well. Well worth it! Would definitely come here again.

Beautiful Views, Windy & Tightly Packed

We stayed in tent site #4, aka “Extra Special Lakeshore Camping”. The views were absolutely incredible. The site site on a small promontory, affording you incredible sunsets across Bridgeport Reservoir. The drawback to this of course is that everyone has to walk right by your campsite to enjoy these views. Expect very limited privacy, friendly conversation, lots of it, and to meet every dog in camp. As the listing warns, the location also means extra exposure to wind and bugs. What the listing also says is that the site is (just) big enough for a large tent and EZ-up (shade structure), although it doesn’t mention what we were told upon arrival: due to winds coming off the reservoir at up to 60 knots, we were not allowed to rely on stakes and had to be present at all times when the shade structure was up.

Additional clarifications: The “dog beach” is ~30 ft long, and is the same beach the kayaks, SUP boards, and pedal boat are lunched from (and stored). In practice this is fine for playing fetch, but is not enough room for letting your dog run. Individual fire rings are not provided, so if you want a fire cozy up to the communal fire ring, which can get crowded on weekends, hopefully you’re not an introvert. Restrooms and showers are at the far corner of camp, ~1/8 mi away and up a small incline, not the easiest to get to for midnight wake up calls, or those with mobility limitations. FYI re: accessibility: the entire camp past the bathrooms is not firm & stable surface, and the restrooms are very tight with small stalls.

Otherwise the camp was great. We loved the free and easy access to boats. The communal kitchen was a nice convenience, particularly for washing dishes. The bathrooms were always very clean, and having free showers is awesome. The host’s local knowledge was very helpful, and pointed us to the right hot springs for the right day/time/weather. Finally, back to the view. It was great anytime of day, sunrise to sunset, even peeking out when hiding in the tent from the rain and bugs, the view really made the trip.

Amazingly quiet

The sights are well spaced giving you plenty of room. There is a pretty easy hike to a waterfall which is big or small depending on the season. The hot springs is privately owned so it is extra but worth enjoying.

Always fun

Reservation a must get filled up quickly

Beautiful nature filled stay

Great campsite with trails to hike and explore.  Close to Lake Tahoe and also the Taylor Creek Watershed that has a beautiful trail to explore.  Done both tent and yurt camping, both great!

It’s a long bumpy road to get here, but you won’t want to leave.

This place is amazing. I’ve been five times since I discovered it late last year. This campground is about an hour’s drive to any kind of amenities or cell phone service. The road in is bumpy and there is a shallow creek that you will need to drive across, but I had no problems driving a 2wd Honda Fit compact car up. This park didn’t even open until late July this year due to all the snowfall. There is 1 vault toilet and an old-school hand pump for water, which isn’t always functioning so bring plenty of water. All of the sites are first come first served, each has a fire pit with grill plate, and a picnic table. No dumpsters for trash, pack it in and pack it out.

There is plenty of hiking, both steep and moderate. Folger peak trail can be very challenging due to all the loose shale. There is an equestrian trail that is more flat going the other direction which is less steep but still a very scenic hike. Ranchers bring their cattle up to graze during the summer months so you’ll hear their cowbells all day long. There is a weather station in the valley and it’s fairly accurate so you can get the forecast before you go, just google weather Highland Lakes. I would recommend a 4 season tent, even in the summer. On my last trip it was a little to cold for my taste so we drove back down the road and camped along the creek the last few nights.

A great spot, but overcrowded

It’s the last campground along hwy 4 with amenities and cell phone reception. A truly great spot but for these reasons alone it’s far too crowded for my tastes. Inspiration point trail is an easy hike with amazing views. Also a hike into Carson Iceberg wilderness into a majestic valley with old log cabins and free range cattle. Sadly this campground did not open until early July this year and will close after Labor Day weekend. There are still plenty of other camping options for late season if you continue up Highway 4 towards Ebbetts pass.

River nearby!

Really liked this campground. Very well maintained and on the Silver Fork of American River. Camp host was nice, but didn't recognize discount for US National Park Pass. $23/night.

Will return, but only with more people to split the bill.

July 4th Weekends

Had a great time celebrating the 4th. Ft Churchill staff had an old time type of celebration. Fun activities for the entire family.

July 4th Weekends

Had a great time celebrating the 4th. Ft Churchill staff had an old time type of celebration. Fun activities for the entire family.

Awesome little getaway

8.5 miles of the main road, crossing the creek 5 times, we found the perfect little spot. Restroom was quite a distance from our campsite, so we opted for our own portable toilet. No showers available but boil some creek water and washcloth wipe yourself down, you're good to go. Also recommend getting a fire permit from the Bridgeport Ranger Station. No trash receptacles or bins…….so pack out your trash.

Amazing spot

Camped at utica but went to both. The views here are awesome. Its a great spot for the family. Would definitely come back here.

Great Design

One thing my wife and I love about this campground is the creative design of the sites. They are close together but beautiful and create such a fun experience.

Super awesome

Customer service was really nice about allowing me to change the day I camped. Each campsite has a lot of room and I was able to rent a paddle board right across the street.

Quiet camping

Easy access. We were the only campers at the campground. Plenty of campsites both north and south of the campgrounds. If you don’t mind constant utv traffic (we didn’t 😎) then this is a great place. The outhouse was dirty with trash, but it didn’t stink nor were there any flies. There was a very conspicuous absence of wildlife in the area. The creek is only about 3 to 4 feet wide and around 2 feet deep. If you’re looking for a swimming hole, this is not that place 🙂.

Beautiful Free Camping

Several areas along Blue Lakes Rd offer dispersed camping. We had a wildflower-filled meadow to ourselves in early August with plenty of near-by trails for dirt bikes, Jeeping, horses, mountain biking or hiking.