At an elevation of 2400 feet, this area offers dispersed camping along the northern edge of the lake. The lake is stocked periodically with rainbow trout. There is access for launching non-motorized boats. A vault toilet is provided but no potable water. It is also the eastern trailhead of the Pioneer – Indian Trail.
We love this dispersed campground. If you go earlier in the week, you’ll most likes find a spot with no problem. If you wait till Friday evening during the summer, it’ll probably be full. There is a vault toilet, no running water. The small lake has decent fishing and great for kayaking. Dirt/gravel roads are a bit tricky to navigate.
South Lake is fairly small, I consider it more of a pond to be honest, but a great place for disperse camping. The quickest drive in is a bit sketchy. I recommend taking a slight slower route to avoid scratches on your vehicle from branches. We checked out a few dispersed sites before we picked our spot. We managed to get a spot that was a 1 minute walk to the water, and about the same to the vaulted toilets. The vaulted toilet is on the NW side of the lake. It must’ve been checked often for toilet paper because we were there for 4 nights and it always had some in there.
We caught trout every day we were there. Most are small but was fun nonetheless. There is an old boat without a motor tied up for anyone to use. Only had one ore that was half broke but it still managed to get us across the water 🤷🏻♂️. We found a decent amount of firewood, just have to make sure it’s try if course. It’s all hidden below the ferns/greenery. No picnic tables or metal fire rings but who needs them? Plenty of rocks for a fire pit were already set up. Plenty of shade. Only downside was precious campers leaving toilet paper near the trees when you are literally a minute or less walk to the vaulted toilet.
We love South Lake, peaceful and Beautiful. The lake is stocked with trout which have been biting like crazy. Most times when you go up there you will see them jumping clean out of the water. We’ve been camping at Southlake usually about three times during the season for the last couple of years. This last trip was very disappointing it was packed with people camping which is wonderful that they’re getting outside, but there was a group up on the hill who felt the need to blast music until 6 o’clock in the morning so nobody in the camp area got any sleep.Then the next night another camper decided to. I think everyone needs to remember were there to camp in peace and take a nature not listen to somebody’s rap music. Also as a reminder to our fellow campers it is posted quiet time from 10 PM to 6 AM
This is simple, primitive campground mostly centered around a small picturesque lake.
There are a few other sites dispersed in the area. One of the best ones is just around the bend from the lake sites and its of the road and gets more sun, if thats your thing.
When i visited mid week in July it was empty.
Its quite a distance on sometimes very rough gravel roads, with no tirn outs and sometimes large drops on one side, so be very careful with log trucks .
But i made it OK with my beat up old Grand Caravan.
It's basically a few tent spots right off the road you can pull up to with your car. No amenities besides a vault toilet and no fee. Nothing fancy, but really beautiful, clean, nice rangers, and not busy at all. Get ready to dodge loads of potholes and deer as you travel up the gravel roads to get here, though
ALSO we had full data and cell service!
This was a last minute find for us on the 4th of July. There were a few sites left for us to choose from. The sites are not numbered but are designated by a rock ringed fire pit. We hammock camp and there are plenty of sites with trees positioned perfectly for hanging the hammocks. The lake is small but very beautiful. We did bring our kayaks but didn't launch them. There is a launching area but it's pretty mucky and there are a lot of downed trees in the water. I only saw one really great beach area to pull up to but it was already claimed by another small boat. There are trails all over leading from the campsites to the lake and around it. We also met other campers that had hiked a trail from Hebo lake to South Lake which was about a 7 mile hike for them.
We will go back and try out South Lake again in the other seasons.
This free campground is just far enough out from the coast and the city that you'll likely be alone, even on a Saturday night. Most folks coming to this area of the forest camp in the more popular (and more expensive) Hebo Lake campground. If you don't need amenities and are just looking for a beautiful place to camp, South Lake is a better option. The road leading to the campground is easy gravel and receives a moderate amount of traffic. During my stay on a Saturday, there was a truck passing by every couple of hours. Most of these folks are hunters. If you want complete isolation, this is not a good place to camp. This is also not the best place to camp if you are afraid of Cougars (I am). There have been several recent Cougar sightings at this Lake. Thankfully I did not see any during my visit. :)