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Utica Reservoir camping is known for being accessible and family-friendly. The twin reservoirs offer stunning natural scenery and also contribute to popular water-based pastimes. Kayaking, canoeing, and other paddle sports are excellent ways of exploring the area.

Much of the Utica forest is service land, making it very camping-friendly. There are even some small islands to pitch your tent. If you’re interested in hiking, the Carson-Iceberg Wilderness is an ideal playground. A short drive takes you to the stunning Lake Alpine, but if you’re in the mood for fishing, check out Spicer Meadow Reservoir. Nature enthusiasts will love these 7 Utica Reservoir camping spots.

The Best Utica Reservoir Camping Spots

map of utica reservoir camping spots

1. Utica/Union Reservoirs

car parked in forest at sunset

Image from The Dyrt camper Ulises V.

The Utica/Union Reservoirs are small, scenic campsites that are more rustic than other sites along the Spicer Reservoir or Lake Alpine. Despite their size, the settings are suitable for an array of visitor types. They cater for group gatherings, but there are also other areas for dispersed camping.

The sites are easily accessible and wheelchair-friendly. There is clean water, phone service, and a sanitary dump for visitors.

“It’s a great spot for the family. Would definitely come back here.”Kate P.

Campground Details:

  • Price: $16
  • Number of sites: 52
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes

2. Lake Alpine Recreation Area

two people sitting on paddle board in a lake

Image from The Dyrt camper Katie B.

Situated to the east of Bear Valley, Lake Alpine Recreation Area offers both water and forest. The red fir and lodgepole pine forest present the perfect exploration area.

The camping grounds are small but well serviced. They are ADA accessible, have hot showers and drinking water. The small market store next to the grounds ensures you can pick up the essentials, including firewood.

“Have spent many peaceful nights and gorgeous days there!”Pete M.

Campground Details:

  • Price: $27-30
  • Number of sites: 25
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes

3. Pine Marten Campground

water and forest

Image from The Dyrt camper Cristina B.

The Pine Marten Campground is one of the best hiking bases for Utica Reservoir camping. It’s located on the east of the Lake Alpine Recreation Area, close to several trailheads, including the well-known but grueling Pine Marten Run.

Virtually all outdoor recreation activities are possible here. The campsites have excellent amenities, with 6 person sites available. The Stanislaus National Forest between Lake Tahoe and Yosemite offers incredible views with perfect photo opportunities.

“Facilities are clean, and the campground is beautiful, great walking path too!”Carter B.

Campground Details:

  • Price: $27-30
  • Number of sites: 32
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes

4. Bear Valley Dispersed Camping

large gathering of people in the field

Image from The Dyrt camper Esther Y.

Although resorts are available nearby, the Bear Valley campground is free and operates with a first-come-first-served system. It is one of the quieter Utica Reservoir camping areas, making it suitable for those seeking a peaceful escape.

While it isn’t packed with amenities, it is RV accessible, and there are plenty of dispersed camping areas. Bear Valley is a trendy spot for off-highway vehicle (OHV) enthusiasts.

“It was open with plenty of spots & we were the only ones! Perfect spot for stargazing!!”Josie H.

Campground Details:

  • Price: Free
  • Number of sites: 10
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Some restrictions in place. Check before you go.
  • Pets allowed: Yes

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5. Mosquito Lakes Campground

Mosquito Lakes campground is an excellent option for leisure seekers. Although there are some nice hiking trails, the beautiful lake views make it ideal for more relaxing activities. The lakes are very popular for fishing, with various species available, including rainbow trout and northern pike.

The area surrounding the campground is also well suited to horseback riding. However, you’ll have to keep your horse in a trailer nearby while camping.

“Cold nights, clear sky, fell asleep to the sound of frogs croaking.”Joan B.

Campground Details:

  • Price: $8-30
  • Number of sites: 11
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes

6. Spicer Reservoir Campground

rock overlooking water

Image from The Dyrt camper Allyson E.

The Spicer Reservoir campground is one of the largest in the Utica region. Although the campsite is more expensive than others in the locality, it boasts excellent amenities, including a horse-friendly base.

There is an abundance of activities available, from off-roading and rock climbing to wildlife watching and biking. Take a kayak to Lake Alpine or the Spicer Meadow Reservoir for some fantastic views of the area.

“Great swimming and hiking around Elephant Rock and Union Res too. An easy weekend away!”Allyson E.

Campground Details:

  • Price: $30
  • Number of sites: 60
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes

7. Stanislaus River Campground

photo of river

Image from The Dyrt camper Darrin L.

Located along the Stanislaus Reservoir road, this is a pleasant and well-served campground. There are 25 campsites with picnic tables, vault toilets, and hand-pumped water, making it suitable for families.

Inspiration Point and the Arnold Rim Trail provide excellent hiking routes. Local tourist attractions include touring the stunning Mercer and Moaning Caverns or indulging in wine tasting at the Ironstone Winery.

“Along the north fork Stanislaus River. Great for trout fishing.”Greg and Jennifer S.

Campground Details:

  • Price: $12
  • Number of sites: 25
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: No
  • Pets allowed: Yes

Utica Reservoir camping is one of the region’s hidden gems. From kayaking to rock climbing, there is no shortage of outdoor recreational activities suited to this diverse landscape. With a range of family-friendly campgrounds overlooking lakes and reservoirs, you’ll have plenty of camping options that make kayaking crystal blue waters possible. For more camping options, check out The Dyrt’s complete list of the best camping in Utica.

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