In the Bay Area there aren’t too many place that you be in a city and feel like you are away. Spring Lake has been that for us. We have been here for 2 weekends in the last few months. It is kid friendly, fun easy hike around the lake (no swimming but you can rent or bring your own kayaks or stand-up paddle boards), great location to way more technical hikes into and around Trione-Annabel State Park. We did a very tough hike in almost 100 degree weather up to Lake Ilsanjo and the cold plunge into that lake was exactly what was needed. On another trip we brought a new family with us, rented one of the bigger spots and helped them get their bearings on camping.
It is very forgiving here and close to everything in case you didn’t pack enough food or propane or fire starter. The camp host is amazing. The bathrooms are clean with free cold showers or quarters for hot showers. They have fire pits at every location, firewood to buy on site, it is very kid friendly with a fun loop for the kids to bike or scooter around plus easy access to the lake. Highly recommend this and I can’t wait to try a few other sites in the Sonoma Regional area.
Not a place if you want dispersed camping or a lot of privacy.
Neighbors were all polite and good about quiet times.
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.
The location and weekend was amazing and beautiful. The 105 daytime temps were quelled by dunking ourselves in the lake and taking excursions to some of the other local wonders. We had a great view of the lake and the stars overnight were amazing. It was extremely easy to socially distance from others at all times.
We spent the weekend camped out here but when we arrived, our location was filled with trash. The previous occupants had left garbage strewn everywhere and a garbage bag that was torn into by the wildlife. We cleaned for about half an hour and filled a large black yard waste bag with garbage before we could start to settle in.
The other big issue is that the site says “all facilities are open” but in reality all the restrooms are closed and locked with a solution of putting portable toilets in front of the restroom areas. This is in no way better for dealing with bathroom needs.
Also, the camp host location was marked but no host appeared or was available. The rangers drove by maybe 6 times total.
Be aware when coming here that many sites do not have shade or places to set up hammocks.
Don’t let my negative points turn you away, many of these things were going to be situational and we would love to go back (just not in the midst of a heatwave like that).