What to expect for the 2023 recreation season on the Eldorado National Forest

US Forest Service

Forest Service News Release

Contact: Georgetown Ranger District – 530-333-4312
Placerville / Pacific Ranger District – 530-644-2324
Amador Ranger District – 209-259-3774

PLACERVILLE, Calif., May 19, 2023— The summer recreation season has started on the Eldorado National Forest with a large lingering snowpack that is 300% above normal in mid-May, combined with above-normal temperatures. Crews have been busy preparing campgrounds and other sites for opening by removing storm debris and hazard trees, testing water systems, doing repairs, and general clean up. With delayed access due to snow and large numbers of downed trees from winter storms adding to the preparation work, many sites will be opening later than usual this year.

Recreation sites that are open now or plan to open by May 26 for Memorial Weekend are listed below. Check current conditions on the forest website for the projected opening dates and status of other sites.

When planning your visit, here are some important safety reminders:

  • Post-fire hazards: Fire killed trees are a hazard in the Caldor and Mosquito burned areas. Be aware of your surroundings and avoid areas with hazard trees that could fall, especially on windy days.
  • Cold/swift water safety: Rivers and streams are running high, fast, and cold from melting snow. Lakes will be extra cold too. Hypothermia from exposure to cold water can be life-threatening.
  • Campfire permits: Obtain a campfire permit if you are not camping in a developed campground and check for fire restrictions which may affect your visit. California Campfire permits are free of charge online. Never leave a campfire unattended and make sure campfires are drowned out before you leave.
  • Bear safety: Proper storage of food and other scented items is essential to avoid bear human conflict. Use metal storage lockers if provided. Bear-resistant canisters are required when camping in Desolation Wilderness. Review other food storage and safety tips here and on the Bearwise website.
  • Road access: As the snow melts, storm damage may be discovered that affects road safety and access. Drive cautiously. Check alerts and road status on the forest website.

Status of Mormon Emigrant Trail (Iron Mountain Road):

Mormon Emigrant Trail (Iron Mountain Road) is expected to be clear of snow from Sly Park Road to Silver Fork Road by Memorial Weekend. Snow drifts past Silver Fork Road are estimated to be 12-18 feet deep. It is estimated that the snow will be clear all the way to Highway 88 by late June.

Status of Campgrounds and Recreation Sites:

Crystal Basin/Icehouse Road:

Planned Opening May 26: Ice House Campground, Ice House Boat Ramp & Picnic Area, West Point Campground, Silver Creek Group Campground, West Point Group Campground, West Point Boat Ramp, Crystal Visitor Information Center

Closed for 2023: Camino Cove Campground, Loon Lake Chalet

Georgetown/ Hell Hole Area:

Open now: Dru Barner Campground, Bear Creek Picnic Area, Brush Creek Reservoir Boat Ramp, Traverse Creek Day Use Area, Donaldson Staging Area, Balderston Staging Area, Mace Mill Staging Area

Planned Opening May 26: Stumpy Meadows Campground, Stumpy Meadows Boat Ramp & Picnic Area, Black Oak Group Campground, Ponderosa Group Campground


    • Rock Creek trails in the Southern Zone and East Zone are temporarily closed under Forest Orders 03-23-02 and 03-23-03 due to excessive downed trees, which are in the process of being cleared. These closures are in effect through June 30.
    • Rock Creek Road is impassable due to a culvert failure and asphalt washout at Al Brass Creek. Barricades are in place at the intersections of Rock Creek and 11E43 (trail 4), and 12N70G.

Highway 50 / Silver Fork Road / Sly Park corridors:

Open now: Bridal Veil Picnic Area, Bridal Veil Group Campground, Sand Flat Campground, Pyramid Creek Trailhead, Pony Express Corral Trailhead, Eagle Rock Picnic Area, Indian Spring Picnic Area, East Slab Creek Reservoir Day Use Area, West Slab Creek Boat Ramp, Caples Creek Trailhead, Caples Creek Equestrian Trailhead, Alder Creek Day Use Area, Fleming Meadow Trailhead, Cedar Park Trailhead.

Planned Opening May 26: China Flat Campground & Day Use Area, Silver Fork Campground, 42 Milestone Picnic Area.

Closed for 2023: Gray Rock Camping Area due to Caldor Fire damage.

North South Road/Highway 88/Salt Springs:

Planned Opening May 26: Pipi Campground & Day Use Area, Mokelumne Campground, White Azalea Campground, and Moore Creek Campground.

Closure: Salt Springs Road is closed after crossing the Mokelumne River due to a landslide. Work is in progress to clear this road.

Closed in 2023 due to Caldor Fire damage:

    • Capps Crossing Group Campground & Day Use Area,
    • Elkins Flat OHV Trails,
    • Martin Meadow Campground

For the latest updates and more information, contact our Visitor Services team at:

  • Forest Supervisors Office – 530-303-2412
  • Georgetown Ranger District – 530-333-4312
  • Pacific / Placerville Ranger District – 530-644-2324
  • Amador Ranger District – 209-259-3774

login | register | privacy policy | copyright ©2024 Sierra Nevada Alliance


SEARCH Sierra Nevada Alliance

Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors