What to Expect for the 2024 Recreation Season on the Eldorado National Forest

For Immediate Release

May 22, 2024

Contact: Kristi Schroeder: (530) 622-5061

PLACERVILLE, CA: The summer recreation season has started on the Eldorado National Forest with a normal snowpack and warm temperatures. Crews have been busy preparing campgrounds below 6,000 feet in elevation and other sites for opening by removing winter debris and hazard trees, testing water systems, doing repairs and general clean up. Campgrounds above 6,000 feet in elevation are very wet or still have snow and will not open until later in June.

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

  • 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.
  • Ice House Road Pavement Rehabilitation Project: El Dorado County will be reconstructing over 17 miles of Ice House road from Peavine Ridge Road to the northern intersection of Wentworth Springs road. Expect delays during the week from 30 minutes to an hour. www.eldoradocounty.ca.gov/Land-Use/County-Projects/Road-Transportation-Projects/Ice-House-Road-Pavement-Rehabilitation.
  • 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. Drive safely and look out for large logging trucks.
  • 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 for you and your pets.
  • 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 at www.readyforwildfire.org/permits . 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 at www.fs.usda.gov/visit/know-before-you-go/bears and www.bearwise.org

Status of Mormon Emigrant Trail (Iron Mountain Road)

Mormon Emigrant Trail (Iron Mountain Road) is not accessible all the way through to Highway 88 yet. Currently, the road is accessible only from Sly Park Road 5-8 feet deep. It is estimated that the snow will not be clear all the way to Highway 88 until at least mid-June. A large snow drift at the south end of Silver Fork road is blocking through access to the Mormon Emigrant Trail from Highway 50.

Status of Campgrounds and Recreation Sites: The following is a list of open or planned to open for Memorial Weekend facilities. Check current conditions on the forest website for the projected opening dates and status of other sites.

Crystal Basin / Icehouse Road

Planned Opening May 24: On the Ice House Reservoir, Ice House Campground, Boat Ramp & Picnic Area, and Strawberry Point Campground are expected to open. On Union Valley Reservoir, Lone Rock Campground, Fashoda Campground and Day Use Area, Wench Creek Family and Group Campgrounds, Yellowjacket Campground and Boat Ramp, Wolf Creek Family and Group Campgrounds, West Point Family and Group Campgrounds and Boat Ramp, and three loops of Sunset Campground and Boat Ramp. In the Gerle Creek Reservoir area, Gerle Creek Campground and Day use, Angel Creek Day Use, and Airport Flat Campground. Crystal Visitor Information Center.

Closed for 2024: 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, Bald Mountain Staging Area, Balderston Staging Area, Mace Mill Staging Area.

Planned Opening May 24: Stumpy Meadows Campground, Boat Ramp & Picnic Area, Black Oak Group Campgrounds, Ponderosa Group Campground, Big Meadows Campground, and Middle Meadows Group Campgrounds.

Highway 50 / Silver Fork Road / Sly Park corridors

Open now: Lovers Leap Campground and Day Use Area, Sand Flat Campground, Pyramid Creek Trailhead, Pony Express Corral Trailhead, East Slab Creek Reservoir Day Use Area, Caples Creek Trailhead, Caples Creek Equestrian Trailhead, Fleming Meadow Trailhead, and Cedar Park Trailhead.

Planned Opening May 24: China Flat Campground & Day Use Area, Silver Fork Campground, and the Bridal Veil Picnic Area and Group Campground.

Closed for 2024: Gray Rock Camping Area will still be closed due to Caldor Fire damage. The Fleming Meadow Trailhead will be closed for renovation later in June.

North South Road/Highway 88/Salt Springs

Open now: Pipi Campground & Day Use Area, Salt Springs Trailhead

Planned Opening May 24: Mokelumne Campground and White Azalea Campground.

Closed: Blue Hole Trail due to bridge damage. Silver Lake Campground will be partially closed this summer due to renovations.

Closed in 2024 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 – 530-622-5061
  • Georgetown Ranger District – 530-333-4312
  • Pacific / Placerville Ranger District – 530-644-2324
  • Amador Ranger District – 209-259-3774

To stay updated on forest related information visitors should follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/eldoradonf  and “Like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/EldoradoNF

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