Camping at Sugar Pine Reservoir is something my husband and I had never done until this month. Going there had always been a day trip, since we live so close and the kind of camping we usually do is more remote. What motivated us to finally give it a try? Well, every time we were packing it up to head home, the light was just getting good for photography and the water was always calming down, making it the perfect time to take the kayaks out for a paddle. The solution was to camp there, for the first time in over 25 years. We brought along my 91 year old Mother and 3 of our friends to test it out!
What we found out was it was a really great place to camp, but like most places there were pros and cons. We camped at the Shirttail Campground. Our first choice was Giant Gap, but there were no spaces available, when we made our reservations over a month in advance. The campsites were very nice and well maintained, although some of them were very small and close together. The campsite we camped in was barely big enough for 2 tents, 2 vehicles and 6 people.
While we were camping there, we checked out all of the campsites and found that sites 1-7 were the nicest, at least in our opinion. They were closer to the lake and hiking trail, had more space and were not so close to the next door neighbor. I doubt that we would stay in that campground again, if we couldn’t reserve one of those sites!
The restrooms were nice, roomy and kept very clean thanks to the camp hosts, who just happen to be from our home town of Auburn. They had just started working there and were doing a fantastic job of taking care of the important things. There were also water faucets very close to the campsites, but I recommend using the water for cooking only. It was rusty and awful tasting.
Boating of all types is excellent here too, however if you have a fishing boat or a sailboat, you have to launch them about two miles away at the boat ramp. If you have kayaks, canoes, or stand up paddle boards, you have to carry them a bit of a distance to the water. Depending on the weight of your boats, this can get to be a pain. We prefer to camp near the water. For us, this was the biggest con about camping at Sugar Pine.
Sugar Pine has a wonderful hiking, biking and running trail that goes around the whole lake and is about 3 1/2 miles long. The area closest to the campgrounds is paved, in the sun and suitable for wheelchairs, while the rest of it is dirt and mostly shaded. It is a great mix of flat and hilly and you can access it from the campground, or the boat launch area and hike just a portion of it and back if you prefer.
For more information on Sugar Pine Reservoir, please refer to my post “Top 6 Lakes to Kayak & Canoe in Northern California.”
Please feel free to ask a question, or make a comment below.