Jones Fork Campground is a fairly small, organized campground on Union Valley Reservoir in El Dorado National Forest, which is located in Sierra Nevada mountains in eastern California. Union Valley Reservoir is a man made lake that is part of a partnership between the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) and the United States Forest Service. The partnership manages Jones Fork Campground as part of Crystal Basin Recreation Area, which has over 700 individual campsites spread across many campgrounds.

There are 11 campgrounds around Union Valley Reservoir, many of which are larger than Jones Fork Campground, which only has 10 campsites. Each of the campsites at Jones Fork are first-come/first-served, and include a bear locker, fire ring, picnic table, and access to a vault toilet. Additionally, Jones Fork Campground has direct access to the Union Valley Bike Trail, which links several of the campgrounds along the shore of the reservoir. Activities at Jones Fork  Campground include boating, kayaking, hiking, and mountain biking.

Jones Fork Campground – Bottom Line

Jones Fork Campground is one of the better campgrounds at Union Valley Reservoir, largely because of its location near the water and the size of the campground. The campground is also pretty small and largely quiet, making it worthwhile to sit and hang out in the slivers of sun that make it through the pine trees.

There are two main loops on the campground, which is surprising for a campground of this size. The campground is moderately used, but we were surprised that it was not fully occupied when we visited; the other campgrounds in the area were also not heavily used, and even the lake was pretty quiet, with only a few boats on it.

Jones Fork campground located in bear country, so you need to be sure to store your food properly and keep anything that would attract bears, such as toothpaste, out of your tent. Also, be sure to pick up the required California Campfire Permit at the Crystal Basin Information Center on Ice House Road before you get to Union Valley Reservoir. The permit is free, and if you camp frequently, save the permit as it is valid for one year, and accepted at most Northern California national forests, as well as some in Southern California.

The campsites at Jones Fork Campground are not terribly private, but you are not on top of your neighbors either. Most of the campsites at Jones Fork are visible from the other campsites, with the exception of campsite 1. The best campsites at Jones Fork Campground are campsites 1, 6, and 8, as they have the most privacy due to their distance away from other campsites and their views of the water (in the case of campsites 6 & 8).

Jones Fork Campground Features

Campground Type: Organized, Semi-primitive
Number of Campsites: 10 Campsites
Cost: $10/night, $5/night/extra vehicle fee
Use Level: Medium
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Fire Rings: Yes
Drinking Water: None
Toilets: Yes – Vault Toilets
Showers: None
Trash/Dumpsters: Yes
Hiking Access: Yes
Beach/Lake Access: Yes
RV/Trailer Length: Not Defined
RV/Trailer Amenities: None
Cell Phone Service: Yes – Sprint and Verizon
Wifi: None
Operating Season: Memorial Day through October 1st

Getting There

Geo Coordinates: 38.858780, -120.384619
Nearest City/Town: Pollock Pines, California
Elevation: 4900 Feet
Location: El Dorado County, California
Paved Road Access: Yes
Proximity to Stores: 23 Miles to Ice House Reservoir

From US Highway 50, east of Placerville, travel for 21 miles to Ice House Road turnoff on your left. Continue north for 15 miles to the turn off for Jones Fork Campground on your left. Follow the road to Jones Fork Campground.


Phone: 530-647-5415 Facebook:
Web: Jones Fork Campground Website Twitter:
Reservations: Not Accepted

When To Go

Summer – Unlike many campgrounds in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Jones Fork Campground is often under used and available during the summer. The warm weather is great for relaxing on the beach next to the campground.

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What To Do

Boating, Kayaking, & Canoeing – Union Valley Reservoir is directly accessible from Jones Fork Campground, and the boat ramp is less than a mile away from the campground.

Hiking – Mountain Biking – Union Valley Bike Trail runs through Jones Fork Campground.

Relax on the beach – A great rocky beach is adjacent to the campground and is great for relaxing on.

Jones Fork Campground Pictures


Image Credits: Justin Wilson

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Justin is an IT Professional, focused on cloud, mobile, and infrastructure management and security with his consulting business, as well as chief bottle washer for this website. In addition to, Justin also runs and writes for the technology infrastructure-focused blog, and the mobile device-focused blog


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