Lone Rock Campground is a free, walk-in/boat-in campground located on the shore of Union Valley Reservoir in California’s El Dorado National Forest. Lone Rock is one of eleven campgrounds, and the smallest, on the shores of the reservoir, with only 5 campsites accessible by boat or the Union Valley Bike Trail. The campgrounds that surround Union Valley Reservoir are part of the larger Crystal Basin Recreation Area, which is a partnership between the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) and the Forest Service.
Each of the campsites are under a canopy of lodge pole pine trees and includes a picnic table, fire ring, bear locker, bike rack, and access to a vault toilet. Reservations are not accepted for Lone Rock Campground and all campsites are first-come/first-served. Activities at Lone Rock Campground include boating, kayaking, hiking, and mountain biking.
Lone Rock Campground – Bottom Line
Lone Rock Campground is a fantastic campground. Not only is it free, but it is also very quiet and peaceful. It is a great place to take a couple chairs down to the water and relax all day or watch the sunset.
The campground is laid out in a crescent shape that has the 5 campsites following the shore line of Union Valley Reservoir, making the campground feel spacious. It also helps that the campground is not heavily used, even on weekends in the summer. When we went to Lone Rock we had the entire campground to ourselves, 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. We suspect that this is due to the location, as it is take nearly four hours to get to it from the San Francisco peninsula, and Lake Tahoe, which is a more popular boating destination, is only 45 minutes to an hour further up the road. We are OK with this though, as if the campground was busy it would not be as great of a destination. Also, Lone Rock is only accessible via a quarter-mile walk or by boat, so that may also help to keep the crowds down at the campground.
Lone Rock Campground is accessible via foot or bike from nearby Jones Fork Campground, where you can find several parking spaces for overnight parking. The 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.
All of the campsites at Lone Rock are visible from the other campsites, which is one of the reasons we like Lone Rock when it is not busy. The best campsites at Lone Rock Campground are campsites 3 and 4, as they have the most privacy due to natural barriers in the form of trees and rocks that separate the campsites from the others. These campsites also offer the easiest access to the rocky beach and water.
Lone Rock Campground Features
|Campground Type:||Organized, Semi-primitive|
|Number of Campsites:||5 Campsites|
|Toilets:||Yes – Vault Toilets|
|Beach/Lake Access:||Yes – All Campsites have direct access to the rocky beach and water|
|Cell Phone Service:||Yes – Sprint and Verizon|
|Operating Season:||Memorial Day through October 1st|
|Geo Coordinates:||38.863684, -120.385979|
|Nearest City/Town:||Pollock Pines, California|
|Location:||El Dorado County, California|
|Paved Road Access:||Yes, to Jones Fork Campground|
|Proximity to Stores:||25 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 and park just outside the campground. Walk 0.25 Miles on the Union Valley Bike Trail to Lone Rock Campground.
Maps & Brochures
|Web:||Lone Rock Campground Website||Twitter:|
When To Go
Summer – Unlike many campgrounds in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Lone Rock Campground is often under used and available during the summer. The warm weather is great for relaxing on the beach next to the campground.
What To Do
Boating, Kayaking, & Canoeing – Union Valley Reservoir is directly accessible from Lone Rock Campground, and the boat ramp is less than a mile away from the campground.
Hiking – Mountain Biking – Union Valley Bike Trail runs through Lone Rock Campground.
Relax on the beach – A great rocky beach is adjacent to the campground and is great for relaxing on.
Lone Rock Campground Pictures