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New Melones Lake Camping Reservations

Melones Lake West Of Yosemite National Park Is A 186

Campground reservations on hold at New Melones Lake

  • Melones Lake is a 186-mile-long Sierra foothills lake offering a relaxing getaway spot
  • The lake is not far west of Yosemite National Park
  • Boating and water skiing on the lake are very popular
  • There are hundreds of camping sites around New Melones Lake
  • Fish for bass, trout, catfish and perch

Overview

New Melones Lake is the fourth largest manmade lake in the state of California, and there are many who have not yet discovered its beauty and recreation opportunities, making it an un-crowded paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Its a fairly short drive from Yosemite National Park and is a wonderful place to settle down for a few days to enjoy all this lake has to offer.

Location & Information

To get to New Melones Lake from Yosemite, you take California Highway 120 and get on Highway 49, which takes you right to the lake.

The New Melones Reservoir is accessible 24 hours a day. There is an entrance gate, however, and it does close at night to help prevent vandalism. Although you can exit at any time, you will need to call for the times the entrance closes if you plan on arriving later in the day.

Contact information:New Melones Visitors Center and Information 209-536-9094

Activities

Fun Facts

New Melones Lake Visitors Center

Hours: Open year round Wednesday through Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and closed Mondays and Tuesdays

6850 Stud Horse Flat RoadSonora, CA 95370209-536-9543 Website New Melones Lake Visitor Center and Museum were completed as a part of the New Melones project in 1992. The modern displays and exhibits are about the areas geologic past, Mi-Wok Indian and early human history, the California Gold Rush, mining techniques, ranching, the town of Robinson Ferry, natural history, and the New Melones project itself. Highly recommended are the guided history and nature walks that rangers conduct.

There is more information about New Melones Visitors Center here.

Sunset On New Melones Lake

There are 318 campsites at New Melones Lake. Campsites are $18.00 per night for standard sites and $14.00 for walk-in campsites . Reserving an available campsite is seldom a problem, except for some holiday weekends. Each campsite has picnic table, fire ring with grill, and shared water. There are no hook-ups available. There are bathroom and shower facilities at all campgrounds. There is a free dump station for campers at Tuttletown.

At the Glory Hole Recreation Area , there are 55 campsites in Big Oak Campground, and 89 in Iron Horse Campground. The Glory Hole Recreation area is closer to town and shopping and entertainment facilities. The New Melones Lake Marina is on this side. There are challenging hiking and biking trails on this side.

On the Tuolumne side, at Tuttletown Recreation Area, there are 34 campsites in Chamise Campground, 69 in Acorn Campground, 55 in Manzanita Campground, as well as two group reservation sites- Oak Knoll and Fiddleneck . The group sites are available by reservation only. There are a few sites in Manzanita Campground that are close to the water , but for the most part, water is too far from campsites to allow for boat camping.

For those campers who want hook-ups, Angels RV, located at the entrance to Glory Hole Recreation Area is the place to call. Their phone number is 398-0404. This well-run, clean facility offers sites with hook-ups, tent sites, and even camping cabins. They have a small pool and a barbeque area as well.

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Gold Countrys Best Kept Secret

Here is an abundance of lakes and reservoirs in the Sierra foothills. People come from all over California to enjoy the boating and fishing available at Lakes Don Pedro, New Hogan, McClure and many others. But few people have discovered the beautiful New Melones Lake, the fourth largest man-made lake in California, behind Oroville, Shasta, and Trinity.

Located in Calaveras County in Angels Camp , New Melones Lake was formed with the completion of a 625-foot high dam in 1979. New Melones surpassed in size the Old Melones reservoir that had been formed in 1926. By 1982, the lake was filled and on its way to becoming the wonderful recreational spot that it is today.

Fishing is wonderful year-round at New Melones Lake. From Thanksgiving to February, when the trout are gorgingthemselves on shad in the coves and creek channels, anglers catch stringers of beautiful two to seven pound rainbow and brown trout right from shore. On warm summer nights, boaters can limit out using minnows or night crawlers with submersible lights that attract baitfish, which in turn attract the big trout. Its very pleasant to spend the night bobbing under the stars, the lake water all around you shimmering from your light and the flash of minnows

The area surrounding New Melones Lake is rich in history. The area is thought to have been first inhabited by Native Americans around 3500 years ago, and the Miwok Indians arrived in the area about 500 years ago.

New Melones Gate Hours

Campground
  • 4:00 AM – 10:00 PM
  • Memorial Day – Labor Day 4:00 AM – 11:00 PM
  • Labor Day – September 30 4:00 AM – 10:00 PM
  • 4:00 AM – 9:00 PM

Day-use fees are $8, and a boat launch fee is an additional $2. If you are camping the general fee is only $22,which includes your $8 day-use fee or your $10 day-use/launch fee.Walk-in campsites are $18 per night Bureau of Reclamation Website: New Melones Camping

Additional camping can be found at nearby Calaveras Big Trees State Park and at some of New Melones’ neighboring lakes. RV Parks are available only a few miles away at Frogtown and in Angels Camp.

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New Melones Lake Attractions And Activities

New Melones Lake has over 12,000 surface acres and 100 miles of shoreline. Visitors to Ironhorse Campground enjoy both the lake and shore-side activities.

  • Enjoy Water skiing, jet skiing, sailing, cruising, and fishing on the 12-mile long lake.
  • Enjoy hiking and bike riding over miles of trails and roads.
  • Join in ranger-led nature hikes and history hikes.
  • Swim in the comfortable waters of New Melones Lake.
  • Attend summer campfire programs about a variety of topics.
  • Children can participate in the Junior Rangers program.
  • Tour the Visitor Center with displays and exhibits about geology, Mi-Wok Indians, the Gold Rush, and ranching.

Key Acorn Campground Regulations

  • Dogs must be on leash and always attended. At night they must be in a tent or vehicle.
  • Recreation area gates are closed at night and vehicle entry is not permitted when gates are closed. Exit is always available.
  • Generators may only be operated between 10 AM and 8 PM.
  • Fires may only be lit in provided fire rings.
  • Check New Melones Recreation Area for any campground and recreation area updates.

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    Tuttletown Recreation Area Overview

    Tuttletown Recreation Area has three campgrounds located next to New Melones Lake on the Stanislaus River in the Sierra Nevada foothills at an elevation of 1,101 feet. Campsites can accommodate tents, trailers and RVs. Group camping is also available at Oak Knoll and Fiddleneck group camps. Other amenities at Tuttletown Recreation Area include a marina, boat ramp, fishing cleaning station, day-use/picnic areas and a dump station.

    Acorn Campground

    Acorn campground has 69 campsites and is furthest from the water and up on a hill. A few of the sites have views of the lake. Acorn campground has drinking water, flush toilets and hot showers . Each site also has a table, fire ring and grate.

    Manzanita Campground

    Manzanita Campground has 55 campsites . There are 15 walk-in sites, and the other 40 are standard single-family campsites for tents, trailers and RVs. Quite a few have views of the lake. The campground has drinking water, flush toilets and showers . Each site also has a table, fire ring and grate.

    Chamise Campground

    Chamise campground has 35 campsites and 29 are walk-in and 6 are single-family campsites for tents, trailers or RVs. Several have great views of New Melones Lake. The campground has drinking water, flush toilets and showers .

    Glory Hole Recreation Area is also on New Melones Lake and has a nice campground with 144 campsites.

    Tuttletown Recreation Area

    • Golden Age & Access Passports accepted
    • Grills

    Some New Melones Camping Day Use Reopened Natural Bridges Open

    Big Oak Campground at New Melones Lake, CA – RV & Tent Campground ~ A Campground Fav!

    Camping is now allowed again at Tuttletown Recreation Area on New Melones Lake.

    The Tuttletown Recreation Area on New Melones Lake is now open for day use and camping, along with the popular Natural Bridges trail in Vallecito and its associated parking area, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced in a news release Tuesday.

    Parking is limited on USBR land, and visitors will be turned away when lots fill up.

    Visitors can purchase interagency, annual day use and boat launch passes at the New Melones Lake Visitor Center and Museum lobby from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

    The museum portion of the visitor center will remain closed and the bureau will implement building capacity limits to meet state facility reopening guidelines.

    Facility restrooms may not be fully supplied with hand soap or hand sanitizer, and all visitors should continue to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, the bureau stated.

    Both the Glory Hole and Tuttletown campgrounds have been closed since March 30, due to COVID-19, New Melones Park Manager Cynthia Davenport told the Enterprise June 24.

    Davenport said secure gates did well to keep visitors out of the two recreation areas, but it was more difficult to enforce closures at the Natural Bridges trailhead and other outlying areas.

    Staff reported that someone had cut a hole in a nearby fence to access the trail, Davenport told the Enterprise in a previous interview.

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    Key Big Oak Campground Regulations

  • Recreation area gates are closed at night and vehicle entry is not permitted when gates are closed. Exit is always available.
  • Generators may only be operated between 10 AM and 8 PM.
  • Water may still be in short supply after California’s drought.
  • Dogs must be on leash and always attended. At night they must be in a tent or vehicle.
  • Help prevent the spread of invasive species by obtaining firewood locally.
  • Fires may only be lit in provided fire rings.
  • Check New Melones Recreation Area for any campground and recreation area updates.

    Glory Hole Recreation Area Overview

    Glory Hole Recreation Area campground has 144 campsites and is located on hills above New Melones Lake and near the edge of Californias gold country. The campsites are situated in two spread out camping areas. Iron Horse includes campsites 1-89 and Big Oak has sites 90-144. Many sites have views of New Melones Lake.

    Campground amenities include drinking water, flush toilets and hot showers. Theres also an amphitheater , dump station, marina, restaurant, camp store, bait shop, boat launch and boat rentals. Campsites have paved pads, a table, fire ring and grate.

    Glory Hole Recreation Area

    Popular outdoor recreation in the area includes boating, fishing, water skiing, jet skiing, sailing, swimming, kayaking canoeing, hiking, biking, horseback riding, picnicking and wildlife viewing. The New Melones Visitor Center also offers interpretive events and a museum. Visitors can also visit the quaint historic gold rush towns of Sonora and Angels Camp. Equestrian trails are located in the Peoria Wildlife Mitigation Area.

    Tuttletown Recreation Area is also located on New Melones lake and has a nice campground.

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    Camping And Hotels In The Area

    The camping facilities at New Melones Lake are managed by the Bureau of Reclamation. The phone number for the New Melones Lake Visitors Center is 536-9094.You can make reservations at www.reserveusa.com.

    The Visitors Center, in addition to handling the campgrounds, offers wonderful information about the lake and the surrounding area. Stop by for a visit, and be sure to check out the rangers list of planned activities. They host talks on a variety of subjects pertaining to the wildlife and history of the area, as well as guided hikes. New Melones Lake, while open to fishing and camping 24 hours a day, has an entrance gate that closes late at night and opens before dawn each morning, to help keep vandalism down. Be sure you call the Visitors Center to find out when the gate will be closing, if you plan on arriving late.

    Glory Hole Recreation Area

    Camping at New Melones Glory Hole Recreation Area

    Glory Hole Recreation Area is located at New Melones Lake on the Stanislaus River. The 12,500 surface-acre lake is the fourth largest reservoir in California and is situated along the edge of the Mother Lode, the rich gold vein that prompted the California Gold Rush of 1849. At an elevation of 1100 feet, the diverse and resource-abundant Foothill Oak Woodlands hug the 100 miles of shoreline.Popular activities on and around the large, yet uncrowded lake include fishing, boating, water skiing, wake boarding, jet skiing, sailing, swimming, kayaking, canoeing, wildlife viewing, rock climbing, hiking, biking, horseback riding and picknicking. The New Melones Visitor Center offers year-round interpretive events and a museum highlighting natural and cultural resources.

    The campground provides modern amenities like flush toilets, showers and drinking water. Visitors will also find a full-service marina, boat launch, day-use areas, barbeque grills and a fish cleaning station. There is an amphitheater for Ranger programs and horseshoe pits in the Ironhorse campground. Picnic tables and fire rings are provided at each campsite.

    Recreation Area gates close at:

    9:00pm: October 1 â March 31

    10:00pm: April 1 â Memorial Day

    11:00pm: Memorial Day â Labor Day

    10:00pm: Labor Day â September 30

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    A Brief Introduction To New Melones Lake

    New Melones Lake is a reservoir on the Stanislaus River in the central Sierra Nevada foothills, within Calaveras County and Tuolumne County, California.The New Melones Dam and reservoir are a water collection and transfer unit of the Central Valley Project. New Melones Lake provides irrigation water, hydroelectric power, flood control, and wildlife habitat. Recreation uses include fishing, camping, and boating within the Glory Hole Recreation Area and Tuttletown Recreation Area.The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment has developed a safe eating advisory for fish caught in New Melones Lake based on levels of mercury or PCBs found in the fish species.

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    Key Ironhorse Campground Regulations

  • Dogs must be on leash and always attended. At night they must be in a tent or vehicle.
  • Recreation area gates are closed at night and vehicle entry is not permitted when gates are closed. Exit is always available.
  • Generators may only be operated between 10 AM and 8 PM.
  • Water may still be in short supply after California’s drought.
  • Check New Melones Recreation Area for any campground and recreation area updates.

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