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Big Reservoir




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General Information

Description - Big Reservoir offers OHV trails, mountain biking trails, hiking trails, campgrounds, picnic grounds and fishing. Boating is available on the reservoir as well as beach activities.

Attractions - Big Reservoir provides camping at the Big Reservoir Campground as well as the privately owned Morning Star Lake Campground. Several miles to the north is the North Fork of the American River, which offers fishing and other river sports, just a hike away. Nearby, to the west is Sugar Pine Reservoir and to the south is Sugar Pine Recreational Area and Parker Flats Recreational Area, which serve as staging areas for OHV trails in the region.

Recreation - Big Reservoir offers OHV trails, mountain biking trails, hiking trails, campgrounds, picnic grounds and fishing. Boating is available on the reservoir as well as beach activities.

Climate - The Tahoe generally experiences warm, dry summers and cold, wet winters. Weather can change rapidly during all seasons of the year. Elevation plays a major role in temperature and precipitation. This precipitation falls mainly from October through April. At higher elevations, it comes mostly in the form of snow. A snow pack from 5-10 feet or more is usually present from December to May at elevations above 6,500 feet. Winter temperatures below zero and summer temperatures above 100 degrees indicate the normal seasonal spread. Clouds can build up during the summer to produce spectacular thunderstorm activity. It is wise to pack for any season with clothing that can be "layered", ready to peel off or add on as the thermometer dictates. Always include some kind of rain gear.

Location - Big Reservoir is located approximately 8.5 miles northeast of Foresthill off of Forest Route #26. Travel northeast on Foresthill Divide Road and turn left onto Forest Route #26 to reach the reservoir. This reservoir is located in the Foresthill Ranger District in the Tahoe National Forest.


Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

Filed By: John (Colfax, CA)
Number of People Encountered: 25-50 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Not Recommended
Report: The lake was a wonderful place to be. Lots of areas to go swimming or fishing. A short little walk around the lake that would have been nice except for some of the trail was just dug up like a tractor pushed the trail away. If you have a dog don't go here they charge you extra and your dog can't go in the water or on the beach and has to be on a six foot or less leash at all times. The maintenance guy/manager told me to turn around and head back because of the dog, wouldn't even let me go find my campsite since I was following someone, he told me I had to turn around right there. Later in the evening I was walking the dog on the road and the maintenance guy just stopped the truck and watched me the entire time to make sure the dog was on the leash not longer than six feet. We were there for a friends and family deal with people who use to own the campground. The told us that everyone with a day pass (which we had) had to leave and be out by 10PM. So e vehicles headed out a to get there at 10. We arrived at the gate at 10:02 and it was locked. I headed back to the office and told them that we were there by 10:02 and he acted like a jerk and no we weren't. The started to lecture me about I told you that you had to be out by 10. He finally came strolling out to the gate 10 minutes later and let us out. If anyone ever decides to go there you will not have a good time because of the management, only cause of the nice scenery and friends.

Number of People Encountered: 50+ ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Not Recommended
Report: In many ways, the camp was an idyllic spot: a lovely little lake, perfect for swimming, great shore areas for the kids to play, rentable kayaks, canoes, and pedal boats, with no motorboats to worry about, pleasant trail that encircles the lake, lots of nice picnic areas and tables, exactly what we were looking for. The only downside (and for us it is a MAJOR deal-killer) when we saw that many of the other campers were covered in tattoos depicting swasticas, portraits of Hitler, and other white supremacy symbols and slogans. I guess I am more sheltered than I thought, since I had never seen anything that in my life and I was utterly shocked. Horrendous graffitti describing violent racial hatred was all over at least one of the picnic tables, and much of the graffitti was quite old. There is no way that the owners dont know that death threats are written on their tables, yet they do nothing. We had a bad feeling about the owner from the minute we arrived, but it wasnt until later that we realized why. You notice that several other Trip Reports describe him in terms related to facism? Not a coincidence. Under new management, with a different clientele, this place could be a gem. As it is, I would not reccomend it to anyone who prefers to camp in an atmosphere not permeated with bigotry and hatred.

Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Terrific place for peaceful family kayaking. No power boats, jet skis or water skiers allowed. We stayed at one of the waterfront campsites near the office and had nothing but positive interactions with the management. We walked down to the RV and camper section and it was like a completely different place - noisy, lots of people packed into stalls with little shade. If you want to learn how to kayak or swim in a calm lake without worrying about boaters, stay on the waterfront camping side and you'll be very happy with this place. During our three days, there were very few times when there were more than two or three fishing boats and kayaks on the lake.

Filed By: Dave (Auburn, CA)
Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Not Recommended
Report: The lake is nice. Great place to kayak, there are too many rules. You have a camp Dicktator that watches your every move.

Filed By: Seaweid (Auburn, Ca)
Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Not Recommended
Report: Nice lake! Very good for fishing if you want to pay the extra charges. Owner/manager acts like a jr. Hitler about the rules. Staff all are like. Always looking and all are very dirty looking. Very unfriendly types. We had rented eight sites and were all taken back with their services, They had one of their workers camp next to us and left their generator running all day till 10:15, when we complainded, they just told us that it was ok because they were the help. Can you say double standard? We were there on Fathers day and were thrated with little respect. The US Fire Forestery came by to give the only kids around color books and they said the same thing about the management their, to watch out for them. Not a place to bring family unless they stay in the camper! Very clean and dry.

Filed By: Joe
Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Not Recommended
Report: Great lake and the campgrounds are "OK" but the manager is over the top out if control seems to have little mans complex wont come back until he is gone

View more Trip Reports.


More Information

Contact Information:
Foresthill Ranger District, 22830 Foresthill Road , Foresthill, CA, 95631, Phone: 530-367-2224, TTY: 530-367-2226

Additional Information:
American River Ranger District - The Foresthill Ranger District encompasses the southwest portion of the Tahoe National Forest. The North and Middle Fork of the American River lead through the District.
California Lakes and Reservoirs - The lakes and reservoirs described here range from huge reservoirs to small mountain lakes. The lakes are often part of large recreation areas, National Forests or State Parks.

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