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French Meadows Reservoir

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General Information

Description - French Meadows Reservoir provides camping, fishing, boating, picnicking, horseback riding and hiking in the Foresthill Ranger District. Located in the eastern region of the District, approximately 19 miles east of Foresthill, this Reservoir provides access to much of the Districts OHV trails.

Attractions - French Meadows Reservoir provides opportunities for boating, fishing and camping along its shores. This Reservoir offers a staging area for OHV use in the area. To the east is Granite Chief Wilderness Area and to the south is the American River. The Western States Trail passes within a mile to the southwest shoreline.

Recreation - French Meadows Reservoir offers mountain biking, camping, fishing, hiking, OHV trails, picnicking and horseback riding in the eastern region of the Foresthill Ranger District.

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 - French Meadows Reservoir is located 19 miles east of Foresthill and approximately 14 miles west of Tahoe City. Travel on Mosquito Ridge Road east for approximately 26 miles 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: Jenny Smith (Oakland, CA)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: We stayed at Lewis Campground, just across from the French Meadows Lake. We discovered the best place to swim at the French Meadows Lake was in the McGuire Picnic & Boat Launch, just a half mile down the road from the campground. You park in the lot & walk down to a beach where there's buoys to rope of a part of the lake. Nobody was there but us and our dog! We had a blast. The hardest part of our trip was the unexpected cold temps in the night. Bundle up. Hot during the day, though. We took a real nice hike around the lake, heading towards "Poppy Campground" from a vista turn- out. We hiked for about 4 miles, then turned around & went back. Bring your mosquito repellent for the campground. There's also nasty flies that bite you. The campground host, Mel, was so nice. He invited us to have coffee with him in the morning. I don't think anybody else was camping at all in Lewis campground (midweek)! We had a great time!

Filed By: andy
Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: contrary to the website there is a fourth campground. French meadows campground. Its located 5 to ten minutes from the dam. You need to be prepared when you go out there. The closest gas station is in foresthill, which is about 3 hours away. There are no stores, telephones, (don't count on your cell phone your in a canyon) nothing but a camp host. great place to go to get away from civilization.

Filed By: Carrie (Marysville, ca)
Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Spectacular drive to French Meadows. I think everyone should experience this road just once, it is very unique. Campground is beautiful, crystal clear water, plenty of trout to catch. We go often.

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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