Ice House Reservoir Camping & Hiking Guide

Welcome to a gateway to outdoor adventure tucked high in the heart of California’s Eldorado National Forest and the Central Sierra Nevada. Ice House Reservoir invites you to explore the Sierra’s natural beauty, offering a wide range of activities for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you’re a camper, hiker, or someone seeking off-road adventures and water sports, this pristine destination has something for everyone. Ice House Reservoir is well known by local fisherman as a great location trout fishing.

Ice House Campground, Eldorado National Forest, Pacific Ranger District. Ice House Campground is surrounded by a mixed conifer forest on the shores of Ice House Reservoir. Just 12 miles from Riverton, CA, the campground offers hiking, biking, jet skiing and fishing. How To Get Here: From Pollock Pines, CA, take Route 50 east 8.3 miles to the Crystal Basin Recreation Area sign. Turn left at sign onto Icehouse Road and go 10.8 miles to the Ice House Campground directional sign. Turn right at the sign onto Forest Route 32, then go 1.1 miles to an intersection with a campground/boat ramp sign. Continue straight to campground.

  • Elevation: 5,500 feet
  • General Season: Memorial Weekend to mid-October
Guy tent Forest

Safety First

Caution: There are bears in the area, so please take extra precautions.

  • Keep all foods, soaps, and garbage properly stored in bear-resistant containers.
  • Ensure your family pets are kept on a leash at all times.
  • When enjoying a campfire, use the provided grill or fire ring, and be sure to extinguish it thoroughly before leaving. Only use water, not soil, for this purpose. Remember to use only dead and down wood for your campfires.

Accommodation Camping Options

Ice House Reservoir offers a variety of camping options: Two Large Campgrounds to choose from on the Boulder Loop and the Meadow Loop which accept reservations.

  • Single Units: Ideal for 1 vehicle and up to 6 people per site.
  • Double Units: Suitable for 2 vehicles and accommodating up to 12 people. Note that an additional fee will be charged for an extra vehicle if the parking spur will accommodate it.

RVs and other licensed/registered vehicles, including trailers and motorcycles, are welcome. However, please remember that RV filling from piped water sources in campgrounds and day-use areas is not permitted.

There are also two No Reservation / first come first serve sites on the Northshore of Ice house Reservoir.. Strawberry point 10 camp spaces available with a $10 per night fee and Tent camping, Camping trailer, Picnic tables, Toilets available. And the Northwind Campground which has 9 units available at $10 a night and the following amenities: Tent camping, Camping trailer, Picnic tables, Vaulted Toilets

Recreation and Facilities

Within just 5 miles of Ice House Reservoir, you can enjoy a range of activities and facilities:

  • Swimming and Fishing: Cool off in the crystal-clear waters or cast your line for a memorable fishing experience.
  • Boat Ramp/Boarding Dock: Perfect for boating enthusiasts.
  • Picnic Areas: Ideal for enjoying a meal in the great outdoors.
  • Ice House Bike Trail: Explore the area on two wheels and soak in the scenic beauty.
Girl fishing mountain lake forest
Girl Fishing from shoreline

Fishing Ice House Reservoir

Ice House provides Year-round fishing, depending on accessible road conditions. Rainbow, brown, and brook trout are planted by California Department of Fish and Wildlife every other week May through September. Other fish caught include brook and lake trout and kokanee salmon. Golden shiners may also be seen. With a depth of about 80 feet and 648 surface Area to fish this tree lined reservoir is a traditionally lakes for a solid day of fishing in Eldorado National forest.

To Recreational Option Near Ice House Reservoir

1. Bassi Falls Hike

Experience Nature’s Beauty The Bassi Falls Hike is a nature lover’s dream come true. Located near Ice House Reservoir, this serene trail meanders through lush forests and opens up to the breathtaking Bassi Falls. As you follow the path, you’ll be greeted by the soothing sounds of cascading water. It’s a perfect hike for those seeking a tranquil escape and an opportunity to immerse themselves in the Sierra’s natural wonders.

2. Union Reservoir

A Tranquil Oasis Union Reservoir, situated close to Ice House, offers a tranquil oasis for water enthusiasts. This picturesque body of water is ideal for kayaking, paddleboarding, or simply relaxing by the shore. With its serene surroundings and opportunities for bird-watching, it’s the perfect place to unwind and connect with nature. Don’t forget your camera; the sunsets here are nothing short of spectacular.

3. Loon Lake

The Ultimate Wilderness Retreat Loon Lake, a short drive from Ice House Reservoir, is a haven for adventurers. Surrounded by the stunning Sierra wilderness, this lake offers camping, fishing, and boating opportunities. Whether you’re an angler in search of your next big catch or a camper looking to stargaze under the pristine night sky, Loon Lake provides the ultimate wilderness retreat for outdoor enthusiasts.

These nearby destinations add even more depth to your Ice House Reservoir experience, offering a variety of outdoor activities and beautiful landscapes to explore.

Family camping looking at stars
Night Skies in the Crystal Basin can be stunning

Campsite Specifics

  • Number of Units: 81 sites in total
    • Single Units: Sites 2, 4, 5, 8-10, 12-14, 17-21, 23-26, 35, 38, 42-45, 48-55, 58, 60-66
    • Double Units: Sites 3, 7, 11, 15, 16, 22, 36, 37, 39-41, 46, 47, 57, 59
  • Walk-In Tent Single Sites: 28, 29, 30, 32, 34, 68
  • Walk-In Tent Double Units: 27, 31, 33, 56
  • Accessible Campsites: Refer to the provided map for details.


Ice House Reservoir is well-equipped to make your stay comfortable:

  • Piped Water: Access to clean water.
  • Toilet Facilities: Vault toilets are available.
  • Recycle Containers: Please help us keep the area clean by using the recycle containers.
  • Showers: Available for your convenience.
  • Tables: Enjoy your meals outdoors with picnic tables.
  • Fire Rings with Grill Tops: Stay warm and cook your meals in designated areas.
  • Bear Boxes: Ensure your safety and the bears’ well-being with bear-resistant storage.
  • No electric/water/sewer hookups at this facility


Plan your stay in advance with the ease of reservations. Ice House Reservoir accepts reservations for single units, and Interagency Passes are also accepted.

  • Operated by Concession: Yes
  • Checkout Time: 1:00 PM
  • Maximum Stay Limit: 14 days per district per year
  • Pets Allowed on a Leash: Yes
Ice House Depth Map
Ice House Depth Map

Need to Know

  • Forest Order No. 19-15-01: Prohibits camping for a combined total of no more than 14 days during a calendar year (January-December), forest-wide. Visitors may book campsites annually but the maximum stay may not exceed a total of 14 days each calendar year (January-December)
  • Please Note: One vehicle per single site. Most sites can accommodate 1 extra vehicle that is not included with the reservation fee. Extra vehicle will be charged a per night fee and collected at the campground.
  • No electric/water/sewer hookups at this facility

Access to Crystal Basin Recreational Area

When you’re staying or playing near Ice House Reservoir, you’ll discover an extensive network of day use areas in the enchanting Crystal Basin, each offering its own unique charm. These spots are perfect for a quick escape to nature, picnics with a view, and soaking in the Sierra’s beauty.

Angel Creek – At an elevation of 5,300 feet, Angel Creek is a peaceful oasis located at Gerle Creek Reservoir. This day use area, just one mile before the Gerle Creek Campground, offers four picnic sites with water and grills. What sets it apart is its fully accessible vault toilet, ensuring that everyone can enjoy their outdoor experience without limitations.

Cleveland Corral – Situated at an elevation of 3,980 feet, Cleveland Corral is conveniently located on Ice House Road, only two miles north of Highway 50. While it may have just one picnic unit, it boasts flush toilets for added convenience.

Fashoda Beach – If you’re seeking a fantastic swimming beach, head to Fashoda Beach at an elevation of 5,200 feet. Located on Union Valley Reservoir, 15 miles north of Highway 50 on Ice House Road, this day use area offers five picnic units with tables, drinking water, and grills. Plus, one unit is wheelchair accessible. Explore the shores, have a picnic, and cool off in the clear waters.

These day use areas in the Crystal Basin are an excellent addition to your Ice House Reservoir adventure, providing more opportunities to enjoy the beauty of the Sierra and create lasting memories with family and friends. Whether it’s a lakeside picnic or a serene hike through the woods, the Crystal Basin has something for everyone.

Plan Your Sierra Adventure

At Ice House Reservoir, you’re just steps away from an incredible outdoor experience. Enjoy camping, hiking, and a range of activities surrounded by the stunning beauty of Eldorado National Forest. Check Weather Forecasts for the Lake before you head out, as summer thunderstorms are common in the area, but over all the area receives a great deal of sun in the summer season.

For additional information and reservations, visit the Eldorado National Forest website.

Don’t miss out on the chance to make unforgettable memories in the Sierra. Embrace the wilderness, respect the environment, and enjoy your adventure at Ice House Reservoir.

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