Archives Eldorado National Forest Route 50 Route 88

Is Your Favorite Recreation Site Closed in 2019?

Eldorado National Forest Blue Lakes Cabin
Written by Charlie Pankey

Storm damage and construction will affect recreation in the Eldorado Nat’l Forest

Eldorado National Forest , May 1, 2019– Current snow conditions, potential storm damage and scheduled recreation site closures will affect visitor access this year on the Eldorado National Forest (ENF). Anyone planning a trip to the forest this summer is urged to check the status of recreation facilities and know what areas will be closed before entering the forest.

STORM DAMAGE – The ENF anticipates the potential for extended recreation site and road closures throughout the forest due to the large volume of snow and possible storm-related damage. The winter of 2018/2019 has brought the forest much needed snow; however, large volumes of snow will delay access to recreation areas. At this time, recreation staff are still unable to perform necessary maintenance tasks required before opening developed recreation sites to the public. Although recreation staff will work diligently to get the majority of recreation sites ready for the public by Memorial Weekend, environmental conditions may prevent the opening for some sites by this time.

Similar to the storms in the winter of 2016/2017, the forest also anticipates that there may be some storm-related damage that could delay the opening of these sites or other areas of the forest. Eleven Pines Road along the Rubicon River near Ellicott Bridge will have intermittent short temporary closures for ongoing maintenance throughout the season. This road has just reopened after completing repairs in response to a landslide caused by this year’s storms.

CONSTRUCTION – In addition to unforeseen closures, there are several scheduled closures to be aware of on Eldorado National Forest for the upcoming recreation season. Construction closures while sites are being improved will occur throughout the entire 2019 season at the following locations:

Loon Lake in the Crystal Basin Ca
Loon Lake Recreation Area

Pacific Ranger District, Crystal Basin Recreation Area

  • Northshore Campground and adjacent dispersed use areas at Loon Lake
  • North Union Valley Road including Wolf Creek & Camino Cove Campgrounds at Union Valley Reservoir
  • Lakeshore Drive at Ice House Reservoir
  • Pleasant Campground, Loon Lake – July 15-19
Meadow Lake PG&E Alpine County Ca
Meadow Lake PG&E Alpine County Ca

Amador Ranger District

  • Caples Lake Campground at Caples Lake, Hwy 88 – beginning in September
  • Upper Blue Lakes Area including Middle Creek, Middle Creek Expansion, Upper Blue Lake Dam site, Upper Blue Lake Dam Site Expansion, and Upper Blue Lake campground Upper Blue Lake Boat Launch, Grouse & Granite Lakes Trailhead and the Evergreen Trailhead from the Blue Lakes side
Granite Lake

Placerville Ranger District

  • Slab Creek Reservoir

Georgetown Ranger District

  • Upper Hell Hole Campground – temporary closure dates TBD

The closures are the result of recreation site upgrades which are conditions for relicensing requirements for hydroelectric projects operated by the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) and the El Dorado Irrigation District (EID). The closure for the Upper Blue Lakes area is the result of repairs to the dam by Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E). The Upper Hell Hole Campground closure is due to construction on the Hell Hole Reservoir dam by Placer County Water Agency (PCWA). 

The upgrades in progress will provide much needed improvements to old, deteriorating recreation facilities, including: installation of a potable water system and expansion of the 15-unit Northshore Campground, newly paved roads on the North Union Valley and Lakeshore Drive roads, replacement of toilets, pathways, upgrades to the water system, resurfacing the roadway and providing accessible sites at Caples Lake Campground, and construction of a new powerhouse and recreational boating release valve at Slab Creek Reservoir.

Visitors are reminded that these closures are for the protection of public safety. Entering into closure areas is prohibited and exposes risk of injury to hazards. Before your trip, check or the Eldorado National Forest website for current conditions and closures at For more information, contact the Forest Supervisor’s Office at (530) 622-5061.

About the author

Charlie Pankey

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