Spicer Meadow Campground Review

spicer meadow campground

Need a quick family camping get away from Sacramento or the Bay Area?  Spicer Meadow Campground is located about 28 miles north east of Arnold, California in the high Sierra's at 8300 feet.  It's perfect for family, group, or solo camping.  We camped there twice because there is awesome fishing and rafting.

This summer, Living Water Community Church went on our third unofficial family camping trip to Spicer Meadow Reservoir in the high Sierra Nevada Mountains near Bear Valley, California. I call it unofficial as I plan the trip on the fly depending on who is coming. I start hammering out the details in May and I hope and pray that the trip turns out.  There is no better way to review a family oriented campground  like Spicer Meadow than doing it with 40 plus people.

Arrive Early At Spicer Meadow Campground To Secure A Site

Unfortunately, weekend camping spots fill up early at Spicer Meadow .  I prefer the old fashioned way of showing up early and finding the perfect spot.  Most sought after places moved to online registration and people reserve months in advance. 

Spicer Meadow Campground Offers Killer Mountain Views

spicer meadow reservoir

We needed a campground to accommodate 40-50 campers. I decided on Spicer Meadow Campground as it's near 3 good sized reservoirs.  Spicer Meadow reservoir was a short 5 minute walk from the campground.  There's a boat launch and  a nice picnic area right on the lake.  The mountain views surrounding the lake are awesome.  It's classic Sierra Nevada hard granite dotted with pine trees in every direction.   The shoreline is rocky and offers no sandy beach for building sand castles.  We used rubber rafts and inner tubes to enjoy the water.

union-reservoirUtica and Union Reservoirs were about 3 miles away.  These 2 reservoirs are even more picturesque and were not subject to the winds that picked up early in the afternoon on Spicer Meadow.  We spent a half day relaxing at Union Reservoir just before we returned home.  We grilled burgers and kicked back at the beach enjoying the relaxing water.  My 2 boys inflated their rafts and hung out with our friend Catherine floating around the lake.

A Good Family Bathroom Needs Lots of Bathrooms And Running Water

There was running water in close proximity to every camp site. Hot showers would have been a bonus, but with the last minute change of plans, I was happy to find a first come, first service campground to accommodate our group.  This include clean stove pipe outhouses, water spigots, and garbage cans.



Arrive Early And Stay Late To Maximize Your Stay

campground full

Nothing is worse than pulling into your campground with a carload of kids and seeing the proverbial "Campground Full".  It's best to arrive at your campground several hours before dinner to secure a spot.

My family arrived at 8 AM and Friday morning and squatted on a half dozen campsites.  The place was surprisingly uncrowded.  The first campground, Stanislaus River, 3 miles off highway 4 was full at 8 AM.   Drive another 5 miles and we found a nearly abandoned 40 site campground!

Spicer Meadow Campground Offers A Wide Range Of Activities

We arrived on a beautiful high Sierra morning with clear blue skies and a beaming warm sun. Spicer Meadow Reservoir was as clear as a freshly washed pane of glass as it reflected the nearby snow capped mountain peaks. The extraordinary views were worth the steep $25 per night charge.

By late afternoon, we had kids floating out in the lake with our 2 rafts and 2 inner tubes.

I tried my luck at fly fishing and caught a bunch of snags and tangles.

By 6 PM, we had nearly 40 people settled in eating and setting up camp.

family camp

Bonfires were going by 9 PM and we all sat around and tried to sing worship songs with the kids playing guitars and beating drums. Nothing like making a "joyful noise to the Lord".

Our fellowship enjoys hanging out with each no matter the occasion.   It was an awesome weekend of fellow-shipping, eating, and watching our kids.

I highly recommend Spicer Meadow Campground for quick weekend get away.  People from the Bay Area can get there in under 4 hours.  It's not crowded.  There are a lot activities ranging from fishing to hiking.  Pack up your vehicle with enough food to last a few days and spend some quality time with your friends or family relaxing on a beautiful Alpine Lake in the Sierra's.


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