1 | Eldorado National Forest

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Eldorado National Forest

The Eldorado National Forest is nestled in the dramatic central Sierra Nevada of California and bordering Nevada.

The Eldorado National Forest is bordered on the north by the Tahoe National Forest, on the east by the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, on the southeast by the Humboldt-Toiyabe, and to the south by the Stanislaus National Forest.The Eldorado is within 3 - 4 hours of the San Francisco Bay Area and about 1 - 1 1/2 hours from Sacramento. It ranges in elevation from 1,ooo feet in the foothills to more than 10,000 feet above sea level along the Sierra crest. The mountainous topography is broken by the steep canyons of the Mokelumne, Cosumnes, American, and Rubicon rivers. Plateaus of generally moderate relief are located between these steep canyons.

Lake Tahoe. Photo Credit; Michelle Turner

Water is a major resource of the Eldorado National Forest. The average acre on the Forest receives about 56 inches of precipitation annually. Average annual runoff is about 29 inches. As well the forest contains 611 miles of fishable streams in four major drainage systems: the Middle Fork of the American River, including the Rubicon, the South Fork of the American River, the Cosumnes River and the North Fork of the Mokelumne River.

The forest is also home to 297 lakes and reservoirs (including both public and private acreage), which total 11,994 surface acres. 11 large reservoirs account for 9,000 acres. The rest are mostly small, high mountain lakes. Both the rivers and lakes provide exceptional fishing opportunities.

The Eldorado National Forest provides diverse recreational opportunities to the public. The Forest offers every visitor the chance to enjoy nature and be outdoors.

The forest offers more than 70 day use and overnight developed recreation facilities across the forest for the individual, families and groups. And if you like to camp "away from it all", but you like to drive there in your car, the Forest has just what you are looking for.

Many non-motorized trails are open to hikers, cyclists and equestrian users. Walk pedal or ride to view the varied terrain of the western slope of the Sierra Nevada Region.

If rough and rugged is your thing, the forest features two premier Wilderness Areas, the Mokelumne and the Desolation. Take off into these mountainous landscapes for an adventure of a lifetime.

The fun does not stop when the snow flies. For many people it has just begun. Whether you prefer the serenity of a backcountry ski, the speed of the downhill runs, or the power of the snowmobile, there is no one-way to see what this Forest offers in winter. Spectacular vistas and entertaining winter recreation opportunities await people with all levels of experience and interests.






Nearest Large Urban Area:


Notes and Conditions:

Off-Highway Vehicle users will find many opportunities for off-road enjoyment in the Eldorado National Forest.

In return for the privilege of operating your OHV on public lands, you assume considerable responsibilities. By handling your machine properly and using common sense, you can help make sure this area will remain beautiful and enjoyable to visit in the future.

Research campground locations and amenities at the U.S. National Forest Campground Directory. The Web site is full of pictures and detailed descriptions to help you plan your next trip.

If you want to experience a guided recreation trip in a National Forest, visit Adventure Vacation to learn about whitewater rafting, canoeing, kayaking, horseback riding, camping, hiking and fishing trips.


Visit the U.S. Forest Service Map Directory to see what maps are available for this Forest and others you may want to visit