Union Reservoir Campgrounds and Utica Reservoir Campgrounds

Stanislaus National Forest

Union Reservoir

Rocky Point Campground, Utica Reservoir, Stanislaus National Forest, CA

Rocky Point Campground, Utica Reservoir

Granite Gulch Group Camp, Utica Reservoir, Stanislaus National Forest, CA

Granite Gulch Group Campsite, Utica Reservoir

Stanislaus National Forest Attractions

Visitors to Union Reservoir Campgrounds or Utica Reservoir Campgrounds near Spicer Meadow Reservoir in Calaveras County find a wide range of activities and attractions.

  • Enjoy fishing in the Stanislaus River and nearby lakes such as Lake Alpine and Spicer Meadow Reservoir.
  • Set out on hiking trails such as the path from Lake Alpine up to Inspiration Point or along the Arnold Rim Trail and various others leading off Highway 4.
  • Take advantage of great OHV routes at places such as Rattlesnake Creek and Black Springs.
  • Spend the day kayaking at one of the many lakes.
  • Take off mountain biking along the network of logging roads.

Places to Visit

  • Tour historic Murphys.
  • Picnic at White Pines Lake and tour the Logging Museum.
  • Drive out to Spicer, Union, and Utica reservoirs.
  • Visit Quyle Kilns, 4 miles east of Murphys.
  • Tour Mercer Caverns and Moaning Cavern.
  • Try some wine tasting at Ironstone Winery.

Union and Utica Reservoir Campgrounds

Spicer Reservoir Road is now Open

Notice from Forest Service: June 28, 2017 - "Spicer, Slick Rock and McKays roads are now open to visitors wishing to travel on them. . . . the Forest Service was able to open the following campgrounds: Spicer, Spicer Group Camp, Union East, Union West, Rocky Point, Sandy Flat and Stanislaus River."

Union Reservoir and Utica Reservoir are side by side, about 4 miles north of Spicer Meadow Reservoir. Reach the lakes off Spicer Reservoir Road, which leaves Highway 4 twenty-two miles east of Arnold. The road to Union and Utica reservoirs diverges after about a mile. Both reservoirs are about 2 miles off Spicer Reservoir Road.

The reservoirs have a 5 MPH speed limit. Utica Reservoir only permits non-motorized boats. Launch ramps are available at all four campgrounds.

Utica Reservoir has two inviting campgrounds, Sandy Flat Campground with 11 campsites and Rocky Point Campground with 12. Most campsites have at least partial reservoir views. Sites are fairly well separated.

Granite Gulch Group Camp is immediately northwest of Sandy Flat Campground. Granite Gulch Group Camp is composed of sites #9, 10, and 11 from Sandy Flat. The walk-in group camp can accommodate up to 18 people and 6 tents.

Union Reservoir has two campgrounds: Union West Campground with 18 sites and Union East Campground with 11. Some sites are walk-in. Most campsites have at least partial views of the reservoir. Union West Campground has several level, spacious campsites well suited for RVs or trailers. The approach road to Union West is bumpy in places, but not so much as to keep out RVs.

There is no potable water nor trash service at any of the campgrounds around Union and Utica reservoirs. Trash must be packed out.

Union and Utica Reservoir Campground Basics
Union and Utica Reservoir Campgrounds Location: Turn off Highway 4 at Spicer Reservoir Rd. 22 miles east of Arnold and 6 miles west of Lake Alpine. Then 8½ miles to turnoff to both Union and Utica. 2 miles to either one.
Elevation: 6,850 feet
Miles/Driving time: Stockton - 103 miles, 2:22
Campground Open: Late-May through October
Opening date may be hampered by snow
Number of Sites: 52
Max. People per Site: 6 (including children)
Vehicles per Site: 2, fee for 2nd vehicle
Maximum Length of Stay: 14 days
Pets: On leash, always attended
Operated by Stanislaus National Forest
Calaveras Ranger District: (209) 795-1381

No Reservations: First come, first served
Maximum Vehicle Length: 20 feet
Accessible Sites: None designated, but some campsites and facilities are accessible
Fees: Single-family sites: $16 per night
Granite Gulch Group Campsite: $48 per night
Check-in, check-out: Any time, Noon

Union and Utica Reservoir Campground Amenities
Campsites: Picnic table, fire ring; no hook-ups
Campground: Vault toilets, no potable water
Showers: No
Dump Station: No
Attractions near Union and Utica Reservoir Campgrounds: Visit Bear Valley for shops and restaurants. Head over to Spicer Meadow Reservoir for fishing and boating. Drive up the road to beautiful Lake Alpine. Hike in the Carson-Iceberg Wilderness. Find many local hiking trails. Enjoy boating, fishing, and kayaking. Bear Valley Adventure Company has kayak and bike rentals.

Campgrounds without Potable Water

The lack of drinking water at a campground can be an inconvenience, especially for those without an RV or travel trailer. The obvious solution is to bring along a 5 or 7 gallon water canister to use for drinking water, dish washing, and even teeth brushing.

Another solution to consider is to use a quality water filter to filter water from a nearby stream or lake, a process backpackers use all the time. While hand pump filters work well, they can become tiresome. A gravity flow filter is really the best solution for campground use. Simply fill the reservoir with water, hang it from a tree limb, and enjoy clean water filling your water jug at a rate of almost ½ gallon a minute.

Union West Campground, Union Reservoir, Stanislaus National Forest, CA

Union West Campground

Sandy Flat Campground, Utica Reservoir, Stanislaus National Forest, CA

Sandy Flat Campground, Utica Reservoir

map of campground locations by Spicer Meadow Reservoir, Union Reservoir, and Utica Reservoir, CA


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