Union and Utica Reservoir Campgrounds
Winter Storm Damage Closures
Notice from Forest Service: "Roads on Stanislaus National Forest suffered extensive damage from winter storms and many will remain closed until at least 2018, including four popular roads." Among the roads with severe damage is the Spicer Reservoir Road leading to Union and Utica reservoirs. The road may be closed for the 2017 season.
Stanislaus National Forest Storm Damage 2017
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 with 11 campsites and Rocky Point 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 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 with 18 sites and Union East with 11. Some sites are walk-in. Most campsites have at least partial views of the reservoir. Union West 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.
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.