Eldorado National Forest

Eldorado National Forest

Quick Facts

Eldorado National Forest


(530) 644-6048

Map Directions

Things To Do


Located soutwest of Lake Tahoe, the Eldorado National Forest extends from the foothills into the rugged Sierra Nevada high country of California. The Eldorado National Forest first became famous by the California gold rush discovery along the American River. El Dorado County is the heart of the most diversified recreational area in California, with approximately one million acres of national forest land. The forest's vegetation consists of chaparral, conifer, fir, and subalpine trees; and elevations vary from 1,620 feet to 10,380 feet. Rainfall averages 45 inches per year on the valley slopes and 10 to 15 feet of snow are common at higher elevations. Today the Forest offers visitors hiking trails, lakes and streams to fish in and camping sites for anyone looking to experience the great outdoors. The Eldorado National Forest is an ideal place for people seeking the serenity of nature or an escape from the busy city.

Map of Eldorado Nat'l Forest

Latitude, Longitude: 38.782262, -120.360366



  • Boating

    Boating is allowed in the forest. Many areas are designated non-motorized boating areas such as wilderness areas.

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    The Motor Vehicle Use Maps are free maps available at any of the Eldorado National Forest offices or can be downloaded. These maps show the roads and trails on the Eldorado National Forest that are designated for motor vehicle use and which ones are restricted during the seasonal closure. There are four maps or one for each ranger district. Vehicle use on roads is allowed only on the routes shown on the Motor Vehicle Use Map issued with your permit.

  • Camping

    The Eldorado National Forest offers over 70 day use and overnight developed recreation facilities across the forest for the individual, families, and groups. Reservations are available for some of the facilities for those busy folks who cannot make it up early to grab that perfect camp spot.

    Remote Camping: Most of the land in the National Forest is open to camping, free of charge, just for the choosing. You may camp practically anywhere that camping is not specifically prohibited. Simply find the place that suits you, pick your own spot, and camp.

  • Fishing

    On the Eldorado National Forest offers the angler many opportunities to experience the fine fishing available. The Forest has many coldwater reservoirs, most with developed boating access ramps and campgrounds. Hundreds of lakes lie in the Desolation Wilderness and Mokelumne Wilderness for your backpacking or horsepacking enjoyment. Many are stocked by nature with reproducing brook trout. Presently most reservoirs are stocked with trout by California Department of Fish and Game, and several of the rivers on the forest are stocked with catchable trout.

  • Hiking

    Traveling the forest by foot provides the greatest selection of options. Travel in designated wilderness areas is closed to mechanized and motorized methods, but open to hikers and equestrians. Non-wilderness trail systems may be shared by other users, such as cyclists. There are hundreds of miles of trails in the forest from wilderness areas to the Pacific Crest Trail. Whether you are interested in climbing above the timberline into the high country or wandering through thick timber stands and mountain meadows, your trail awaits you.

  • Historic Sites

    Many opportunities are available.

  • Hunting

    The following is prohibited to the extent Federal or State law is violated: Hunting, trapping, fishing, catching, molesting, killing, or having in possession any kind of wild animal, bird, or fish, or taking the eggs of any such bird.

  • Off Highway Vehicles

    The Eldorado National Forest offers a variety of trail riding experiences. In general, off-highway vehicles can operate on any designated road or trail as long as it is dry enough to not be damaged and is not in a closed area. Most of the forest roads are out and back rides. Some areas have enough interconnected roads to make an enjoyable experience. Some of the most popular OHV opportunities and trail systems are:

    •ELKINS FLAT OHV ROUTES - A popular motorcycle trail system off of the North South Road. •GOLD NOTE TRAILS SYSTEM - One of two trail systems off the North South Road. Accommodates both motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles. •RUBICON OHV TRAIL - For four-wheeling recreation, the Rubicon OHV trail is known around the world as one of the best in the United States. •ROCK CREEK TRAIL SYSTEM - The trail system in the Georgetown area, south of Wentworth Springs Road. Mostly motorcycle trails with some ATV, bicycle, and hiking trails.

    The Rubicon Off-Highway Vehicle Trail is the undisputed king of all off-highway routes in the western United States. It leads 15 miles from Loon Lake to Lake Tahoe, although some drivers start 10 miles farther west at Georgetown. The trail is famous for its narrow passages, steep granite slabs, and big boulders.

  • Picnicking

    Picnicking is available throughout the park, mainly in the designated campgounds and day-use ares.

  • RVing

    RVing is a popular activity.


The Forest is open year-round and weather can change depending on elevation. Snow is very common at higher elevations.



The forest is located within three to four hours driving time from the San Francisco Bay Area, a metropolitan complex of 4.5 million people. Sacramento is located within 1 - 1 1/2 hours driving time from the forest with a population of over 1,000,000 people.


Located three to four hours from the San Francisco Bay Area and 1-1/2 hours from Sacramento.

Phone Numbers


(530) 644-6048