Things to do When Visiting Eldorado National Forest

Things to do When Visiting Eldorado National Forest

The Eldorado National Forest, America’s largest national forest, is in the heart of California’s dramatic central Sierra Nevada recreational area that borders Nevada and is west of Lake Tahoe. It has about one million acres of national forest land. The Eldorado is only three to four hours from the San Francisco Bay Area and about a one to one and a half hour drive from Sacramento. Its elevation goes from 1,000 feet in the foothills to over 10,380 feet along the Sierra crest. This forest became famous during the 1849 California Gold Rush along the American River, where you can still pan for gold. Kit Carson’s expeditions across the Sierra Mountain ranges also made it a famous spot for travel.

Lakes and fishing
Home to 297 lakes and reservoirs, which total 11,994 surface acres, 11 of the large reservoirs cover 9,000 acres. The rest are mostly small high mountain lakes, streams, and rivers that are located within 620 miles. All provide exceptional fly fishing or casting opportunities.

Hiking, biking and more
The forest provides many recreational opportunities with over 70 day and overnight developed recreation facilities. There are hiking trails, two beautiful dams, whitewater rafting, kayaking, canoeing, horseback riding, camping sites, and an escape from the frenzied lifestyle of big cities. Many non-motorized trails are open to cyclists, hikers, and equestrian users. Walk, ride, or pedal the varied terrain of the western slope of the Sierra Nevada Region and two premier wilderness areas.

Winter sports
Winter activities include backcountry skiing, downhill runs, snowmobiling, and entertaining recreation opportunities. Of several ski stations, the most famous is Squaw Valley at Lake Tahoe.

Desolation Wilderness
Desolation Wilderness is among the most popular spots in the forest. Its 63,960 acres comprise the most heavily-used wilderness area in the USA with its granite peaks, alpine forest, glacially-formed lakes and valleys, and scientific studies. There are no buildings or roads, motorized vehicles and bicycles are not permitted, and the forest is restricted to hikers, llamas, and horses.

Mokelumne Wilderness
In the most southern area of the forest, this is another great hiking area consisting of 105,165 acres which straddle the central Sierra Nevada crest. Its rugged landscape has volcanic ridges, and its prominent feature is the Mokelumne River Canyon. Elevations range from 3,900 feet to 10,380 feet. Travel is restricted to foot or horseback only.

About the author: Adrianna is a guest contributor from Eden Vale Inn. The inn is located just a short drive to the Eldorado National Forest where you can spend a day hiking and then retreat back to the luxurious inn.