Ice House Reservoir is one of the many mountain lakes in desolation wilderness with easy access but maintains a sense of exclusivity.

Desolation Wilderness is just west of Lake Tahoe, a part of Eldorado National Forest. It's a very popular backpacking destination as the PCT and Tahoe Rim Trail both run through the area. There are what seems to be endless amounts of mountain lakes, creeks, and rivers that run through this area which make it one of the more beautiful regions in California. 

Camping at Ice House Reservoir is a perfect mix of simplicity and exclusivity. There are three car camping spots a long the lake and even has a launch ramp if you're looking to tow your boat up. Though on the weekends there will be a decent amount of people enjoying the lake, you also get the sense that you're out in the middle of nowhere and have the place to yourself. 

The campsites are 10 dollars a night and are all first come first serve. It's about 3 hours from SF, so if you're looking to weekend warrior it up there I would suggest leaving after work Friday or getting there before 8am on Saturday. The fishing is great and there are countless sandy beaches a long the waters edge to hang out at during the day. There is also a cliff jumping spot on the south side of the lake. 

If you need to stock up supplies there is a general store only a few miles back down the road to pick up food, wood, and fishing gear. I definitely recommend this spot for people who love the lake scene and mountain air. Enjoy!

Pack List

  • Tent
  • Food
  • Fishing Gear
  • Water 
  • Wood
  • Floating Devices
  • Camera
  • Swimsuit 
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RT Distance 1 Miles
Elevation Gain 1 Feet
Activities Canoeing, Chillin, Camping, Fishing, Photography, Kayaking, Swimming, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Loop
Features
Bathrooms
Beach
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Lake
Picnic Area
Romantic
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife
Swimming Hole

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Very Popular

Ice House Reservoir is a very popular spot because it is in a great location. The Reservoir is beautiful and this is a great place to make a back camp while you explore the area.


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