Need to escape the heat of summer or enjoy a cool autumn getaway? Look no further than Jackson Meadows Reservoir as your water oasis in the Tahoe National Forest. The sparkling, crystal clear waters are tucked in a rolling forested valley where visitors are greeted to awe-inspiring vistas of English Mountain, scenic hiking trails, and first-class fishing.
The lake sits at an elevation of 6,100 feet in the High Sierra just to the north of historic Truckee. A reservoir, it’s managed by the Nevada Irrigation District and can be found off of Forest Road 7 which is accessed by Highway 89. Fed by the Middle Yuba River, it has a surface area of nearly 1,000 acres and miles of shoreline. Due to its high elevation, this lake freezes over and becomes inaccessible in the winter months. Snow pack determines when the lake and campgrounds open.
Nine Forest Service campgrounds are located on the shores or close to Jackson Meadows Reservoir. Among them are two group camps, a horse camp (reserved for campers with horses), and a boat-in campground. The campgrounds around the lake are all around 6,100 feet in elevation and typically open from Memorial Day through October but are weather dependent. From each of these campgrounds, campers are awarded beautiful views of the Sierra crest.
East Meadow Campground
Enjoy a secluded camping site amongst the forest of pines and fir trees on the northeast shore of Jackson Meadows. You’ll find 46 individual and group tent sites with 26 having space for recreational vehicles. Reservations for East Meadow Campground are by phone 1-877-444-6777 (International 518-885-3639 or TDD 877-833-6777) or online.
Pass Creek Campground
Also located in the northeastern section, this campground contains another 30 sites with 15 having space for trailers. Amenities found at this location include a boat ramp, dump station, fishing, food storage lockers, and grills. Reservations for Pass Creek Campground are by phone 1-877-444-6777 (International 518-885-3639 or TDD 877-833-6777) or online.
Written not as “Wood Camp Campground” but Woodcamp, this camping site is also under a canopy of tall pine trees but on the western shore. You’ll find 20 campsites with 10 of them having space for trailers. Unique attributes of this campground include a boat ramp as well as an interpretive trail that meanders through it. Reservations for Woodcamp Campground are by phone 1-877-444-6777 (International 518-885-3639 or TDD 877-833-6777) or online.
Little Lasier Meadows Horse Camp
An equestrian campground just to the east of the lake. Surrounded by pines and firs in a pretty setting along a meadow, its location provides easy access to the Pacific Crest Trail via a trailhead. The campground provides a shared corral, hitching posts, and water for campers with horses. You’ll find 11 campsites. Reservations for Little Lasier Meadows Horse Camp are by phone 1-877-444-6777 (International 518-885-3639 or TDD 877-833-6777) or online.
Jackson Meadows Reservoir is one of many boating lakes you can enjoy in Nevada County. Be aware that there isn’t a marina or re-fueling location at the reservoir so make sure your boat is fueled up before arriving. As this body of water is managed by the Nevada Irrigation District, there is a daily launch fee. Being it’s seasonal, NID doesn’t offer a season pass specifically for Jackson Meadows, but the fee is only $5.00 versus the $22.00 for Scotts or Rollins Lake which are year-round lakes. You’ll find two boat launching areas on it. One at the Pass Creek Campground on the northeastern shore of the reservoir. The other at the Woodcamp Campground located on the southwest shore.
Every year, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) plants thousands of rainbow trout in the 10 to 12 inch class along with brown trout. In addition to these species, you might encounter Lahontan Cutthroat which may have come from nearby waters such as Independence Lake or the Truckee River and its tributaries.
The lake shore itself is very rugged. That means almost no trails follow the shoreline. Although hikers can take advantage of a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail which meanders along the east side of the lake. In addition, there are many miles of other trails that link into the PCT throughout the rolling hillside.