Trip Ideas

Overlooking the waters and pine covered shores of Rollins Lake next to a tall pine tree

Paradise Found On Rollins Lake – Camping, Fishing, And More

Four campgrounds featuring hundreds of camping spots along with cabins and 26 miles of shoreline it's no wonder that Rollins is one of the most popular ways to cool off on a hot summer's day. And in the winter it's tranquil waters become a fisherman's dream for solitude and catching trophy fish.

Tips & Resources

By Alex Silgalis

When you need to get away from it all, Rollins Lake and its natural beauty are awaiting you. Set off on a paddle adventure. Enjoy some sailing or even go water-skiing through its many coves and long stretches of open water. Cast a line and catch the “big one.” Even its shoreline has miles of hiking trails for you to enjoy.

Quick Facts

Sitting at an elevation of 2,100 feet in the Gold Country of the Western Sierra near Grass Valley, California. Fed by the Bear River, it has a surface area of 900 acres, with 26 miles of shoreline. A reservoir, it’s managed by the Nevada Irrigation District and can be found easily off of Highway 174.


Rollins Lake Campground overlooking the shores of the lake on a sunny summer day
Camp site right on the shores of Rollins Lake

Rollins Lake hosts four developed campgrounds that have both tent and RV sites with a combined 250 sites to choose from.

Orchard Springs Campground 

Orchard Springs Resort is located on the west shore of the lake and off Highway 174 via Orchard Springs Road. You’ll find 91 RV and tent sites with some having RV hook-ups available. In addition, there are also cabins available for rent. Water lovers will adore their two sandy beaches, a boat launching ramp, boat slips, and boat rentals. They also have free movie night in the meadow every Saturday which features a different family-friendly movie each week. Reservations for Orchard Springs Campground can be made by phone (530) 346-0073.

Peninsula Family Camping 

Enjoy old-fashioned quiet family camping at its finest on the northeast side of Rollins Lake. With over 300 acres and surrounded by Rollins Lake, Peninsula provides a great escape to the beauty of nature, a way to re-energize and reconnect with family and friends. You’ll find 70 individual and group tent and recreational vehicle sites along with three cabins, stretching over 1 1/2 miles of wooded and lakefront property. Reservations for Peninsula Campground can be by phone (530) 477-9413 or online.

Long Ravine Campground

For the fitness enthusiasts, Long Ravine Campground features a Par Course located just off the store parking lot. There are seven stops guaranteed to get your blood pumping. This campground even has a restaurant for the nights you don’t feel like pulling out the camp stove. Reservations for Long Ravine Campground can be made by phone (530) 346-6166 or in person at the Long Ravine Gate House.

Greenhorn Park Campground

Last but not least, you’ll find Greenhorn Park Campground on the northwest corner of the lake. The campground has 40 gravel or dirt campsites and some of these come with full hook-ups. It also features horseshoes, a game room, (limited/fee) Wi-fi, a marina, boat rentals, launch ramp, fishing, boating, and swimming. Reservations for Greenhorn Park Campground can be by phone (530) 388-0327 or online.


Rollins Lake Fishing Trail Sign on a fall day

Due to its lower elevation, Rollins Lake provides anglers the opportunity for great year-round fishing. You can expect to catch rainbow trout, German brown trout, largemouth and smallmouth bass, bluegill and channel catfish. In the summer due to its popularity for boating, it’s a good idea to fish in the early morning hours or late afternoon. Concentrating on the more peaceful coves. Then in the winter, Rollins Lake becomes a bastion of solitude allowing you to bank fish and troll it. Anglers often enjoy the challenge of fly fishing for bass during winter months even though the trout fishing can be productive as well. To get the local’s scoop on all of Nevada County’s bounty of fishing, be sure to read the owner of Reel Anglers Fly Shop Tom Page’s “Tips on Fishing In Northern California’s Nevada County.”

Water Sports

kayaking on Rollins Lake at dusk
Photo by: Lisa Hooper

As we said above, Rollins is one of the popular lakes in Nevada County you can go motorboating on. The best point of access is the Orchard Springs Campground where you’ll find the Rollins boat launching ramp and boat slips. Managed by the Nevada Irrigation District, they provide self-inspection forms for all boaters to use when you pay your boat launching fee. Here’s the latest information about day use fees as well as seasonal passes.

Sample The Local Flavor

This part of Nevada County is reminiscent of the geography and climate of the hills of Italy. As such, many who came here focused on their passions from the old country. Less than five minutes from the shores of Rollins Lake, you’ll find one of the stops on our Italian Food Tour – Montoliva. Part of the Sierra Vintners Trail founded in 2000, they focus on creating Tuscan inspired wines such as Teroldogo that is rarely seen outside of the South Tyrol region in Italy.


Alex Silgalis

Alex founded Local Freshies® in 2014 to be the #1 website providing the “local scoop” on where to eat, drink & play in mountain towns throughout North America. When he’s not writing and executing marketing strategies for small businesses & agencies, he’s in search of the deepest snow in the winter and tackiest dirt in the summer.

Related Posts