Discover Tranquility at Smalley Cove Campground: Your Ultimate Guide

Escape the hustle and bustle at Smalley Cove Campground, a hidden gem nestled on the serene shores of Kerckhoff Reservoir. Operated by Pacific Gas and Electric, this peaceful retreat offers five tent-friendly campsites surrounded by a grassy and lightly forested area, providing an ideal setting for those seeking privacy and shade. Embrace the simplicity of nature with our top tips for first-time campers, strategies to make the most of your camping experience, and essential gear recommendations for a comfortable and enjoyable stay.

Map & Reservations

Top Tips for First-Time Campers:

  • Reservation Savvy: Take advantage of the option to reserve campsites, especially during the peak season from mid-May to early September, ensuring a stress-free experience.
  • Minimum Stay Awareness: Keep in mind the 2-night minimum stay when making reservations to fully immerse yourself in the tranquility of Smalley Cove.
  • Pet-Friendly Environment: Bring your furry companions along for the adventure, but remember to keep them on a leash, attended, and adhere to the $2 per night pet fee.
  • Lakefront Serenity: For an optimal experience, consider choosing a lakefront campsite to enjoy the picturesque views and proximity to Kerckhoff Reservoir.
  • Seasonal Awareness: Be prepared for warm temperatures during the summer, making it essential to bring appropriate clothing and gear for the hotter months.

Top Strategies and Tactics for the Ultimate Camping Experience:

  • Ideal Seasons: Plan your camping trip during the open year-round season to avoid extreme weather conditions and fully appreciate the natural beauty of the surroundings.
  • Recreational Bliss: Explore the adjacent boat dock and hiking trails, indulge in fishing from the shore, and take advantage of the swim beach near the campground for a well-rounded outdoor experience.
  • Neighboring Lakes Exploration: Extend your adventure by visiting nearby lakes, including Thomas A. Edison, Florence Lake, Huntington Lake, and Shaver Lake, each offering unique recreational opportunities.
  • Nighttime Enjoyment: Experience the tranquility of the campground by adhering to quiet hours from 10:00 PM to 8:00 AM, ensuring a peaceful night’s sleep under the stars.
  • Local Firewood: Support the environment and prevent the spread of invasive pests by obtaining firewood locally, following campground regulations.

Recommended Camping Gear:

  • Campsite Essentials: Pack essentials such as a picnic table, fire pit, and comfortable camping chairs to create a cozy and enjoyable campsite atmosphere.
  • Apparel for Warm Weather: As summer temperatures can rise, bring lightweight and breathable clothing, hats, and sunscreen to stay comfortable during your stay.
  • Quality Tent and Sleeping Gear: Ensure a good night’s sleep with a reliable tent, warm sleeping bag, and comfortable sleeping pad, providing a secure and restful retreat.
  • Local Firewood Source: Abide by campground regulations by obtaining firewood locally, contributing to the preservation of the environment.
  • Explore Our Gearlist: Maximize your camping experience by checking our gearlist account, offering specific recommendations on camp cooking, sleeping systems, overlanding setups, backpacks, and clothing.

Check out our Gearlist for the gear we use for trips like this

Our Gearlist account lists all of the gear we use. Discover our top picks, where to snag them, and stay informed with our regular updates.

Immerse yourself in the tranquility of Smalley Cove Campground, where the simplicity of camping meets the beauty of nature. Whether you’re relaxing by the reservoir, exploring nearby lakes, or enjoying the quiet ambiance of the Sierra National Forest, Smalley Cove invites you to create lasting memories in the heart of this peaceful haven.