Exploring Wishon Reservoir: Lily Pad Campground Guide

Lily Pad Campground stands as a beacon of natural beauty on the tranquil south shore of Wishon Reservoir in the Sierra National Forest. Managed by the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), this campground promises a serene retreat for camping enthusiasts eager to immerse themselves in the great outdoors. With its stunning vistas, abundant fishing opportunities, and scenic hiking trails, Lily Pad Campground beckons adventurers seeking solace amidst nature’s splendor.

Map & Reservations

As you prepare for your excursion to Lily Pad Campground, it’s essential to arm yourself with the knowledge and tools needed to make the most of your stay. From securing the perfect campsite to ensuring you have the right gear for your outdoor pursuits, proper planning is key to ensuring a memorable experience.

First-time campers will benefit from considering important factors such as vehicle length restrictions, pet policies, and the option to make reservations in advance. Lily Pad Campground welcomes furry companions but requires them to be leashed and attended at all times, ensuring a harmonious environment for all visitors. By making reservations, particularly during the peak camping season from late May to early September, you can guarantee your spot and eliminate the stress of last-minute accommodations.

To optimize your camping experience, it’s crucial to plan your visit during the ideal season, typically from early June to mid-October. Be sure to check the campground’s quiet hours and familiarize yourself with nearby attractions, including other mountain lakes and scenic hiking trails. Additionally, exercise caution during the drive to Wishon Reservoir, especially if you’re towing a trailer or navigating the winding roads in a larger RV.

When it comes to packing, prioritize essential camping gear such as cooking equipment, sleeping essentials, and appropriate clothing for varying weather conditions. A reliable camping stove, cozy sleeping bag, and sturdy backpack for exploration are essential components of your outdoor arsenal. Don’t forget to layer clothing to adapt to changing temperatures and consider bringing entertainment options to enhance your camping experience.

For a comprehensive list of recommended gear tailored to your Lily Pad adventure, be sure to explore our gearlist account. With the right preparation and equipment, you’ll be well-equipped to embrace the tranquility of Wishon Reservoir and create lasting memories amidst the breathtaking beauty of the Sierra National Forest.

So, as you embark on your journey to Lily Pad Campground, let the majesty of nature inspire and rejuvenate your spirit. With careful planning and a sense of adventure, you’re sure to experience the magic of camping in one of California’s most captivating wilderness settings.

Top Tips for First-Time Campers

  • Vehicle Length Consideration: Lily Pad Campground has a maximum vehicle length limit of 35 feet, so ensure your RV or trailer falls within this range for a hassle-free camping experience.
  • Pet-Friendly Atmosphere: If you’re bringing your furry companions, remember to keep them on a leash and attended at all times. A nominal fee of $2 per night per pet is applicable.
  • Reservations for Peace of Mind: Lily Pad Campground accepts reservations, especially for camping dates from late May through early September. Secure your spot in advance to guarantee your preferred camping dates.
  • Campfire Etiquette: Enjoy the warmth of a campfire, but remember to keep it confined to the provided fire ring. This ensures a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone.
  • Invasive Pest Prevention: Do your part in preserving the campground’s ecosystem by obtaining firewood locally and avoiding the introduction of invasive pests.

Strategies for an Optimal Camping Experience

  • Ideal Camping Season: Lily Pad Campground is open from early June through mid-October, weather permitting. For a full-service camping experience, plan your visit between late May and early September.
  • Check Quiet Hours: Respect your fellow campers by adhering to the campground’s quiet hours, extending from 10:00 PM to 8:00 AM.
  • Explore Surrounding Lakes: Take advantage of Lily Pad’s proximity to other stunning mountain lakes, including Lake Thomas A. Edison, Shaver Lake, Huntington Lake, Florence Lake, and Black Rock Reservoir.
  • Hiking Opportunities: Embark on scenic hikes leading to mountain lakes within the John Muir wilderness, providing a refreshing outdoor adventure.
  • Drive Safely: The 29-mile drive from Shaver Lake to Wishon Reservoir is part of the journey. Plan your travel, especially if you’re towing a trailer or driving a larger RV.

Recommended Camping Gear

  • Cooking Essentials: Equip yourself with a portable camping stove, cookware, and utensils for delightful outdoor meals. Check our gearlist account for specific camp cooking recommendations.
  • Comfortable Sleeping Setup: Ensure a restful night’s sleep with a high-quality sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and a cozy camping pillow.
  • Backpack for Exploration: If you plan to explore the nearby trails, bring a reliable backpack equipped with water bottles, snacks, and a detailed trail map.
  • Layered Clothing: Be prepared for fluctuating temperatures by packing layered clothing, including waterproof and windproof jackets.
  • Entertainment Options: Enhance your camping experience with entertainment options such as books, board games, or outdoor activities. Check our gearlist account for additional suggestions.
  • Explore Our Gearlist: Check our gearlist account for specific recommendations on camp cooking, sleeping systems, overlanding setups, backpacks, and clothing to optimize your camping experience.

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.


Lily Pad Campground stands as a testament to the timeless allure of nature, offering a sanctuary of serenity on the shores of Wishon Reservoir in the Sierra National Forest. As visitors bid farewell to this idyllic retreat, they carry with them cherished memories of tranquil sunsets, invigorating hikes, and the camaraderie forged around crackling campfires.

For many, the allure of Lily Pad Campground lies in its ability to provide a respite from the hustle and bustle of modern life. Here, amidst towering pines and the gentle lapping of lake waters, campers find solace in the simplicity of nature’s embrace. Whether casting a line into the glassy surface of Wishon Reservoir or venturing into the wilderness on a scenic hike, each moment spent at Lily Pad is a testament to the restorative power of the great outdoors.

As campers prepare to depart, they do so with a sense of gratitude for the experience and a renewed appreciation for the natural world. The memories created at Lily Pad Campground will linger long after the tents have been packed away and the campfire embers have faded to ash. From the laughter shared around the picnic table to the awe-inspiring beauty of the surrounding landscape, each moment spent in this pristine wilderness leaves an indelible mark on the soul.

But while the physical journey may come to an end, the spirit of adventure ignited at Lily Pad Campground lives on. As campers return to their daily lives, they carry with them the lessons learned and the connections forged amidst the towering trees and shimmering waters. They are reminded that, in nature’s embrace, there is always room for discovery, growth, and renewal.

For those who have experienced the magic of Lily Pad Campground, it becomes more than just a destination—it becomes a cherished memory, a touchstone for future adventures, and a reminder of the beauty that lies just beyond the beaten path. And for those who have yet to experience its wonders, Lily Pad beckons, promising an escape from the ordinary and an invitation to reconnect with the natural world.

As the sun sets on another day at Lily Pad Campground, campers depart with a sense of fulfillment and anticipation for the next adventure that awaits. For in this corner of the Sierra National Forest, amidst the towering pines and shimmering waters, there is magic to be found, memories to be made, and a timeless beauty that calls out to the soul. Until next time, Lily Pad Campground remains a beacon of tranquility and a haven for those who seek refuge in nature’s embrace.