Lone Rock Campground: A Hidden Gem in El Dorado County

Lone Rock Campground at Union Valley Reservoir stands as a beacon of tranquility amidst the rugged beauty of the Crystal Basin region. With just five sites accessible only by boat, bike, or foot, this intimate campground offers a unique opportunity for campers to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of city life and immerse themselves in nature’s embrace.

Map & Reservations

For first-time campers, strategic planning is key to securing a campsite at Lone Rock Campground. Arriving early in the day, especially during peak months from late May through October, increases your chances of finding the perfect spot to pitch your tent or park your RV. Remember to pack essential supplies, including an ample water supply and lightweight camping gear, to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable camping experience.

Exploring the surroundings of Lone Rock Campground reveals a wealth of outdoor adventures waiting to be discovered. Whether you prefer biking along the paved trail that winds along the lake’s shore, hiking to nearby attractions like Two Peaks Summit or Bassi Falls, or casting a line into Union Valley Reservoir’s pristine waters, there’s no shortage of activities to enjoy.

As the day draws to a close, campers can unwind and marvel at the breathtaking sunsets that paint the sky over Union Valley Reservoir. With only five campsites available, Lone Rock Campground provides an intimate setting for campers to relax and connect with the natural beauty surrounding them.

To ensure a positive experience for all visitors, it’s essential to mind campground regulations and practice responsible camping. Properly disposing of trash, storing food securely in bear boxes, and adhering to designated fire rings for campfires helps preserve the pristine environment of Lone Rock Campground for future generations to enjoy.

For optimal camping, choosing the right season and timing your arrival are key factors to consider. Late spring to early fall offers mild temperatures and a variety of outdoor activities, while arriving early in the day increases your chances of securing a campsite, especially during weekends and holidays.

With the right gear, campers can fully embrace the outdoor experience at Lone Rock Campground. From portable stoves and comfortable sleeping systems to versatile backpacks and appropriate clothing, our gear recommendations ensure you’re well-prepared for any adventure that awaits.

In summary, Lone Rock Campground offers a unique opportunity to escape the noise of everyday life and reconnect with nature in the heart of the Eldorado National Forest. By following our top tips, strategies, and gear recommendations, campers can make the most of their visit to this hidden gem and create memories to last a lifetime.

Top Tips for First-Time Campers:

  • Plan Your Arrival: Lone Rock Campground is a first-come, first-served facility, so plan your arrival strategically. Consider arriving early in the day to secure a campsite, especially during peak months. Late spring through early fall is the ideal time to visit, ensuring pleasant weather and optimal conditions for outdoor activities.
  • Pack Essential Supplies: As there is no potable water at the campground, it’s crucial to bring an ample supply of water for drinking and cooking. Additionally, pack essentials such as a reliable water filtration system, portable stove, and lightweight camping gear to enhance your overall camping experience.
  • Explore the Surroundings: Take advantage of the paved bike trail that connects various facilities along the lake’s shore. Whether you prefer biking, hiking, or fishing, Lone Rock Campground offers a range of outdoor adventures. Explore nearby attractions like Union Valley Reservoir, Two Peaks Summit, and the Bassi Falls Hiking Trail.
  • Enjoy Sunset Serenity: Set up your campsite strategically to enjoy breathtaking sunsets over Union Valley Reservoir. With only 5 campsites available, Lone Rock Campground provides an intimate setting for campers to unwind and connect with the natural beauty surrounding them.
  • Mind Campground Regulations: Respect the campground regulations to ensure a positive experience for all. Properly dispose of trash, store food securely in bear boxes, keep dogs on a leash, and only use designated fire rings for campfires. Adhering to these guidelines helps preserve the pristine environment of Lone Rock Campground.

Strategies and Tactics for Optimal Camping:

  • Choose the Right Season: Plan your camping trip during the late spring to early fall months to enjoy mild temperatures and a variety of outdoor activities. Avoid peak summer crowds by opting for weekday visits.
  • Time Your Arrival: Arrive early in the day to increase your chances of securing a campsite. This is particularly important during weekends and holidays when Lone Rock Campground experiences higher visitor numbers.
  • Explore Crystal Basin Lakes: Make the most of your camping experience by exploring the Crystal Basin lakes. Engage in boating, water skiing, and fishing to fully immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the area.
  • Mountain Biking Adventure: Take advantage of the network of logging roads for a thrilling mountain biking adventure. The bike trail around Union Valley Reservoir offers a picturesque route for cyclists of all skill levels.
  • Desolation Wilderness Hike: Embark on a hike into the Desolation Wilderness to discover stunning waterfalls, snow-capped peaks, and rushing mountain streams. Be sure to pack essentials like sturdy hiking boots, a map, and sufficient water for a safe and enjoyable trek.

Camping Gear Recommendations:

  • Camp Cooking Essentials: Pack a portable stove, cookware, and utensils for convenient campsite cooking. Consider bringing easy-to-prepare camping meals and snacks to save time and effort.
  • Comfortable Sleeping System: Ensure a restful night’s sleep with a high-quality sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and a comfortable camping pillow. The right sleeping system is essential for a rejuvenating outdoor experience.
  • Versatile Backpack: Invest in a durable and spacious backpack to carry your essentials during hikes and explorations. Look for features like multiple compartments, padded shoulder straps, and water-resistant materials.
  • Appropriate Clothing: Pack clothing suitable for varying temperatures, as mountain weather can be unpredictable. Include layers, a waterproof jacket, and comfortable hiking boots to adapt to changing conditions.
  • Entertainment Gear: Enhance your camping experience with entertainment gear such as a portable speaker, books, or games. Create a relaxing atmosphere around your campsite to make the most of your outdoor retreat.
  • 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.


Lone Rock Campground at Union Valley Reservoir epitomizes the essence of a serene and unforgettable outdoor experience. As campers bid farewell to this hidden gem nestled in the Crystal Basin region of the Eldorado National Forest, they take with them cherished memories and a renewed appreciation for the natural world.

Throughout their stay, campers have reveled in the tranquility of Union Valley Reservoir, surrounded by towering trees and majestic peaks. Whether fishing from the shore, hiking along scenic trails, or simply basking in the beauty of a sunset over the water, each moment at Lone Rock Campground has been a testament to the restorative power of nature.

For first-time campers, Lone Rock has provided a gentle introduction to the joys of camping. Strategic planning and careful preparation have ensured a seamless and enjoyable experience, from securing a campsite to exploring the surrounding attractions. As they depart, these campers carry with them newfound skills and confidence to embark on future outdoor adventures.

Even seasoned campers have found Lone Rock Campground to be a refreshing escape from the demands of modern life. The campground’s remote location, accessible only by boat, bike, or foot, has fostered a sense of solitude and serenity unmatched by more crowded destinations. In the embrace of nature, campers have found renewal and rejuvenation, returning home with a sense of peace and clarity.

As the sun sets on another day at Lone Rock Campground, campers gather around crackling campfires to share stories and laughter under the starlit sky. Bonds forged amidst the beauty of the wilderness will endure long after the tents are packed away and the campsite lies empty once more.

Yet, while campers may depart, the spirit of Lone Rock Campground lives on. Its pristine shores and towering trees stand as a testament to the enduring beauty of the natural world, inspiring future generations to cherish and protect the wilderness for years to come.

In the end, Lone Rock Campground is more than just a place to pitch a tent or park an RV—it is a sanctuary for the soul, a refuge from the chaos of the modern world. As campers bid farewell to this idyllic retreat, they carry with them the peace and tranquility of Union Valley Reservoir, knowing that they will always be welcome back to its shores.