Camping

Locations Environment Hours Fees Reservations Vehicles Rules Services Programs Hosts Emergencies

Locations

interactive image:  photo - camping at New Melones; click for larger photoNew Melones Lake offers year-round camping at two locations: Glory Hole Recreation Area, located approximately 6 miles (9 km) south of Angels Camp, California, and Tuttletown Recreation Area, located approximately 8 miles (13 km) north of Sonora, California.

Both campgrounds offer camping for tents and recreational vehicles. Walk-in campsites ae also available in both recreation areas.

Tuttletown Recreation Area has three campground areas: Acorn, Manzanita and Chamise. Tuttletown also has two group campgrounds: Fiddleneck and Oak Knoll. Glory Hole Recreation Area has two campground areas: Big Oak and Ironhorse.

Campsites are available by reservation through Recreation.gov and on a first-come, first serve basis. To make a reservation visit www.recreation.gov or call 1-877-444-6777.

Environment

interactive image:  photo - camping at New Melones; click for larger photoNew Melones Lake is located in the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains at approximately 1,100 elevation. The area is composed of open grasslands, chaparral and oak woodlands. Campers should anticipate that during July and August, daytime temperatures can reach to over 104 °F (40 °C). Most campsites offer some shade, however, some sites have no shade at all. Self-supporting shade shelters are recommended. Refer to the pictures in our Photo Gallery to get an idea of what the campsites are like. During your visit, you may see wildlife such as deer, squirrels, raccoons, osprey and bald eagles. On rare occasions, rattlesnakes, mountain lions and bears have also been seen in this area. See the Wildlife section for precautions.

New Melones Lake is a multi-purpose reservoir operated by the Bureau of Reclamation. It provides water storage for irrigation, flood control, hydroelectric power and recreational opportunities. Depending on the winter rainfall and snowpack in the Sierra Mountains, the lake elevation varies. Campground maps only represent New Melones at full capacity. Water levels vary from year to year, and month to month. Please contact the Administration Office at (209) 536-9094 to ask about lake levels and which sites are relatively closer to the water than others.

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Park Visiting Hours

For your safety and security, the access roads to the Tuttletown Recreation Area and Glory Hole Recreation Area are closed at night. Gate closures times vary by season as shown below:

September 5, 2017 through March 31, 2018 close 9 p.m.; open 4 a.m.
April 1, 2018 through May 16, 2018 close 10 p.m.; open 4 a.m.
May 17, 2018 through September 3, 2018 close 11 p.m.; open 4 a.m.
September 4, 2018 through October 1, 2018 close 10 p.m.; open 4 a.m.

Arriving campers should plan accordingly and be aware that during these hours there is no access to the campground. Quiet hours are 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. Generators are not allowed to run during quiet hours. There are no hook-ups for RVs.

Fees

Campsite Fees

  • Standard Campsite - $22 per night/site max 8 people, 2 vehicles
  • Walk-in Campsite - $18 per night/site, max 4 people, 1 vehicle

Camper's overflow vehicle/visitor fee

  • Camper's overflow vehicle/visitor fee of $8 per day (includes the $8 day-use fee).

RV dump station use

  • $8 for registered campers
  • $16 for all other users

Group campgrounds

  • Oak Knoll - $125 per night, 20-50 people, max 10 vehicles
  • Fiddleneck - $150 per night, 30-60 people, max 12 vehicles

Campers that possess an Interagency Senior Pass or Interagency Access Pass receive a 50% discount on camping fees except for the group campgrounds. For more information on the federal passport program, visit the USGS website at: http://store.usgs.gov/pass/

Most campsites are available by reservation by calling: 1-877-444-6777 or visiting www.recreation.gov

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Reservations

static image:  Graphic for ReserveUSAReservations are accepted year round through Recreation.gov. You may make a reservation over the phone at: 1-877-444-6777 or over the internet at: www.recreation.gov. To make a reservation, users should ask to search for campsites in "Glory Hole" or "Tuttletown" Recreation Area. New Melones does not accept reservations on site.

For standard and walk-in campsites, reservations must be made at least four days in advance of your arrival date, and can be made up to six months in advance.

For group campground and picnic areas, reservations must be made at least four days in advance of your arrival date, and can be made up to one year in advance.

Check-in time is 3 p.m. Check-out time is 2 p.m.

Campers with reservations can proceed directly to their campsite upon entering the park.

First-Come, First-Serve

interactive image:  photo - camping at New Melones; click for larger photoIf you are arriving without a Recreation.gov reservation, you should first proceed to the camp registration station or if available contact a campground host. Sites that are reserved or are presently occupied will have tags displayed on the site post. If you are planning to stay longer than two days, to guarantee your site, you will need to make a reservation through Recreation.gov.

After you pick up a fee envelope from the camp registration station, locate a vacant site, complete the information on the envelope and receipt, and deposit the envelope with payment in the iron box at the registration station. Payment can be made by cash (U.S. dollars) or personal check (made out to “NRRS”). Make sure to display the receipt to let other campers know that you are occupying that campsite.

Parking & Vehicles

interactive image:  photo - camping at New Melones; click for larger photoEach campsite has a limit on the number of vehicles that are permitted (see Rules below). Vehicles must remain on paved pads and parking areas. Excess vehicles, boat trailers etc. can be parked in any day use area overnight for no charge. For Glory Hole Recreation Area, the day use areas include Osprey Point and Black Bart. There is a limited amount of extra vehicle parking in the Big Oak Campground near campsite 106. At Tuttletown Recreation Area, the day use areas include Lupine, Heron Point and Eagle Point.

CAMPSITE PARKING VARIES IN LENGTH. Most campsites are not level. Some campsites have level parking pads. Information on campsite parking length can be found on the Recreation.gov website.

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Rules

For your safety, enjoyment, and courtesy for other campers, please comply with campground rules and regulations.

  • Regular campsites are limited to two vehicles, eight people.
  • Walk-in campsites are limited to one vehicle, four people.
  • Camping is limited to 14 days in a 30-day period.
  • Payment of fees is required within 30 minutes of arrival.
  • Quiet hours are from 10 p.m. until 8 a.m. During quiet hours, generators, music or loud noise is prohibited.
  • Excessive noise at any time is prohibited.
  • Campfires are permitted within the fire rings provided at each site.
  • Campfires must be attended at all times and extinguished completely before leaving.
  • All pets must be on a maximum six-foot (1.8 m) leash at all times.
  • Leaving your pets unattended is not permitted.
  • Firearms (including bb guns), fireworks and explosives are not permitted.
  • Campers may collect only dead and down wood for campfires.
  • Other rules are published in 43 CFR, Part 423. (Complete copy of the CFR regulations).
  • Please note that in addition to these rules, all Federal, State and County laws and regulations apply.

Services/Amenities

NEW MELONES LAKE DOES NOT OFFER HOOK-UPS FOR RECREATIONAL VEHICLES. Campers interested in full service sites should contact the Tuolumne or Calaveras County Visitor's Bureau for more information.

Each campsite has the following amenities: paved parking, a BBQ grill/fire ring, picnic table, and tent site.

Each campground loop has a restroom, some but not all restrooms have showers (coin operated). Drinking water, trash containers, and recycling containers are also nearby.

Tuttletown Recreation Area has a recreational vehicle dump station located near the entrance to the Fiddleneck Group Campground.  The recreational vehicle dump station in Glory Hole Recreation Area is closed for repairs and is anticipated to reopen in 2009. Campers in Ironhorse or Big Oak Campgrounds interested in using a dump station would need to travel to Tuttletown Recreation Area, approximately 4 miles away.

There is no food service in Tuttletown Recreation Area. In Glory Hole Recreation Area, New Melones Lake Marina offers camper supplies, snacks, and food.

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Summer Programs

During the summer (Memorial Weekend through Labor Day), New Melones Lake offers weekend programs at the Ironhorse Campground Amphitheater (located near site 1) for you and your family to enjoy. Learn about bats, eagles, gold miners, and American Indians. Look for signs posted advertising the programs. Junior Ranger programs are offered for children 5 years and older on weekends and include activities, crafts, and games on the natural and cultural resources of New Melones Lake.

Campground Hosts

Each recreation area has on-site volunteer campground hosts year round. They are there to provide you with assistance in having a safe and enjoyable camping experience at New Melones Lake. They can offer suggestions for best places to fish, help with campsite registration, or provide you maps and information. For information on becoming a campground host at New Melones Lake, see our Volunteering section.

Emergencies

In case of emergency dial 9-1-1.

If available, contact a campground host or park ranger.

Pay phones are located at the Tuttletown Recreation Area entrance station, the Lupine Day Use Area, the Glory Hole Recreation Area entrance station, the New Melones Lake Marina, and the Carson Creek trailhead parking (at the turnoff to the Angels Creek boat launch).

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Last Updated: 11/13/17