Holding onto summer: There’s still time for local camping getaways | SierraSun.com

Holding onto summer: There’s still time for local camping getaways

Renee Shadforth

When vacation time is accruing and money is not, local camping might be an option for a quick, inexpensive getaway.

Minutes out the front door – north on Highway 89 and right on Hobart Mills Road – are plenty of opportunities to get away: hundreds of campsites (some free), miles of off-highway-vehicle trails, plenty of singletrack and fishing. During the week, the reservoirs (especially Stampede) are practically vacant of boats.

With fall just around the corner, the window between tourist seasons (Labor Day weekend and the first big snow) is narrow. Pull the tent out of the closet and enjoy the quiet while it’s here – it’s prime time for local camping.

Much to do

Endless off-highway-vehicle trails wind through the hills with varying levels of difficulty and provide remarkable views of Sierra County’s valleys. There are back roads that lead all the way to Verdi.

While traveling off-road, be responsible. Travel on designated routes. If traveling by car, be aware of motorcyclists and vice versa. Steer clear of meadows, streams and wildlife.

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For those who don’t enjoy tearing around the hillsides in motor-powered vehicles, the Emigrant Trail begins on Dog Valley Road, one-half mile outside of Logger Campground. Hikers and bikers can hop on the 15.2-mile trail and spend the day on the easy-to-moderately difficult terrain.

For roadies there is plenty of pavement and not a whole lot of traffic. Cyclists can cruise for miles and not see a human. However, road cyclists should plot their course beforehand; some of the pavement is interrupted by dirt sections.

For those who want to get in the water, Stampede and Boca reservoirs offer plenty of room for boating, water skiing and swimming. There is a 5-mph speed limit in all coves and within 1,000 feet of the shoreline.

Prosser Reservoir offers an even more mellow boating experience: The speed limit on the water is 10 mph, usually limits the lake to canoes and small fishing boats.

Along the shores of the reservoirs there is little competition for space, so adventurers can go for a soak and relax on the shore after all the romping in the mud.

The camping

For locals who go camping in the Boca-Stampede area on the weekend, don’t expect to find peace and quiet just because most of the campgrounds are on less-traveled roads. Like anywhere, the campgrounds can be crowded and noisy. However, weekends should mellow out after Labor Day, according to campground hosts. During the week, when everyone is at work, expect to be one of the only campers within sight.

In all fee campgrounds (see sidebar for campground information) there is a $5 extra vehicle fee. Most of the campgrounds offer firewood at $6 per bundle.

Last week campground hosts said they weren’t sure when the campgrounds will close for the season. In years past, however, the forest service has shut down the Boca-Stampede area campgrounds at the first snowfall or the last week of September, whichever comes first.

For more information on local campgrounds and activities in the Boca-Stampede area and elsewhere, visit http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/tahoe/index.html.

Boca-Stampede area campgrounds

Campground Fee Number of sites Water Toilets Elevation Notes

Boca $12 20 no vault 5,605′

Boca Rest 12 25 yes vault 5,605′

Boca Springs (no RVs) 12 17 yes vault 5,650′ Horses permitted

Boyington Mill 12 12 yes vault 5,680′

Davies Creek free 7 no vault 6,000′ Horses permitted

Lakeside 12 30 yes vault 5,949′

Logger 15 252 yes vault 5,949′ dump station $5

Prosser 12 29 no vault 5,830′

For more information on these campgrounds, call 587-3558 for more information.