Carson Pass Picnics

Amador County and Alpine County, California





Carson Pass Picnicking

A picnic, of course, is wherever you spread your blanket and open your basket. That could be along the shore of Silver Lake or sitting on the summit of Round Top. A nice view is always a plus, and fortunately those are in abundance along Carson Pass. Sometimes, though, a picnic table and a nearby restroom are well appreciated conveniences. Designated picnic sites are found all along Highway 88, with the Silver Lake area claiming the largest share.

Many Day Use Areas are operated by the Forest Service, some by PG&E, and others by the El Dorado Irrigation District. Day use fees for EID facilities are shown here:

El Dorado Irrigation District Day Use Fees for 2016

  • Vehicle $5
  • Boat Launch $10
  • Pets $3
  • Annual Vehicle $132, Seniors (62+) or disabled $108
  • Annual Boat Launch $108, Seniors (62+) or disabled $96
  • Annual 2nd or 3rd vehicle (same owner) $50
  • Annual 2nd boat $50

map of picnic sites on Carson Pass, CA

Silver Lake Picnic Areas

view from Shot Rock Vista

Shot Rock Vista

Shot Rock Vista is on Highway 88, west of Silver Lake and 1 mile east of the Mormon Emigrant Trail turnoff. There are 3 picnic units at the site and a vault toilet. No Fee.

Tragedy Springs

Tragedy Springs are on the old Alpine Highway which leaves Highway 88 a short distance west of Silver Lake. There are 3 picnic units there. Historical markers tell of the events that led to it being named Tragedy Springs. No fee.

Ferguson Point Day Use Area

The Ferguson Point Day Use Area on the north shore of Silver Lake has 10 picnic sites with tables. The area is operated by the El Dorado Irrigation District which charges a fee. You can pay for day use or purchase an annual pass (see above). There are vault toilets at the site. Fishing and boating are nearby.

Sandy Cove picnic area

Sandy Cove Day Use Area

The Sandy Cove Day Area at Silver Lake. The area is operated by the El Dorado Irrigation District which charges a fee. You can pay for day use or purchase an annual pass (see above). Sandy Cove is on the northwest shore of Silver Lake. It offers wheel-chair access to the water's edge, 5 picnic units, piped water, and vault toilets. Nearby are boating, fishing, and swimming.

Oyster Creek Rest Area

The Oyster Creek Rest Area is off Highway 88 one mile northeast of Silver Lake. The rest area is operated by the El Dorado Irrigation District. There are 10 picnic units and vault toilets.

TOP

Western Carson Pass Picnic Sites

Indian Grinding Rock State Park

At Indian Grinding Rock State Park there are both family picnic sites and a group site. A group picnic area with a shade ramada near the grinding rock can accommodate large groups (up to 150 persons). Reservations for the area are not accepted. A small family-type picnic area is located next to the museum. There is an $8 per vehicle fee to enter the park.

Tiger Creek Afterbay

To reach Tiger Creek Afterbay, head east on Highway 88 from Jackson for 18 miles and then turn onto Tiger Creek Powerhouse Road. It's 2½ miles to the lake. The elevation is 2,400 feet. No swimming is allowed. The facility is operated by PG&E. There are 2 picnic units and a vault toilet. The area is popular for fishing and hiking.

PiPi Picnic Area

The PiPi Picnic Area is located at the entrance to PiPi Campground. The campground at an elevation of 4,100 feet, 26 miles east of Jackson, 0.8 miles off on Highway 88 on Omo Ranch Road and 5.9 miles north on North-South Road. The Picnic Area is close to the Middle Fork of the Cosumnes River. It is usually open from May 1 to mid-November.

Leek Springs Lookout

Leek Springs Lookout has two picnic units and a vault toilet. To reach the site, take Mormon Emigrant Trail (the road) north from Highway 88 two miles to Leek Springs Lookout Road. Turn left onto the road and follow it for two miles. Free.

TOP

Picnic Sites Near the Summit of Carson Pass

Woods Lake

The Woods Lake Road turns south off Highway 88 about 2 miles east of the Caples Lake dam. Follow the road 1.3 miles to the picnic area on the shore of Woods Lake. there are 8 picnic units, piped water, and toilets. The area is wheelchair accessible. $5 per day fee charged, or $20 for a seasonal pass.

Carson Pass

Carson Pass

Although not an officially designated picnic area, the summit of Carson Pass makes a good place to stop. Once you wander a short distance from the parking area, you can find quiet spots with great views. There is a $5 fee for using the parking area. With that comes the advantage of restrooms. The Carson Pass Information Station is located adjacent to the parking area. In the winter and spring the location is considered one of the Sno-Parks.

TOP

Picnic Sites East of Carson Pass

Blue Lakes Picnic Area

picnic site at Blue Lakes near Carson Pass, CA

Several picnic areas are located around Blue Lakes. Some are located along the shores of the two Blue Lakes. Another is at nearby Meadow Lake. All of them have parking areas, picnic tables, and restrooms. Water is available nearby at campgrounds for those sites near Blue Lakes. There is no charge for their use. Visit our Blue Lakes for a map showing their exact locations.

Kit Carson Picnic Area

The Kit Carson Picnic Area is in the campground of the same name. Kit Carson is located on the West Carson River at an elevation of 6,900 feet, 10 miles east of Carson Pass on Highway 88. It is usually open May 1 to September 30. Facilities include picnic tables, piped water, and vault toilets.

Snowshoe Springs Picnic Area

Once a campground, Snowshoe Springs has been converted to a picnic area. This pretty site along the Carson River has scattered tables. Fishing is good along the river.

Crystal Springs Picnic Area

The Crystal Springs Picnic Area is in the campground of the same name. Crystal Springs is located on the West Carson River at an elevation of 6,000 feet, 13 miles east of Carson Pass on Highway 88. It is usually open May 1 to September 30. Facilities include picnic tables, piped water, and vault toilets.

TOP