Silver Lake has been a popular destination on Carson Pass for decades. Residents of the central valley flocked to the mild climates of the mountains in the summer, often setting up tent camps that stood for months. Many of the lodges and camps at Silver Lake were established in the 1920s, while Plasse's dates back to 1853.
Several of the old resorts still operate today, offering modernized accommodations and countless amenities. Anglers, hikers, photographers, artists, birdwatchers, and nature lovers enjoy exploring the lake and its surrounding countryside. A modern launch ramp makes boating easy.
The classic around-the-lake hike covers 6 miles. Start anywhere you like, of course, and go in either direction. The only diversion from the lake's shore is along the east side where the trail turns inland for a short distance. Half way around stop for an ice cream or a drink at either Plasse's Resort or Kit Carson Lodge.
It's a 2,100-foot (3.5 miles one way) climb from Silver Lake to the summit of Thunder Mountain but worth every step. The views from the top are fantastic. Bring a camera and water. Pick up the Horse Canyon Trail just east of Kit Carson Lodge or head south down the shoreline trail until you meet a lateral trail that veers up to the Horse Canyon Trail. Follow that trail about a mile and turn left up the trail to the top of Thunder Mountain.
Hike up the Horse Canyon to West Pass, the highest point the emigrant wagons crossed while traveling to California along the Carson River Emigrant Trail during the Gold Rush. It's a long day of hiking, but the views are spectacular. Carry plenty of water and a camera. The trail climbs 2,300 feet in 5 miles. Pick up the Horse Canyon Trail just east of Kit Carson Lodge and follow the trail up to Grouse Ridge. From there it is less than a mile to the top of the pass.
Kit Carson Lodge has been a favorite destination at Silver Lake for over 80 years. Established in 1926 the lodge includes 19 cottages and 8 hotel rooms within its scenic 12 acres along the shore. Also available at the lodge are a restaurant, boat rentals, a swimming beach, and art workshops.
32161 Kit Carson Road, Silver Lake, CA
(209) 258-8500 (June 1 - Oct. 31) or (530) 676-1370 (Nov. 1 - May 31)
Kit Carson Lodge
Housekeeping Cottages: $150 - $355 per night depending on cottage size and season (weekly rates available)
Rooms: Daily Rates: $130 - $175 per night depending on room and season.
Winter Cottage: Available in winter only (the rest of the resort is closed). Daily Rates: $250 - $355 per night, depending on dates and length of stay.
For more complete information about Kit Carson Lodge, see
Carson Pass Resorts and Lodges.
Plasse's Resort was originally the home of French immigrant Ramon Pierre Plasse who settled there along the Carson River Emigrant Trail in 1853. Today Plasse's is a popular camping and RV resort near the southern end of Silver Lake. It includes the Thunder Mountain Restaurant, a general store, sports areas, and canoe and kayak rentals. Open early June to mid-September.
30001 Plasse Road, Silver Lake, CA
Sites include water hook-up, table and fire ring.
Tent Sites: $28 - $35 per night
RV Sites (33' or less): $33 - $40 per night
Larger RV Sites: $40 - $47 per night
Horse Camping Sites M1-M10: 1-2 horses and 1 RV - $40 - $48 per night
Horse Camping Sites M11-M22: 1-4 horses and 1 RV - $46 - $56 per night
Located at an elevation of 7,200 feet, 52 miles east of Jackson on Highway 88 at Silver Lake. Usually open from June 1 to mid-October.
Located at an elevation of 7,200 feet, 52 miles east of Jackson on Highway 88 at Silver Lake. Usually open from mid-May to mid-October. Operated by El Dorado Irrigation District.
Fees: $25 per night, $20 for seniors
Silver Lake West Campground Map
The City of Stockton's Silver Lake Camp has been in operation since 1921. It is located near the southern end of Silver Lake, not far from Plasse's Resort. The camp is now operated by the Silver Lake Campers Association.
The camp has about 50 rustic cabins, each with a double bed and two sets of bunk beds and dressers and chairs. Campers supply their own bedding. A modern central bathhouse has hot showers. Electricity is provided by a generator, which is turned off at night.
Camp Activities during Family Camp times include volleyball, hiking, archery, arts and crafts, and a variety show
Meals prepared by the kitchen staff are included.
2014 Rates per Night: Each cabin is $75 per night plus $25 per night for each person over the age of 5 staying in the cabin (maximum of 6 per cabin).
Children 5 and under free.
Stockton Silver Lake Camp