If you're looking to reconnect with nature in a tranquil yet exciting setting, then aim the campervan towards southern California. Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area welcomes campers with views of the pristine Silverwood Lake’s blue waters surrounded by snow-capped mountain peaks. Anciently, the area was dotted with a connecting waterway of rivers and streams. Modern-day Silverwood Lake was created by the Cedar Springs Dam and is now one of the most popular water recreation areas in the area. Guests are welcome to bring their own watercraft to the lake but should be aware that each boat is subject to a free inspection for standing water and quagga mussels before being allowed to launch. The northern section of the lake is designated as a water ski area, while the southern portion of the lake offers an environment for smaller, slower boats, swimming, and fishing. Hike around the lake and through the surrounding foothills using the park’s trail system. About 13 miles of these trails are paved and popular with bicyclists. Hikers can use park trails to connect with the 2,650-mile-long Pacific Crest Trail that stretches from Mexico to Canada. During the winter months, weekend visitors can snag a spot on the park’s bald eagle barge tours and explore native bald eagle habitats. Other water birds and birds of prey can also be observed as well as larger animals such as black bears, bobcats, and golden beavers. RV campers can stay in comfort at the New Mesa Campground, which features 36 sites equipped with full hookups.
Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area is located about 20 miles north of San Bernardino, California, on Highway 138 and Cleghorn Road. The main park roads and roads that connect the marina, boat launch area, campgrounds, and swim beaches are all paved, making it easy for big rigs and trailers to navigate the park. Smaller roads connecting to some trailheads and additional picnic areas are unpaved.
Visitors may park at their campsite or one of 14 designated parking areas. During the peak season, the park may reach capacity. In this case, the park will be closed. Holidays and weekends during the summer months are exceptionally high traffic periods. Any visitors who park on Highway 138, on the on or off-ramps, or that block any roadways outside of the park are subject to ticketing and towing.
Guests may enter the park on foot or bicycle as well. Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area offers 13 miles of paved bike trails. All bicyclists younger than age 18 are required to wear a safety helmet. Visitors traveling by bike are advised to watch for debris on the trail, use slower speeds on blind curves, and carry large amounts of water.
Conveniently situated between Los Angeles and Las Vegas in the middle of the Mojave Desert, the Barstow/Calico KOA campground is fun and convenient for the whole family, including pets. RV sites feature full hookups, dividing hedges, cable, and Wi-Fi. The campground itself offers remodeled restrooms and showers, laundry facilities, a seasonal pool, a clubhouse, a convenience store with coffee and adult beverages, a jumping pad, an archery range, a book exchange, recreational facilities, and much more. There is also a tour shuttle available.
The New Mesa Campground offers 36 sites for RV camping at Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area. All of the sites offer full hookups, and for this reason, the campground fills up fast during the summer months. Every campsite includes a picnic table, BBQ, and a fire ring. Maximum vehicle lengths vary by site between 27 feet and 38 feet. Guests can easily access nearby restrooms and showers, along with hiking trails and paved roads to connect to swimming and boating areas. Reserve your space ahead of time to snag a spot at this pet-friendly campground.
For those looking to spend some time outside of the motorhome, Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area offers 95 tent only campsites. Each site can accommodate up to eight people and three vehicles and comes equipped with a picnic table and a fire ring. Flush toilets, coin-operated showers, and biking and hiking trails are all within walking distance of the tent sites. Reservations are recommended during the summer months; reservations can be made up to six months in advance.
If you're camping with a large group, Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area offers six group campgrounds. Three of the group campsites can accommodate up to 40 guests and come equipped with picnic tables and a fire pit, and extra parking and bathrooms with coin-operated showers are located nearby. The remaining three group sites can accommodate up to 100 guests and also comes equipped with picnic tables, fire pits, sinks, and lean-to shelters for extra shade. Nearby you can find toilets, pay showers, and hiking trails. All group sites are pet-friendly and can be reserved up to six months in advance.
If all the sites are spoken for at Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area, fear not. There are several alternative RV camping options in the surrounding area. Thirty minutes to the east, you will find Angeles National Forest. Here, hundreds of primitive sites await visitors in three different campgrounds. If you're searching for a more modern camping experience, the Mojave River Dam is located just 20 minutes to the north and offers 50 RV friendly sites, half of which are equipped with full hookups, while the other half are more primitive.
Enjoy a picnic on the lakeshore any time of the year at Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area. Each campsite includes a picnic table, BBQ grill, and fire ring. Larger covered picnicking areas are available at the group tent campsites. Guests will also find picnic areas scattered along the shore and the hiking trails. Large picnic areas with restrooms are located at Serrano Beach and the Cleghorn day-use areas. Similar picnic and restroom facilities can be found near the marina and boat launch.
Visitors to Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area from January through March can participate in bald eagle barge tours each Saturday. These tours take campers out onto the lake and pass by several bald eagle habitats. You might also catch a glimpse of other water birds like great blue herons, snowy egrets, loons, Canada geese, and ducks. Common birds of prey in the area include red-tailed hawks, Cooper’s hawks, and ospreys. If you're lucky, roadrunners might also make an appearance. Make a reservation beforehand to secure your spot.
Avid anglers best enjoy Silverwood Lake in the spring and fall months. During this time, the waters are quieter due to minimal lake and boating activity. Trout fishing is popular from February through the beginning of June. Throughout the year, anglers can also catch largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, catfish, and striped bass — fish from the shore or by boat. If you didn't tow your own boat behind the motorhome, rentals are available at the marina. All anglers 16 years of age and older must carry a valid California fishing license.
With an extensive system of trails, Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area is a favorite spot for hikers and bikers alike. About 13 miles of the trail system is paved and accessible on foot or by bicycle. Bikers are advised to slow down on blind curves and watch for trail debris. If you plan on riding the trails during your RV vacation, you'll need to haul your own bikes along, as the park does not offer rentals. Hikers can also access additional unpaved trails throughout the park. Sections of these trails make up part of the 2,650 mile Pacific Crest Trail that stretches from Mexico to Canada.
Silverwood Lake is a popular water recreation area. All water vessels entering the lake will be inspected for standing water and quagga mussels before being allowed to launch into the lake. The southern end of the lake hosts a marina and launch ramps, while the northern part of the lake features a waterskiing area exclusively for commercial water floats, aquaplanes, wakeboards, and water skis. If you didn't tow your own boat behind the Sprinter, aluminum fishing boats and pontoons are available for rent from the marina. Tow lines cannot be longer than 90 feet, and non-commercial inflatables like inner tubes and rubber rafts are not permitted.
Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area is the perfect swimming location during hot California summers, so don't forget to pack your bathing suit in the campervan. Enjoy the cool waters of Silverwood Lake at two designated swim beaches at the southern end of the lake. Lifeguards are on duty every day during peak season from Memorial Day through Labor Day weekend. Visitors must swim at their own risk during the offseason. The beaches are accessible by paved roads and hiking trails with limited parking available.