Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area
Guide

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Introduction

Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area welcomes campers with views of 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 California.

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 black bears, bobcats, and golden beavers.

RV campers check in at the New Mesa Campground, which features 136 sites. Each site includes a picnic table, BBQ grill, fire ring, and parking for three vehicles. Enjoy easy access to restrooms and showers.

RV Rentals in Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area

Transportation in Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area

Driving

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 connecting the marina, boat launch area, campgrounds, and swim beaches are paved. Smaller roads connecting to some trailheads and additional picnic areas are unpaved.

Visitors may park only at campsites 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 especially high traffic periods of time.

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 bike on foot or on 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.

Parking

Public Transport

Campgrounds and parking in Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area

Campsites in Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area

Reservations camping

Thunder Bay KOA

Visiting the Lake Superior area? The Thunder Bay KOA makes a terrific basecamp for access to all things adventurous. Regional attractions include rockhounding at open-pit amethyst mines and visiting the stunning 130-foot Kakabeka Falls and the gorgeous Ouimet Canyon. The campground’s 90 acres of pines, poplar and birch trees create sprays of color in the fall. Sites are nestled in the trees, providing guests a sense of serenity. Thunder Bay KOA offers amenities for families and kids of all ages, including a golf driving range, a miniature golf course, two heated saltwater pools, a catch-and-release trout pond and a new splash pad for the youngsters. Activities include hayrides, ice cream socials and more. Pups are welcome to play in the leash-free dog park. Wi-Fi and cable TV are available in addition to clean bathrooms, hot showers and laundry facilities.

Renfrew / Ottawa West KOA

The Presidential Award-winning Renfrew/Ottawa West KOA campground is located just outside Canada’s capital, providing easy access for plenty of educational, historic and cultural opportunities. Visit the McDougall Mill Museum or the nearby farmers market for the freshest local produce and products. The Renfrew/Ottawa West KOA campground is a destination in itself with Wi-Fi, 150 acres of woodland, a spring-fed lake and on-site beaches. Recreational activities at the campground include miniature golf and a driving range, fishing, hiking, boating and boat rentals, swimming, sports and recreational facilities, a playground, a jump pad and planned activities including pancake breakfasts and holiday weekends.

Barstow / Calico KOA

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.

New Mesa Campground

The New Mesa Campground offers 136 sites for RV camping at Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area. Some of the sites offer full hookups, while others are primitive sites without hookups. Reserve ahead to book a specific site if you desire hookups. Every campsite includes a picnic table, BBQ, and fire ring, and allows up to eight people and three vehicles. Easily access nearby restrooms and showers. Use hiking trails or paved roads to connect to swimming and boating areas.

First-come first-served

Alternate camping

Seasonal activities in Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area

In-Season

Hiking and Biking

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 are paved and accessible on foot or by bicycle. Bikers are advised to slow down on blind curves and watch for trail debris. 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.

Boating

Silverwood Lake is a popular water recreation area. All water vessels entering the lake will be inspected before being allowed to launch for standing water and quagga mussels. The southern end of the lake hosts a marina and launch ramps. The northern part of the lake features a waterskiing area exclusively for commercial water floats, aquaplanes, wakeboards, and water skis. Tow lines cannot be longer than 90 feet. Non-commercial inflatables like inner tubes and rubber rafts are not permitted.

Swimming

Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area is the perfect swimming location during hot California summers. Enjoy the cool waters of Silverwood Lake at two designated swim beaches. You’ll find these swimming areas at the southern end of the lake. Lifeguards are on duty every day during peak season from Memorial Day through Labor Day weekend. Swim at your own risk during the off season. The beaches are accessible by paved roads and hiking trails with limited parking available.

Off-Season

Picnicking

Enjoy a picnic on the lake shore any time of the year at Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area. Each campsite includes a picnic table, BBQ grill, and fire ring, with larger covered picnicking at the group tent campsites. Guests will also find picnic areas scattered along the shore and connecting the hiking trails. Large picnic areas with restrooms are located at Serrano Beach and the Cleghorn Day Use area. Similar picnic and restroom facilities can be found near the marina and boat launch.

Bald Eagle Barge Tours

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. Make a reservation beforehand to secure your spot. 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 like red-tailed hawks, Cooper’s hawks, ospreys, and roadrunners might also make an appearance.

Fishing

Avid fishermen enjoy Silverwood Lake best in the spring and fall months. During this period of time, the waters are quieter due to minimal lake and boating activity. Trout fishing is popular for 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. All fishermen 16 years of age and older must carry a valid California fishing license.

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