Turlock Lake State Recreation Area
Guide

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Introduction

Nestled in rolling foothills, and bounded on the north by the Tuolumne River and on the south by Turlock Lake, Turlock Lake State Recreation Area provides an ideal setting for RV holidays. This state recreation area, at an elevation of 250-feet, is located about 25 miles east of Modesto on the south side of the Tuolumne River, California, and offers RV campers amazing water-oriented outdoor activities against a backdrop of beautiful natural features, including a variety of native plant life that once flourished alongside the rivers of the San Joaquin Valley.

Activities at Turlock Lake State Recreation Area include wildlife and bird watching, flora observation, boating, kayaking, fishing, swimming, water skiing, picnicking, hiking, interpretive exhibits, windsurfing/surfing, and geocaching. Facilities at the park include RV campsites, picnic areas, restrooms and showers, campfire center, boat launch ramps, and a park office.

From several lookout points in the park, RV campers can enjoy great views of the savannas that surround the park and nearby orchards and cattle ranches. Even more, RV campers get to take in the breathtaking sight of the campground and the rivers from Lake Road which separates the day use area in the park from the campground.

RV Rentals in Turlock Lake State Recreation Area

Transportation in Turlock Lake State Recreation Area

Driving

Turlock Lake State Recreation Area is located along Lake Road, about 25 miles east of Modesto on the south side of the Tuolumne River, California, and is a simple drive-in park. The park is easily accessible for RVs, trailers, and other motorized vehicles. Maximum driving speed limit in the park is 15 miles per hour. Most of the roads in the park are paved, while some are unpaved. Bicycles are allowed only on paved roads and multi-use trails.

Parking

There are four parking areas for RVs, trailers, and cars in Turlock Lake State Recreation Area. One of the parking lots is located in the campground, while the other three are distributed around the day use areas in the park. All vehicles are required to be confined within designated roadways and parking areas. Overnight parking is available for RV campers at the park.

Public Transport

There are no public transportation facilities available at Turlock Lake State Recreation Area.

Campgrounds and parking in Turlock Lake State Recreation Area

Campsites in Turlock Lake State Recreation Area

Reservations camping

First-come first-served

Alternate camping

Turlock Lake Campground

Turlock Lake Campground in Turlock Lake State Recreation Area features 66 pet-friendly campsites available for RVs and tents. There are no RV hookups in the campground. RV length limit at the campground is 27 feet. The campground is equipped with flush toilets, pay showers, drinking water, dump station, Campfire Center, and boat ramps. Turlock Lake Campground sits under shady pine groves providing RV campers waterfront access. Quiet hours in Turlock Lake Campground are from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. During these quiet hours, sound-producing devices such as radios are required to be as silent as possible to ensure they do not generate noise. Generators use is allowed between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. Reservations for campsites in Turlock Lake Campground are recommended during our peak season, and available on a first come first serve walk-in basis in off-peak season.

Seasonal activities in Turlock Lake State Recreation Area

In-Season

Boating/Kayaking

Turlock Lake State Recreation Area is a well-loved destination for RV campers that love to boat/kayak. Year-round boating and kayaking activities occur in the park and this is further enhanced by the presence of boat launch ramps in the park. Water craft rentals are available in the park. Boaters are advised to beware of submerged hazards on the lake. Boating hours are 8 a.m. to sunset and no boats are allowed on the water overnight!

Wildlife/Bird Viewing

The rich riparian habitat along the Tuolumne River at Turlock Lake State Recreation Area and adjacent sloughs with their forested banks and tangled underbrush offer a haven for many animals and birds. More than 115 bird species have been identified in the park including woodpeckers, hummingbirds, orioles, western bluebirds, greenbacked goldfinches, meadowlarks, valley quail, bushtits, mourning doves and western mockingbirds, hawks, turkey cultures, barn and screech owls, several kinds of herons, mallards, white-fronted geese, grebes, gulls and terns.

The riverbanks in the park feature wildlife such as beavers, gray fox, muskrats, cottontails, wood rats, bullfrogs, turtles, coyotes, black-tailed jackrabbits, and deer.

Flora

Turlock Lake State Recreation Area has a 26-mile shoreline featuring humpbacked islands and jutting peninsulas. Low, rolling, grassy foothills enfold the reservoir while valley and blue oaks dot the undulating hillsides. Cottonwoods, western sycamores and willows provide shade in the picnic areas.

Roughly 190 species of flora in the park have been found along the banks of Tuolumne River in the park. Some of these trees serve as shade for campers who want to enjoy outdoor recreational activities. Examples of the flora include thick tangle of oak, fig trees, willow, wild grape, toyon, blackberry, elderberry and mock orange, wildflowers, lupine, monkeyflowers, wallflowers, larkspurs, and Mariposa lilies.

Off-Season

Picnicking

Turlock Lake State Recreation Area offers RV campers amazing picnic opportunities with two picnic areas available for use by vacationers and visitors at the park. The picnic areas are replete with trees that offer shade for lovers of outdoor meals. Furthermore, stationary barbecues are available near the picnic areas.

Swimming

Swimming is allowed in Turlock Lake and there are designated swimming areas for RV campers to enjoy taking a dip while at the park. Swimmers are advised to exercise caution because there are no lifeguards on duty.

Fishing

Anglers and RV campers that enjoy fishing are offered decent fishing opportunities at Turlock Lake which has fish species such as trout, black bass, crappie, bluegill and catfish available both in the lake and the river in the park. The fishing skills of campers and anglers are tested on these waters in the Turlock Lake State Recreation Area.

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