On average over half a million visitors a year enjoy fishing, boating, and camping at Don Pedro Lake. The reservoir was created in 1971 when the New Don Pedro Dam was built across the Tuolumne River.
There are more than 160 miles of shoreline and over 12,000 acres of land to keep track of. Three separate campgrounds offer guests a variety of amenities and environments to experience during their stay.
Don Pedro Lake is also one of the few lakes in the state where camping along the undeveloped lakeshore is permitted. For those who truly want to get away from it all, this is the place to do it. There are restrictions on vehicle access to “Dispersed Area Camping Zones”, and many people choose to take their boats to these locations instead.
The Fleming Meadows Recreation Area has the most campsites. 90 are full hookup spots, over 170 are none-hookup, and there are walk-in tent sites as well. There is a full-service marina, with a sewage dump station and plenty of showers and restrooms on site.
For those who have become permanently attached to their electronic devices, Wi-Fi internet access is widely available.
Blue Oaks is the other campground that lies amongst the rolling hills on the west shore of the lake. Spectacular views of the valley, and across the waters of the lake can be had at many campsites. Blue Oaks is the perfect spot to plan a family gets together or another group event.
There are a separate camping and picnic area that can comfortably accommodate 200 people. Prior reservations are necessary for to secure this location. Even if the weather refuses to cooperate, your group will have a large covered dining area to retreat to.
To the east of the lake, the Moccasin Point Recreation Area has been established. The campground is nestled in the canyon where the Moccasin Creek and Don Pedro Lake come together. The fishing opportunities here are excellent. Try your luck in the open water of the lake or in the cool waters of the stream. There are a marina and fish cleaning station on site.
And fishing is one big draw to Don Pedro Lake. The lake is open year-round and is well-stocked with several species of fish, including Black, Spotted, and Smallmouth Bass. Healthy populations of Chinook and Kokanee Salmon are especially prolific in the reservoir area.
Between fall and spring, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife ensures plenty of trout have been brought in. Carp, catfish, and crappie are sometimes caught, most frequently in the reservoir.
For those who decide they need to inject a shot of adrenaline into their vacation, Don Pedro will not disappoint! Whitewater rafting adventures are close at hand. Dare to take on the 18 miles of wild water winding down the Tuolumne River before it empties itself into the lake.
Having conquered the water, head back to land to take on a one-armed bandit at one of the nearby casinos. The Chicken Ranch and Black Oak Casinos are both within an easy driving distance of the Don Pedro Recreational Areas. Head to Coulterville, Groveland, or one of the other historic towns to spend your winnings.
Lady Luck not on your side? Drown your sorrows at the infamous Iron Door Saloon in downtown Groveland. It’s said to be the oldest continuously operating saloon in the state, and scene to many a showdown.