Last weekend Cristy and I took a day trip up to Union Valley Reservoir in the Crystal Basin area of the El Dorado National Forest. It’s located just southwest of Lake Tahoe at about 4000 foot elevation in the Sierra Nevada mountains. We wanted to hike, stroll really, a bike path that runs along the shoreline of the reservoir. More info on the path is located on Trailink.com.
We stopped for lunch first at a pho restaurant in Pollack Pines (this was nothing to write home about). The atmosphere and wait staff was great but the food was just a little bland for our tastes. Maybe they tone it down for their clientele, I don’t know. There are better options in the area for food so I won’t say much more about this place.
After lunch we made our way down the winding road that leads to the trail head at Jones Fork Campground. All the day use parking was taken up but I was able to squeeze my truck onto the side of the road. We walked through the small campground and started down the bike path. It was really a gorgeous walk. The path is paved asphalt so walking was really easy. There are interpretive signs along the way that explain what Union Valley Reservoir is for, why it was built, why it’s called that etc. (If you really want to know, ask me!)
We walked down to the boat launch area at Fashoda Campground and then crossed over to the beach on the other side of the peninsula. This was a large sandy beach set aside for swimming. There are lots of rocks in the sand on the edges of the beach so watch your toes! It was too tempting to just sit in the shade in the sand rather than hike on so we just kicked back, watched the boats on the lake and talked. After an hour or so we decided we better head back. After we still have to drive 2.5 hours to get home.
Union Valley Reservoir is a gem in the Sierras. We were there on a Saturday and while all the camgrounds were full, there was not a lot of people there. We never saw another soul on the bike path when we were walking it. I’d really love to go back here and camp some time.