Silverwood Lake Camping – All You Need To Know About Silverwood Lake

There are many places to choose for family outdoor holidays but the Silverwood Lake Recreational Area has something for everyone and could be a great option for families with kids as well as groups of friends who wish to spend some time together.

The Lake boasts excellent camping facilities, both developed and primitive, an abundance of activities, both on the lake and in the surrounding area, and all located in a stunning setting with the San Bernardino Mountains rising in the background.

Here is my guide to everything you might want to know about Silverwood Lake to help you organize your next camping trip there.

What and Where?

Overview Of Silverwood Lake State Recreational Area

Overview Of Silverwood Lake

Silverwood Lake is an artificial reservoir in San Bernardino County, California, that was created in 1971 by the building of the Cedar Springs Dam on the West Fork of the Mojave River, thus inundating the former town of Cedar Springs.

The flooding of the area has created an outstanding recreation area with numerous outdoor activities available, both on the lake and in the surrounding area, and offers beautiful scenic views and varied flora and fauna.

The area was previously home to the Serrano people who lived in the San Bernardino Mountains and traded with their neighbors, the Mojave and Tongva tribes. Only just over 100 are still there today.

The lake has a 13km shoreline and a capacity of 73,000 acre feet and is fed by snowmelt and rain from the upper Feather River Basin.


There are many outdoor activities on offer at Silverwood Lake to suit any tastes. If you want to get out on the water, hit the trails or simply relax around a campfire drinking beer and barbequing meat, everything is possible. Here are a few examples of what is on offer:


Camping In Silverwood Lake

The recreation area’s main camping ground is the Mesa camping ground which has 136 camping sites, each of which can hold up to eight people. There are three group sites which can hold up to 120 people and the Millers Canyon camping ground has three group sites for up to 40 people.

The family sites at the Mesa camping ground all have tables, fire rings and grills, and restrooms and showers are located nearby. The group sites have barbecues, tables, restrooms and showers. You can reserve online at Reserve America.

Hiking, Bicycling and Horse Riding

The Pacific Crest Trail Winds Around Silverwood Lake

A view of The Pacific Crest Trail as it winds around Silverwood Lake

The Pacific Crest Trail, “the jewel in the crown of America’s scenic trails” that runs right from Mexico to Canada, passes through the Silverwood Lake Recreational Area. This means there are many accessible trailheads for hikes of varying lengths and for most abilities.

The Recreation Area includes 13 miles of paved paths which are suitable for hiking, bicycling and horse riding.


Man Fishing On A Lake At Sunset

The lake offers some excellent fishing opportunities and the lake contains trout, largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, catfish and striped bass. The best seasons are spring and fall when there are fewer boats on the lake. The best months for trout fishing are February to June.

Information about take limits can be found here. Note that there has been some concern about elevated levels of toxic polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBS) and mercury levels in largemouth bass so you may wish to consider whether you want to eat the fish from the lake.


Jetty On Serene Silverwood Lake

Jetty on Silverwood Lake

It is possible to boat on the lake and it is essential to reserve in advance since only 125 craft are allowed onto the lake per day. During the peak season, the reservation allotment for weekend days is always full so it is advisable to book as early as possible.

The northern part of the lake is the designated water-ski area while there is a marina and launch ramps at the southern end. All boats must be inspected before launching to prevent the spread of invasive quagga and zebra mussels.

Anyone using the lake for recreational boating must follow the park’s rules. The rules can be found on the official site of Silverwood Lake Recreation Area.


The lake has attractive sand beaches and it is possible to swim. There are two designated swimming areas in the south part of the lake with lifeguards on duty from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend.

Other Water-based Activities

Kayaker On A Lake

There are plenty of other water-based activities to try out at Silverwood Lake. It is possible to hire paddleboats, jet skis and kayaks in the summer. The lake is also perfect for windsurfing.


The Recreation Area has several picnicking areas including three that can only be reached by boat.

Bald Eagle Barge Tours

On Saturdays from January to March, it is possible to join barge tours which head out to attempt to spot the elusive bald eagles.


Wild Landscape In Silverwood Lake

Silverwood Lake is an area rich in animal and plant life and a wonderland for those keen on tracking down local flora and fauna.

Animals to look out for include California mule deer which are active in the morning. At night, gray foxes, coyotes and even mountain lions are known to hunt in the area. Black bears, bobcats and golden beavers are also present.

Smaller mammals include squirrels, rabbits, ringtails, chipmunks and wood rats while rattlesnakes, among others, represent the reptiles.

For keen ornithologists, there is an abundance of birdlife to spot. The stars are surely the bald eagles but the lake itself also plays host to great blue herons, snowy egrets, Canada geese and others while in the surrounding area, red-tailed hawks, ospreys and roadrunners can all be found.

Trees include ponderosa pine, incense cedar, white fir, black oak, mountain mahogany, willow and sycamore.

Practical Information

Getting There


Peak Season, Off Season and When To Go

Opening Hours

RV and Camping Facilities

Shopping Facilities

Car Parking

Accessible Features


Landscape Of Silverwood Lake

Silverwood Lake & Hills

Silverwood lake isn’t a lost wilderness, it’s a developed outdoor recreational area with a full complement of facilities. It’s a fantastic place to head with your family or friends for some outdoor relaxation, water sports and fresh air.

This is not the place to come if you want to get right away from civilization and spend time alone in the woods – this is a popular destination that can get busy and noisy at times. But sometimes those kinds of places and those kinds of trips can be fun and this is a wonderful place to do it.

Have you ever been to Silverwood Lake? What did you think? What activities did you try? Did you manage to spot a bald eagle or maybe a black bear? I’d love to hear from you so why not leave me a comment? And if you enjoyed this article, don’t forget to share!

Julie McClain

Chief editor here at Outdoorzer. I'm an outdoor lover and ever since I was a little girl, I've worked hard to learn all I could from my Dad about Camping, Hiking, RVs and surviving in the woods.

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