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Sugarloaf camping
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By Royal
From Henderson, NV
Mar 11, 2013
Free Willy (Salt Point)

Myself and two friends are hoping to climb at Sugarloaf for a several days next week. We're looking for a (hopefully) free place to camp. Any recommendation as to our best bet for that? I understand that some campgrounds / roads are seasonally gated off.


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By vincent L.
From Redwood City
Mar 11, 2013
First day of school

There are plenty of Forrest service roads off of hwy. 50 .

Try Wrights road about five miles past Sugarloaf . There are many obvious pullouts and off shoot roads to choose from there .

Phantom Spires is just up the road too ...


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By Edward_
Mar 11, 2013

FYI : if you go to Phantom Spires and go down the dirt road before April 1, you will get a ticket. They were giving out tickets there a few weeks ago.


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By Royal
From Henderson, NV
Mar 11, 2013
Free Willy (Salt Point)

Thanks! I'll try Wright's road. I don't want to get a ticket =)


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By vincent L.
From Redwood City
Mar 11, 2013
First day of school

WOW , I wonder what the reason is ? Is it signed not to enter?

Thanks for the heads up . I was up there recently in my big 4x4 and it was difficult to even get up to the dirt road turnoff do to snow ... but plenty of turnoffs for camping before that


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By Edward_
Mar 11, 2013

vincent L. wrote:
WOW , I wonder what the reason is ? Is it signed not to enter? Thanks for the heads up . I was up there recently in my big 4x4 and it was difficult to even get up to the dirt road turnoff do to snow ... but plenty of turnoffs for camping before that

Yeah its a bit ambiguous.. at the turn off onto Wrights Lake just off the highway, there is a sign that says something like some roads are closed (its in red), but they didn't say Phantom Spires directly... none the less, many cars were given a ticket. I wish they would be more clear in their message. But they were giving out tickets... call and check, but for sure it is not open before April 1.


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By Justin Johnsen
Administrator
From Sacramento, CA
Mar 12, 2013
Climbing in the Washington Cascades with Frank and company.

I saw this on the Forest Service website.

Dirt Road Seasonal Closure in Effect Nov. 29
Date(s): Nov 26, 2012
Contact(s): Frank Mosbacher
The seasonal closure of native surface roads, also referred to as dirt roads, in the Eldorado National Forest is in effect as of November 29, 2012. They will remain closed until at least April 1.

So the nice campsites along the dirt road at the Spires are closed. But I think Wrights Lake Road is paved the whole way, I'm sure you'll find a spot along there.


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By vincent L.
From Redwood City
Mar 12, 2013
First day of school

That is good to know , I'm not sure how far up the paved road one could get right now , snow patches on the road start as soon as you leave hwy. 50 ... an update on Wright's Rd. would be appreciated


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By michael rowell
Mar 12, 2013
sail away, joshua tree

seeing as tahoe got 2' of snow last week i am not sure whether or not phantom nor any of the dirt roads will even be drive-able. i tried to go up to the secrets around this time last year; and the dirt forest service road was iced over so assuming it wouldn't be any different most of the roads on the south side of 50 are probably no go. good luck!


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By J. Albers
From Colorado
Mar 12, 2013
Bucky

Edward_ wrote:
Yeah its a bit ambiguous.. at the turn off onto Wrights Lake just off the highway, there is a sign that says something like some roads are closed (its in red), but they didn't say Phantom Spires directly... none the less, many cars were given a ticket. I wish they would be more clear in their message. But they were giving out tickets... call and check, but for sure it is not open before April 1.


Actually I don't think that its ambiguous at all. The seasonal closure of all FS dirt roads between Nov.-April went into effect several years ago. It has always been posted clearly on the Eldo FS website. Closures like this are common and folks should get in the habit of checking the FS website on a regular basis. Because it is not feasible for the FS to put up a poster on every single FS road, consider it part of your responsibility for using FS land to know what the current road status is. This is no different than knowing when the seasonal fire bans are in effect.


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By NorCalNomad
From San Francisco
Mar 12, 2013

J. Albers wrote:
Actually I don't think that its ambiguous at all. The seasonal closure of all FS dirt roads between Nov.-April went into effect several years ago. It has always been posted clearly on the Eldo FS website. Closures like this are common and folks should get in the habit of checking the FS website on a regular basis. Because it is not feasible for the FS to put up a poster on every single FS road, consider it part of your responsibility for using FS land to know what the current road status is. This is no different than knowing when the seasonal fire bans are in effect.


Are you advocating being an educated public? PREPOSTEROUS!!!


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By vincent L.
From Redwood City
Mar 12, 2013
First day of school

J. Albers , can you show where it says that all FS roads are closed during the winter ? Or do you mean all FS roads within El Dorado NF are closed ? Because I did see that , it is on their (El Dorado NF) front page ...

Many National Forrest areas do not have a blanket closure on their dirt roads . San Bernadino NF urges caution when using their dirt roads , but says nothing of a closure

www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/sbnf/alerts-notices

Other FS areas maintain a list of winter gate closures on their website , but allow vehicle traffic on others, and winter camping as well ...

One of my favorite things about having a 4x4 is winter FS road driving and camping in remote spots under a blanket of snow ... it would be good to know if there is a rule for all FS roads in the winter .


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By J. Albers
From Colorado
Mar 12, 2013
Bucky

vincent L. wrote:
J. Albers , can you show where it says that all FS roads are closed during the winter ? Or do you mean all FS roads within El Dorado NF are closed ? There is plenty of room for ambiguity and confusion regarding winter road closures . Many National Forrest areas do not have a blanket closure on their dirt roads . San Bernadino NF urges caution when using their dirt roads , but says nothing of a closure www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/sbnf/alerts-notices Other FS areas maintain a list of winter gate closures on their website , but allow vehicle traffic on others, and winter camping as well ... One of my favorite things about having a 4x4 is winter FS road driving and camping in remote spots under a blanket of snow ... it would be good to know if there is a rule for all FS roads in the winter .


Hey Vincent,

I should have been a bit more specific. The seasonal closure that I was speaking of applies only to Eldorado NF. You are correct that not all NF land is closed during the winter, which is a good thing because I (like you) also enjoy camping out in the woods when nobody is around and everything is covered in snow. For example, I have busted my way up to Fresno Dome on dirt roads after a big snow and I know that I was not violating any rules.

That said, you can easily find specific information regarding road closures on the Eldorado NF website. You will notice that on the Eldorado NF homepage (www.fs.usda.gov/eldorado) there is a link in the top right hand corner of the page entitled "Dirt Road Seasonal Closure in Effect Nov. 29" under the heading "Alerts and Warnings". Its at the top of the page, so you can't miss it.

Overall, I think that your confusion regarding forest service regulations can easily be solved by looking through the website of the NF office that you want to recreate in before you head out. In doing so, you will find that some NF offices have better websites than others. When you come across a particular NF website that has little information (or information that is not up-to-date), then you should just give that local office a call to inquire. In my experience, the NF staff are always super helpful and more than willing to answer all of my questions. While this process may take a bit of effort, it will help protect the forest and it might save you from getting a ticket.

Cheers.


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By Edward_
Mar 12, 2013

Thanks for the info as well. Though I a victim or anything, I did not know about those. I guess I missed this when it was required to become one of the educated public, so I'm glad I know now!


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By Royal
From Henderson, NV
Mar 13, 2013
Free Willy (Salt Point)

Darn, so no free camping till April 1st. I guess I'm outta luck.


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By Salamanizer
Administrator
From Vacaville Ca.
Mar 13, 2013

You can find premium camping spots just off the road on Ice House Rd. Head up Ice House about a mile and where the road splits and Ice House makes a sharp right turn up hill. Take the other road and pick a spot. There are several within a short distance.


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By Owen Summerscales
From Los Alamos, NM
Mar 18, 2013
Gerle creek at loon lake

Yes what sal said. Wrights lake road will be closed, but they plow ice house rd due to the power station at loon lake. Fantastic camping all the way along. I love the crystal basin!


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By TonyV
From Cool, CA
Apr 30, 2013

vincent L. wrote:
That is good to know , I'm not sure how far up the paved road one could get right now , snow patches on the road start as soon as you leave hwy. 50 ... an update on Wright's Rd. would be appreciated


It's true that native surface roads are part of the Eldorado NF's road closure, however, there is also a restriction of how far you can pull off the road from paved roads: usually one car length. Beware, you could be cited for that too!


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By TonyV
From Cool, CA
Apr 30, 2013

Access is great all the way to the Phantom Spire campsite!


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