Directions: From Sacramento take Hwy 50 east to Hwy 16 to the town of Jackson, then take Hwy 88 east - Silver Lake is approx 1 hr east of Jackson and 9 miles west of Kirkwood Ski Resort. Another route is to take Hwy 50 to the Sly Park exit (just east of Placerville). Proceed just past Sly Park Lake and turn left onto Mormon Immigrant Trail, the turn is marked but not well and it is easy to miss. This road is not plowed during the winter so make sure it is open. The road is lightly traveled and you are surrounded by wilderness. When the road ends turn left (east) onto Hwy 88. Silver Lake is just a few miles east. Time is approximately 1 1/2 hrs from Placerville.
It is a climb up to Silver Lake - make sure your towing vehicle is in top condition and that you gas up in Placerville or Jackson. Approaching Silver Lake going east Hwy 88 starts down a steep grade, you can see the resort to the south, slow down as the turn sneaks up on you. The road into Plasse's is basically one lane and fairly steep but should be doable in any size rig.
Amenities: Tent and RV sites are available for horse and non horse camping; each with water, table and fire rings. There are also group campsites available. There is a general store/gift shop, a restaurant and bar, showerfacilities, a laundromat, propane station, pre-cut firewood for sale and a dump station. For other entertainment needs there are basketball and volleyball courts, horse shoe pits, boat launch, fishing, ATV and 4 wheel drive trails plus an arcade. Weddings and concerts are also held at Plasse's and some of the original Buildings dating back to the late 1800's still stand in the basin.
Staging area: Camping -main horse camping area is at The Meadow. The spaces are large (each will accommodate a large motor home and horse trailer). The ground is not perfectly level due to stabling of horses. You can set up corrals in your space or in the meadow that the spaces back up to. There are only 3 spaces with trees at the front so it is best to have some sort of corral for your horse. There will be horse and non horse campers using the meadow sites. There is a creek on the other side of the meadow and it is a short walking distance to the lake. Day Use - there is a day use parking lot behind the office.
Dogs: allowed on leash (not always enforced so there may be dogs running loose)
Trails: Plasse's is at approximately 7200 ft. Many single track trails, most are technical, some areas are solid granite. You can climb out of the basin to the rim - over 9000 foot elevation and into the Mokelumne Wilderness. The horses seem to do fine as long as they are in fairly good condition. Trails are not marked that well - a lot of stacked rocks and painted rocks and it is easy to get turned around near Granite Lake because the trails in that area are solid granite. There is a nice 2 hr loop from the meadow area with signage but it can get tricky when you get near Granite Lake. Unfortunately there is no good map of the trails at this time. From what we here from the "old timers" who have been vacationing at Silver Lake for years, it just takes some time to learn the trails. But no matter where you ride - close to camp or outside the basin, the trails are beautiful and there are some outstanding views.
Water: water hook ups at each site - bring your own hose. Table and fire ring also at each site
Restroom facilities: porta potties throughout and hot showers near the office ( 2 sets)
Other info: Plasse's opens in June and closes in October - depending on weather. Early in the season there may still be downed trees you will have to go around - some of them can be 100ft long or more and it can be a bit of a challenge. We have seen dirt bikes, ATV's, and Jeeps on some of the trails. You also might encounter snow. To get to the Meadow Camping area you will need to drive through a shallow creek (see photo under Silver Lake photos) - crossing should be ok for any sized rig.
Other helpful hints - wrapping horses legs, bell boots, bug spray, fly mask you can ride in, wearing spurs if that is an option for you, a GPS or "my tracks" on a smart phone, water for you.
Fees: Horse Camping - Sun - Thurs $40 to $46 per night, Fri and Sat $48 to $56 per night. 2 night minimum stay for a weekend, 3 for a holiday. Make your reservation early. There are also weekly rates and non horse camping rates. Please visit their web site for more information and any rate changes. Day Use (including horse trailers) - $10. Boat Launch - $7.
See “trail pictures” tab located to the left of this page for photos and more information.
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Friendly reminder, be smart, do not leave any valuables in your vehicle.