Spicer Meadows Reservoir: Kayak Camping Paradise


I grew up doing a lot of backpacking with my Dad and one of his close friends, Jack. But over the years my Dad and I transitioned to camping off our 4×4’s and later off our ATV’s. Now after getting our Jackson’s a couple years ago, we transitioned into kayak camping. Jack purchased my Dad’s old Cruise 12 not too long ago and has heard my stories and seen my pictures of my various trips. With his backpacking experience, he was game for his first kayak camping adventure.

The body of water we chose was Spicer Meadows Reservoir, located up Hwy 4 in the Sierra Nevada’s. None of us had ever paddled the lake and with some of its features like easy access, a large section of water in the back of the lake that’s closed to power boats, and many nice campsites to choose from, we decided it was the best place for this particular trip.
We planned for one night and did our best to pack “minimally”. We divided up our backpacking gear and made sure to distribute the weight as evenly as possible. The nice thing about the Cuda LT and Jack’s Cruise was the ability to store all our gear in the hull. In fact, I had quite a bit of extra room. My dad resorted to a couple dry bags for his Kilroy and soon we were ready. We met and left my parent’s house at about 9am Friday and began the 2hr drive up the hill.

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We arrived at the launch around 11am and began unloading to less than optimal conditions. It was a bit breezy, in fact it was very windy with some decent sized two foot rollers. Luckily we were paddling with the wind on our way to the back of the lake. We were greeted my some very scenic views on our journey, as well as an abundance of wildlife. There were several nice campsites we saw from the water, but we opted to continue on to almost the very back of the lake, where we found our camp for the night. With the water level being a little low, we did have to walk our gear up a short ways, but we had an epic spot with a great view of the lake. It didn’t take long to have camp set up and get back on the water for some exploring.

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Unfortunately, fishing wasn’t all that stellar. The fish were deep and scattered due to the warm weather we’ve been having here in CA, but I was able to scratch out a few rainbows here and there. I think the osprey’s had some better luck than me! I fished a short while that evening before heading back to camp for dinner. We had a very relaxing night around the fire and turned in early in hopes of getting into a good bite in the morning. Well, that didn’t happen, so instead we packed up and began the paddle back towards the launch to do some more exploring. We also hoped the wind wouldn’t pick up like it did the day before. Lucky for us it didn’t! We made it back safe and sound. Overall another great trip in the books!

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