Everything You Need To Know About Silverwood Lake Camping
Shhhh – do you hear that? That’s the sound of your next adventure calling. Are you going to listen? Or are you just going to stay home, idly looking outdoors wishing you had answered that call in the first place?
If I can give you one piece of advice for the rest of your life, it’s to listen to that call – that urge from within your soul telling you to go out and explore the world around you. After all, we only have one life to live, right?
What better way to live it than to visit all the places you can? I’ve written about quite a few wonderful destinations in the US, but there is one place that has been a family favorite ever since my sons were young – Silverwood Lake.
There are a few things you need to know before taking a Silverwood Lake Camping Trip, so let’s go through them right now.
Silverwood Lake Overview
Silverwood Lake is found in one of the most popular states to visit if you’re looking for an outdoor adventure – California. Found in San Bernardino County, the lake spans 4.8 kilometers and flows out to the West Fork Mojave River.
The California Department of Water Resources operates the lake reservoir and it serves as the main water source for agencies near San Bernardino Mountain and the Mojave Desert areas.
Silverwood Lake is a popular destination for recreation as it features hiking trails, picnic tables, swimming beaches, and areas for boating, waterskiing, and fishing.
In fact, the Pacific Crest Trail (considered the “jewel in the crown of America’s scenic trails) passes through the Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area, so if you so happen to be hiking the ever-famous PCT, you can rest here.Enter your text here...
The park is open from Monday to Sunday from 6:00 AM to 9:00 PM during the summer (April 1 to September 30) and 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM during the winter (October 1 to March 31).
There is a $10 park fee for day use and the overnight fees depend on what specific campground you choose, but it’s usually around $50 per campsite.
It is a kid and dog-friendly park, however, dogs are not allowed in the water and on swim beaches. They are only allowed on vessels or on land and they need to be kept on a 6-foot leash at all times for the safety of other users.
Camping is nothing without a campfire, and luckily, campfires are allowed in the designated fire rings. If you want to set up a nice barbecue, you can do so in the established barbecue areas in the day use parts of the campgrounds.
For safety, ground fires are not allowed in the day use areas or anywhere outside the provided campfire rings. Remember to follow the rules when it comes to fire since this is for everyone’s safety as well as the park’s preservation.
You can get to Silverwood Lake via Highway 138 and it is 11 miles east of the I-15. If you are coming from San Bernardino, it is 20 miles north via Highway 18 and 138. Once you get there you can park on the street.
Oh! And if you’re one of those people who enjoy biking, there are parking spots for your bike as well!
The information about RVs and Trailer size limitations slightly vary depending on what site you visit, but they are allowed. The general limit is 30 feet for RVs and 24 feet for trailers.
Boating was never really my thing, but it’s an activity my husband enjoys, which is why this is one of his favorite destinations. If I want him to come with me outdoors, I just have to say, “can-bring-boat” and he’ll be packing immediately.
Silverwood Lake is a popular area for boating, but a boat launch reservation is required if you are staying overnight with a boat or a trailer. You can get one online from Reserve America for the most convenience.
There is a rule that all boats have to be cleaned, drained, and dry because there will be a mandatory inspection. If you fail it, you won’t be able to launch your boat for seven days, so prepare beforehand!
The mandatory inspection applies to all boats, personal watercrafts, kayaks, canoes, sailboards, inflatables, and float tubes. The purpose of the inspection is to prevent the spread of Quagga and Zebra Mussels.
Quagga and Zebra Mussels are invasive species that threaten the recreational opportunities for the general public, the water delivery infrastructure of California, and the aquatic habitat of Silverwood Lake.
The inspections are merely to preserve the lake as well as give us the continued opportunity to use the campgrounds around it – so comply!
If you’re wondering about Jet Skis, if it is on the back of a pick-up truck, you don’t need a boat launch reservation!
PLEASE NOTE: All vessels must be off the lake before sunset.
Activities In Silverwood Lake
What’s a lake without any water activities? After all, I’m pretty sure that’s what you’re going for – to cool off from this crazy, summer heat.
Go On A Boat Ride
As mentioned, boating is a favorite activity in the area. But if you don’t have a boat and you’ve never tried it before, you can rent one from the park.
Although it’s still not my favorite thing to do in the water, it’s something you should try at least once, especially if you have a husband who enjoys it as much as mine (and basically won’t stop pestering me until I go boating).
Immerse In The Water
Of course, boating isn’t the only water activity you can do there. You can explore Silverwood’s aquatic wildlife through scuba diving or snorkeling. Just remember to bring your gear!
If you’re lucky and the waves are in your favor, you can also go windsurfing or surfing – something I enjoy doing rather than sitting on a boat! (Sorry, Honey!)
What my husband enjoyed doing with my sons when they were younger whenever we visited Silverwood was fishing. This is a chance for you or your family members to release your inner angler and maybe catch some dinner!
But if you prefer to just relax, you can just go swimming or lounge around in the beach area – nothing wrong with getting some R&R under the sun!
Something I used to look for in campsites when my sons were younger was some sort of visitor center, museum, or something that can teach them about nature and the environment.
I think environmental education is crucial for your kids – it isn’t enough to take them out, you have to find ways to teach them about all the wildlife that surrounds them.
What’s great is that Silverwood has a visitor center, interpretive exhibits, and programs for environmental learning. Even better is that they are available even for day-use visitors, so you don’t have to stay overnight to participate.
You can also do some nature and wildlife viewing while you’re there. When I was younger, I used to carry around a small notebook where I would draw the plants and animals I would see in the places I would explore.
Then when I got home, I would research, read about them, and jot down notes on my “wildlife journal”. I think that’s how my appreciation for the outdoors truly began. It’s something I taught my sons to do as well many years ago.
Time With The Family
The best thing you can do in Silverwood Lake is to simply spend time with the family. There are picnic tables that you can use for both day use and overnight use. Whip out those camping cookware sets and make a meal together!
There are also some family programs available from time to time, just check the park’s website for schedules.
You can also go hiking with your family around the area. The trails are also open for bikes and horseback riding.
If you are camping, you don’t have to worry too much since there is a camp store, restrooms, showers, and drinking water available in the area. If you are camping with the family there is a campground to go to – Mesa Campground.
If you are camping at Silverwood with your family, stay at Mesa Campground because, well, it’s the only family campground in Silverwood Lake. Although, there are other group sites as well so you don’t have to worry that much!
Mesa Campground has 142 campsites, including 7 walk-in sites. There are flush toilets, piped water, showers, and an RV sanitation station. Some sites in Mesa Campground have RV hook-ups as well.
There are picnic tables, grills, and fire rings in Mesa making it the perfect place to set up a nice barbecue for lunch and then ghost stories around the campfire late at night.
Mesa is open year round. It costs $45 per night for a standard site and $50 for a site with an RV hookup.
You can reserve a site at Mesa from Reserve America or call their number at (800) 444-7275. If you are looking for other campgrounds in Silverwood, you can visit California’s Greatest Lakes for other options.
What To Bring To Silverwood
Camping with your family can be a bit stressful during the planning phase because you always want to make sure you have everything you need. To help you out a bit, here are some items I suggest you bring with you for maximum fun!
Especially if you’re staying overnight! Load your family’s favorite drinks in there or keep meat fresh for a nice grill. If you’re going fishing, you can store your fresh catch in the cooler as well to take it home.
Whether you’re staying for the day or braving the night, bring lots and lots of snacks to munch on. Some favorites include pretzels, chips, trail mix, marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate to make s’mores!
Don’t forget your camping cookware so you can make freshly cooked meals for the family. You can also bring a portable stove if you don’t feel like cooking over a fire pit or a barbecue grill.
You’re going to a lake so bring floaties that will allow you and your family to chill under the sun! Just remember to make sure they are clean since they’ll be inspected in the site!
Of course, if you’ll be floating all day, bring some sunscreen and maybe a hat to protect yourself from getting sunburned. The last thing you want is going home or going back to work with burning, red skin!
Anything that falls under the category of things that makes the outdoors more fun can be considered a toy. Bring a kite, Frisbee, small shovels to bring sandcastles; basically anything your kids will enjoy playing with.
Lastly, don’t forget your basic camp gear like your tent, sleeping pads, sleeping bags, tarp/canopy, pillows, headlamps, lanterns, etc!
Time To Head Out
Everyone deserves a chance to relax and have fun. The best way to do that is to unplug, unwind, and spend it outdoors.
There are a lot of activities you can do there but the best thing that Silverwood Lake can do for you is to cool you down during the summer sunshine.
For the best experience, try to reserve ahead of time, especially if you have an RV/trailer or a boat. Remember that boats and other water-bound items will be inspected so clean them before you go.
Do try to drop by the exhibits and visitor center and participate in nature and wildlife viewing especially if you have kids! It will be a nice, learning experience for them.
If you haven’t started packing for your Silverwood Lake Camping trip, well then, you better start packing! Grab your family or friends and take them down there with you the next chance you get.