While not advertised very much and primarily only known to the "locals", the Jackson Meadow Recreation Area is a hidden jewel in the Tahoe National Forest.
The Jackson Meadow Recreation Area is about an hour's drive from Truckee in a beautiful area of the Northern Sierra. To save that long drive back into town for forgotten camp items, food, ice, or more fishing bait and tackle, the Jackson Meadow Camp Store is conveniently located on the western border of the Recreation Area. The Camp Store is located in a historical U.S. Forest Service wilderness fire station, which is now used as the administrative area for managing the Recreation Area.
Unlike many remote areas, the Jackson Meadow Recreation Area is easy to get to. Primary access is by a well maintained paved road, making the trip very easy for recreation vehicles, autos, trailers and boats. This hidden Recreation Area is 17 miles north of Truckee on Hwy #89, then 17 miles west on Forest Road #7. A secondary access is by way of the Bowman Lake Road off Hwy #20, but is only recommended for vehicles with high clearance.
Activities in the Jackson Meadow Recreation Area include boating, fishing, swimming, camping, picnicking, hiking, group camping, mountain biking, equestrian camping, and viewing scenery. Miles of 4WD and ATV roads surround the Recreation Area. During the winter season, Jackson Meadow Recreation Area is closed to vehicle traffic and becomes a "Snow Park" for use by snow mobiles and snow-skiing. Over 50 miles of marked snow trails are available in the winter, many groomed during the winter.
The Pacific Crest Trail passes through the eastern part of the Recreation Area and comes very close to the East Meadows campground. The Lasier Meadows Horse Camp is an ideal location for equestrian enthusiasts. There's even the Jackson Point Boat Camp that is only accessible by boat. A self-guided nature hike is located on the western part of the Recreation Area near Woodcamp campground.
A boat ramp is conveniently located on the eastern shore of Jackson Meadow reservoir, with another boat ramp on the western shore. During the summer, all types of boating activities are available. However, fishing is the best kept secret at Jackson Meadow Recreation Area. The lake is regularly stocked with nice size trout. A 13 pound German Brown Trout was caught on the lake in 2010.
The Jackson Meadow Recreation Area is accessible year-round, but by different means of transportation. The main summer camping and fishing season is from Memorial Day to late October. While many of the campgrounds close the end of October, camping is still available for the hunting season. During the winter, the entire area becomes a "snow park". The winter season depends on the snow level, but is usually from late November to late May.
There's no fee for the recreation area, the boat ramps, and the day use areas. The developed campgrounds are $21 per night.
ADA Accessibility Notes
Most of the facilities are ADA accessible. Only a few developed campsites in each campground are ADA accessible.
Pet Friendly Notes
Pets are welcome. There is a limit of two pets, which must remain on a leash at all times while in the developed areas. For the enjoyment of all, please clean up after your pets.