Lake Spaulding Kayak Camping

We're Gonna Need a Bigger Boat

Lake Spaulding Kayak Camping
Nevada City, CA

Last August we took our kayaks out on Lake Tahoe and while paddling the west shore, Charene stated "Wouldn't it be fun to just pull ashore and camp off these".  Well that single statement got me thinking.....yes, yes we could........if we had bigger boats.   Well this spring, after much research and shopping, we scored bigger boats at REI. Not too much bigger, a little over a foot longer than our old kayaks but with hull storage.

Rolling out Friday afternoon with smiles and grins.

Lake Spaulding was our original destination but after a quick map check we thought maybe we could go a little further north up to Bowman Lake. On the map it looks bigger than Spaulding and possibly more secluded.

After about 8 miles the pavement ends and we are now on dirt, good thing LeeLoo has new AT tires.

It's early evening and we were unsure if getting all the way to the lake was possible. Since we didn't pack water (because we planned on being on it) we needed to fill our stores.  Charene spotted this spring right on the side of the dirt road and thanks to the MSR Guardian........... we have drinking water.

Bowman Lake is fourteen miles up from Highway 20 and this was mile thirteen.....bridge is out and the bypass to the left was 4x4 only....Lil LeeLoo, the Honda Element, was not going any further.

We decided to make camp at the base of the dam within a mile of our destination.  Found this great little spot to park for the night, complete with fire ring.

The next morning we made a breakfast of Paleo Pancakes with Canadian bacon off LeeLoo's tailgate.

Back down Bowman Lake Road and we are back at Lake Spaulding

Much calmer winds than the previous evening and we can't wait to get the boats in the water.

Emotion Spitfire 9 sit on top kayaks all loaded and ready for their first adventure.

Time to make camp. 
It's amazing how much stuff we could get into the hull of the kayak.

Its also amazing how some things find a space in the hull and won't come out. I kinda needed that Thermarest sleeping pad.

Home Sweet Home

Our camp location was a little up the hill from the waterline. 
It was a little bit of a hike since there was no trail and lots of pine needles on the ground, but the setting was very nice. 

Tents up, hammocks up............paddlers down.

After a nice long hammock nap, we went out exploring the shoreline. But first, need to refill the water bottle right from the lake with the MSR Trailshot...... love these little guys.

Paddling out the channel of Fordyce Creek and into the main body of the lake.

Heading up towards the South Yuba River.

You can see the high water mark of this reservoir. It's about fifteen feet lower than it was a few weeks ago when I bikepacked here.

Boats ashore for the night and we decided to build a fire lakeside to make dinner and watch the sunset.

Tip: Tortilla chips make great fire starters! (I hear Fritos are the best!) haha
Included here are also olive oil soaked cotton balls and plain cotton balls soaked in alcohol. 
The wood we used was all driftwood from the beach. It was bone dry and hard. Burned clean and hot! 

Our campfire with a view. 

Morning view from inside the tent. Makes it hard to leave. 

This campsite was just down the hill from ours, but was occupied when we pulled in.  
Great site with Fordyce Creek falls along side and nice camp furniture.

The view from the creek side camp

Lunchtime lounging before we break camp.


We paddled out along the north west shoreline to check it out.

Old Man Mountain way off in the distance.

Light winds and warm temps make for a great day on the lake.

Back to the boat ramp and we loaded up the kayaks on LeeLoo. 

A little info on Lake Spaulding
Lake Spaulding rests at an elevation of 5,014 feet in a glacier carved bowl of granite.  The lake has a surface area of 698 acres surrounded by giant rocks and a thick pine forest.  The lake was originally built for hydraulic mining in 1912, but today campersand boaters enjoy this beautiful lake. All types of boating is allowed on the lake, and fishing from the boat and the shore can be very rewarding.  This is a fine lake for a family outing with a spectacular setting of granite boulders reaching into the clear blue waters.