The New Melones Lake Glory Hole Recreation Area offers spectacular outdoor recreation on and the 3rd largest reservoir in California. Enjoy pet-friendly tent and RV camping, miles of hiking and mountain biking trails, fishing, swimming, boating and boat rentals, kayaking, rock climbing, wildlife viewing and stargazing.
At 12,500 surface acres, New Melones Lake was formed by damming the spectacular Stanislaus River’s deep canyons. Here, you’re likely to see golden and bald eagles, ospreys, red-tailed hawks, quail, turkeys, owls, deer, squirrels, and if you’re lucky, maybe even a coyote or gray fox. Lake levels are high for 2017 – so expect glorious days on the lake!
New Melones Lake Glory Hole Recreation: CAMPING & RV
There are 140 campsites at 2 campgrounds: Big Oak and Ironhorse, most accommodating either RV or tent camping. Campground amenities include: campfire rings and picnic tables at each site | campfire programs | amphitheater | interpretive hikes | horseshoes | showers & toilets are temporarily closed – portables are provided. Get full details on camping here.
New Melones Lake Glory Hole Recreation: FISHING
Glory Hole Sports, the New Melones Lake fishing experts can tell you everything you need to know and provide all of the equipment you need to have a successful day on the lake. Here’s what they say about fishing New Melones:
Fishing is wonderful year-round at New Melones Lake. From Thanksgiving to February, when the trout are gorging themselves on shad in the coves and creek channels, anglers catch stringers of beautiful two to seven pound rainbow and brown trout right from shore. On warm summer nights, boaters can limit out using minnows or night crawlers with submersible lights that attract baitfish, which in turn attract the big trout. It’s very pleasant to spend the night (the lake is open to boaters all night long) bobbing under the stars, the lake water all around you shimmering from your light and the flash of minnows
The lake is home to largemouth, a few smallmouth, spotted and redeye bass. Spring through fall, bass action is hot. In fact, bass fishing tournaments have embraced the lake in recent years, including it in their itineraries and holding Tournaments of Champions there. Summer and fall bring catfish in the three to thirty pound range, some even larger. Perch and crappie can be caught both in the summer using jigs and minnows in the coves and creek channels, as well as in the winter, fishing deep at night using minnows with submersible lights. Kokanee (small, feisty relatives of salmon, and regarded by some as the best tasting of any freshwater fish) were introduced into the lake in spring of 1997, and are thriving far beyond anyone’s expectations. Kokanee action is great in the spring and summer, with limits of two- pounders being common. Members of the Project Kokanee and Kokanee Power say Melones is one of their favorite kokanee lakes.
Fishing amenities at the lake: fishing supplies and bait at the marina store | Game fish: Largemouth Bass & Smallmouth Bass, Rainbow Trout, Kokanee | Pan fish: Crappie, Bluegills, Catfish, Channel Catfish | Fishing license & boat rentals: New Melones Lake Marina | fish cleaning station
You can also get additional fishing gear, expert advice, bait and fishing licence from Glory Hole Sports, just outside the park. If you are just starting out and want expert tuition, consider a fishing guide service like Xperience Fishing Guide Service or ProCast Fishing.
New Melones Lake Glory Hole Recreation: HIKING & BIKING TRAILS
SIX HIKING & BIKING TRAILS (see map below)
Angels Creek Trail: 2.5 miles | 4.0 kilometers | moderate
Buck Brush Loop: 1.3 miles | 2.1 kilometers | easy
Carson Creek Trail: 2.3 miles | 3.7 kilometers | moderate
Frontier Trail: 2.0 miles | 3.2 kilometers | moderate
Gold Rush Trail: 2.2 miles | 3.5 kilometers | moderate
Tower Climb: 1.3 miles | 2.1 kilometers | challenging
Click on image to download full resolution map:
New Melones Lake Glory Hole Recreation: TRAIL SAFETY & SUSTAINABILITY
As always, when hiking natural areas in Calaveras County, it’s important to follow some sustainability and safety rules. In order to keep these trails beautiful for the forseeable future, we ask that you follow a “Leave No Trace” philosophy, and #hoplightly. You will also want to follow these safety recommendations provided by the US Bureau of Reclamation recommends for hiking New Melones:
- Never hike alone. Hiking with a partner will allow you to have assistance in case of an emergency.
- Take plenty of water. Stay hydrated – always drink water before you feel thirsty. New Melones Lake is located in a very hot, dry climate and it is very easy to become dehydrated quickly.
- Pace yourself. Due to the climate, the summer temperatures can exceed 100 ºF, and you can be overcome by the heat quickly. Plan your hike for the cooler morning hours whenever possible.
- Be aware of and respect wildlife. New Melones Lake is home to a great deal of wildlife including mountain lions, rattlesnakes, and ticks.
- Mountain lions hunt primarily in the late evening (twilight). Avoid hiking or using game trails, hiking alone or traveling through high grass during twilight and into the night.
- Rattlesnakes prefer the shade during the hot daylight hours, and rock or paved surfaces during the cooler evening hours. Give them the “right of way” and a take a wide path around them. They are not normally aggressive, but will attack if provoked or feel trapped. They can strike from a significant distance.
- Tick bites can be prevented by the use of insect repellents designed to repel ticks or by wearing long pants and long sleeved shirts when hiking. When returning from a hike, check yourself (and your pets) carefully for ticks. Remove ticks carefully and do not leave mouth parts. While it is still uncommon, ticks in this area have been found to carry Lyme disease.
- Pets must be kept on a leash no longer than 6 feet (1.8 m) in length at all times while at New Melones Lake. This is for the protection of your dog as well as for the convenience, safety and courtesy of
- Let someone know where you are going and when to expect you back.
- If you are overdue or in need of assistance, have your party contact a New Melones ranger in person or by calling 1-209-536-9094 ext. 0 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. After hours, for Glory Hole Recreation Area contact the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Dispatcher at 1-209-754-6500. In case of an emergency, dial 9-1-1.