Lake Spaulding

Truckee, California

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2 Reviews
4 out of 5
A gigantic granite bowl that captures Sierra sunlight, exhilarating air, and liquid snow. Lake Spaulding practically shouts for paddlers to visit. The skies are normally deep blue and the water sparkling clear. Mountain ridges soar 2,000 feet above lake level. Easily accessible in a spectacular setting, Lake Spaulding is a major storage reservoir for Pacific Gas & Electric Company’s Drum Spaulding Hydroelectric Project. Pines and open granite surround the lake. The coves and inlets on the east side of the lake provide some seclusion, particularly on weekdays. Smooth granite slabs make comfortable spots to soak up the Sierra’s brilliant sunshine. By midsummer, Castle Peak’s crystalline snowmelt warms enough for enjoyable swimming. The high elevation, reflection from the granite and water, and bright sun can quickly cause sunburn. The west side of the lake offers great views, particularly the point immediately south of Rim Powerhouse. Grouse Ridge parallels the north side of the lake. Six miles to the east, Old Man Mountain is a steep granite crag that seems to be sheered on the north side. Four miles to the southeast, several antennas identify Cisco Butte. You can find the transcontinental railroad and Interstate 80, but they are not intrusive by sight or sound.
Paddling Northern California

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Paddling Northern California

by Charlie Pike (Falcon Guides)

A gigantic granite bowl that captures Sierra sunlight, exhilarating air, and liquid snow. Lake Spaulding practically shouts for paddlers to visit. The skies are normally deep blue and the water sparkling clear. Mountain ridges soar 2,000 feet above lake level. Easily accessible in a spectacular setting, Lake Spaulding is a major storage reservoir for Pacific Gas & Electric Company’s Drum Spaulding Hydroelectric Project. Pines and open granite surround the lake. The coves and inlets on the east side of the lake provide some seclusion, particularly on weekdays. Smooth granite slabs make comfortable spots to soak up the Sierra’s brilliant sunshine. By midsummer, Castle Peak’s crystalline snowmelt warms enough for enjoyable swimming. The high elevation, reflection from the granite and water, and bright sun can quickly cause sunburn. The west side of the lake offers great views, particularly the point immediately south of Rim Powerhouse. Grouse Ridge parallels the north side of the lake. Six miles to the east, Old Man Mountain is a steep granite crag that seems to be sheered on the north side. Four miles to the southeast, several antennas identify Cisco Butte. You can find the transcontinental railroad and Interstate 80, but they are not intrusive by sight or sound.

©  Charlie Pike/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing
Nearby City: Truckee
Distance: 9
Skill Level: Easy
Duration: Day trip
Class: Class I
Season: Best summer and autumn
Local Maps: USGS Blue Canyon, Cisco Grove
Driving Directions: Directions to Lake Spaulding

Recent Trail Reviews

8/13/2010
0

Beautiful lake and more full this year than any other time we have kayaked here. As with all mountain lakes, getting an early start is important. Today it was like glass. About 12:30 the wind started so we crossed the lake to get on the boat ramp side and by the time we reached the opposite shore, it was "glass" again. You just never know!!! Paddling every nook and cranny is lots of fun and having lunch at Fordyce Creek is a must regardless of how high the lake is. You can get out and walk the north shore along Spaulding Trail. We often see Bald Eagles and Osprey along with Merganser families swimming about. When the lake is lower (normal summer condition), both creek inlets provide beautiful paddling. We are a group of senior women and have paddled this lake almost every year for the past 10 years.


8/29/2006
0

On a gorgeous sunny day around 10am, a friend and I put our kayaks in at Lake Spaulding. We had to pay $7 for use of the boat ramp. We first paddled to the left, towards the dam, hugging the steep granite coastline. The dam end was too formidable to paddle next to it or cross the lake in front of it, so we abruptly turned around and went the same way we came. Paddling down the other end of the lake toward the east was delightful. We explored every cove. Although the lake is wide, the water released from the PG&E building on the opposite shore roared in a frenzy of whitewater. Determined to paddle the length of the lake, we were forced to cross open water as the wind conditions were picking up. It suddenly became a nervous adventure as whitecaps made our sideways trek harrowing. Once around the rocky bend and safe for awhile in the last protected cove, we gathered our strength for what we knew would be a strenuous journey back to the boat ramp. By now it was 3pm and the wind was gusting. Paddling along the coastline was not an option, as that would have put our kayaks sideways into the two foot swells. We focused on a point on land straight ahead that would take us front-first into the oncoming waves. There was never a moment to stop paddling to adjust a hat or scratch a nose. "Keep paddling!" my friend yelled over the ripping wind. Every now and then I would steal a glance backwards just to make sure she was still there. It was scary to cross such deep open water in such conditions, but we perservered and eventually saw the boat ramp far in the distance and knew we were almost there. I hugged the concrete of the boat ramp with my spent body and thought I'd stick to the simple pleasures of Lake Valley Reservoir from now on. Krista Noreika SnowProperty.com



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May 2018