Tuolumne and Calaveras Counties
Northern California

New Melones Recreation

Recreation at New Melones Lake: Visitors Center, Ranger Led Hikes, Junior Rangers, Campfires, Swimming, Natural Bridges, Caves

Outdoor and Underground Adventures

Raft the Stanislaus River
with O.A.R.S.

+ O.A.R.S. is one of the most respected names in guided river raft tours with more than 40 years of experience world-wide.
+ Raft down 5 miles of class IV water by Calaveras Big Trees State Park
+ Daily runs April to early June
O.A.R.S. - Stanislaus River

Zip Lines

+ Twin zip lines, 1500 feet long, speeds exceeding 40 MPH
+ Offered by Moaning Caverns, Parrots Ferry Rd., just north of the bridge
+ Must weight between 70 and 260 pounds, no age limit
+ Open daily, $44
Moaning Caverns Zip Lines

Mercer Caverns

+ Guided tour of the famous Mercer Caverns
+ Just a few miles outside of Murphys
+ $16 for adults and $9 for children between the ages of 3 and 12 years.
(209) 728-2378
Mercer Caverns

Golf at Saddlecreek Resort

+ 18-hole Public Access course near Copperopolis
+ Scenic course with lakes, streams, and dramatic views of the Sierra
+ Recognized as the 8th best public access course in California by Golf Week Magazine in 2006
+ Practice putting greens and target greens, lessons
To reserve a tee time, call
(888) 852-5787 or (209) 785-3700
Green Fees: $45 - $99
Saddlecreek Resort - Golf


New Melones Facilities and Programs

New Melones Lake Visitors Center

New Melones Lake Visitors Center and Museum are located on Highway 49, between Sonora and Angels Camp, just 1/4 mile south of the Highway 49 Stevenot Stanislaus River Bridge.
(209) 536-9543     Website: New Melones Lake Visitors Center
Hours: 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day - open 7 days a week
Labor Day to Memorial Day Weekeend - 5 days a week, closed Mondays and Tuesdays


The New Melones Lake Visitor Center and Museum contains displays and exhibits on the area's geologic past, Mi-Wok Indian and early human history, the California Gold Rush, mining techniques, ranching, the town of Robinson Ferry, natural history, and the New Melones project.

Spring 2018 Ranger-Led Activities

Learn more about these activities and others: Spring 2018 Recreatioin Activities or contact Park Ranger Mike McGraw at 209-536-9094 ext. 233

  • Table Mountain Trek, March 25, 10:00 AM - challenging 3 mile hike with some steep sections.
  • New Melones Dam, New Melones Lake Dam Overlook, March 31, April 15, May 5, May 20, 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM A park ranger will answer questions about the dam and history of New Melones Lake.
  • Peoria Mountain, Saturday, April 14, 10:00 AM - a challenging 4-mile loop hike to the top of Peoria Mountain.
  • Heron Point Hike, Tuttletown Recreation Area, Saturday, April 28, 10:00 AM - Enjoy a leisurely 3-mile hike and discover what nature has to offer on a fresh spring day.
  • A Night with Jupiter, Eagle Point Picnic Area, Tuttletown Recreation Area, Wed., May 9, 8:00 PM - Learn what the night sky reveals, including how to identify prominent constellations and stars. Telescopes are available
  • Kayaking Excursion, New Melones Lake Visitor Center, Sat., May 12, and Sat., June 2, 10:00 AM Participants should be experienced swimmers, bring their own kayak or other non-motorized boat, paddles, and U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket (properly fitted and serviceable). Pre-registration required.
  • Natural Bridges, Saturday, May 19, 10:00 AM - Moderate to strenuous, 2-mile hike. Meet in the Natural Bridges Trailhead parking lot.

Junior Ranger Program

Junior Ranger programs offer activities and games for children to learn about subjects such as the plants, animals, history, water safety and geology of New Melones Lake. The programs are open to children 5 years and older. A parent or guardian must be present during the program. By participating in a program and completing activities in a Jr. Ranger handbook, children are able to earn a special badge and gift, making them a New Melones Junior Ranger.

History and Nature Walks

Interpretive park rangers lead walks and hikes during the fall, winter, and spring. These often focus on history, wildlife or geology. The hikes are always free. They are suitable for all ages and do no require reservations.


Special Events

Kids' Day Fishing Faire - 2nd Saturday in June

The Kids' Day fishing Faire is for disabled and disadvantaged children throughout the area, ages 15 and younger. The children enjoy a fun filled day of fishing and activities to help them learn about the environment and boat and water safety.

National Public Lands Day - late September

Around the country on National Public Lands Day thousands of volunteers join in a hands-on effort to improve and enhance public lands. Volunteers plant trees and plants, build trails and bridges, remove trash and invasive plants.

New Melones Picnic Areas and Swimming Beaches

Picnic Areas, Day-Use Areas, and a Swim Beach are located around Tuttletown Recreatioin Area and Glory Hole. All locations have restrooms and most have picnic tables.

  • Tuttletown Recreation Area
    • Eagle Point Picnic Area -next to Tuttletown boat launch ramp
    • Heron Point Day Use - on peninsula north of Tuttletown ramp
    • Lupine Day Use - next to Fiddleneck Group Campground, has fish cleaning station, telephone
  • Glory Hole Recreation Area
    • Black Bart Day Use Area - on the Glory Hole peninsula
    • Buckbrush Day Use Area - near Angels Creek
    • Osprey Point Day Use - on the Glory Hole peninsula
    • Angels Creek Swim Beach - near Angels Creek boat launch ramp (restroom nearby at boat launch ramp area)


Hiking Trails

Miles of developed hiking trails loop along the shore of New Melones Lake. The Bureau of Reclamation has developed excellent maps of the trails:

Nearby Recreation Attractions

Natural Bridges

Natural bridges formed in the limestone by the water. A 1-mile downhill hike from Parrots Ferry Road just south of the bridge. It can be a popular teenage swim location in the summer
Check at the Visitoir Center for Ranger led hikes to Natural Bridges in the spring or fall.

Moaning Caverns

Off Parrots Ferry Road, north of the bridge
(209) 736-2708 or (866) 762-2837
Moaning Caverns
45-minute walking tour of the cave, $14.95 adult, $7.95 child (ages 3 - 12)
Open daily, year-round.
More adventurous types of tours available.

Calaveras County Fair & Jumping Frog Jubilee, May 17-20, 2018

Calaveras County Fairgrounds at Frogtown
(209) 736-2561   Frogtown
Jumping Frog Contest, Carnival Rides, Exhibits, Music. Expect big crowds.
If you are not attending the fair, it's a good weekend to avoid the area.

Calaveras Big Trees State Park

Highway 4, 35 minutes driving time east of Angels Camp
Calaveras Big Trees State Park
Camping Reservations: (800) 444-7275 or
Reserve America
Hiking trails through groves of giant sequoia trees, visitors center

Columbia State Historic Park

10 miles from New Melones Lake. Take Highway 49 south and watch for signs.
Preserved Gold Rush town with dozens of old establishments to explore, museum, stage coach rides, gold panning
Free admission
Columbia State Historic Park

Railtown 1897 State Historic Park

Jamestown, CA
Railtown 1897 State Historic Park
Historic trains, roundhouse, interpretive center, location for many TV shows and movies, including Petticoat Junction, The Wild, Wild West, High Noon, and Back to the Future III.
Train Rides on Saturday and Sundays, April - October.

Ebbetts Pass Aventures

Explore all the best places along Highway 4 and over Ebbetts Pass - recreation, camping, activities.


California's Greatest Lakes

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