Everything You Need to Know About Sly Park Lake, California

No trip to Northern California is complete without a visit to Sly Park Lake! Also known as Jenkinson Lake at the Sly Park Recreation Area, this hidden gem is the perfect spot for a fun summer day in the sun. Dive into the sparkling blue water, get out and explore miles of hiking trails, or share a romantic picnic by the shoreline. Read on to discover how you can experience this gorgeous oasis to the fullest. Then, request our free Vacation Guide for more recommendations about things to see and do in Northern California!

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About Jenkinson Lake at the Sly Park Recreation Area

The sign at the entrance to Sly Park Recreation Area

Sly Park Lake is located near Placerville, CA, in the heart of the Eldorado National Forest. The lake itself is a prime destination for swimming, fishing, water skiing, boating, and a variety of paddle activities. If you prefer to explore the park, there are more than nine miles of scenic trails that wind through meadows and woodlands. The trail system closely follows the perimeter of the lake, offering beautiful views from every angle. Keep an eye out for wildlife along the way; the park is home to more than 150 different bird species!

When you’re ready for a break, stop and rest at one of the several day-use areas scattered throughout the park. These rest areas are equipped with tables, restrooms, and clean drinking water — perfect for a picnic lunch or cookout!

How to Get There

To get to the Jenkinson Lake main entrance from Placerville, take Hwy 50 East until you reach Exit 60 for Sly Park Road. Take the exit and turn right. Travel approximately 4.2 miles downhill. You will see the park staff’s kiosk on your left. The address is 4771 Sly Park Road, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. There is a $13 car fee ($15 on holidays) and a $5 fee per dog. Make sure to ask the park staff for a map of the hiking trails, or print one out ahead of time.

Hike to Sly Park Waterfall

The Waterfall Hike Trailhead at Sly Park Lake

Whether you prefer to stay on land or splash in the lake, you are sure to enjoy every second of your time at Sly Park Lake. However, for a truly unforgettable experience, we highly recommend the waterfall hike. Located near the northeast portion of Jenkinson Lake, the bubbling man-made waterfall is approximately 33 feet high. The views are well worth the trek!

To get to the trailhead, park at the end of the lake along the fence near spot #143. Cross the little wooden bridge and turn right onto the Southshore trail. You’ll be traveling along the shore for just under a mile. It’s a nice, shady stroll. When the trail forks, the best option is to stay right along the shoreline. When you see the Park Creek Bridge, you are almost there! If you cross the bridge and continue left, you’ll be on the same side as the falls. Or, take a dip in the shallow swimming hole and wade across to the waterfall area. Don’t forget to bring your camera!

Book Your Stay at Eden Vale Inn

View inside the Live Oak room at Eden Vale Inn

Just a short drive from Sly Park Lake, Eden Vale Inn offers the perfect accommodations for your stay. Our romantic Placerville bed and breakfast is located near all of the area’s most beautiful waterfalls, lakes, and hiking trails. After a fun-filled day outdoors, come home to our inn and relax with a restorative spa treatment or a couple’s massage. Each of our rooms features luxurious amenities, comfortable furnishings, private bathrooms, fireplaces, and private patios or decks. We even offer pet-friendly accommodations for guests traveling with their four-legged friends!

During your stay, you can expect to start each morning right with a delicious gourmet breakfast to send you on your way. We also offer a concierge service, WiFi internet service, parking, and a variety of romantic specials to make your getaway even more memorable. Are you ready to plan your next exciting getaway? Check our availability and make your reservation today. We can’t wait to welcome you!

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