The Crystal Basin Recreational Area is home to a full menu of tremendous recreation.  Camping, Hiking, Mountain Biking, Hunting, Fishing, Off Road 4xe4 OHV, Boating etc.. It is all in the Crystal Basin Recreation Area.  Part of the Upper American River hydroelectric system this beautiful natural space is open to the public and ready to be explored!

Crystal Basin was one of our earliest partnerships for the public good. The recreational facilities are the joint vision of SMUD and the U.S. Forest Service. Started in 1957 and constantly improved, Crystal Basin today is nothing short of spectacular, a true gem in the Sierra Nevada foothills.

It’s almost easy to forget that the area also produces enough clean, affordable electricity to power about 180,000 homes a year in Sacramento.

From campsites to cabins, Crystal Basin is the perfect place for a family vacation. And of course, many of the developed areas are accessible for people with disabilities. ~ SMUD

The Jewel of this region in our opinion is Loon Lake.


More than 700 developed drive-in campsites are available, each with a fire ring and barbecue grate and table. Piped water, trash containers and toilets are available at most campgrounds. Loon Lake Chalet and Robbs Hut offer year-round lodging for larger groups.


Anglers cast for small-mouth bass, mackinaw, German brown or rainbow trout in the area’s lakes and streams.


All lakes have ramp access. Ice House Reservoir, Union Valley Reservoir and Loon Lake have paved boat ramps and are large enough to accommodate motorboats.

Horseback riding

Group and individual equestrian campgrounds are available at both Loon Lake and Wrights Lake, with access to scenic trails.


Hikers can access more than 117 miles of trails across the Sierra Nevada. Many offer easy-to-moderate day hikes.

Snow skiing

Cross-country skiers can traverse miles of pristine ski trails near Loon Lake.


Enjoy a 4.5-mile paved bike trail that meanders through beautiful timber stands of old grove sugar and ponderosa pine trees and offers great views of the Union Valley Reservoir.