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12-27-2011 12:00 PM

Bullards Bar Northern California
Has anybody ever camped/ridden here? Thinking about planning a trip in April for a few days, if anybody has any tips or suggestions about where to camp and ride that would be awesome.

wake_upppp 12-27-2011 12:59 PM

We go every year. April is a bit early in the season. You will have colder water temps and during normal to heavy rain years, alot of debris early in the season. Air and water temps are great starting in June. We like Dark Day for camping since it's right next to the boat ramp. As far as riding, we like up the inlet since there is a nice waterfall up there for just hanging out and the inlet river runs through the canyon and is well protected.

12-27-2011 1:05 PM

awesome thanks, I was looking into a triple site in Dark Day, the trip is for my birthday so I decided I can brave the weather, I usually start riding in feb or march anyway so the cold water isn't a huge deal, that's why boats have heaters right? haha I figure it will be a good opportunity to ride there without too much weekend warrior traffic to ruin the nice water.

wake_upppp 12-27-2011 3:16 PM

Bring a spare prop.

wakeboardertj 12-27-2011 4:15 PM

Definitely bring another prop... there is going to be a lot of driftwood that time of month. And freezing at night. The late snow season we are having in the sierra shouldn't help either.

fullspeed 12-27-2011 5:32 PM

I would advise against Bullards Bar at that early in the season. Not worth the damage to your boat, prop or your body when you do a header into a floating log. Safety First. Even in early June you still see water hazards. Don't get me wrong I love that lake and it is my favorite lakes that my familiy and friends like to go to. Besides the distant camp grounds we love it there. Best house boats in California beside Shasta in my opinion. April is really to early for that lake. How about lake Naciemento and hit bullards a little later in the season.

rmotoxxx711 12-27-2011 7:41 PM

Second that on Bullards that early in the season. Sketchy to say the least. If you wait til mid summer you will be glad you did. Awsome lake, totally scenic water color is unreal. Camp grounds are the place to be if your looking to be with family and quiet because it's lights out about 1030 and noise to a complete minimum. I like to have a good time and party so we shoreline camp where we can be louder. Go to schoolhouse camp grounds if you camp with family amd be sure to lock up all food in the brown bear safe food cases as I have seen a bear every time I've been there

wake_upppp 12-27-2011 8:45 PM

I've never seen any bears there.

kybool 12-28-2011 5:30 AM

I would go Dark Day over Schoolhouse, that group site is great. Right by the ramp and you can anchor the boat on the shore below or easily just pull it out each night. We pull ours out and buy the cheaper gas from the station down the street vs getting ripped off at the marina It is easy to unload/load your camping gear. Some of the other sites in DD are on a steep hill and a bit of a pain. I have no doubt bears frequent the campground but our biggest issue early season, aside from s**t-loads of driftwood, are mosquitos.especially if it rains w/ in a week if your trip.

If we don't start getting some snow in the mountains soon you might be worrying about water levels more than driftwood.

jarrod 12-28-2011 7:41 AM

Awesome lake. But I would echo what the others have said.

Go later, or go to Oroville.

shawndoggy 12-28-2011 9:47 AM


Originally Posted by kybool (Post 1723171)
If we don't start getting some snow in the mountains soon you might be worrying about water levels more than driftwood.

No kidding.

The debris issue really depends on the water level. If the water gets up to the treeline, there will be debris and lots of it. The lower the water level is from the treeline, the less debris. The last couple of years the water has gotten really high, so there isn't much debris under the treeline that hasn't already been floated, meaning that it shouldn't be THAT bad if it's 20' or more down. I've been in May, before the reservoir crests, and the debris isn't that bad. This year there was crazy debris well into July because the water levels were so high.

It will be hella cold in April though, and I'm not sure whether the campgrounds are even open that early.

Boat in camping at garden point is about the most fun you can have ever. If the water is low, be sure to bring some sherpas tho.


Riteride 12-28-2011 10:34 AM

My favorite lake for sure, but the debris can get crazy.. Garden Point is also my favorite but that is if the water level is not to low like Shawndoggy was saying, or you will have to hall all your gear about a 100 yards straight uphill.. I have gone through three props in a week camping trip, so make sure you bring and extra..

Riteride 12-28-2011 1:36 PM

Cant edit my post above.. It was only two props that I went through..

logan 12-28-2011 3:13 PM

Ok so no go on Bullards Bar, I'll make that a June or July trip. How about Mclure or Don Pedro?

unclejessie 01-03-2012 10:18 AM

Drift wood is huge issue for any Nor Cal Lake. I have spent dozens of early season weekends on Oroville, Bullard's, Don Pedro, and New Melones. They ARE ALL BAD for drift wood in the early season. Of all those I listed, I would Don Pedro is the best because much of the good riding areas are way away from the river inlet. As for Bullard's, the forest service skims the lake a few times in the spring, so you can get lucky and hit it right after, you will be fine. They do not publish when they will skim though, so it is a crap shoot. Call the marina and ask them when it was last skimmed and that can help you make a decision.


wake_upppp 01-03-2012 7:42 PM

^^^^ I disagree. I frequent many Nor Cal lakes as well and I have never seen any as bad as I've seen Bullards early in the season in a moderate to heavy rain year. Orroville I've never been but have heard about debris issues. Don Pedro and New Melones are more central cal. It really depends on the terrain around the lake more so than location.

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