On warm summer days, you’ll
find Utica Reservoir dotted with outdoor
enthusiasts indulging in some of their
favorite activities: picnicking beside
rippling water, horseback riding and hiking
along groomed trails, taking an invigorating
splash-filled dip in
the refreshing water, or pitching a tent for
a night’s rest under the stars.
The Utica Reservoir feeds to Union
Reservoir located just south of Utica
Reservoir. Utica and Union Reservoirs are
small, picturesque reservoirs located off
the Spicer Reservoir Road, about two miles
off of Highway 4, near Bear Valley.
One thing Utica Reservoir has is an
abundance of outstanding scenery – and
people. If you’re looking for peace and
relaxation, Utica Reservoir delivers on
weekdays. Both Union and Utica Reservoirs
are crowded in the summertime, especially on
weekends. If you can choose a midweek day or
off-season time to visit, the experience is
Utica Reservoir is a paddling paradise
(no powerboats allowed). The reservoir is
small and can be easily paddled in a couple
of hours, but it takes days to actually
explore the seemingly endless hidden
passages, breathtaking landscapes, colorful
lily ponds, beautiful babbling brooks and
secluded coves. Large rock islands protrude
out of the water for as far as the eye can
see, make this a unique paddling experience.
For those who choose
to cast a line into Utica Reservoir, trout
may be your only catch of the day. If kayak
fishing is your game, the reservoir offers
limited fishing opportunities. The
Department of Fish and Game has not stocked
the reservoir as of 2009.
Terrain: A visit to Utica Reservoir is
one giant photo opportunity. Whether you’re
paddling, hiking or fishing, have your
camera ready and keep your eyes open for
abundance of wildlife.
There are a few islands that allow
boat-in camping, though the reservoir is not that
large, it can be paddled easily in a day by a strong
paddler. There’s plenty of picturesque coves to
check out. I recommend planning an outing here on a
non-holiday weekend. One thing Utica Reservoir has
is an abundance of outstanding scenery!
Open: The reservoir access road is usually open
June through October. Winter camping is allowed
anywhere within the Calaveras Ranger District.
Fees: There is no day use or launch fee, but
there is a fee to camp.
Lake Facilities: The road is car accessible but
rough in spots. No powerboats are allowed. Boat-in
camping is permitted at several of the islands. The
reservoir is beautiful and secluded, perfect for
kayak camping. Hiking is also a popular thing to do.
Directions: Take the Spicer Road exit off
highway 4. You will turn left after about eight
miles. The road is dirt and rough but is in good
shape. When you come to a fork in the road take the
left road. If you go straight you will go to Union
Lake. The boat lunch for Utica is a right turn when
you see the sign and pit toilet. Power boats are not
allowed on Utica. Use caution if it has recently
rained so you don’t get stuck in the mud on the
reservoir lake access road.