Paddle Notes: Utica Reservoir is located near Bear
Valley. One thing
Reservoir has is an abundance of outstanding scenery
– and people. It’s surprising
when you drive for miles out in the middle of
nowhere, only to find tons of people, cars, boats
and trailers. Utica Reservoir has a rocky wooded
shoreline and several islands. Being forest service
land, camping is allowed most any place that is not
marked as no camping. Boat-in camping is permitted
at several of the islands.
The reservoir is beautiful and secluded, perfect
for boat-in camping. Hiking is also a popular way to
end your day with a hike through the area’s diverse
wilderness. Union and Spicer Meadows Reservoirs are
nearby that are worth the while to explore. Whether
you’re paddling, hiking or fishing, take your camera
along and keep your eyes open for abundance of
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 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. If you’re looking for
peace and relaxation, Utica Reservoir delivers on
the weekdays. End your day with a hike through the
area’s diverse wilderness
Kayak Fishing: If kayak fishing is your game, the
reservoir offers only ok fishing opportunities. Do
not expect good fishing at Utica Reservoir, because
the Department of Fish and Game has not stocked the
reservoir as of 2009. The reservoir feeds to Union
Reservoir located just south of Utica Reservoir.
Wind & Weather Conditions: The reservoir’s cold
water is a little too brisk for swimming. The area
receives an abundance of snow in the wintertime.
Sudden afternoon summer thunderstorms occur in July
During the summertime the day time high air
temperatures are in the 70's and cold at night in
the 30s and 40s. The warmest month of the year is
July with an average maximum temperature of 79. The
wettest month of the year is February with an
average rainfall of 8 Inches.
Terrain: 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.
Union and Spicer Meadows Reservoirs are nearby that
are worth the while to explore. Whether you’re
paddling, hiking or fishing, take your camera along
and keep your eyes open for wildlife.
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.