Glory Hole Recreation Area, New Melones Lake

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New Melones Lake

Glory Hole Recreation Area is located at New Melones Lake on the Stanislaus River. The 12,500 surface-acre lake is the fourth largest reservoir in California and is situated along the edge of the Mother Lode, the rich gold vein that prompted the California Gold Rush of 1849. At an elevation of 1100 feet, the diverse and resource-abundant Foothill Oak Woodlands hug the 100 miles of shoreline.

Popular activities on and around the large, yet uncrowded lake include fishing, boating, water skiing, wake boarding, jet skiing, sailing, swimming, kayaking, canoeing, wildlife viewing, rock climbing, hiking, biking, horseback riding and picknicking. The New Melones Visitor Center offers year-round interpretive events and a museum highlighting natural and cultural resources.

The campground provides modern amenities like flush toilets, showers and drinking water. Visitors will also find a full-service marina, boat launch, day-use areas, barbeque grills and a fish cleaning station. There is an amphitheater for Ranger programs and horseshoe pits in the Ironhorse campground. Picnic tables and fire rings are provided at each campsite.

Recreation Area gates close at:

9:00pm: October 1 – March 31

10:00pm: April 1 – Memorial Day (May)

11:00pm: Memorial Day (May) – Labor Day (September)

10:00pm: Labor Day (September) – September 30

Notifications and Alerts

  • This Recreation Area is not yet set up to accept “scan & pay” payments through the Recreation.gov mobile app. Please be patient with us as we implement this new function. 

  • All Campgrounds are open to reservation only camping.  

    The Visitor Center is open from 10am to 4pm on Saturdays and Sundays for annual pass sales. 

  • Big Oak Campground is open to self-contained RV camping only. All restrooms are closed.  

Need to Know

  • Big Oak Campground is open to self-contained RV camping only. All restrooms in Big Oak are closed. 

  • The entrance station is closed, please proceed to your reserved campsite. There will be a reservation tag and 1 or 2 green hangable vehicle tags clipped to your campsite’s post. Please leave the reservation tag on the post and place the vehicle tag(s) inside your vehicle(s). Please find a Camp Host or Park Ranger if you have questions. 

  • All vehicles must stay on paved roads and parking spots. 

  • Two vehicles permitted in standard campsites. One vehicle permitted in walk-to sites. All vehicles within the campgrounds must display a campground vehicle tag OR an overflow vehicle parking receipt.

  • Check in time is 3:00pm. Check out time is 2:00pm. 

  • Switching campsites after check-in is not permitted. Please contact a Park Ranger. 

  • The dump station is an additional $8 for registered campers or $4 for Senior/Access pass holder campers. Please pay using the automated fee station at the park entrance or by paying on Recreation.gov.

  • Camping fees include boat launch fees. Please ensure your vehicle is displaying a valid vehicle pass in your vehicle.

  • Campfires are only allowed in fire rings or grills in designated areas.

    During National Weather Service “Red Flag Warning” days, wood and charcoal fires will not be permitted. 

  • At New Melones Lake there is a 14 day camping limit within a 30 day period. 

  • Recreation area entrance gates close at 9:00pm. 

    Vehicle entry after the gates are closed is prohibited. Exit at any time.

  • Showers are located in each campground and are $0.50. Please bring your own quarters. 

  • If New Melones Lake elevation is below 870′, boat ramps are not available. “Water front” campsites may also not be available. Park maps depict an elevation around 1050 feet. 

    Current lake elevation: http://cdec.water.ca.gov/dynamicapp/QueryMM?Stations=NML&SensorNums=6&End=2021-07-19&span=1+month 

  • While recreating at New Melones Reservoir: 

    CLEAN, DRAIN, DRY boats and any other recreational equipment that comes in contact with water. Never dump unwanted bait, worms, fish parts or other organisms into the water. For more information visit https://www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov/ 

    STOP THE SPREAD OF INVASIVE SPECIES. REMOVE plants, seeds, animals and mud from boots, gear, pets, and vehicles. CLEAN your gear before entering and leaving the recreation site. STAY on designated roads and trails and use local firewood. For more information visit https://www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov/

Natural Features

New Melones Lake is located in Northern California between the historic gold rush towns of Sonora and Angels Camp. The terrain varies from rolling hills to steep marble cliffs, and the vegetation consists of oaks, Ponderosa pines, chamise and buckbrush shrubs.

Visitors can experience the beauty of New Melones by hiking the many trails in the Tuttletown and Glory Hole Recreation Areas.

The climate is Mediterranean with warm, dry summers and cool, wet winters. For those who wish to venture outside the main recreation areas, there are many unique places to visit. Overall, the geography is quite varied and provides many opportunities for all types of recreation.

Nearby Attractions

Glory Hole Recreation Area is surrounded by many places of natural beauty including Natural Bridges, Camp Nine, Yosemite National Park, Stanislaus National Forest, Moaning Caverns, Big Trees State Park and Columbia State Park.

Angels Camp Museum, Calaveras County Museum and Sonora Military Museum also provide great opportunities for learning interesting information about the area.

Surrounding communities are popular vacation and retirement destinations and provide necessary services and shopping opportunities. Golfing, snow skiing, river rafting, commercial caves, historical railroad and Native American museums are close by as well.

Recreation

Hiking, fishing, wakeboarding, waterskiing, boating, sailing and road and mountain biking are just a few of the activities available in Glory Hole Recreation Area. Camping is also permitted in designated campsites.

Equestrian trails are also present in the Peoria Wildlife Mitigation Area and open for the general public. Other interesting sites include Natural Bridges, which can be accessed from Parrott’s Ferry Road and has a nice hiking trail and a creek that flows through a marble cave. The Table Mountain Trail provides visitors an opportunity to hike to the top of an extensive lava flow which occurred over nine million years ago.

Changes & Cancellations

All site changes and cancellations need to be done through the Recreation.gov website. 

Contact Information

Mailing

GLORY HOLE RECREATION AREA, NEW MELONES LAKE 6850 Studhorse Flat Road Sonora CA 95370

Physical

GLORY HOLE RECREATION AREA 6503 Whittle Ranch Road Angels Camp CA 95222

Phone Number

For campground inquiries, please call: 209-536-9094

Rental Options

Learn more about gear rental options for your trip

Driving Directions

From Sacramento take 99 S, 88 W and 12 E to San Andreas. Take 49 S for approximately 15 miles. Turn right onto Whittle Ranch Road and follow the road 2 miles to the recreation area.

From Central California and the Bay Area take 80 E, 580 E then 205 E to 120 E in Manteca. Take the exit for 120 E/99 N. Continue on 120 E, then take 108 E to 49N. Turn left onto Whittle Ranch Road and follow the road 2 miles to the recreation area.

Available Campsites

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