Going camping is one of my favorite things to do and spending a week camping at Eagle Lake is probably my favorite time of the year. The second largest natural lake in California is one of Northern California’s hidden gems. Eagle Lake offers great trout fishing and bird watching, if you’re lucky you can see a variety of birds including bald eagles, golden eagles, and osprey.
Depending on when you visit, on the lake you will see thousands of Clark’s Grebes and Western Grebes. These birds have floating nests on the water and their breeding season coincides with boating season. They have a really fascinating courtship display called ‘rushing’, where a pair of Grebes look as if they’re running across the water. As they cross the water in synchronization, they come entirely out of the water and stretch their necks out. And it’s really cute to watch the babies climb up on their backs.
There’s something so refreshing about being surrounded by nature and not having cell phone reception. It provides a much needed break from school, work, and technology. I spent some time sitting at camp reading and a ton of bluejays, blackbirds, and doves came right up to me. There are chipmunks running all over the campgrounds and marina which are super adorable! Don’t forget to pack your bugspray, there are a lot of mosquitos in the evening!
The Eagle Lake Marina offers some food and camping supplies but Susanville isn’t far away if you need to make a trip to the store. The marina has a few pontoons and fishing boats available to rent. Coin operated showers and laundry facilities area available to the public at the marina. We visited the marina every day to snack on some ice cream.
There are several different campgrounds you can choose to stay at – Merrill, Aspen, Christie, Eagle, and West Eagle Group. We camped at the Merrill Campground, which is the largest of the campgrounds and is two miles from the marina. It can accommodate tent campers and RV’s, offering full and partial hookups as well as grey water dump areas. Because of the access to the water, you can tie your boat to the shoreline or hand launch kayaks/canoes for no fee. Merrill also offered free wifi, but I’m not sure if the other campgrounds did.
Aspen Campground is the smallest of the campgrounds. It offers tent only camping but it’s within walking distance of the marina. This campground actually looks really cool due to its tent only camping. But you can’t park your car at your camp site so I recommend picking a site next to the parking area. The Christie Campground is farthest from the marina at 5 miles. But it’s remote location offers a more private camping experience. It also has access to the shoreline where you can moor your boat for no fee. Eagle Campground offers 50 campsites and is only a half mile from the marina but offers no shoreline access. And Eagle West Group Campground is for larger groups of 75-100 people.
There are trails that connect the campsites and the marina, so bring your bike or running shoes. If you’re really interested in hiking, head over to the Lassen Volcanic National Park. Plan your trip around the Lassen County Fair (in Susanville) which features live music, car races, and a demolition derby. And make sure you head into Susanville to the Lassen County Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning because they have the freshest and most delicious fruit.
If nothing else, head up to Eagle Lake just to experience the sunrise or sunset. The sunrise over the mountains is absolutely breathtaking.
For more information about camping at Eagle lake and to make reservations, head to the Eagle Lake Marina & Campground site.