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“Shanty Town Camping”

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Bear River Lake Resort
Ranked #2 of 2 Hotels in Pioneer
Placerville, California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Shanty Town Camping”
Reviewed 17 August 2010

Friends of ours kept telling us what a great spot this was. We are all sailors. The lake is pretty good for small sailboats. Since we also have a very large travel trailer 31' we decided to take a drive up and see what the campground looked like, as far as our manuvering our trailer there. The website made the place look very inviting. And it is quite popular as they are booked up for most of the summer months. I just don't understand why, or I guess I do, if you like dirt, being close together, on the side of a hill with lots and lots of motorcycles and ATVS driving by constantly then this is paradise. Not to mention it is on the high end of the price per night for camping. Well, the campground is nothing but dirt on sidehills. There are a lot of 5th wheels there, (which are much more manuverable than a pull trailer) however, from the looks of things, I beleive most of the larger RV come early in the season and leave them here. The word "shanty town" immediately came to mind. We are not snobby campers, but this place was just not our style at all, lots and lots of dirt, I was happy to see the "resort" has a water truck which makes the rounds wetting down the well-traveled (constantly by ATV's) in an effort to mitigate the thick fine dust. We ate lunch in the resort restaurant and were very happy witht the regular hamburger we ordered. Very tasty and not overdone and the staff was very nice. Not too much of any beaches for little kids, and what beach was there was also dirt, not sand. I like to camp but not in the 3" deep dust and dirt and on the side of a hill. And by the way, we probably could have manuvered our trailer into a few spots, but with a lot of hassle and why? So many more lovely places to go. This place would be great if you were ATV enthuiasts, which we are not. Other than that a day trip for fishing would be great. Beautiful lake.

  • Stayed August 2010, travelled as a couple
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11 Thank campcrazy54
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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25 reviews from our community

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LIVERMORE
Level Contributor
20 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 August 2010

First off I love camping and cooking outdoors and we have a tent trailer. I totally agree with one of the other posts this is a place for ATV's and lots of dust. It would not be bad to have ATV's if they didn't ride them around and around in the campground. We had to close our windows on the road side because of the dust from them. We actually left a day early because we couldn't take anymore. There are fire trails but there are so many kids and adults just driving around looking at your campsites and it is so noisy. I was so happy for nightfall so we didn't have to hear them anymore. This is not a place I would camp again. We really enjoyed the water but it's not worth it to put up with the noise.

  • Stayed July 2010, travelled as a couple
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8 Thank smiata91
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers are raving about these Pioneer hotels

Carmichael, California
Level Contributor
14 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 July 2010

This is a very different kind of camground. Primarily, the people who stay here are here to ride their quads/ATVs. The campsites themselves are crammed together and there are lots of families with kids. When the water is low you have to head over to the resevoir to get into the water. But when it's higher, there's a little inlet that sort of acts like a little lake nearer the individual campsites. Near the marina are where the 'regulars' stay. They bring their RVs and tend to stay all summer. The 'cabin's' are like mobile homes. Kind of odd for camping, but when they are nice.

Basically, if you are looking for a leisurely campground with quiet and lots of space...this is NOT the place. But if you are bringing your ATVs, this IS the place to come. Lots of riding at different levels to be found. And only about a 1 1/2 to 2 hour drive from greater Sacramento.

  • Stayed July 2010, travelled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank ofthemoon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
East S.F. Bay Area, CA
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 September 2009

I love this place. It's a camping resort so if you are looking to "rough it" or be completely secluded... this is probably not the place for you. Our family has been going there for a few years now and we love it. The campsite has lots that are kinda close to one another but it has never been a problem for us. We usually get one (or two) of the spots right off the water. There are plenty of water faucets, some electrical outlets, 4 hot showers (run off quarters), 2 restroom locations with 2 stalls in each the womans and mens. Horse shoe pit (bring your horseshoes) and a sand volleyball area. There is a swing set with two swings also. The fishing is good and there is a store that has plently of fishing equipment... a bar/restaurant/some groceries. The boat ramp is right in front of the store. If your looking to have some fun family time this is a nice place. People do stay up fairly late so you might hear them laughing etc.... BUT PLEASE if you have a new baby that cries all night... don't bring them hear because you will keep the whole site up... This happened to me the last time we went. =/

  • Stayed July 2009, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank Druslady96
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GrahamW58
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 July 2009

Just returned from a 2 day camping trip at Bear River Lake. This place is terrible and the worst camping experience we've ever had.

To start off, mapquest and google maps have completely incorrect directions in a crucial spot telling you to go left on hwy 88 instead of making a right. We ended up driving 10 miles out of the way before calling and getting the correct directions from the office. The person we spoke with said they were aware of these sites giving incorrect directions. They said they've written to the sites about the incorrect directions and there is nothing else they could do. How about posting the correct directions on their website, since that is how we based our directions and they actually provide a link to mapquest. But no mention at all. In fact they just give the address of the campsite and you are forced to use an outside source for driving directions. Even the Garmin GPS system had the incorrect directions. This should have been a red flag before we even arrived.

Finally arrived and set up our tents and quickly realized this is not the place for tent camping as 95% of the sites were occupied by trailer or RVs. There are no fire rings except for a metal box that was leaning up against a table when we got there and no grills, eventhough the website stated each site had grills. When planning the trip we considered booking one of the "cabins" they listed on the website. The term cabin could not be used more loosely as these are nothing more than single wide trailers and the entire cabin section looked like a crowded trailer park.

There are no hiking trails around the campsite, so unless you are going to spend the entire time fishing or renting their equipment, there is really nothing to do here.

One of the most dissapointing parts of the experience was the staff. Whether it was calling for directions, checking in, renting kayaks, or buying firewood, everyone we spoke to and dealt with was unpleasant, unfriendly and not helpful. Only cared about taking our money which it became pretty obvious was what this place was all about. A very small bundle of firewood was $7.25, you could easily spend $100 on firewood at this place. The canoe and kayak rentals were average hourly prices ($10-$15 per hour), but when asked what was available no one there knew what they had and when we finally made decisions they ended up not having the amount of equipment they originally stated they had.

In summary, avoid this place at all costs. Unpleasant staff, expensive services, and terrible facilities. Although the surrounding area is beautiful, this place is not the way to enjoy it. I would reconmmend Wrights Lake or Jenkinson Lake for a great camping experience.

  • Stayed July 2009, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
8 Thank GrahamW58
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Bear River Lake Resort

Property: Bear River Lake Resort
Address: 40800 State Highway 88, Pioneer, CA 95666-9114
Region: United States > California > Pioneer
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 2 Hotels in Pioneer
Number of rooms: 5
Also Known As:
Bear River Lake Hotel Pioneer

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