Mia and I first went to Waldo Lake a few years ago. I’ve wanted to go back for some time now. Needless to say it is difficult to get a campsite there unless you book months in advance. UNLESS you wait until the official reservation window is closed and head down during the first come first served (AKA walkup) season. Which is exactly what Dean and I did this past weekend.
There are around 160 campsites at the three campgrounds surrounding the lake. North Waldo Lake Campground was my preferred location. There is also Shadow Bay and Islet Campground. Dean and I left his house around 7:30AM on Saturday morning for the 3.5 hour drive down. The goal was to grab a site before things got busy and then go for a ride around the lake.
The campground wasn’t quite 50% filled up so we had no problem finding a spot close to the lake but also level enough to park Dean’s 1999 van “Bonnie”. We got situated and where riding by just past noon.
Last time I rode the Ritchey 650b. This time I opted for the Trek Farley. The trail around the lake isn’t all that difficult. Mile 9ish to about mile 13 or so has the most climbing and techy sections but nothing that really requires full suspension or crazy mad skills. We also took the pace at a very “casual” speed and took our time to stop and take pictures or just stop and admire the views.
I think from North Waldo my preferred direction is clockwise. You spend the first few miles going up and down some small hills and without many views of the lake. Going this way you also get to save two of the best views for the last few miles. I like ending the whole ride with the burned out section last (above picture).
Along with biking around the lake you can also S.U.P., kayak, canoe, sail, hike, swim, etc. If you’re bored here it’s your own damn fault.
Thanks to Dean for coming with me and for driving Bonnie. The forecasted overnight rain never developed but it was nice to have a solid roof over my head. I have renewed motivation to get our own adventure van in the next 12 months (if all goes to plan).
I also am really down with national forest campgrounds during the fall season. Less people, nice weather, no reservations required. Perfect combination.
Thanks for reading,