Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Kangaroo Lake & Campground

Kangaroo Lake & Campground
Siskiyou County, California

*This is a hidden gem... and well worth the drive!

Affiliation:  National Forest Service Campground and Day Use Area

Number of Campsites:  15 sites that will accommodate both RV's and tents, 5 sites that will accommodate walk in tent sites.  Many sites can accommodate handicapped access.  Maximum length for RV 45 feet.  No hookups for RV's.
Typical campsite

Maximum Stay:  14 Days.  Open May to October, weather permitting.

Price for camping:  $15 a night, Golden Age Passport accepted for 50% discount.

Reservation Information:  No reservation policy.  First come first served.  Checkout time is 2:00 p.m.  It is a local favorite, but if sites are full when you arrive, wait in the day use area and speak to the Camp Host to see if a spot may open up that afternoon.

Contact and information:  U. S. Forest Service, Klamath National Forest, Scott River Ranger District, 11263 North Highway 3, Ft. Jones, CA  96032.  Scott River Range District (530) 468-5351

Campfire permits:  Be sure and inquire via Forest Service Station regarding campfire permits.  They may be needed for many areas even for a small barbecue.  Campfire permits are free.

Elevation:  Approximately 6,500 ft.

General description:  A lovely camping area at a high mountain lake that is accessible by automobile.  The campground was refurbished in the last few years and at this writing is in very nice conditions.  There is disabled access to both camping sites and the lake.

The lake is approximately 25 acres in size and at the 100 feet deep at the deepest level.  In the summer months the lake is regularly stocked with fish.  There are brook and brown trout native to the lake, and rainbow trout can also be caught.

Wildlife in the area may include:  deer, bears, birds, chipmunks, as well as an occasional bobcat or mountain lion.

Sign at main road, 8 miles to camp from here
Directions to Lake and Camp:  Traveling south along Interstate 5:  Take the Highway 3 exit at Yreka, California and travel to Callahan, approximately 45+ miles.  A short distance past Callahan take the Callahan-Gazelle Road (watch for well marked road sign) for about 10 miles to Rail Creek Road (The Kangaroo Lake Turnoff).  The road into the lake from this point is about 8 miles and most of the road is single lane and winds around the mountain.  There are numerous pullouts to access to allow a vehicle traveling the other direction to pass.  If one has a large RV or long rig use caution.  The road is paved and in good shape.  Traveling north along Interstate 5:  Take the Edgewood/Gazelle exit just past the town of Weed, California.  In the very small town of Gazelle (no services) turn west at the road to Callahan.  Travel along this road approximately 25 miles to the Kangaroo Lake turnoff at Rail Creek Road.  There is signage marking the turnoff to the lake.  The road into the lake from this point is about 8 miles and most of the road is a single lane and winds around the mountain.  There are numerous pullouts to access to allow a vehicle traveling in the other direction to pass.  If one has a large RV or long rig use caution and keep an eye out for oncoming traffic.  The road is paved and in good shape.


Handicapped access goes right to water 's edge

  • Bathrooms (Pit toilets, but newer type and clean at last visit)
  • Potable water at spigots located at about every other campsite
  • Bear proof garbage bins
  • Handicapped access both for many campsites and day use area, a nice trail for wheel chair access to the lake at the water's edge.
  • Swimming
  • Hiking
  • Fishing
  • Kayaking, canoeing, etc. on lake ~ no motors on lake
  • Things to see/do:
    • Beautiful (moderate difficulty) level trail through Kangaroo Lake Botanical Area where one can view rare and interesting plants and flowers.
    • The Red Tag Trail will give one a first hand look at high elevation old growth forest with an unusually abundant variety of conifer species
    • Trails from the lake area intersect with the Pacific Crest Trail
    • Wonderful birder area, observe Osprey's, Bald Eagles and others
Supplies:  Supplies are available in Yreka, Etna, Fort Jones, Weed, and Mt. Shasta City for full service.  Small store located in Callahan.  Fuel available in Yreka, Etna, Ft. Jones, Weed, and Mt. Shasta City.  Nearest supplies would be in Callahan or Etna.

Emergency:  Full service Emergency Room in Yreka at Fairchild Medical Center also a ER available at Mt. Shasta City.


  1. Is there internet or cell service there??

  2. I have received one bar (enough for a text) if I climb to the top of one of the mountains on the Fen Trail. Otherwise, no.

  3. As Camp Host at the time this piece was written-
    Dogs are fine on leash. They aren't to be in the water, but people occasionally do this. Please try to avoid it (At peak, there are several children in the lake with their families; it's nice to not endanger them, for one).
    Cell service- Verizon gets the hottest signal. The others work on the north loop of the site circle road, down from the top facing Yreka, the I-5 corridor, and all the towers. No need to go up Fen. At hunting season starts (bow, the gun), please be aware of hunters (generally over the hill is where they locate). Bear- there is a spot where I find a good deal of their indication, up the service road on your left, after Fen trailhead. You might watch for this if out late. Fen, on the other hand, is quite clear. There are cats as well, generally sighted on the far side of the lake's rock face, but rarely. Deer will visit you; chipmunks are relentless but can be worked around (watch your table and any food). Ticks are a nonentity at this altitude, unlike down in the Valley. Sunday afternoon is the exodus; if you have the time, Sun-Tues nites are really quiet. Please watch your fires! Leaving anything hot will merit a later communication from LE; fires outside the ring/unattended will be immediately addressed. This place is awesome, especially early in the mornings for the daily dip. This spot is visited much less by the party animals who ravage the Valley campgrounds, and this is reflected in the good attitudes of the campers whom you will meet here. It's great for families, and the universities regularly send their groups for various studies. The lake is stocked by Cal DFG from the hatchery at Mt. Shasta. Note that Edgewood-Gazelle Road gets a little snaky for a couple of miles as you climb- down to 10 MPH turns. The route from 3/Callahan/Scott Valley is smoother (and great on motorbikes- watch for deer!). Call the station in Fort Jones (Salmon/Scott) at (530) 468-5351 for questions- the staff there are really friendly.