Our friends invited me and my family to the beautiful, high attitude Faucherie lake in the Sierra Nevada mountains.
We were informed that only vechicles with 4 wheel drive and clearance would make the trip. Indeed the roads seemed trecheous. Actually, I’m not sure I would even call them roads? They were more like fire road washouts. Not maintained at all. In fact, I would think that’s the point. We crossed paths with many 4×4 enthusiasts along the way.
If off-roading and roughing it in the woods is your type of fun, then I highly suggest camping at Faucherie Lake.
BUT I don’t recommend the SHORTCUT
We went down a Hoosier Road (Forrest Road 50) as suggested shortcut. That road it was way over grown. The shurbs and trees kept scraping the side of my husband’s truck. I wanted us to turn back, reverse and get out of that mess. His reply “We’re committed now!” And we charged through.
We got to a crossroads with no signs telling us which way to go. Our GPS told us we were on an “unknown” road. We went down one road, and got to another crossroads. GPS told us we intersected with “Dead Man’s Creek Road.”
“Uhh… let’s go back!”
We turned around and went down the other road. Now GPS said we were not on a road at all. We were traveling in a blank area with no roads.
We are now lost.
The path we were on was so narrow, there was no where to turn around. Dead trees had been pushed out the way, so that we could barely pass.
My husband pointed to the GPS and showed me a road that we were coming close to. “We should be able to intersect with that road.”
Me: “See how that road ends? That’s problably because it’s washed out and unpassable.”
“Well, we will find out.”
We found out.
We found a wide creek with a steep revine and a rock in the middle of it. Before I knew it, yes…. Hubby was crossing it. I couldn’t watch. I put both hand over my eyes, and prayed we didn’t get stuck on that large rock.
We hit something hard on the way back up. I flew up out of my sit. I looked over at my toddler in the backsit next to me. She bounced up high too. (Yes, of course, we were both wearing seat belts.)
She laughed. My babygirl was having more fun that I was. I tried to let go of my worried mind, and have fun too.
Hubby: “We crossed Dead Man’s creek and lived to tell the tell.” He was definitely having fun.
After the creek crossing, GPS said we were back on the “unknown” road. At least, we were back on a road! Shortly after, we found the main road that would eventually get us to our destination.
We were still a good 45 minutes away from the Lake Faucherie Camp ground. We had many more washed out “roads” to keep following. Including a road on the edge of a steep cliffside overlooking a beautiful Lake Bowman.
Check out this video on our Instagram account.
We finally arrived at our destination with our friends there to welcome us.
A WHOLE LAKE TO YOURSELF
The great thing about Faucherie Lake is that there are only two campsites that have to be reserved over six months in advance. If you reserve both campsites, then you and your group will get the entire lake to yourself.
There are several “renegade” camping spots along the way and around the lake. So we did see other people on our way in and out. They would walk in to enjoy the lake shore during the day, but they were far away on their part of the lake.
The lake is very still, and makes for gorgeous reflection photos.
There are great hiking trails leading to waterfalls. I wish I had photos of that for you. Because I had a baby in tow, we opted out of the waterfall hike. I hear it takes about 45 minutes to reach the first waterfall. That it will get really hot along the way, so it might be best to start early.
HOW TO RESERVE A CAMPING SPOT
If you’re interested in an off-road camping adventure in Northern California near Truckee, then check out Lake Faucherie!
Even though Lake Faucherie is surrounded by National Forrest, it is run by the Nevada County Irrigation Authority. Call them to make reservations at (530) 265-5302. To make a reservation you will need to be on it, because spots go extremely fast. The reservation window opens early on New Year’s Day.
Call before your reservation to find out about any road closure. Bowman Road was closed when we last went.
the extra stuff YOU WILL NEED
- A vehicle with high clearance, at least all wheel drive or 4 wheel drive.
- Water craft like canoes, paddle boards and inflatable boats are great to explore the lake.
- The campgrounds have bear boxes. If you are going to camp in a renegade or day use camping spot, then make sure to bring food sacks and rope for a bear hang.
- An axe or wood saw. Unlike many campgrounds, you are allowed to collect firewood at Faucherie Lake. So bring the appropriate tools.