Turlock Lake State Recreation Area
Nestled in the rolling foothills of eastern Stanislaus County, Turlock Lake State Recreation Area is an ideal place for day- or week-long outings.
Open all year and featuring camping, picnicking, fishing, swimming, boating, water skiing, and clean country air, the area offers visitors an opportunity to see the wonderful variety of native plant life that once flourished alongside the rivers of the San Joaquin Valley.
About 25 miles east of Modesto on the south side of the Tuolumne River. From Modesto take Highway 132 East 14 miles to Waterford; in Waterford turn right on Hickman Road (county road J-9) and drive 1 mile to Lake Road. Turn left on Lake Road and drive 10 miles to Turlock Lake SRA.
At elevation 250 feet, the recreation area boasts typical San Joaquin Valley weather, with warm summers and mild winters.
During the summer months nighttime temperatures usually drop to the high sixties and are comfortable for sleeping.
Facilities - Activities
Bounded on the north by the Tuolumne River and on the south by Turlock Lake, the recreation area provides an ideal setting for water-oriented outdoor activities. The recreation area features the lake with its 26 miles of shoreline and the foothill country leased from the Turlock Irrigation District in 1950. Picnicking, day-use, and boat launch ramps are offered at the lake. Overnight visitors are welcome at the 60 site campground located on the shady south bank of the Tuolumne River about 1 mile from the lake.
From several lookout point, visitors can view the surrounding savannas and some of the cattle ranches and orchards nearby. And from Lake Road which separates the campground from the day use area, an excellent perspective is shown of the campground, the river and sloughs, and miles of dredger tailing piles-the by product of a half century of gold mining.
Heaviest use period is Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. After Labor Day and through October are perhaps the most ideal times to camp with warm and golden days, cool and comfortable nights, and uncrowded campgrounds.