A fantastic destination for anyone who loves to spend time outdoors, El Dorado County is a treasure trove of natural beauty. From the roaring Sierra mountain ranges to sandy, white beaches of local lakes, the area boasts of an exceptionally vast and diverse landscape. And in the midst of it all lie some of the most beautiful lakes you will ever see. While Lake Tahoe may be El Dorado County’s best-known body of water, there are multitudes of lesser-known gems hidden among the lush forests and lofty mountains, which make for wonderful getaways. Read on to learn more.

Jenkinson Lake, El Dorado County

  1. Jenkinson Lake

No trip to El Dorado County can be complete without a visit to the gorgeous Jenkinson Lake. If you are looking to spend a relaxing and fun day out in the sun, this place is the perfect spot for you. Located in the heart of the beautiful Eldorado National Forest, the lake is the go-to destination for nature- and water activity-lovers alike. If you are one of the former, you can unwind with a deep dive into the crystal blue water or set out on an adventure along the nine-mile long scenic hiking trails, or better still, enjoy a romantic lunch by the shore. You can also engage in activities like swimming, water skiing, fishing, boating, stand up paddling boarding, and kayaking.

  1. Loon Lake

If you like natural destinations that are quiet and peaceful with fewer crowds, Loon Lake is the place to be. This relatively obscure lake is located at an elevation of around 6,500 feet up in the Crystal Basin recreation area. It’s an excellent destination for an exciting camping trip with family and friends. While the lake itself offers a serene scenery, especially at sunrise and sunset, it also has plenty of camping amenities including RV campsites and toilets.

Echo Lakes, El Dorado County. Photo: Suzanne Roberts

Echo Lakes is a favorite with day hikers and backpackers alike. Photo: Suzanne Roberts

  1. Echo Lakes

Tucked away between the vast expanses of Desolation Wilderness in Lake Tahoe, within the El Dorado National Forest, are two elongated glacial lakes known as Echo Lakes. Surrounded by granite cliffs and towering lodgepole pines, they offer breathtaking vistas that are unmatched. You can opt for a day hike along the many trails but if you want to enjoy the more fantastic scenery, go for the trails that run along the lake. You can reach Echo Lakes by a short 15 to 20-minute drive from South Lake Tahoe and 45 minutes from Placerville.


Ready to explore? Find out more information about El Dorado County by checking out our other stories. Also, if you are looking for an engrossing white water rafting experience on the American River, you need to read this.