Tuttletown Recreation Area sits on the banks of New Melones Lake, just outside of Sonora, CA. The park is managed by the Bureau of Reclamation.
New Melones Lake is the fifth largest lake in California, at 12,500 surface-acres, and is situated along the edge of the Mother Lode, the rich gold vein that prompted the California Gold Rush of 1849. At an elevation of 1100 feet, the Foothill Oak Woodlands hug the 100 miles of shoreline.
But Tuttletown Recreation Area is mostly a campground for boaters. Even though there are spaces where RVs can park, expect to find awkward parking, tight curves, and narrow roads. Pulling a long trailer is going to be tough through Tuttletown. Many of the roads are one-way.
Our 28 foot toy hauler, pulled by the bumper, along with our pickup truck, had a heck of a time getting situated into a space, which happened to be a handicapped space. There was no room left for the pickup truck, and we had to leave it in an area that was not-designated for parking. A park ranger pointed it out to us. When we explained there was no other place to put the truck, she relented.
Otherwise, class A, B, and C vehicles are best suited for Tuttletown. Small trailers under 20 feet could probably get by here. Beyond that, it’s going to be tough going trying to get situated.
Like most state and federal campgrounds, there are no hookups here. There are restrooms and shower facilities, but we found them dirty with lots of loiterers hanging about.
There is an RV dump station in the middle of the campground, but it’s not free. You’re expected to pony up $8.00 on the honor system, even if you’ve already paid to camp here.
As usual, running your generator is not allowed after 10:00 PM, which made it tough for us because summer temperatures remained in the 90s up until midnight.
During the weekend we were here, Tuttletown was jam packed. Even with day time temperatures going over 100 degrees F, it didn’t stop folks from taking up every available camp spot. But from Monday to Thursday, this place gets empty.
Expect to find lots of kids running around here on weekends, and lots of partiers. There were people driving their pickup trucks rather fast through here, with park rangers running their sirens through the evening trying to stop them.
In short, Tuttletown Recreation Area is not advised if you’re looking for tranquil peace. It’s really a place for boaters and weekend revelers.