Rancho Seco Recreational Area

Rancho Seco Lake Play and stay at close-in Rancho Seco

Come play without leaving the valley, at our smaller but no less lively recreation area: Rancho Seco. We offer year-round camping, boating, fishing, swimming and wildlife viewing, just 25 miles from downtown Sacramento.

Two iconic towers hint at the history of why SMUD owns this part of southeastern Sacramento County: Rancho Seco's 160-acre lake now hosts both migratory birds and weekend anglers, but was developed to support a nuclear generating facility built in the '70s.

The closed plant's empty towers remain. The power lines now used by the natural-gas-powered Cosumnes Power Plant testify to SMUD's worldwide leadership in the development of clean power sources.

The boat ramps, camping, swimming and day-use facilities are available year-round. Kayaks, rowboats, paddleboards, and fishing boats are available to rent.  A Wi-Fi hotspot is located in the recreation room and office area.

Large group picnic areas are available for 50 or more people, while covered pavilions can be reserved for groups of less than 50.

View a schedule of Rancho Seco park hours and fees.

Download a Rancho Seco Recreational Area Brochure.

Need more information? Click here or call 800-416-6992.

Make a reservation today!

Click here to make a reservation.

Park Hours and Fees
Park hours: Open year-round
November through March, 7:00am - 3:30 p.m.
April through October, 7:00am - 6:00 p.m.
Entry Fees Daily Senior/Disabled
Car/Day Use $10.00 $8.00
Boat Launch/Trailer $15.00 $10
Buses (10 people +) $33 -
Motorcycle $5.00 -
Dog $3.00 -
Annual Pass $75 $60
Annual Pass Boat/Trailer $100 $80
Camping Rates Regular/
Tent Campsite Mar - Oct $25 $20 $20
Tent Campsite Nov - Feb $13 $10 -
RV Campsite Mar - Oct $30 $25 $25
RV Campsite Nov - Feb $15 $12 -
Group Campsite (1 & 2) $200 - -
Group Picnic Area (2B & 2C) $70 - -
Dump Station $10.00 - -
*All prices are subject to change without notice
Rental Equipment 1st Hour Add'l Hour Deposit
Kayak, Single $10 $8 $40
Kayak, Double $12 $10 $40
Paddleboard $10 $8 $40
Peddleboats $12 $8 $40
Rental Boats 1st Hour Add'l Hour All Day Deposit
Electric Boat $20 $10 $60 $50
Row Boat $12 $10 $52 $40
Important Rental Information

All rental boats must be returned and checked in 1 hour prior to closing the park. All prices are subject to change without notice. A valid drivers licence is required for rentals.

For more information on RV, tent & group camping, and picnicking reservations (Mon.-Fri.) call 800-416-6992

Here's more information for Rancho Seco Recreational Area:


For history on Rancho Seco click here.



The 18 RV sites, each has a barbecue, fire pit, picnic table, drinking water and electrical outlets. A dump station is conveniently located. An additional camping 25 sites cater to those who prefer sleeping under the stars.Click here to see photos of camp sites and group picnic areas.


Launch an electric motor boat, rowboat or sailboat from either of the two boat ramps (the lake's too small for regular motorboats). The ramps are open 7 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., November through March, and 7 a.m. - 6 p.m., April through October.


There is a designated swimming beach near the group picnic areas. Children should always be supervised by a responsible adult. This warm water lake is also popular with windsurfers.


This fresh-water lake is home to bass, bluegill, red ear sunfish, crappie and catfish, and is additionally stocked with rainbow trout January through March. A fishing license is required and can be purchased at the lake office. The fishing piers offer access for those with disabilities.

A Trout Derby is held every year in the Spring, with prizes in adult, youth and kids categories. The 2015 Trout Derby had over 900 anglers and about 3,000 visitors. During the event, a 6-pound trout was landed.


The lake's southern shore has dozens of shaded picnic areas, which can be reserved for groups of 50 or more.


The park is a winter refuge for ducks, geese, hawks, bald eagles, blue heron and migratory birds.

Hiking and exotic animals

The Howard Ranch Trail and the Amanda Blake Memorial Wildlife Refuge are the newest recreational additions to the Rancho Seco area.

All this, just 25 miles from downtown Sacramento. Get away without leaving town: Just head to Rancho Seco. Click here to view a map of the Rancho Seco vicinity.

Internet Access

Wi-Fi is available in the park recreation room and office area.

Address to Rancho Seco Recreational Area

14440 Twin Cities Road
Herald, CA 95638
Call: 800-416-6992

Calendar of Events

Annual Events

SMUD Trout Derby, 2016 dates TBA
SMUD Solar Regatta, May 13-14, 2016

Renderings of new Rancho Seco Structures

We're making upgrades

Rancho Seco Recreational Area is getting upgrades we think you'll like.

Read a summary

View drawings
Windsurfing on Ranch Seco Lake

Wind reports

Whether you're planning a day of windsurfing or just a family picnic, get the latest wind data from Rancho Seco Recreation Area.

View wind reports