Rancho Seco Lake

Rancho Seco Recreational Area

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.

Make a reservation today!

To download a Rancho Seco Recreational Area Brochure, click here.

For more information on Rancho Seco Park hours and fees, click here or call 800-416-6992.

To make a park reservation, click here.

Park Amenities


There are 18 RV sites, each with a barbecue, fire pit, picnic table, drinking water and electrical outlets. A dump station is conveniently located. An additional camping 32 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

14960 Twin Cities Road
Herald, CA 95638
Call: 800-416-6992

Calendar of Events

Annual sponsored events

SMUD Trout Derby, April 2-3, 2016
SMUD Solar Regatta, May 13-14, 2016

Area improvements

We're making upgrades

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

Read a summary
View drawings



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