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/
Weekend
Weekend
Senior/Disabled
Mid-Week
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:

History

For history on Rancho Seco click here.

Amenities

Camping

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.

Boating

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.

Swimming

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.

Fishing

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, and remains a popular event.

Picnicking

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

Bird-watching

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, March 29-30, 2014
SMUD Solar Regatta, May 16-17, 2014

Athletic Competitions by Total Body Fitness:

  • 31st Annual Tri for Fun Sprint Triathlon and Du for Fun Duathlon, May 31, 2014
  • USAT Tri for Real Triathlon and Aquabike, June 1, July 13 and August 3, 2014
  • Tri for Kids Triathlon and Duathlon, June 1, June 14, July 13, and August 3, 2014
  • USAT Rancho Seco International Triathlon and Aquabike, June 14, 2013
  • Father’s Day Triathlon and Duathlon, June 15, 2014
  • Tri for Fun Sprint Triathlon and Du for Fun Duathlon, July 12, and August 2, 2014
  • The Women’s Triathlon Festival, September 6, 2014
  • Super Kids Triathlon, September 7, 2014
  • Super Man Triathlon, September 7, 2014

Related Topics

  • The District offers programs to provide equal opportunity to all segments of the business community.
  • SMUD is nationally recognized as a leader in renewable resources and electric transportation.
family hiking

Take a hike

Join a vernal pool guided tour on the Howard Ranch Trail.

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