Ever wonder what happened to the Lower Shake and Upper Shake Campgrounds of your youth? Public access is closed to them but alternative grounds are nearby.
The Angeles National Forest (http://www.fs.usda.gov/angeles) issued a bulletin advising that the Lower Shake Campground of Lake Hughes, California, was closed. As of now, both it and the next closest camping site, the Upper Shake Campground, are closed. According to the Angeles National Forest, the next closest functioning ground, the Sawmill Campground, is three miles north.
The Sawmill Campground is elevated at 5,200 feet and the Angeles National Forest has a few restrictions for its use. The Upper Shake Campground is open year-round but its mountainous height subjects it to heavy snow making it sometimes inaccesible. As a fee-based campground, it requires the acquisition of an Adventure Pass or America the Beautiful Pass from your local district office for the Angeles National Forest. The pass allows camping parties of up to eight people to stay up to 14 days at a time. The pass also negates the need for a campfire permit. All campers are advised to carry sufficient drinking water because there is no piped water to the area. Lake and stream water must be boiled for at least five minutes before drinking.
Sawmill Campground has eight camping sites that hold both tents and recreational vehicles up to 16 feet long. The sites have vault toilets, picnic tables and fire pits. There are three main public land attractions within a 12-mile radius of the campground as well. The Summerhill Equestrian Center (summerhillec.com) provides lessons in horseback riding as well boarding time. Area parks include the Antelope Valley State Park and the Castaic Lake State Park (parks.ca.gov).
Sawmill lies along the longest hiking trail of the region, the Pacific Crest Trail. Camping here you may see hikers attempting to walk the trails full distance from Mexico through California up into Canada. If you had your mind set on hiking a specific trail surrounding the Lower Shake Campground, take heart. The Sawmill Campground is one mile away from the head of Burnt Peak Trail and three miles from Fish Canyon and Gilette Mine Trails. Burnt Peak Trail elevated at 2,196 feet is 4.3 miles. The Gilette Mine Trail is more challenging at 2,480 feet and covers 6.7 miles. Fish Canyon is the easiest of all area trails at 1,826 feet and is four miles.
Were you thinking of doing some fishing while camping at the Lower Shake Campground? The three closest fishing lakes to Lower Shake are the three closest to Sawmill and include Lake Hughes, Munz Lake, the Drinkwater Reservoir and Castaic Lake. Anglers must have fishing licenses but because these lakes are in a mountainous region in the canyons along the San Andreas Fault, none of them are on Californias Department of Fish and Games (dfg.ca.gov) Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulations list. This means that fishing is permitted at anytime and you keep what you catch. Brook trout, cutthroat trout and sucker fish are known to bite.