Guide to Visit Upper Lake Clementine Beach in Auburn, Northern California

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Located in the heart of California’s Gold Country, Auburn is a charming town known for its rich history and natural beauty. One of its hidden gems is Upper Lake Clementine Beach, a tranquil lakeside oasis that is popular with outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. This picturesque spot offers a blend of outdoor water activities, stunning landscapes, and a serene atmosphere that’s perfect for a day of relaxation or adventure.

The top selling point for Upper Lake Clementine is how crystal clear the water is. The water is shallow enough in areas for young children to play, and deep enough in other areas for swimming and kayaking. The current is very calm in the summer, making floating and swimming a breeze.

How to Get to Upper Lake Clementine Beach

Getting to Upper Lake Clementine Beach from Sacramento is a straightforward and scenic drive that can be completed in under an hour. Start by heading east on Interstate 80 towards Auburn. After approximately 30 miles, take the Foresthill Road exit (Exit 121) and follow the signs for Foresthill Road. Continue along Foresthill Road for about 7 miles until you reach the Lake Clementine entrance. There will be a checkpoint with a ranger working at the booth. If they clear your vehicle to go in, you will ascend down a very long and windy dirt road until you reach the bottom where the lake is. I highly recommend 4-wheel-drive if possible, and a car that is not too low because there’s rocks and uneven terrain.

Parking Information at Upper Lake Clementine Beach

When you first turn into the Upper Lake Clementine ranger station, they will tell you if the parking lot is full. They limit the number of cars allowed into the parking lot, and it fills up quickly. On a hot summer weekend, the parking lot can fill up by 8am! The earlier you arrive the better, otherwise you might miss your chance to swim that day.

When you do park your car at the Upper Lake Clementine Beach parking lot, it’s a short walk to the water and shore. The fact that you don’t have to hike to the swimming water is what makes Upper Lake Clementine so popular.

The Difference Between Upper and Lower Lake Clementine

It can be confusing to understand the difference between Upper and Lower Lake Clementine. The Lower Lake Clementine has a long hiking trail, which ultimately leads to a swimming hole. There’s many scenic views along the way on this trail, so if you’re looking for an adventurous day with plenty of exercise, Lower Lake Clementine might be for you.

For those who are traveling with young children, elderly, or just not up for a hike, in Upper Lake Clementine you can drive up very close to the water.

Bring Your Own Shade in the Summer

In the summer months it gets very hot in Auburn, often over 100 degrees. There’s almost no natural shade at Upper Lake Clementine Beach, and you will find yourself exposed to the heat and sun. Most people bring a shade tent with them, and set it up along the shore. Sunburn and heatstroke a very real possibility here, so take precautions.

Is the water at Lake Clementine warm enough to swim?

Yes, you can swim freely in the lake. As long as the summer temperatures are high and hot, you can cool off in the lake. It may take a few minutes to get your body to adjust, but most people find the water warm enough to swim.

Bring Your Picnic Lunch and Plenty of Water

Usually when you make the trip out to the vast nature in Auburn, you plan on staying for several hours. There are no signs of civilization for miles around this area, which means no place to find food, drinks or gas. Make sure you’ve planned ahead and packed everything you need to a lakeside picnic.

Are there Life Vests or Flotation Devices Available for People to Use or Rent at Upper Lake Clementine?

No, there’s nothing provided for visitors as far as water safety gear (at from what I have seen). If you have children, or don’t know how to swim, make sure to pack your own life vests for safe swimming.

Is there Sand at the Beach at Upper Lake Clementine?

No, there’s small and medium sized rocks on the shore but no sand. The rocks aren’t necessarily sharp, but they can be a bit rough on your feet. I suggest children wear water shoes so avoid slipping in the water. You will want to bring fold-up chairs or thick blankets to sit on, because sitting on the bare rocks can be a little uncomfortable.

Can You Kayak or Paddle Board at Upper Lake Clementine?

Yes! While there are no water sports rentals available, you can bring your own kayak or paddle board with you to the lake.

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