Campground Review: Lake Minden Thousand Trails, Nicolaus, CA

I have to admit that Lake Minden Thousand Trails, just north of Sacramento, CA was a bit of a letdown for me. After months along the beautiful Washington, Oregon, and northern California coast the flat lands of this portion of California doesn’t quite measure up. In fairness, not many places would.

PHOTO_20140806_201121.jpg This campground is all about the lake and on any given day there are several people fishing and swimming or just walking around Lake Minden. I walked a lot – enjoying the mile and a quarter or so around the lake.

The other draw is nearby Sacramento. Downtown is about 30 minutes away and the airport is even closer. As we scheduled our summer, it was the nearness to the airport that brought us to this particular Thousand Trails, making it easy for Jackie to get some family time in Houston here at the half way point in our 2014 adventure.

PHOTO_20140807_092449.jpgThere are two primary campgrounds at Lake Minden. One is the old, original campground. It is tight with, basically, two RVs sharing a spot big enough to be one small campsite.  Not only are the conditions crowded, but several rental cabins have been put on the spots nearest the lake. This section, right by the entry has not one, but two activity buildings, a weekend restaurant, mini-golf, has full hookup sites, and a laundry. There are also signs posted everywhere that electrical voltage is low in that section – that means that there is possible damage to air conditioners, refrigerators and other expensive appliances. Some folks are combating that by plugging rather pricy voltage boosters in line. Others, well, they are operating their RVs on possible low voltage.

PHOTO_20140813_173202.jpgThe other RV campground is on the far corner of the property (there are also a couple of tenting areas). This campground is the mirror reverse of the other campground. There are no amenities aside from the restrooms. The sites are somewhat larger, they are only water/electric, and the electric works fine (although it is also only 30 amps). Coming and going from this area of the campground is a bit tedious because the road is one way around the lake and the speed limit is 5 mph. That may not sound like much but after a while it gets tiresome to creep in and out for every trip.

PHOTO_20140809_201019.jpg Not wanting to deal with electrical problems in the dry, 90+ degree heat, we headed straight to “D” section and picked a site right in the middle of the campground, adjacent to the restrooms. That happens to also be the spot where the dump station is located. After one night we concluded that not only were we having problems getting our satellite TV signal but that, even worse, we could smell the dump station from our campsite (I know, I know – we could have guessed that). We relocated to one of the perimeter sites and settled in for the remainder of our stay, away from the odor and getting a satellite signal with no problems too.  Also, I’ll mention that I enjoyed a very strong Verizon 4G cell and data signal.

The campground is surrounded by walnut groves and farmland and for years the lake has been a draw to folks wanting to get out of the city. I certainly wouldn’t rank Lake Minden at the top of the Thousand Trails we’ve visited but it served our purposes and, while I wouldn’t consider it to be a destination for us, I’d return for another stay.


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