Bear River Park and Campground

Natural History

The Bear River is part of a large network of streams draining the western slope of the Sierra Nevada. It was to these streams and rivers that the pioneers of the 1800’s came to seek their fortunes. Although the “Gold Rush” is over, the Bear River is still a valuable mining resource. However, today it is aggregate, not gold, which is taken from the river bed.

At the park’s average elevation of 1800 feet, there exists a diversity of plant life, from willows and alders at the river’s edge, to towering ponderosa pines and douglas firs along the hiking trails. Beneath these largest members of the plant community can be found a variety of grasses, wildflowers and shrubs, such as manzanita, ceanothus, poison oak, California buckeye, elderberry, toyon, bleeding heart, trillium and mountain misery. Wildlife is also abundant although most are wary of people and are not often seen. Animals such as black-tailed deer, raccoons, squirrels, skunks, porcupines, foxes, and even a few bobcats are among the many animals living in the park. And of course, always be careful of rattlesnakes which are native to this area.


Fishing is permitted on the Bear River. In addition to the rainbow trout, most frequently caught, german brown, smallmouth bass, and blue gill are also common. All state laws regarding fishing apply here in the park, so please observe them.

Hiking Trails

Bear River offers a wonderful hike through nature. With many trails provided to help you explore the park. Some trails are narrow and caution is advised.


Family and Group Camp sites are available.


  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Camping


2500 Campground Road, Colfax, CA 95713


Camping season is April 1st through October 31st. The Day-Use area hours are ½ hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset. There is no charge for parking in the Day-Use area.

Fees and Use


In addition to Park Facility Reservation Procedures and Use Policies the following pertains specifically to the Bear River Park. Bear River Park consists of a Day-Use area, 23 family campsites & 2 group campsites.

No Water

No water is available at Bear River Park, please be sure to bring your own water.

Please Don't Litter

Thank you for keeping our park clean for everyone to enjoy. Deposit trash in the receptacles provided.

Swim At Your Own Risk

Never swim alone. No lifeguards are on duty. A responsible adult must supervise children swimming. Please use caution during periods of high water, portions of the river may flow rapidly.

Fishing is Allowed

All Fish and Game regulations apply.

Motor Vehicles

Motor vehicles are limited to the maintained roads and parking lots only. Off-road vehicle activity is prohibited anywhere in the park. The State of California Vehicle Code shall be enforced within the park.

Wildlife and Plants

Wildlife and plants including fallen trees are protected within the park and shall be left Undisturbed. Please do not collect wood for fires or damage plant growth by cutting, picking, or trampling.

Projectiles Prohibited

Firearms, BB, pellet and paintball guns, bows and arrows, sling shots, and other weapons or projectiles are not permitted in the park.

Gold Panning

Gold panning is permitted. It is unlawful to operate motorized mining equipment in any County Park.

Campsite Amenities

Most sites have upright BBQ grills and ground fire pits. There is a picnic table at every site. Vault restrooms are available. There are two community ground fire pits in the group camping area.


Fires are allowed ONLY in established B-B-Q grills and ground fire pits. Bring your own firewood. Burning wood pallets and trash is prohibited. Fires are subject to the California Department of Forestry restrictions. If a burn ban is in place you will not be able to use the BBQ grills or ground fire pits. Please contact the County Parks Division for more information.

Quiet Hours

Quiet hours are strictly enforced between 10:00 PM and 7:00 AM. Amplified music is never allowed.

Check-In Check-Out Times

  • Check In: after 2:00 PM (day of the first date on Use Permit)
  • Check Out: by 12:00 PM (day following the last date on Use Permit)

Maximum Stay

Maximum Stay at any County operated campground shall be a maximum of seven (7) consecutive days and a maximum of fourteen (14) days in any one calendar year.

Recreational Vehicles and Tents

RVs and tents are allowed at Bear River Park, however there is no guarantee spaces are large enough to accommodate RVs. No hook-ups are available, and motor homes and travel trailers over 30' are not recommended due to narrow and steep road conditions.


Family campsites are available on first come, first served basis*. No reservations are accepted. Most campsites are on the river and some are on a tributary creek that feeds into the river. Camping is permitted only in designated areas.

* Please note: Popular holidays such as Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day usually fill up 3 or 4 days before the actual date.

Family Campsite Fees

  • $10.00 per night per family campsite. This includes up to 8 people including children and one vehicle.
  • $2.00 per night for the second vehicle – maximum two vehicles.
  • $1.00 per night for each dog – maximum two dogs.

It is unlawful to occupy a campsite without having paid the required camping fee. The County shall have the authority to evict or issue a citation to anyone occupying a campsite and has not paid the required fee.

Family Campsite Maximum Occupancy

Maximum per family campsite:

  • 8 people
  • 2 vehicles
  • 2 dogs


Bear River Park offers two group campsites, which are available by reservation only. Reservations can be made for the upper, lower, or the entire group campsite.

Reservation Requests

Reservation requests are taken by the Placer County Parks Division, which can be contacted by telephone at (530) 886-4901. Requests for the Group Campsites will be accepted by telephone only between the hours of 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM –

3:00 PM on the first business day after January 1st. If the phone is busy, please keep trying until you make a connection. Walk-In reservations are not allowed the first week in January. Due to popularity of the Bear River Campgrounds, we suggest you consider alternate dates. Reserved dates will be updated as they occur on our online calendar.

Group Campsite Fees

  • $75 per day for the entire group campground site
  • $40 per day for half of the group campground site
  • $1.00 per night for each dog – maximum four dogs

In addition to the fees above, an Application & Deposit fee apply.

Group Campsite Maximum Capacity

Whole site: 100 people and 18 vehicles, 4 dogs

Half site: up to 50 people 18 vehicles, 4 dogs

Group Campsite Insurance Requirements

A $1,000,000 Liability Insurance Policy naming Placer County as Additionally Insured and Insurance Endorsement are required.

Please be advised your reservation will not be confirmed until a completed application, payment, evidence of acceptable insurance coverage and any other related documents have been submitted and approved by the County.

Group Campsite Gate Access

The gate to the group campsite must be kept closed and locked at all times. Contact the Parks Division prior to your reservation to obtain the combination to the gate. If you have a large group arriving at different times you may wish to give the combination to your group, and remind them to keep the gate closed and locked. Direct or indirect costs incurred to replace the lock will be taken out of the deposit.

Refund of Deposit

The group campground will be inspected after your stay. If it is determined the campsite was left clean and undamaged and there were no incidents, your deposit will be returned within four to six weeks.