It’s only been one year since John and Trina Seale took over the campgrounds next to Salt Spring Valley Reservoir, but already the couple have transformed the hidden Calaveras County location into a destination for those seeking outdoor adventure and fun.
The Seales renamed the campground Rock Steady Adventures and have not only cleaned up the rustic foothills site, but also hosted a variety of concerts and themed events to draw in more people and offer something different.
“We knew that it had potential to really be a good camping destination. If you look at all the campgrounds around here like Lake McSwain, Don Pedro, all those places, they are packed to the gills and you have to make camping reservations months in advance to be able to camp in the summertime. So we knew that the camping side needed to be built up. And one of the things we thought about was we have this somewhat private resort that’s not associated with a state park or national park or anything like that. So we knew we could do events, and that would bring campers for the events,” said Trina.
So far, Rock Steady has held an Earth Day celebration, a June Campout that featured different bands over a weekend, tie dye classes and a painting activity, and a Backyard Luau Campout artist retreat in partnership with Creative Copperopolis.
Rock Steady also hosted the 60th annual East Bay Boat Club power boat races in June.
Not only have the Seales brought events to Rock Steady campground, they also offer something unique to the area — a full-service camping experience.
“Full-service camping came about after our first Rock Steady Campout in June when a lot of the campers that were coming did not have their supplies so we offered them some tents and offered to set them up. We actually had three takers and so we had to buy more tents,” Trina said.
Due to the popularity of the full-service experience, Rock Steady now offers the service year-round with different tent sizes — from a four-person teepee to a three-room, 14 person tent — including air mattresses and all the gear needed for camping. They even have one “glamping” tent.
The upgrades to the campground and campout events have drawn new people to Rock Steady, but the Salt Springs Valley Reservoir has also been a summer family destination for many generations.
While reservoir is too shallow for large boats, it is perfect for small power boats, jet skis, kayaking and paddle boarding.
What the reservoir is best known for, however, is trophy fishing.
“There’s no natural inlet; it doesn’t connect to any of the rivers. It’s all rainwater streams that feed into it, so there wasn’t any fish species that really thrived. During the summer, it’s shallow and the water gets really warm. Obviously, we don’t get any of the snow melts. It’s all rainwater catchment, filling the reservoir. So they stocked it in the ‘70s with Florida native fish because they can tolerate the warm water. So there’s Florida large mouth bass, black crappie, Florida bluegill, red ear perch and yellow tail catfish,” said Trina.
“They’ve really managed the fish since the 1970s. So it’s kind of become a known trophy bass location. We haven’t seen it this year, but in past years, there’s been double digit or 12 pound bass caught and crappie that are dinner plate size.”
Rock Steady Adventures is a year-round campground, but there are only two months left in their summer ‘Campout’ year. In August, the Seales are planning a Sunshine & Whiskey type of event with country music bands and local whiskey sampling tours. Then, in September, an end of season celebration will have a Goonies & Pirates theme, complete with an ‘80s costume contest, a treasure hunt and pirate paddle boarding.
For more information about Rock Steady Adventures or to book a camping site, visit facebook.com/rocksteadyadventures4fun or call (209) 785-5267.