South Fork

State Recreation Area


About South Fork

South Fork State Recreation Area boasts flourishing meadows and rolling hills filled with northeastern Nevada wildlife. Sightings of mule deer, badgers, beavers and kit foxes are a common sight. With the Ruby Mountains as a backdrop, visitors easily and eagerly enjoy hunting, boating, swimming and fishing. The expansive reservoir holds an abundant cache of catfish, bass and trophy size trout. A variety of waterfowl grace the lake, including ducks and geese. South Fork also offers both primitive and developed camping. A 25-site campground includes campsite tables, grills and a restroom with showers..

Park Detail


Camping:A 25-site campground is located off the north park access road. Facilities include campsite tables, grills and a flush restroom with showers. East Campground has 6 pull in sites: 5, 9, 11, 19, 20, 25. Powersites available in East Campground for an additional $10 mandatory fee, regardless of use. Camping is open all year. Open camping is also available along the southwest shore. The RV dump station is open year-round and is just off the main north park entrance road. A camping limit of 14 days in a 30-day period is enforced.

Group Use Camping: Sites #1 and #25 in the East Campground feature 3 picnic tables and 1 large grill for large camping groups. Tomera Cove is a group use area that has 2 picnic tables and 1 fire ring.

Picnicking: Picnicking is allowed in most areas of the reservoir.

Boat Launching: Two boat ramps are available. The southwest shore boat launch can accommodate boats up to 15 feet in length. Float tube enthusiasts are encouraged to use this area. The main boat launch has ample parking and a non-flush restroom.

Fishing: The South Fork of the Humboldt River portion, from the Lucky Nugget Subdivision access causeway to the upstream Gauging Station, is open for public use. This area of South Fork is designed as a trophy fishery with a one trout limit. Only artificial lures with single barbless hooks may be used. The downstream portion of the South Fork of the Humboldt, below the dam, is also open to fishing, one quarter mile past the spill way. Buy a fishing license online at The South Fork canyon area west of the park boundary is managed by the Bureau of Land Management.

Programs: Information about program scheduling may be obtained from either park staff or kiosks. Upon request, special presentations can be arranged for groups.

Hours: Open seven days a week, 365 days a year.


  • Drive only on established roadways and park only in designated areas. Only licensed vehicles may be operated on park roadways.
  • Walking trails available in park; No motorized vehicles allowed on trails.
  • Pets are welcome, but they must be kept on a leash of not more than six feet in length.
  • Please do not disturb the wildlife.
  • Removing, disturbing or damaging any historic structure, artifact, rock, plant life, fossil or other feature is prohibited. State and federal laws protect this area and its resources.
  • Please dispose of garbage in appropriate receptacles.
  • The use of drones or any remote controlled aircraft is not allowed. Visit B4UFLY for more info.
  • Hunting is allowed in season with a shotgun or archery only. Hunting is prohibited within a quarter mile of any developed facility such as campgrounds and boat ramps. The discharge of any weapons is prohibited other than for hunting during an established hunting season
  • Fishing regulations are in effect. Please be familiar with current regulations.
  • A flat-wake boating zone is in effect in the willows area of the reservoir.
  • Campfires are only permitted in designated fire rings. Ground fires are prohibited.
  • Quiet hours are from 10 p.m. - 7 a.m.
  • The juvenile curfew is 9 p.m.
  • Visitors are responsible for knowing all park rules and regulations in effect. Detailed rules and regulations are posted at the park or may be viewed on the Park Rules page.
  • Those with developmental and/or physical limitations are invited to enjoy all of the recreational activities of Nevada State Parks. If you would like to request additional support or accommodations, please call the Nevada State Parks division office. We continually seek ways to provide recreational opportunities for people of all abilities and welcome any suggestions you may have.
  • View a list of frequently asked questions.


South Fork Reservoir occupies what was once a wide river valley covered with fertile meadows that were used for grass cover, hay production and grazing pasture. With the filling of South Fork Reservoir in 1995, these meadows were flooded and what is left for visitors to see are older river terraces with gentle to steeply sloping bluffs. Plants along these bluffs are abundant and include big sagebrush, black sagebrush, rabbit-brush, willow, grasses, sedges, rushes and forbs. (READ MORE)


The history of the South Fork Dam project goes back to the 1938 Flood Control Act, when the U.S. Congress authorized feasibility studies for building dams and reservoirs on rivers such as the Humboldt. In 1983, the Nevada State Legislature passed Senate Bill 153, which allowed the State to issue State Revenue Bonds for the construction of South Fork Dam. The Dam was completed in 1988 using funding from the State of Nevada and Elko County residents. (READ MORE)

Park Fees

Day use entrance fee:  $5.00 per vehicle (Non-NV Vehicles $10.00 per vehicle)
Boat launch:  $10.00 (Non-NV Vehicles: $15.00)
Camping:  $15.00 per vehicle, per night (Non-NV Vehicles: $20.00 per vehicle, per night) + $10.00 for sites with utility hook ups
Camp and boat:  $20.00 per night (Non-NV Vehicles: $25.00 per night) + $10.00 for sites with utility hook ups 
Bike in:  $2.00 per bike


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