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Lake Spaulding is a reservoir located a 45-minute drive northeast of Nevada City, directly northwest of the Highway 20/Interstate 80 junction. It is a 1.25-hour drive from Reno, a 1.5-hour drive from Yuba City, a 1.75-hour drive from Sacramento, or a 2.25-hour drive from Chico. It is in the Yuba River Ranger District of Tahoe National Forest. Its elevation is 5,014 feet.

There are numerous smaller lakes surrounding Lake Spaulding, including Blue Lake, Rucker Lake, Fuller Lake, and Chubb Lake.