Smith Lake California

Smith Lakes in California

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Lakes Basin Recreation Area has two different spots named SMITH LAKE. This region is in the Northern Sierra Nevada mountains, near Downieville, at the north end of the California Gold Country @ Highway 49.

smithlake

Smith Lake hiking trail can be accessed from the Gray Eagle Lodge area along Gold Lake Highway; or this hiking lake can also be accessed from a park on the north side. Plumas Eureka State Park, via the Jameson Creek trail.

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Lakes Basin also has a small set of two lakes called “Smith Lakes” – located on Smith Creek. Way back behind the larger, most famous Gold Lake.

4×4 Road #11E71 will lead you to this remote destination, with the proper vehicle, of course. Creek crossings and large rocks; A quality topographic map and a 4 wheel drive rig is needed for this adventure.

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Lakes Basin Recreation Area

North Sierra mountains, Sierra granite meets Cascade volcanic rock. Border of State Park & NFS lands

Lakes Basin California

nearby towns:

lakes basin views

Lake Kaweah

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Sequoia Foothills Reservoir, CA SR 198
Kaweah Lake

Southern Sierra lake located on Kaweah River, near the mouth of Mineral King Canyon. In between the western Sierra foothills and the agricultural San Joaquin Valley. West of Sequoia NP, east of Visalia, California.

Crystal Cave
Mineral King
Sequoia National Park
Three Rivers
Visalia

The small town of Three Rivers is just up the road from this small reservoir & their slogan is the ‘southern gateway’ to the Sequoia National Park.

There are several recreational reservoirs that are situated at the base of the Sierras, along the western slopes. The Kaweah River transports snowmelt deep from the Sierra Nevada mountains, down to the San Joaquin Valley (Central Valley), for human consumption, households, and agriculture.

Lake Kaweah California

elevation: 1945′
surface area: 1200′
vegetation: minimal trees, scrub oak, wildflower foothills

fishing –

  • bass
  • bluegill
  • catfish
  • crappie
  • trout
  • recreation –

  • backpack
  • bike
  • boat
  • camp
  • canoe
  • hike
  • houseboat
  • kayak
  • sail
  • swim
  • waterski
  • CAMPGROUND RESERVATIONS

    Horse Creek Recreation Area
    Horse Creek Campground
    76 camp sites

    Kaweah Rentals

    Kaweah Marina has patio boats, fishing boats, and paddle boards available for rent. Reservations are needed in summer for weekends and holidays. 559-597-2526

    Kaweah Houseboats

    Privately owned house-boats can be seen on this lake, although none are available at the marina for rent. Some can usually be found for sale on visalia.craigslist.org

    Weather: Lake Kaweah Dam

    US Army Corps of Engineers
    PO Box 44270
    34443 Sierra Drive
    Lemon Cove, CA 93244
    559-597-2301

    Gateway

    Sequoia Highway 198 has many side routes worth exploring: Mineral King Road will get you to amazing scenery, but there ARE NOT ANY Sequoia groves up that way; Crystal Cave, open for tours is located near the south entrance of the National Park; and a lesser known campground in this area is called South Fork, off on a residential side route canyon – South Fork Drive (Road #348); Located on the quiet South Fork of the Kaweah River.

    Sequoia Maps:

  • Mineral King Map
  • Golden Trout South Sierra Map
  • Golden Trout Trail Map
  • Kings Canyon High Country
  • Sequoia Kings Canyon NatGeo
  • Sequoia Kings Canyon NP Map
  • Sequoia National Forest Map
  • Sequoia Atlas

    1933 River Kaweah
    Three Rivers is small community located along the Kaweah River.

    North Fork Drive: North Fork of the Kaweah River is a seldom traveled dirt back road that leads from the east side of the lake @ Hwy 198, northbound (along the North Fork of Kaweah River), straight into the backdoor of Sequoia National Park’s ridge line highway @ Dorst Campground. The original town of Kaweah (elev 960′) is along this route. Many small dirt roads to explore up this way and a good topo map is advised.

    CAMPGROUND RESERVATIONS

    Eshom Campground (on western border of NP), a small slice of Giant Sequoia National Monument land, Redwood Creek and a trailhead called Redwood Saddle are all back up in here. Have a few good maps to cross-reference while traveling back roads and trails. This major dirt route is often closed and gated by the rangers during wet, winter months.

    Kaweah River Sequoia

    nearby destinations:
    Lemon Cove, CA
    Mineral King, CA
    Sequoia National Park
    Three Rivers, CA

    lake_kaweah

  • Walker Lake

    mountgibbs

    Mt Gibbs, elev. 12,764′

    A few different Walker Lakes around California.

    Walker Lake, California

    Walker Lake @ US Hwy 395, Eastern Sierra
    June Lake Loop – Hwy 158
    June Lake, CA

    Inyo National Forest (Lee Vining to Grant Lake)
    Inyo Forest Road #1N17 access to side canyon route, Inyo Forest Road #1S23

    small, scenic, hike-in only lake (pictured below).
    1.2 mile hike downhill – strenuous, very steep; 800′ elevation loss. Bloody Canyon trailhead also connect to Sardine Lake, above Walker Lake.

    hikeinlake

    There is also another Walker Lake in Mendocino County California. Walker Creek, Ridgewood Park; west of US Hwy 101, south of Willits, CA

    walkerpeak

    Mount Grant, Nevada

    Walker Lake, Nevada

    very windy, Walker Lake, Nevada
    US Highway 95, north of Hawthorne, NV
    Mount Grant elev. 11,239′

    Walker Lake State Recreation Area, now known as Monument Beach, is located along the western shore of the lake. The Hawthorne Army Depot, the world’s largest ammunition depot, fills the valley to the south of the lake. Naval Undersea Warfare Center?

    Route 95 passes along western shore of Walker Lake. Walker River from the Eastern Sierra mountains in California, may sometimes flow into Walker Lake, Nevada.

    Upstream water users have exploited the Walker River for profit, resulting in the destruction of Walker Lake, NV. According to the USGS, the level dropped approximately 181′ between 1882 and 2016. By June 2016 (under drought conditions) the lake level was 3,909′ above sea level, the lowest lake elevation since measurement began in 1882.

    Better camping option, north @ Fort Churchill, NV

    Grant Lake California

    grantlakefall

    Grant Lake, California

    elevation: 7,136′
    surface acres: 1000

    Grant Lake is the largest of the lakes on the famous June Lake Loop, the far north end (top) of Hwy 158. Eastern Sierra

    Often windy, barren hills surround much of the lake; Good fishing and easy access all the way around lake. High desert, with big open skies and great views. Public boat ramps (dirt).

    Graded Dirt Road #1S29 skirts the north end of this lake. Dirt Road #1S30 wraps around the back (east) side, while the paved highway skirts the western shoreline.

    Grant Lake Marina
    760-648-7964

    Full service marina, fishing boat rentals, boat launch ramp, gasoline & a market.
    Grant Lake Marina Campground w/ 70 camp sites. Usually open from late April through mid October.

    AUTUMN COLOR: Some pockets of aspen near this lake, but most aspen groves are deeper on the loop.

    curveatlake

    Picnic areas, hiking, back roads.
    Views of Mono Lake.

    Near north end of Grant, a Gravel Road #1N17 leads north from Hwy 158, thru BLM lands. Several short canyons w/ lakes and creeks; fishing, picnic spots, numerous hiking trailheads, some primitive campsites.

    Silver Lake is next door.

    nearby towns:

    June Lake, CA
    Lee Vining, CA

    junelakeloop

    Back of June Lake Loop

     

    area maps:
    Inyo National Forest USDA
    Ansel Adams Wilderness Maps
    Mammoth Lakes Map by NatGeo

    Spicer Reservoir

    spicer terrain


    Spicer Meadow Reservoir

    Spicer Meadows, Spicer Reservoir, Rd #7N01
    Spicer Lake, Stanislaus National Forest

    lake elevation 6418′
    227 surface acres

    public boat ramp
    hiking trail around lake
    more lakes nearby

    Ebbetts Pass Sierra Hwy 4

    Ancient volcanic peaks mix with Sierra Nevada granite rock, pine forests and fresh, clear, clean mountain water! California, of course.

    Stanislaus Forest Road #7N01 leads down from Highway 4 to this popular series of alpine lakes and reservoirs. Camping, fishing, hiking and mountain biking. Sailing, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, floating and fishing are also popular water activities.

    Rules of the Reservoir:
    10 mph speed limit on Western Arm.
    No motorized boating in Eastern Arm.
    Camp only in developed Campgrounds.

    NFS
    2 NFS Campgrounds at west end of lake:

  • Spicer Campground (60 sites)
  • Spicer Group Camp (75 people max)
  • Campgrounds only open June-September. Some campsites at the campground are wheelchair accessible.

    Additionally, Stanislaus River Campground w/ only 8 sites, is located just off the main access road #7N01, right near the river.

    spicer lake shore

    Spicer #7N01

    Numerous smaller lakes in the region make this a hot spot for summer vacations. Union and Utica Reservoirs (both with dirt road access) are good for kayaking and canoes, while power or sail boats prefer the larger Spicer Lake. Summit Lake and Elephant Rock Lake are perfect for quite picnics and day hikes. Trails (many unmarked) connect the lakes to each other. Area gets buried with snow in winter, so these roads are generally only open half the year.

    More reservoirs and lakes nearby:
    Highland Lakes
    Mosquito Lakes
    Lake Alpine, CA
    (all along Hwy 4)

    Stanislaus National Forest Map USDA

    Stanislaus National Forest Map USDA

    Nearby mountain towns:
    ARNOLD, CA
    BEAR VALLEY, CA
    Lake Alpine, CA