Central Valley Reservoirs

California’s Central Valley Recreational Lakes & Reservoirs

CAMPGROUND RESERVATIONS

boatingcampingRV campshiking fishing

(listed from north to south)

North State Sacramento Valley

Black Butte Reservoir
Stony Gorge Reservoir
East Park Reservoir
Lake Berryessa
Lake Oroville SRA
Thermalito Forebay
New Bullards Bar
Collins Lake

Sunset at the Lake
Oak foothills of the Historic Gold Country, at the edge of the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Central Sacramento & California Delta

Central Valley / San Joaquin

Lake Amador
Lake Camanche
Pardee Reservoir
New Hogan Lake
New Melones Lake
Woodward Reservoir
Salt Spring Valley Reservoir
Lake Tulloch
Don Pedro Lake
Turlock Lake SRA
Modesto Reservoir
Lake McClure
San Luis Reservoir SRA
Eastman Lake
Hensley Lake
Mariposa Lakes
Millerton Lake SRA
Redinger Lake
Pine Flat Reservoir
Lake Kaweah
Lake Success
Buena Vista Reservoir

Trimmer Boat Ramp

Walk-In Camp Site at Lake

Kaweah Sequoia Sierra

Central Valley CA

happyvalleycow

Happy Valley Cow

The Great Central Valley of California – the San Joaquin Valley (on the south side) & the Sacramento Valley (on the north) together make up some of the most fertile farmland on the whole West Coast. Agriculture thrives, water flows & smog settles.

This huge valley, bordered by the Pacific Ocean on the west & the Sierra Nevada mountain range on the east side, is the one of the biggest farm land regions of the U.S. The food that feeds the world is grown right here in the Center of California. Vegetables, rice, fruits, citrus, garlic, onions, nuts, you name it.

redlettuce

Central Valley residents can easily enjoy fresh produce year round. Centrally located they can access the neighboring Central Coast, Historic Gold Country, and the Sierra Nevada mountains, plus The City (San Francisco) is not too far away either.

Since the capital city of Sacto has a port of entry, the California Delta & surrounding waterways, make for excellent fishing, boating & camping.

Unfortunately this low lying area is one of the worse smog basins on the west coast. The upper & lower Central Valley see the worst of it, as wind pushes the emissions right up against the mountains. Triple digit temperatures are common throughout the summer months. The super heat just magnifies the poor quality of air.

cauliflower

California Country – CA Countryside Communities

California Central Valley Map

Counties, Cities & Towns of the San Joaquin Valley:
(south to north)

Kern County
Tulare County
Kings County
Madera County
Fresno County
Merced County
Stanislaus County
San Joaquin County
Solano County
Sacramento County
Yuba County
Sutter County
Yolo County
Colusa County
Glenn County
Butte County
Tehama County
Shasta County

Reservoirs

blue links lead to camp reservation services. camp RV Camping

Central Valley Parks & points of interest:

Henry W Coe State Park
George J. Hatfield State Recreation Area
Carnegia SVRA
Dos Reis County Park, San Joaquin River
San Juan Bautista State Historical Park
Hollister Hills OHV Park
Pinnacles National Monument
Hernandez Reservoir
Los Banos Creek Reservoir
Caswell Memorial State Park
Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park
Chowchilla Recreation Area
, Eastman Lake
Codorniz Campground, Eastman Lake
Kern National Wildlife Reserve
Kesterson National Wildlife Reserve
San Luis National Wildlife Reserve
Merced National Wildlife Reserve
Modesto Reservoir Regional Park
Honey Run Covered Bridge
Oroville Wildlife Area
Spenceville Wildlife Management & Recreation Area
Lake Oroville State Recreation Area
Mount Diablo State Park
Auburn State Recreation Area
Sherman Island Waterfowl Management Area
Grizzly Island Waterfowl Management Area
Cache Creek
Sutter National Wildlife Reserve
Gray Lodge Wildlife Area
Colusa Sacramento River State Recreation Area
Colusa National Wildlife Reserve
Delevan National Wildlife Reserve
Sacramento National Wildlife Reserve
Mill Creek Wilderness
Ishi Wilderness
Tehama State Wildlife Area
Red Bluff Recreation Area
Shasta-Trinity NRA
Whiskeytown Reservoir NRA

California Central Valley Lakes & Reservoirs

walk in camps

for more lakes in California, check the LAKES LIST

Hiking Lake

Guide to Hiking Lakes in California

lakes Southern California

This is California – the beautiful, where millions flock on vacation. California is crowded: the population & tourists are only increasing each year. Thousands of people are looking for hiking mountains or better, a hiking lake – each weekend. Many are using the web for destinations, like the research you are doing right now. All folks seeking nature, water, cooler temps, fresh air & views. High Sierra, NorCal, SoCal Reservoirs, we list the best of these hiking lakes below.

Some of the lakes have mountaineering routes nearby; equestrian trails, regular hiking trails, campgrounds, some even have sorta level paved (granny) trails for biking, hiking & skating around.

High elevation or alpine lakes can be accessed best in summer months. Mountain bike, backpack, horseback into these hidden treasures. With any Sierra Nevada destination, snow pack deep can be in certain seasons. Major Highways (Sierra Passes) can be closed into June or July, due to rock slides and late snow melt. Snow shoes, snowmobile or 4×4 vehicles may be needed to reach such lakes, any months OCT-MAY (fall to spring). Winter can come early & stay late at these higher elevations of California; Be prepared for true Wilderness experience.

But maybe you are just looking for some easy hiking, loop trails & picnic spots; Or perhaps an overnight stay near a lakeside camp w/ kayak rentals. California reservoirs to alpine lakes, we have a wide variety listed below.

This page contains links to some favorite lakes with hiking trails around the lake, along the shoreline or routes on ridge lines overlooking the lake. If no good lake page could be found, we’ve linked to some photos of the lake on Flickr.

Baja California:

SoCal:

Central California / Sierra Nevada:

NorCal:

Blackrock Reservoir in Sierra Nevada

Blackrock Reservoir in Sierra Nevada

Lakes California Map: check out all the maps we have for lakes in Cali

Rock Creek California

rockycreek

Rock Creek, CA

Due the nature of gravity, erosion and heavy rocks, creek beds tend to be rocky ravines near mountains – which collect rocks as they slide downhill. Creeks work as water drainage off the mountains. Inside California we have plenty of mountain ranges and plenty of movement, as the Pacific tectonic plate plows into North America.

How many Rock Creeks are inside the golden state of California? Heck, I dunno. Let’s try to find them all.

winterlodge

Probably the best known, is the one near Mammoth Lakes, CA

Rock Creek @ Mammoth

Rock Creek Road, Eastern Sierra
Inyo National Forest
Road #4S12
ROCK CREEK LAKE
CAMPGROUND (9600? elev w/ 66 sites)
GROUP CAMPGROUND (reservations required)
RESORTS
CABIN RENTALS
Road #6S05
WILDERNESS TRAILHEADS
Toms Place, CA

rockcreeklakeresort

fallflames

Eastern Sierra Rock Creek Rd

Off Road Gold Country, Sierra foothills

Rock Creek, Western Sierra
Eldorado National Forest
HIKING & HORSEBACK
OHV TRAILS
4×4 CAMPS
Georgetown, CA
RUBICON TRAIL @ LOON LAKE

RockCreekOHV

How can we forget the creek camping & trail access south of Shaver?

bald mtn

Jeepers on granite @ Bald Mountain, above Shaver Lake, CA

Shaver Lake, Sierra National Forest

Rock Creek Rd, Southern Sierra
Dinkey Creek Area
Sierra National Forest
CAMPING
4×4 TRAILS
BALD MTN elev 7832′
DINKEY DOME elev 7697′
Shaver Lake, CA

Northern Sierra
Feather River Canyon

Rock Creek, Highway 70
North fork Feather River

Large feeder creek from the north side on California SR 70, in Plumas National Forest. Located in the paved railroad canyon known as Feather River Canyon.

Sugar Loaf Mountain elev 3553′
plus Tobin Ridge line each side of Rock Creek as it descends the mountain tops. The junction where the creek meets the big river is just south of Bucks Creek Power Station @ STORRIE, CA. Overall location is half way in between OROVILLE, CA and QUINCY, CA

camp

campfires

primitive camp sites

But wait, we have Campgrounds that are named Rock Creek too.

Mammoth Reservoir

Mammoth Pool Reservoir

Rock Creek Campground – Mammoth Pool Reservoir, south of Yosemite National Park, behind Bass Lake, CA Sierra National Forest (18 camp sites)

Rock Creek Campground – US Hwy 101 NorCal Redwood forests, north of Leggett, CA. Camp located on the Eel River, in the Standish Hickey State Recreation Area. (36 camp sites)

Also ROCK LAKE is located inside Lakes Basin Recreation Area, northern Gold Country @ Yuba River headwaters. Hike-in access only.

Rock Front OHV

Similarly named ROCK FRONT RANCH is 4×4 trails & 4WD camping area. Off Highway 166, west of the city of Santa Maria on the Central Coast of Cali.

California Water Information

California Reservoirs
California Water Resources

water resources / water scarcity / land and water

snow flakes

SNOW PACK

State Snow Depths – Wunderground
SNOTEL Snow Depth Reports
http://www.wunderground.com/StateSnowDepth.asp?state=CA

California Snow Water Equivalents
Sierra Snow Pack Data
https://cdec.water.ca.gov/snow/current/snow/

Eastern Sierra Snow Pack by Sierra Wave
Article published Feb 2014
http://www.sierrawave.net/tag/eastern-sierra-snowpack/

Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center
Snowpack summaries published Dec 2014
http://www.esavalanche.org/content/snowpack-summaries-begin-soon

Sierra Avalanche Center
Sierra Nevada Mountain Snow in California
http://www.sierraavalanchecenter.org/

 

snow flakes

LAKES & RESERVOIRS

The Lowest Lake Levels in California
List of Reservoirs below 30% full, as reported Jan. 2015


Conditions for Major Reservoirs in California

http://cdec.water.ca.gov/

  • Trinity Lake
  • Lake Shasta
  • Lake Oroville
  • Folsom Lake
  • New Melones Lake
  • Millerton Lake
  • San Luis Reservoir
  • Don Pedro Reservoir
  • Pine Flat Lake
  • Pyramid Lake
  • Castaic Lake

San Diego River & Reservoir Data
Map of San Diego Hydrology, Water Storage
http://www.cnrfc.noaa.gov/

San Luis Obispo Reservoir Data
Lakes on the Central Coast of California
http://www.slocountywater.org/

  • Lake Nacimiento
  • Whale Rock Reservoir
  • Lake Lopez
  • Santa Margarita Lake
  • Twitchell Reservoir

Ventura County Watershed Map
Watershed Protection District
http://www.vcwatershed.net/

snow flakes

RIVER FLOWS

California River Forecast Center Map
Overview for recent rainfall data, snow depths, and ocean temperature
http://www.cnrfc.noaa.gov/google.php

California Current River Conditions
CA.gov Dept of Water Resources
http://cdec.water.ca.gov/river/rivcond.html

California River Forecast
California Nevada River Forecast Center
http://cdec.water.ca.gov/rivforecasts.html
Drought Info
http://www.cnrfc.noaa.gov/droughtInfo.php

Upper Sacramento River Forecast
Northern Sacto River
http://cdec.water.ca.gov/cgi-progs/rivfcast/USACBUL

snow flakes

NEWS & STATISTICS

Irrigated Lands in California – Farming Map

Dry Wells in California – DanaMite’s Map
More than 1,480 domestic well failures in 36 counties have been reported to the state of California recently.

California will need 11 trillion gallons of water to end epic drought by Mashable.com
http://mashable.com/

California Department of Water Resources
http://www.water.ca.gov/

Water in California – Wikipedia
Reservoirs, Water Sources, Aquaducts, Water Distribution
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_in_California

Residential Per Capita Water Use across California
Water conservation measures and stats per city
http://www.californiadrought.org/

Aquafornia, the Water Education Foundation
California water news from various news sources
http://www.watereducation.org/aquafornia

Association of California Water Agencies
Largest statewide coalition of public water agencies
http://www.acwa.com/content/water-information

USGS Water Data for California
The United States Geological Survey
http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ca/nwis

EPA – Environmental Protection Agency
California Drinking Water | Local Drinking Water Information
http://water.epa.gov/drink/local/ca.cfm

California Water Impact Network, C-WIN
Advocates for equitable and environmentally sensitive use of California’s water
http://www.c-win.org/

California Drought Map
National Drought Mitigation Center
http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/Home/StateDroughtMonitor.aspx?CA

 

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PACIFIC OCEAN

Heal the Bay
Volunteer, Beach Cleanups, Santa Monica Pier Aquarium
http://www.healthebay.org/

The Pacific Genocide

  • Fukushima Meltdown
  • Acidification of Oceans
  • Overfishing
  • Pollution & Oil Spills
  • Marine Life Watch