35 Best Lakes in Northern California to add to Your Bucket List

These lakes are ideal for an escape weekend or day trip. Here is a list of the best 35 lakes in Northern California to add to your bucket list.

Lakeside retreats offer a soothing escape from the fast-paced and busy routine of daily life, providing an ideal environment to enjoy breathtaking natural landscapes and invigorating air.

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Begin your planning! Therefore, commence planning. This map is extremely helpful for anyone looking to explore the best lakes in Northern California, whether it’s for fishing trips or day trips. Additionally, it provides useful information that you can use for planning purposes.

Table of Contents

1. Mono Lake – One of the enchanting Lakes in Northern California

Lake Mono is a stunning, ancient saline lake perched on the snowy Sierra Nevada Mountains and the arid edge of California’s Great Basin.

The lack of fish in this lake is made up for by its vast number of brine shrimp, countless birds, and remarkable tufa towers.

The tufa towers are tall columns of calcium carbonate (limestone) formed below the water level in a saline lake through the chemical reaction of spring water.

With its stunning scenery and wide array of wildlife, Mono Lake is a must-see destination for anyone visiting or living in California.

Activities to take part in – Join a free, guided walk led by a nature expert among unique tufa formations and set off on a bird-watching adventure in Lundy Canyon.

Discover the informative pathway and observe displays on the history, fauna, and geology of Mono Lake at the Visitor Center of the Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area, the initial United States National Scenic Area.

Discover the abandoned town of Bodie (California’s designated state ghost town).

Take a picturesque journey along the June Lake loop.

Close by is the town of Lee Vining.

2. June Lake in June Lake Loop – Organize your upcoming escape

My daughter is enjoying at June Lake on a hot summer day!

This alpine idyllic lake is located a few miles north of Mammoth Lakes in the Eastern Sierra, and it is situated on a loop in June that offers breathtakingly beautiful views.

The transparent waters, breathtaking sceneries, and abundant activities make it a highly desirable location. There are numerous camping locations and lodging options in the surrounding area.

Activities to engage in – Visitors can experience fishing, swimming, boating, and hiking in this location.

Drive the scenic June Lake loop. Four gorgeous lakes in this loop are June Lake, Gull Lake, Silver Lake, and Grant Lake.

Take a stroll along the shoreline of the lake, and discover the pathways surrounding the body of water.

Nearby Town – June Lake, a quaint small mountain village.

3. Gull Lake – One of the most stunning Lakes in Northern California

Visitors and individuals who appreciate the outdoors regard the June Lake Loop as a beloved spot, situated in the Eastern Sierra of California, frequently called the “Switzerland of California” due to its rugged mountains and attractions at high elevations.

The area is a paradise for those looking to escape the daily hustle and bustle of life and enjoy some breathtaking scenery. It boasts endless hiking trails and four picturesque lakes – Grant, Silver, Gull, and June.

Lake Gull is particularly popular for canoeing, swimming, and fishing. The lake is stocked with rainbow trout, making it the perfect spot for those looking to reel in dinner.

At Marina Lake Gull, paddleboard and canoe rentals are available to make your leisurely exploration of the lake easier. Additionally, there are several beach areas where visitors can take a refreshing dip or relax in the sun.

For those who prefer to remain on solid ground, there are numerous hiking paths in the vicinity to discover.

Activities – Visitors have the opportunity to engage in fishing, swimming, and canoeing.

Consider choosing to camp at the Gull Lake Campground, as it is one of the top campgrounds in the area.

Take a leisurely stroll along the short and peaceful hiking path that encircles the lake.

Have a picnic in the Gull Lake Park next to Gull Lake Marina.

Nearby Town – June Lake, a quaint small mountain village.

4. Silver Lake in the June Lake Circuit

Lake Silver is a hidden gem popular for hiking, boating, and fishing. It is known for its stunning scenery and clear water. Lake Silver is one of the four lakes in the June Lake Loop.

The lake is also encompassed by scenic mountain views, making it the ideal spot to unwind and appreciate the natural surroundings.

Fishing, boating, and swimming are great activities at Silver Lake to entertain visitors of all ages. The lake itself is a spot.

There are plenty of hiking and cycling paths in the region, providing breathtaking vistas of the lake and nearby mountains.

For those seeking a more laid-back experience, there are plenty of picnic areas scattered around the lake.

Activities to engage in – Explore June Lake Village and peruse charming boutiques, and enjoy a meal.

To get a wonderful introduction to the stunning forests of the eastern Sierra, go for a drive on the Mammoth Scenic Loop.

Nearby Town – June Lake, a quaint small mountain village.

5. Grant Lake in the June Lake Circuit

Lake Grant is the second largest of the four lakes in loop Lake June, located in the picturesque alpine basin of California, lying in the shadow of Mt. Ritter.

Angling at Grant Lake is sure to be an enjoyable experience, regardless of whether you’re a seasoned fisherman or a novice. Grant Lake boasts a plentiful variety of fish, such as rainbow trout, brown trout, and brook trout.

Swimming is among the most well-liked pastimes at Grant Lake. Anticipating that substantial catch, with a fishing line in the aquatic realm, enjoying a serene day out on the water, there’s nothing quite comparable.

Soak up the sun and unwind by the coast, there are also numerous locations. The water is revitalizing and ideal for a summer’s day.

Prior to 10 a.M., A strict ten mph speed restriction is enforced. Grant Lake offers a wide range of water activities, including wakeboarding, waterskiing, and jet skiing.

Nearby Town – June Lake, a charming small mountain town.

6. Convict Lake – One of the cleanest Lakes in the Eastern Sierra

Nestled in a remote area of the Sierra Nevada mountains, Convict Lake is a secret treasure waiting to be explored.

Just a short drive from the famous Mammoth Lakes region, this serene lake is surrounded by grand mountains and pristine natural surroundings.

After visiting numerous stunning lakes in Switzerland and Norway, Convict Lake stands out for its breathtaking beauty and tranquility!

Wildflowers in the summer introduce a burst of color to the landscape, while the Aspen trees transform into a stunning golden shade during the fall.

Whether you are enjoying a picnic on the shore or surrounded by the breathtaking scenery, there are many hiking trails in the area to explore.

Activities to enjoy – Sailing, Canoeing, Diving, Trekking, and Angling.

Explore the Convict Lake Loop Trail.

Close by Town – Mammoth Lakes.

7. Lake Mary – the biggest lake in the Mammoth Lakes Basin

Situated in the majestic Sierra Nevada mountains, Lake Mary is the biggest lake in the Mammoth Lakes Basin.

You can explore at your own speed, so you can wind around the numerous trails surrounding the lake. You can enjoy the beautiful views and just relax, or you can go fishing or hike. This stunning lake is the perfect place.

Alternatively, if you are feeling daring, you have the option to hire a canoe or kayak and paddle out onto the water!

Within the vicinity, trekking, angling, and outdoor camping are only a handful of well-liked pursuits. Lake Mary offers an ideal setting to relish the magnificent natural surroundings. Recreational options abound.

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Discover the enchanting city center of the neighboring town Bishop.

Experience the captivating walking tour of murals and galleries in Bishop.

Close by, there is a town called Bishop.

8. Pair of Lakes

Twin Lakes consists of two distinct yet interconnected bodies of water: Lower Twin Lake and Upper Twin Lake.

During the summer season, guests have the option to access the lakes by embarking on a brief trek from either starting point or by utilizing the complimentary shuttle service connecting Mammoth Mountain and Twins Falls Trailhead.

Activities – In addition to swimming, canoeing, and fishing, there are numerous other activities you can engage in at Twin Lakes.

The meadows by the lake are ideal for having a picnic, and numerous straightforward hiking paths meander through the region.

If you wish to venture further, pay a visit to Devil’s Postpile National Monument.

Additionally, make sure to visit Minaret Vista Point – the scenery from that location is absolutely breathtaking.

9. Ellery Lake at Tioga Pass

Ellery lake is a stunning alpine lake situated on Tioga Pass, the highest roadway pass in California.

The lake is located in close proximity to the eastern entrance of Yosemite National Park. The breathtaking vistas of the nearby mountains and forests are absolutely awe-inspiring, which contributes to its popularity among hikers and enthusiasts of the natural world.

Don’t forget to visit Ellery Lake Falls. Whether you stay in a boat or land, this is an ideal spot for fishing – there are plenty of things to do.

Close by is the town of Lee Vining.

10. Saddlebag Reservoir

It is a fantastic destination for a weekend getaway, the San Francisco Bay Area. This peaceful lake is situated near the Inyo National Forest, close to the Hoover Wilderness.

There are plenty of biking and hiking trails to explore, and the lake is surrounded by beautiful scenery. Saddlebag is a little piece of heaven, situated at an elevation of over 10,000 feet.

Things to do – I highly recommend the Twenty Lakes Loop hike. It is a stunning trail that begins at Saddlebag lake.

Enjoy the views of nearby peaks, Mt. Conness and North Peak, as you make your way along the trail. See some of the most amazing alpine lakes along the way.

To get to Highway 395 from the junction of Saddlebag Lake Road, you will need to travel approximately 12 miles on Tioga Pass Road. Follow the directions to reach Lake Saddlebag.

Nearby Town – Lee Vin.

11. Tioga Lake – One of the most stunning lakes in Northern California

If you’re searching for a stunning glacial lake to explore, look no more than Tioga Lake close to Yosemite National Park.

This is one of the highest lakes in the United States that can be reached by car, with an elevation of 9,646 feet. The breathtaking Mt. Dana can be seen from this location.

Anglers, hikers, and individuals in search of a secluded camping adventure often visit this lake.

Activities to engage in – Camping (There are 13 regularly maintained campsites situated around the lake).

This tranquil little lake is perfect for a day of fishing with the family. Rainbow trout, weighing up to 5 lbs, are regularly stocked.

Hiking – Tioga Tarns Nature Walk.

The Walk Nature Tarns Tioga offers a great opportunity to learn about the geography and natural history of the area, and it is easy to walk and see the beautiful scenery.

Close by is the town of Lee Vining.

12. Tenaya Lake – One of the most breathtaking Lakes to explore when you are in Yosemite National Park

Lake Tenaya is a breathtaking stop on any Yosemite itinerary. The clear blue waters, fed by the high country’s glacial runoff, provide a stunning contrast to the surrounding rocky cliffs and forests.

This mountain lake is a well-liked location for swimming (if you are fine with chilly water in the summer), angling, and sailing.

During the winter season, Tioga Pass Road shuts down, consequently limiting access to the lake exclusively from June until October. Numerous remote trails provide entry into the encompassing wilderness, while a well-maintained pathway encircling the lake offers an enjoyable opportunity for a leisurely walk.

Things to do – Begin a hiking expedition. The Tenaya Lake path is an easy 2.5 miles with no elevation gain.

Close by, there is a town called Wawona.

READ MORE:.

  • San Francisco to Yosemite Road Trip: Optimal Route and Attractions.
  • 50 Best Landmarks in Yosemite National Park, California.
  • A Day Excursion to Yosemite National Park: Top Attractions to Explore.
  • 13. Clear Lake – The biggest naturally occurring freshwater lake in California

    Clear Lake is situated in Lake County, California. It is the biggest natural freshwater lake in the state of California.

    Mount Konocti stands out as a prominent characteristic of Clear Lake. The body of water is overshadowed by this inactive volcano, with a height of 4,300 feet.

    Mount Konocti is a well-liked spot for hikers and climbers, and numerous paths meander their way to the peak.

    From the summit of Mount Konocti, visitors can appreciate breathtaking vistas of Clear Lake and the encompassing rural area.

    Experience the vast and untamed beauty of the open wilderness as it intertwines with the dense civilization, and discover the remarkable sensation of Monument National Mountain Snow Berryessa Drive – a must-do activity.

    Explore Clear Lake State Park and Anderson Marsh State Historic Park.

    Explore the thriving wine area fueled by Mediterranean microclimates and soil enriched with volcanic ash, enabling abundant grape harvests.

    Enjoy some wine sampling at Brassfield Estate Winery or Cache Creek Vineyards & Winery, near Clear Lake.

    Nearby Town – Lakeport.

    14. Pinecrest Lake – A stunning lake nestled within a woodland area

    Pinecrest lake in the Stanislaus National Forest is one of my favorite alpine lakes, located not so far from the Bay Area.

    Pinecrest Recreation Area offers well-kept bathrooms, picnic spots, camping areas, and a fishing dock that is easily accessible.

    Activities – The lake is available for swimming, canoeing, kayaking, paddleboarding, and using electric motor boats.

    Marina offers the option to rent boats. Not to worry! In case you don’t possess your own boat or gear, you can also engage in fishing for rainbow trout, brook trout, brown trout, and kokanee salmon.

    There are plenty of biking and hiking trails for those who want to explore the gorgeous scenery and not forget to bring their camera, as the views are simply stunning.

    Close by is the town of Strawberry.

    15. Lake Almanor – An essential Lake to visit near Lassen Volcanic National Park

    Lake Almanor is located in the northeastern region of California, near Lassen Volcanic National Park, and is regarded as a hidden gem of the state.

    If you come here once, you will definitely desire to come back. This is the perfect spot for you, whether you seek to connect with the environment or simply wish to escape from the constantly chaotic modern life.

    Here you can discover a wide range of activities, ranging from peaceful hiking paths to thrilling watersports.

    Whether it’s fall, summer, or spring, the area around Almanor Lake offers many opportunities for outdoor recreation. After a long day of exploring, you can retire to one of the cozy campgrounds or lodges in the vicinity.

    When I explored Lake Almanor, far from the masses, I adored the peaceful ambiance the most.

    A perfect vacation provided me with a delectable meal at Plumas Pines Resort, followed by a stunning sunset in the evening and observing avian creatures by the lake on a relaxed morning.

    Picnic areas and coastlines provide fantastic chances for recreational activities with your family and friends, while also offering picturesque sights of the lake.

    Explore Lassen Volcanic National Park and Burney Falls. Immerse yourself in golfing, trekking, cycling, horseback riding, and fishing.

    Close by, there is the town of Chester.

    16. Manzanita Lake – An isolated location in the Lassen Volcanic National Park

    Manzanita Lake is a gorgeous, isolated location in the Lassen Volcanic National Park in Northern California.

    The Lake is renowned for its transparent waters and picturesque vistas, making it a favored location for angling, swimming, and canoeing.

    It serves as a spot for fly-fishing in peaceful waters. The Lake is encircled by a varied assortment of trees, like willow and pine.

    Multiple hiking paths originate from Manzanita Lake and connect to various areas within the Park.

    Manzanita Lake provides a magnificent vantage point of Lassen Peak, the most prominent volcanic summit in the region.

    Lake Manzanita is a great destination for an overnight camping trip or a day trip, ensuring that visitors have a memorable experience.

    Activities to engage in – Explore the Manzanita Lake Trail.

    Close by Town – Mineral.

    17. Shasta Lake – The biggest reservoir in California

    The picturesque lake, Lake Shasta, nestled in Shasta County, is framed by the towering Klamath and Shasta Mountains, making it a popular spot for tourists and locals alike. Lake Shasta is the largest reservoir in California.

    Visitors can indulge in a range of activities in the Whiskeytown-Shasta-Trinity National Recreation Area, such as trekking, cycling, sailing, and angling.

    The caves are a must-visit. Easily reachable by a brief boat journey from the McCloud River region, the Lake Shasta Caverns provide a captivating glimpse into an intricate system of underground chambers. For individuals seeking an extraordinary adventure, activities abound.

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    The Shasta-Trinity National Forest is the biggest National Forest in California.

    This region offers numerous possibilities for outdoor leisure activities, such as horse riding, hiking, and cycling on various remote paths.

    People can also utilize these pathways to participate in cross-country skiing and snowmobiling during the winter season.

    Close by is the town of Redding.

    18. Lake Siskiyou – A man-made lake located in Siskiyou County

    Mount Shasta, which can be admired from different locations around the lake, is renowned for its breathtaking vistas. The region is also famous for its reservoir, Lake Siskiyou, situated in Siskiyou County, California, approximately 2.3 miles away from Mount Shasta.

    The lake is an excellent location for fishing, swimming, and sailing.

    The Lake Siskiyou Trail offers a variety of activities to do. Taking a stroll around the lake is a remarkably stunning experience. There are fantastic spots for picnicking around the lake where you can relish a delightful picnic with your loved ones.

    Visit Hedge Creeks Falls in Dunsmuir, just a 20-minute drive away from Lake Siskiyou.

    Close by is the town of Dunsmuir.

    19. Lake Whiskeytown

    Lake Whiskeytown, nestled in the Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, is a popular spot for swimming, boating, and fishing. It is one of the hidden gems of Northern California, a reservoir with many hidden treasures.

    The mountainous backdrop and clear blue water truly make the lake a breathtaking sight. The lake got its name, Whiskeytown, from the stunning natural beauty it possesses. The lake is now located beneath the town, which was named after the Gold Rush mining town.

    Visitors can explore the area on foot or by boat, and there are plenty of picnic areas and hiking trails to enjoy.

    Whiskeytown Lake is a fantastic spot for kokanee salmon and offers excellent trout fishing for rainbow, brown, and brook trout.

    Whether you’re looking for an adventurous getaway or a relaxing weekend by the water, Whiskeytown Lake is the perfect place to visit.

    Activities to engage in – Trek and admire stunning waterfalls such as Whiskeytown Falls, Boulder Creek Falls, and Crystal Creek Falls.

    Whiskeytown Lake is a superb location for stargazing because of its dimly lit skies and unobstructed vistas.

    Close by is the town of Redding.

    20. Lewiston Reservoir

    Situated in Trinity County, California, Lewiston Lake is a man-made reservoir formed by the construction of Lewiston Dam on the Trinity River.

    Lewiston Lake is the ideal location if you’re seeking a serene and picturesque scenery while angling for trout.

    The surrounding area of Lake Lewiston is filled with beautiful views, ranging from wide marshlands to dense forests, offering a variety of landscapes.

    Lewiston Lake is a secret treasure in Trinity County, California.

    Activities to engage in – Try kayak fishing.

    Explore the Lewiston Lake trail, which stretches for 3.1 miles round trip.

    Discover the historic old town of Lewiston.

    Close by is the town of Lewiston.

    21. Trinity Reservoir

    Trinity Lake, situated in Trinity County, boasts 145 miles of picturesque shoreline, making it one of California’s largest reservoirs. If you’re seeking respite from the hustle and bustle of city life, this enchanting destination offers a delightful retreat for a few days.

    Individuals adore discovering the untamed nature encompassing this marvelous lake, which forms a fraction of the vast Shasta-Trinity National Forest.

    Visitors can also enjoy the Trinity Alps Wildlife Area, which offers opportunities to see wildlife such as deer, black bears, and eagles.

    Activities to engage in – The Trinity Lake region is ideal if you enjoy observing birds.

    Engage in various activities such as Kayaking, Rafting, Jet skiing, and Canoeing.

    Trinity Lake is an excellent fishing spot with abundant chinook salmon, trout, Largemouth, and smallmouth bass.

    What do you think of drifting on the lake in a lavish houseboat?

    Adjacent Town – Weaverville.

    22. Lake Helen – A lake with breathtaking vistas of Lassen Peak

    Lake Helen, situated in California, is a deep azure lake that provides breathtaking vistas of Lassen Peak. It has a depth exceeding 100 feet and retains snow and ice for a considerable duration, even during the summer months.

    On calm days, the tranquil waters provide an almost flawless mirror image of the snow-covered Lassen Peak.

    Have a delightful summer day at Lake Helen, as the park roadway meanders around the southern and western edges of the lake, offering onlookers a multitude of volcanic summits throughout the journey.

    Have a delightful picnic with your loved ones at the ideal spot – the cozy picnic spot on the southeastern side of the lake. Activities to partake in.

    The southern shore of the lake offers plenty of space for swimming with a large number of visitors. You can either soak up the sun and relax on the beach or take a swim in the lake.

    Close by is the town of Susanville.

    23. Emerald Lake – A vibrant lake in Lassen Volcanic National Park

    Lake Emerald is a mesmerizing and beautiful place inside Lassen Volcanic National Park, where the unique green color of the lake comes from the vegetation that grows in its shallow waters.

    Wildflowers also flourish on its rocky coasts, enhancing the beauty of the Emerald Lake.

    There is always a spot available for those who want to see the colorful scenery at Emerald Lake, but parking is usually limited. Don’t you regret making a trip to Emerald Lake at least once?

    Activities – The Emerald Lake is ideal for individuals who appreciate kayaking, paddleboarding, or swimming.

    It is also wonderful to pause and enjoy a picnic lunch in the meadow by the lake.

    Close by is the town of Redding.

    24. Folsom Lake – The top lake in close proximity to Sacramento

    The Folsom Dam, which impounded the American River, resulted in the formation of Folsom Lake in 1955. Situated approximately 25 miles to the east of Sacramento, Folsom Lake is an artificial reservoir located in the Sierra Nevada foothills of California.

    The lake is a popular destination for boating, hiking, swimming, fishing, water skiing, wakeboarding, and other water activities. It is the primary reservoir of Folsom State Recreation Area.

    Furthermore, the recreational zone provides numerous camping sites and picnic areas. Folsom Lake is additionally a renowned location for birdwatching.

    The reservoir is situated right outside Sacramento, making it a convenient escape for urban residents.

    Activities to engage in – Discover the most exquisite bird-watching paths that Folsom Lake State Recreation Area provides!

    Explore the enchanting vintage stores, delectable eateries, and the Folsom Historical Exhibits to uncover the historic district.

    Close by is the town of Orangevale.

    25. Lake Tahoe – The most stunning lake in Northern California

    Lake Tahoe, the biggest lake in North America’s alpine region, boasts an impressive 72 miles of shoreline and stretches an astonishing 22 miles in length and 12 miles in width.

    The lake is situated in the Sierra Nevada mountains, spanning the boundary between California and Nevada.

    South Lake Tahoe, with its abundance of hotels, restaurants, and shops, is the most developed region. This scenic destination attracts both locals and tourists from around the globe, who come to admire the breathtaking mountain vistas and crystal-clear azure waters.

    The Lake Tahoe’s North Shore is more peaceful and picturesque, providing visitors with an opportunity to appreciate the region’s innate magnificence.

    There is something magical about Lake Tahoe, the largest lake in the US by volume. Everyone has an offer to experience the magic of Lake Tahoe.

    It always appears to create a long-lasting impact.

    Beach Cove Secret is a hidden gem, offering a more secluded beach. Dogs must be leashed on the beach, but they can swim off-leash at Beach Kiva. Beach Harbor Sand features stunning mountain views and crystal-clear water. Beach Cove Secret and Beach Kiva are among the best dog-friendly beaches in Lake Tahoe. There are plenty of things to explore and do on the beautiful beaches of Lake Tahoe.

    Additionally, you have the option to fish from boats. Scuba diving, kayaking, paddleboarding, wakeboarding, parasailing, and water skiing, among other water-based activities, are also fantastic choices.

    Donner Memorial State Park, D. L. Bliss State Park, and Emerald Bay State Park are all worth visiting.

    Lake Tahoe provides a range of breathtaking hiking trails. Certain pathways wander through forests, alongside lakes, and up mountains.

    There are just a few spectacular hiking trails leading to Lake Ralston, Echo Lakes, and Eagle Falls, as well as the Trail to Lake Tallac and Mount Tallac.

    Close by Town – Tahoe City.

    26. Lake Donner

    Donner Lake is a breathtaking body of water situated in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of northern California.

    In the midst of a winter snowstorm, the region found itself isolated and infamously turned to cannibalism, leading a community of pioneers to dub the lake after the Donner Party.

    During the winter season, visitors can engage in skiing and snowboarding for their enjoyment. Conversely, during the summer months, visitors have the opportunity to partake in activities such as hiking, biking, and camping. Presently, Donner Lake is a highly sought-after destination among both tourists and locals.

    Lake Donner is an idyllic spot to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, regardless of the season. The lake is also home to various fish, including trout, brown, and rainbow.

    Activities to engage in – Trekking the Donner Pass Summit Tunnel.

    Visit and discover the Historic Downtown Truckee.

    Close by is the town of Truckee.

    27. Leaf that has Dropped Lake

    The Lake Leaf Fallen near Tahoe Lake is a stunningly beautiful spot to visit. The lake is located in the El Dorado National Forest, and it serves as a home to an ancient underwater forest.

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    With its pristine, clear waters and picturesque surroundings, the lake is a perfect place to enjoy a peaceful hike or picnic lunch.

    Lake Leaf Fallen is the perfect overnight camping destination, offering a variety of activities such as boating, water sports, swimming, and fishing. It is also a great spot for experiencing the beauty of fallen leaves in a campground.

    The amazing views are just a few steps away from the campsite – Desolation Wilderness is an excellent destination for backpacking if you’re staying at the Fallen Leaf Lake campsite. Activities to engage in.

    Discover the Waterfall of Fallen Leaf Lake.

    Close by is the town of South Lake Tahoe.

    28. Freshwater Reservoir

    New Melones Lake is a reservoir in the Sierra Nevada foothills of Calaveras County. The lake is fed by the Stanislaus River.

    There are also several things nearby, such as the Stanislaus River, the Calaveras Big Trees State Park, the Stanislaus National Forest, and New Melones Dam.

    Engaging in boating, angling, camping, and trekking are widely favored pastimes at New Melones Lake. The reservoir boasts one of the loftiest dams in the United States, rendering it exceptionally captivating.

    New Melones Lake provides camping opportunities throughout the year at two sites: Glory Hole Recreation Area and Tuttletown Recreation Area.

    Both camping sites provide accommodations for tents and RVs. Additionally, both recreation areas offer walk-in campsites.

    If you’re looking for a place to enjoy the new and active Lake Melones, please be sure to seize the opportunity and appreciate the scenery.

    Things to do: Explore Moaning Caverns Adventure Park, Mercer Caverns, and the Natural Bridges Trailhead. This hiking area is conveniently located alongside a river and showcases a scenic trail that guides you to enchanting natural pools and captivating swimming caverns.

    Nearby towns – Columbia and Angels City, known for their gold rush history.

    29. Oroville Reservoir

    Oroville Lake, located in the Northern California foothills of the Sierra Nevada, is the second largest reservoir in California. It is a popular spot for hiking, boating, and fishing.

    There are plenty of things to see and do in the area surrounding the Bidwell-Sacramento River State Park and Oroville Lake State Recreation Area, and some of the top sights include Oroville Lake. The lake is large and offers beautiful scenery.

    In addition, Oroville Lake also offers visitors a great place to enjoy the outdoors, as well as the opportunity to learn about the culture and history of the area.

    The Visitor Center at Lake Oroville is an excellent starting point.

    Sutter Buttes, the smallest mountain range in the world, is located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains and offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the lake. To enhance the experience, there is a 47-foot tower equipped with two high-powered telescopes, as well as videos and exhibits in the museum.

    Things to participate in – Discover the North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve, specifically during the spring season, when it is filled with lively wildflowers.

    Trek to the Phantom Falls and Feather Falls.

    Close by, there is a town called Chico.

    30. Berryessa Reservoir

    Nestled in the heart of Napa Valley, Berryessa Lake is one of California’s hidden gems, formed in the 1950s by the Monticello Dam on Putah Creek in the Vaca Mountains.

    The Morning Glory Spillway, commonly referred to as the Glory Hole, stands out as a distinctive characteristic of this expansive body of freshwater in Napa county.

    When the water level rises 440 feet above the surface, the pouring of water begins down into the hole and hundreds of feet below the Putah Creek. The hole serves as a unique spillway for the Monticello Dam and the lake.

    It is a popular spot for fishing, swimming, bird-watching, and boating. Also, there are plenty of things to see and do nearby.

    Some popular attractions in the region comprise the Napa Valley Wine Train, the Calistoga Hot Springs, and the Sonoma Raceway.

    There are also plenty of great hiking and biking trails in the area, making it the perfect place to explore the outdoors.

    Activities to engage in – Discover three marinas: Pleasure Cove, Markley Cove, and Lake Berryessa Boat & Jet Ski Rentals.

    Explore the Solano County Park and its beautiful lake.

    Calistoga, a town in close proximity.

    31. Hennessey Lake

    Hennessey Lake is a water storage area situated in the Vaca Mountains to the east of St. Helena and the Napa Valley.

    Lake Hennessey provides opportunities for hiking, fishing, and boating. It was established in 1948 when Conn Creek Dam was built across Conn Creek.

    Activities to engage in – Stroll alongside the lake.

    Take a picturesque journey along the Silverado Trail.

    Experience wine tasting. I highly suggest visiting Rutherford Hill Winery, which provides visitors with breathtaking panoramic vistas of Napa Valley.

    The estate sits atop a picturesque hill, providing a perfect perch for taking in the famous wine region, with its mountains and vineyards.

    Close by, there is a town called Rutherford.

    32. Sonoma Lake

    Sonoma Lake is located in the coastal foothills of California’s Sonoma County. This picturesque reservoir is surrounded by renowned vineyards and offers ample opportunities for outdoor recreation.

    The captivating Napa Valley vineyard region and the historic town of Healdsburg are nearby points of interest. Furthermore, tourists can indulge in picnics, sailing, angling, and trekking at this breathtaking location.

    Things to participate in – Discover Sugarloaf Ridge, State Park, which contains the Robert Ferguson Observatory, the liveliest public observatory in Northern California.

    How about stargazing if you’re a night owl like myself? Sugarloaf Ridge is one of the finest spots in the Bay Area for observing the stars. With some luck, you may even have the opportunity to witness a shooting star.

    Sonoma Lake and the Rockpile AVA, overlooking world-class Dry Creek Valley, is ideal for horseback riding at the historic Ranch. Explore it.

    Explore the Visitors Center and Fish Hatchery at Lake Sonoma.

    Adjacent Town – Santa Rosa.

    33. Reservoir of San Luis

    The San Luis Reservoir is a hidden gem located near the San Francisco Bay Area, in the historic Pacheco Pass near the San Joaquin Valley, California.

    San Luis Reservoir State Recreation Area is a popular destination for outdoor activities such as fishing, boating, board sailing, camping, and picnicking.

    Immersed in the splendor of nature, indulge in a couple of hours sailing or angling in the reservoir – activities to partake in. A day devoted to being out on the aquatic expanse, there’s truly nothing comparable to the experience.

    Go for a walk in one of the adjacent state parks.

    Visit a nearby winery. The San Joaquin Valley is renowned for its wine production, and several wineries are located near the reservoir.

    Spend a few hours exploring a couple of these establishments and sampling some of the regional wines. Cheers!

    Adjacent City – Los Banos.

    34. Lake Bass

    If you’re looking for a little slice of heaven, this beautiful lake is nestled in the Sierra National Forest, in Madera County, California, not far from Bass Lake.

    Enjoy a leisurely day at the beach – Activities to partake in. With opportunities to bask in the sun, indulge in some reading, or simply doze off, Bass Lake boasts several sandy shorelines.

    Take a swim. The water is consistently rejuvenating and there’s nothing comparable to a plunge on a scorching summer day.

    Go fishing.

    Explore Yosemite National Park, one of the most renowned sights close to Bass Lake.

    Explore The Pines Village for shopping and dining. This charming village provides numerous distinct stores and eateries.

    Enjoy a picturesque journey along Highway 41. This meandering route guides you through some of the most stunning landscapes in California.

    Close by is the town of Oakhurst.

    35. Heavenly Lake

    Paradise Lake, one of the treasures of Butte County, spans 244 acres and is surrounded by scenic forest, featuring a 7.5-mile shoreline.

    It is one of Paradise’s two reservoirs, serving as a water source for the town, along with various other activities such as mountain biking, hiking, fishing, and paddling.

    Activities to participate in – If you are enthusiastic about observing the stars, register for the fascinating occasion – Astronomy near the lake.

    Explore the lovely Victorian mansion known as the Bidwell Mansion State Historic Park, which was named after Annie and John Bidwell, the founders of the city of Chico. The mansion features 26 rooms and spans three stories.

    Nearby Town – Paradise City.

    Related Posts from Travel Realizations

    Epiphanies While Traveling

    If you are looking to add some new destinations to your bucket list, Northern California is home to many beautiful lakes worth checking out.

    Choose one of the best 35 lakes in Northern California for a weekend getaway from the San Francisco Bay Area to start your adventures!

    35 Astonishing Lakes in Northern California to Include in Your List of Must-Visit Places.

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