Near the City of Oroville this man-made lake was formed by the tallest earth-filled dam in the country at 900 feet at max capacity. (770 feet above the stream bed of the Feather River) Lake Oroville was created by Oroville Dam, which the State Department of Water Resources completed in 1967 after 5 years of construction.
Lake Oroville conserves water for distribution by the State Water Project to homes, farms, and industries in the San Francisco Bay area, the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California. The Oroville facilities of the project also serve to provide flood control and smog free generation of electric power in addition to recreation.
When the Lake is at its maximum elevation, it includes some 15,500 surface acres for recreation and 167 miles of shoreline. Recreation areas are spotted around the Lake and boaters can land at any point to explore the surrounding country.
The lake offers a wide variety of outdoor activities including camping, picnicking, horseback riding, hiking, sail and power boating, water-skiing, fishing, swimming, boat-in camping, floating campsites and horse camping.
The three hundred acre Thermalito Forebay is a day use area. It has planted turf and is regularly watered and mowed. Shade trees from many parts of the world dot the area, including European Sycamore, Olive, Valley Oak, and Zelkova. Ramada's provide shade for picnic sites. Each site contains a stove and one or two picnic tables. Three large group areas are available by reservation through park headquarters. Drinking water is provided by faucet and drinking fountain.
The two hundred yard sandy swimming beach has men's and women's dressing rooms and flush toilets. The turf and beach areas of the North Forebay and Loafer Creek are closed to dogs. The North Forebay is reserved exclusively for sailboats, canoes, and other non power driven boats. The area has a disabled accessible fishing pier. The North Forebay has frequent trout plants. The North Forebay also has an en-route campground. This campground is designed for one night stays for self contained vehicles only.
Thermalito Forebay South has a parking lot, four lane boat launch ramp, picnic tables, a sandy beach, and chemical toilets. There is no shade or drinking water available. Power boating and fishing are the main attractions here.
A visitor center complex atop Kelly Ridge overlooks the lake and dam. It features interpretive displays, an audio-visual room where films about the dam and surrounding area are shown throughout each day. The visitor center displays feature a history of the Dam construction and State Water Project as well as a historic view of the Native People that inhabit the Lake Oroville Area. A 47-foot viewing tower allows the visitor the opportunity to have a panoramic view of the dam and beautiful Lake.
Lake Oroville Visitor Center has a museum, exhibits, videos and a store. The view from the 47-foot tower, with two high-powered telescopes, is a spectacular panoramic view of the lake, Sierra Nevadas, valley, foothills, and the Sutter Buttesmountain range (smallest in the world). Also see Sutter Buttes: Maidu's Spirit Mountain. The local area around Lake Oroville SRA , includes the Feather River Fish Hatchery, built by the Department of Water Resources to replace lost spawning areas for salmon and steelhead. Displays on the State Water Project and the area’s natural and cultural history are featured at the Visitor’s Center.
Lake Oroville volunteers are an important part of the visitor center operation. Looking for an opportunity to contribute your time to an important cause? Check out the many volunteer opportunities at Lake Oroville State Recreation Area. For further information call the Visitor Center at (530) 538-2219.
Fishing can only be described as outstanding at Lake Oroville State Recreation Area. Largemouth and Small Mouth Bass aren't the only type of fish you'll find in the lake. Chinook, Catfish, Mackinaw, Sturgeon, and Brown Trout can all be found in great quantities and great qualities. Nineteen pound Mackinaw have been reeled in as well as 3 pound White Crappie.
Fishing is permitted all year long but remember, a California sport fishing license is required. Check at the park for "slot limit" regulations for black bass.
Also Worth Seeing
Spectacular Feather Falls on Fall River is a scenic highlight of the area and well worth a trip up the Middle Fork of the Feather River. Feather Falls is 640 feet high and is especially beautiful during the spring run-off. When the lake is at its maximum elevation, you can boat within a quarter of a mile of the falls. The Feather River Fish Hatchery across the river from the city of Oroville is a 20,000,000 egg capacity salmon and steelhead hatchery built by the Department of Water Resources and operated by the Department of Fish and Game. Underwater windows permit close up viewing of the fish.
Clay Pit SVRA
Within the Lake Oroville area there is a free day use SVRA area know as the Clay pit.
Launch Ramps Open at Lake Oroville
Floating campsite check-in is currently located at the Bidwell canyon Launch Area. Please verify check-in location prior to arrival. Exact locations of the floating campsites depend upon lake elevation. Information regarding specific locations will be provided upon check-in. Please note that pets are prohibited on floating campsites. (530)538-2219
The Lake Oroville area has four very distinct seasons; a Mediterranean-type climate. Winter months are cool to cold, seldom freezing temperatures, and some occasional fog. Temperatures run from mid to high 50s down to the 30s. Springtime is beautiful with a vivid array of wildflowers and very pleasant temperatures, normally in the high 60s to 70s. Summers are warm to extremely warm. The temperatures range from the low 80s up to the low 100s. Fall season usually brings a little humidity, but not much. It cools off at night and the Northern California autumn sunsets are incredible! Bring appropriate clothing to fit the season. Layered clothing is advised.Campers should bring sweatshirts during the summer months, because it can get somewhat cooler in the evenings and out on the water. Summer and spring are warm; fall and winter can be cool. Layered clothing is advised.
From Highway 70, take the Highway 162 exit (Oroville Dam Blvd.) and proceed East. Continue bearing east as Highway 162 evolves into Olive Highway; then after approximately 6 miles, make a left turn onto Kelly Ridge Road. In two miles Kelly Ridge Road ends at the Visitor Center parking lot.For the best answers to questions concerning any visitor information, please contact:Lake Oroville Visitor CenterPh. #: (530) 538-2219917 Kelly Ridge RoadOroville, CA 95966Latitude: 39° 46’ 20.67” N ||| Longitude: 121° 50’ 27.35” WBidwell Canyon CampgroundPh. #: (530) 538-2218801 Bidwell Canyon Road (off Arroyo Drive)Oroville, CA 95966Latitude: 39° 32’ 03.00” N ||| Longitude: 121° 27’ 23.26” W
BIDWELL CANYON: 68 miles north of Sacramento on Highway 70 to Highway 162; 8 miles east on Highway 162 to Kelly Ridge Rd, left on Kelly Ridge Rd to Arroyo Dr.
Lime Saddle CampgroundPh. #: (530) 876-85163428 Pentz Road.Paradise, CA 95969Latitude: 39° 40’ 33.25” N ||| Longitude: 121° 33’ 32.84” WLIME SADDLE: North of Sacramento on Highway 70 to Pentz Road; left on Pentz Road, take a right at campground entrance sign, proceed to Kiosk.
Lime Saddle Day Use Kiosk/ Lake Oroville MarinaPh. #: (530) 876-73503428 Pentz Road.Paradise, CA 95969Latitude: 39° 40’ 33.25” N ||| Longitude: 121° 33’ 32.84” W
LIME SADDLE: North of Sacramento on Highway 70 to Pentz Road; left on Pentz Road, take a right at Marina / Day Use entrance sign, proceed to Kiosk
Loafer Creek CampgroundPh. #: (530) 538-2217Loafer Creek Road (off Hwy 162)Oroville, CA 95966Latitude: 39° 31’ 41.61” N ||| Longitude: 121° 26’ 43.88” W
LOAFER CREEK: 68 miles north of Sacramento on Highway 70 to Highway 162. 9.5 miles east on Highway 162 to Loafer Creek, left into the park.
Lake Oroville Spillway KioskPh. #: (530) 538-2216North End of Oroville DamOroville, CA 95966Latitude: 39° 32’ 16.22” N ||| Longitude: 121° 29’ 06.32” W
SPILLWAY: 68 miles north of Sacramento on Highway 70 to Highway 162; 6.5 miles east on Highway 162 to Canyon Dr, left on Canyon Dr to Oroville Dam, and cross the dam.