Los Angeles, California is known for its glamorous movie stars, beaches, and lakes! You can find manmade and natural lakes here. There’s also a lot you and your crew can do for sports like paddle boarding, water skiing, and kayaking! All you need now is a guide to tell you which are the best lakes to go to. (Psst, we’re your guide!)
Read about these five most popular lakes in Los Angeles:
- Castaic Lake
- Pyramid Lake
- Lake Perris
- Echo Park Lake
- Crystal Lake
1. Castaic Lake
Castaic Lake, located in the famous Sierra Pelon Mountains, is the largest state reservoir project in Southern California. The lake lives roughly 41 miles from Los Angeles. Between lake and parkland, you have approximately 11,000 acres to explore!
The park is open from sunrise to sunset. Exciting recreational activities to do out of the water include hiking, biking, and picnicking. There are also tent and RV camping spaces available throughout the park.
For those that want to get in on the lake action: Castaic Lake is comprised of two bodies of water (29 miles of shoreline). The lower lake is open for canoes and non-power boating and is open to swimmers from May to September! Power boating, sailing, and jet skiing are available on the upper lake.
Anglers can cast a line in the upper lake, stocked with catfish, bass, and trout. It has a 24-hour fishing pier and a tackle and bait shop.
2. Pyramid Lake
Pyramid Lake is a reservoir in the San Emigdio Mountains. Its neighboring cities, Castaic and Gorman, sit 12 miles away. Thanks to Piru Creek’s Pyramid Dam this body of water is open to lake lovers in the Los Angeles area.
Pyramid Lake (125,000 acres) has a special relationship with boaters as several spots are only accessible by boat and are open year-round for boating! If you’re looking to get on the lake, you can access it through Emigrant Landing’s marina, where you can also find an eight-lane boat launching ramp and a beach.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife regularly stocks the lake with fish. Some species include catfish, striped bass, smallmouth bass, bluegill, and largemouth bass. In addition, trophy fishing tournaments are held throughout the year.
3. Lake Perris
Lake Perris (2,250 acres) has 10 miles of shoreline. The lake is only about an hour’s drive from Los Angeles and a few miles east of Riverside, making it a perfect day trip destination!
Located in the Lake Perris State Recreation Area, visitors can enjoy swimming, fishing, and picnicking here! There are also hiking and biking trails for those who want recreational activities on land. Other popular activities include rock climbing at Big Rock!
Swimming is available at Moreno Beach and Perris Beach, with lifeguards on duty. The lake is open to boaters. There is a 35-mile-per-hour speed limit on the main body of water. Largemouth bass inhabit these waters.
The lake has one family campground with RV and tent spots. The Lake Perris Museum exhibits Native American populations that have been here for centuries.
4. Echo Park Lake
Echo Park Lake is a man-made lake located in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. It is also within easy driving distance of several other major California cities, including San Diego, Anaheim, and Santa Barbara.
The lake gets its life by the Los Angeles River and provides a home for several species of birds, fish, and other wildlife. The lotus flowers, which bloom from June to September, are popular here. There is a Lotus Festival held annually.
The most fun can be had on the water — boating or fishing — at Echo Park Lake.
5. Crystal Lake
Crystal Lake is the only naturally occurring lake in the San Gabriel mountains, about an hour away from Los Angeles. The best time of year to explore Crystal Lake is in the spring.
Hiking will get you scenic views of Mount Islip. This lake is not open for swimmers looking to dive in, it is open to anglers looking to make a great catch! You also have the Crystal Lake Campground and Cafe, the go-to spot for rest and a quick bite.
Discover other lakes and destinations at Boating Guides & Resources!
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