Lake Oroville State Recreation Area

Quick Facts

Lake Oroville State Recreation Area

California

(530) 538-2219

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

Near the City of Oroville this man-made lake was formed by the tallest earth-filled dam (770 feet above the stream bed of the Feather River) in the 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.

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 Buttes mountain range (smallest in the world).

The area 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 center.

Map of Lake Oroville State Rec. Area (CA)

Latitude, Longitude: 39.660245, -121.394192

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Activities

  • Boating

    North Thermalito Forebay is reserved exclusively for sailboats, canoes, and other non-motorized boats.

    The Forebay Aquatic Center is located at the North Forebay near the boat launch. Boat rentals and watercraft classes are offered through a collaborative effort between the Associated Students of CSU Chico, California State Parks, Dept. of Water Resources and Dept. of Boating and Waterways.

    South Forebay has a launch ramp, paved parking and restrooms. Drinking water is not available. Power-boating and fishing are the main attractions in this area.

    Overnight boating is permitted, but boats must have self-contained sanitary facilities, and all waste and water outlets on board must be sealed. Use sanitation stations around the lake.

    Boat mooring is permitted except where posted otherwise; marina berths are leased by prior arrangement. Overnight camping on shore while boating is not permitted, with the exception of the boat-in campsites, but boaters are welcome to go ashore for day use.

  • Bird Watching

    Many native bird species can be seen around the lake.

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    A visitor center complex atop Kelly Ridge features interpretive displays, an audio-visual room with on-request videos, and a 47-foot viewing tower overlooking the lake and dam. To reach the visitor center, continue up Oroville Dam Boulevard beyond the dam turnoff, or take Kelly Ridge Road off Olive Highway. Restrooms are located in the courtyard.

  • Camping

    Reservations are recommended from late spring through Labor Day. Reserve all campsites at (800) 444-7275.

    Loafer Creek offers 137 sites at the Coyote Campground can accommodate tents or trailers up to 31 feet and campers or motorhomes up to 40 feet (no hookups). Drinking water and restrooms, coin-operated showers and laundry tubs are nearby. An RV sanitation station is available. Six group sites accommodate up to 25 persons each: limit of eight vehicles per site.

    A horse camp features 15 campsites, a restroom with showers, a corral and a horse tethering and feeding station. Large groups may reserve more than one site.

    Bidwell Canyon--75 sites with hookups accommodate trailers up to 31 feet and campers or motorhomes up to 40 feet. Facilities include a lakeside marina with a launch ramp, store, snack bar, fuel dock, boat rental and a pumping station for boat holding tanks.

    Spillway--Shaded picnic sites and overnight camping for self-contained RVs are located at the north end of the dam. Drive across Oroville Dam to reach the facilities, which include a launch ramp and restrooms.

    Lime Saddle--Both the hookup and non-hookup sites at this campground accommodate RVs. Features include a One of the lake's floating campsites five-lane launch ramp, picnic facilities and restrooms. The nearby marina offers boat docking, fuel, fishing boat rentals, boating supplies, a store and snack bar.

    Floating Campsites You will need your own boat to reach the ten 20' x 24' floating sites. Each site sleeps up to 15 people with a camp table, sink, propane barbecue grill (the park provides the propane), a food locker, a lockable closet, an accessible restroom, a covered living area, an upper sun deck/sleeping area and room for tents. Bring your own drinking water.

    Boat-in Camps Boat-in camping is first-come, first-served, and only in designated campsites identified by signs at beach areas around the lake. Ask directions to your camp at the park entrance or the launching area. Each camp has six to twenty-six individual campsites; boat camps are located at Craig Saddle, Foreman Point, Goat Ranch and the Bloomer Primitive Area at Bloomer Point--Bloomer Knoll, Bloomer Cove and Bloomer Group Camp. The Bloomer group camp accommodates up to 75 people. Sites have tables, stoves, pit toilets and garbage cans. Bring your own drinking water.

  • Fishing

    Rainbow and German-brown trout, large and small-mouth bass, and some catfish and salmon are caught here. All anglers over age 16 must possess a California sport fishing license. Check at the visitor center for "Slot Limit" regulations for black bass. Shore and boat fishing are permitted in the North and South Forebays, but no motorized boats are allowed in the North.

  • Hiking

    The state recreation area has a couple of short hiking trails that can be linked to provide a two mile jaunt, a more ambitious 4.75 mile loop, or something in between. An ambitious trail-building program over the past two decades has increased the park's network from nine to more than 50 miles of trail. Check out the new Potter Ravine Trail, which leads from Lake Oroville Dam along the west shore of the lake. the 14.5 mile-long Danbebee Trail extends from the town of Oroville to Loafer Creek.

  • Historic Sites

    A visitor center complex atop Kelly Ridge features interpretive displays, an audio-visual room with on-request videos, and a 47-foot viewing tower overlooking the lake and dam. To reach the visitor center, continue up Oroville Dam Boulevard beyond the dam turnoff, or take Kelly Ridge Road off Olive Highway. Restrooms are located in the courtyard.

  • Horseback Riding

    Horseback riding is permitted in areas of the park. There are also horse campgrounds. Check with park officials for regulations.

  • Picnicking

    North Thermalito Forebay is reserved exclusively for sailboats, canoes, and other non-motorized boats. The shaded, grassy day-use areas have barbecue stoves and picnic tables. Four shaded ramadas can be reserved for picnic groups. A 200-yard sandy swimming beach has dressing rooms for men and women. Piped drinking water and restrooms are nearby.

    Loafer Creek Area has a swim beach and lawn area with 100 picnic sites and restrooms.

  • RVing

    There are several campgrounds, many of which can accommodate trailers, campers and motorhomes.

    Max Camper Length: 40 Feet Max Trailer Length: 35 Feet

  • Water Sports

    The Loafer Creek area and North Forebay near the Aquatic Center are the only designated swimming areas at the lake. No lifeguards are available at Lake Oroville; do not allow children to swim unattended.

    Waterskiing is also popular.

  • Wildlife Watching

    An abundant, varied wildlife population inhabits Lake Oroville. Resident species include raccoons, turkeys, opossums, coyotes, tree and ground squirrels, rabbits, deer, skunks, ringtails, bears and many kinds of native birds.

Seasonality/Weather

Winter months are cool to cold, seldom freezing temperatures, and some occasional fog. Temperatures run from mid to high 50s down to the 30s F.

Springtime is beautiful with a vivid array of wildflowers and very pleasant temperatures, normally in the high 60s to 70s F.

Summers are warm to extremely warm. The temperatures range from the low 80s up to the low 100s F.

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.

Park Partners

Directions

Driving

From Highway 70, go east on Highway 162 (Oroville Dam Blvd.). Continue on Oroville Dam Blvd., turning right at Olive Hwy. (Highway 162), proceed approximately six miles on Olive Highway to Kelly Ridge Road. Turn left and Kelly Ridge Road ends in the visitor center parking lot.

Flying

The closest major airport to Lake Oroville SRA is Sacramento International Airport, approximately 57 miles away. From there, myriad car rental services are available. For more information, call 916-929-5411.

Public Transportation

Butte Regional Transit offers some of the primary means of public transportation in the Oroville area, with at least 19 different routes. For more information on fares and scheduling, call 530-879-2468.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(530) 538-2219

Links