Hensley Lake

Quick Facts

Hensley Lake


(559) 673-5151

Map Directions

Things To Do


Hensley Lake is surrounded by the oak woodlands of the Sierra Nevada foothills. The 1,500-acre lake was created by the construction of Hidden Dam on the Fresno River. Built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for flood control, irrigation, resource management, and recreation, the lake attracts a growing number of park visitors each year.

Located less than an hour drive northeast of Fresno in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada enroute to Yosemite National Park, the lake offers water skiing, fishing, swimming, horseback riding, mountain biking, hiking and camping.

The former Fresno River basin which is now Hensley Lake used to be home to the Miwok and Yokuts people. Their presence in the area is still evident, mostly in the form of milling areas, where they prepared food. Also of historical interest is a monument in the Buck Ridge Recreation Area erected to the memory of Major James D. Savage. Highly successful as a miner, trader and leader, Major Savage is credited with the discovery of Yosemite Valley on March 25, 1851, during the Mariposa Indian War. As a trader, Savage established a store on the Fresno River where he made a small fortune trading goods for gold with local miners.

Map of Hensley Lake

Latitude, Longitude: 37.115209, -119.894893



  • Boating

    Hidden View and Buckridge have boat ramps.

  • Bicycling

    There is not so much a single trail as it a slew of trails; there are lots of singletrack, some soft and loose areas, several ruts, plenty of up- and down-hill. Elevation of the area runs between 500 and 800 feet. There is VERY LITTLE SHADE so riding in the heat of a summer afternoon isn't recommended. There are views of Hensley Lake from the many hills.

  • Camping

    Hidden View has camping capacity.

  • Fishing

    Numerous game fish abound in the waters of Hensley Lake. Species include largemouth black bass, crappie, bluegill and catfish. Rainbow trout are planted during the winter months. Some of the best fishing is found in the coves around the lake. Anglers may keep 2 bass over 15" in length.

  • Hiking

    Trailheads are located at Hidden View and Buckridge.

  • Horseback Riding

    Trails are available for hiking and horseback riding, call for more information.

  • Hunting

    Call for more information on hunting permits and regulations.

  • Picnicking

    Picnicking opportunities are found at Buckridge and Hidden View.

  • RVing

    Parking is available for RV's and trailers,call for more information.

  • Water Sports

    Buckridge has a nice swimming area.


Weather conditions around Hensley Lake vary with elevation and exposure. Precipitation falls mainly from October through April. Winter temperatures well below freezing and summer temperatures above 100 degrees indicate the normal seasonal spread. Clouds can build up during the summer to produce thunderstorm activity. Layered clothing and rain gear is advisable.



Located near the geographic center of California, the park is 17 miles northeast of Madera. From Madera, follow Road 400 northeast to Hensley Lake.

Phone Numbers


(559) 673-5151