Angora Lakes, California, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - West - California - High Sierra -

Also known as:  Upper Angora Lake, Lower Angora Lake

Tiny Angora Lakes in California’s High Sierra region are a delight to the senses. These beautiful twin alpine lakes surrounded by rocky cliffs grace a glacial basin south of Lake Tahoe that is visited by thousands every year. That’s a lot of visitors for lakes that cannot be reached by car. In truth, there isn’t much hiking involved: the parking area is less than a mile from the lakes and not a particularly difficult hike. But the scenic lakes are well worth some effort to reach. The Upper Angora Lake-the larger at 5 acres-offers a shallow swimming beach and fishing for stocked brown trout.

A concessionaire operates the Angora Lakes Resort, a collection of nine rustic housekeeping cabins, a snack concession, and a small store where visitors can purchase sandwiches and hand-squeezed lemonade. The resort cabins are so popular that they must be reserved at least a year in advance, and vacancies will dictate when one can take advantage of their rustic charm. And for many visitors, getting there is half of the fun.

The Angora Lakes are under the jurisdiction of the US Forest Service. The resort and concession are operated under a lease arrangement. Restrictions do not allow for any motorized boats or camping within the watershed. Snowmobiles are prohibited at the lakes. The parking area and the concessions are only open from about the first of May until the first of October, but the lakes can be reached on foot year round. Brown trout was first stocked in the lakes in the mid-1930s, but records don’t show stocking in later years. Some fishermen report that largemouth bass and bluegills are also present, but there are no true records to show their presence. As any outside boats would have to be hand-carried from the parking area to the lakes, fishing on the Lower Angora Lake is limited to the rocky shoreline. Those who carry their angling equipment to the Upper Angora Lake can take advantage of row boat or kayak rentals from the resort operation.

Angora Lakes are the origin of short Angora Creek, a small tributary to the upper Truckee River. Perched 7450 feet above sea level, the lakes are a favorite hiking destination for those in the South Tahoe area. As hikes go, the usual route to Angora Lakes isn’t particularly strenuous as it follows a paved one-lane road. The pathway runs along Angora Ridge for some distance and brings hikers past the Angora Lookout, a former Forest Service fire lookout point that was decommissioned in the 1970s. Because the lookout can actually be reached by car, it is one of the few vantage points that are accessible to the disabled. From here, one can overlook not only Angora Lakes, but Fallen Leaf Lake to Lake Tahoe beyond and the forested wilderness between. The trek to Angora Lakes is popular in all seasons as the tree-lined route offers shade in summer, a riot of golden leaves when the aspens change color in fall, and a gentle, snow-covered pathway for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in winter.

Angora Lakes are only about eight miles by road from South Tahoe, but many hikers begin their trek from the Fallen Leaf Lake campground only four miles away. The trail is a favorite among mountain bikers who enjoy a relatively easy climb along the ridge. The route and Angora Lakes have been the site two years in a row of an unsanctioned triathlon, with a group of local recreational athletes riding their bikes from the Lake Tahoe beach, running up the path to Upper Angora Lake, swimming across the lake, then reversing the course to complete the impromptu race. This Angora Lakes triathlon will likely never become a sanctioned official event, but it is gaining in popularity among athletes in the Lake Tahoe area.

Angora Lakes are the starting point for two more strenuous hikes that are popular with climbers. Both Angora Peak and Echo Peak can be reached from the lakes. Ridges in the area are favorites among back-country skiers and snowboarders, and the area is replete with many back-country trails. For those inclined toward more conventional ski resorts, there are plenty of those in the South Tahoe area.

The City of South Tahoe sits at the south end of beautiful Lake Tahoe, next to the Nevada state line. Although the Nevada portion of the metroplex is technically called Stateline, the area flows together as one city. South Tahoe views itself as a mountain bike-friendly town and has lots of trails for both cycling and hiking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Many venues for snowboarding, downhill skiing, sledding and other winter sports exist in the area, along with ski schools and spas. Besides ski resorts in the mountains and boating on Lake Tahoe, the city offers a lovely public beach, all usual amenities to please tourists, and the exciting entertainment options provided by the many casinos on the Nevada side of the state line. Competition among the casinos means that top acts regularly appear here, and hotel rooms are in good supply. The Lake Tahoe Marathon happens each September, and the annual Valhalla Arts, Music and Theatre Festival is well attended and gets better each year. South Tahoe is home to many artists and craftsmen who maintain galleries and shops in the area. South Tahoe then is a good base from which to visit Angora Lakes for the day.

There is no real estate available on the Angora Lakes. The only lodgings are the small resort and its cabins. There are a few cabins for rent on Angora Ridge Road on the way to the lakes. Many use Fallen Leaf Campground as their vacation base. Fallen Leaf Campground also rents yurts, and primitive camping exists in the surrounding El Dorado National Forest. Lodgings are plentiful near South Tahoe, with many small motels, bed & breakfasts and guest lodges available. No trip to the Lake Tahoe area would be complete without a trip to swim in the cool waters of Upper Angora Lake. Won’t you come to see these beautiful little lakes? The spectacular sight is worth the walk.

*Statistics listed are for Upper Angora Lake. There are no statistics available for Lower Angora Lake.

Things to do at Angora Lakes

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Kayaking
  • Campground
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Downhill Skiing
  • Snowboarding
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • National Forest
  • Casino Gambling

Fish species found at Angora Lakes

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Brown Trout
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Trout

Angora Lakes Photo Gallery

Angora Lakes Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 5 acres

Shoreline Length: 1 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 7,450 feet

Trophic State: Mesotrophic

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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