Don Pedro Lake, California, USA

Also known as:  Lake Don Pedro, Don Pedro Reservoir

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Don Pedro Lake — things to do, where to stay, fun facts, history, stats and more. Let’s dive in!

Topics we cover in this article:

Looking for Don Pedro Lake cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore our comprehensive list of favorite travel partners.

All About Don Pedro Lake

Don Pedro Lake, also known as Don Pedro Reservoir and Lake Don Pedro, is nestled into the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. With a surface area of nearly 13,000 acres, Lake Don Pedro is the fifth largest reservoir according to capacity in California. Today, it is used for agricultural irrigation, drinking water, hydropower generation, and the incredible recreation choices that it offers visitors. The Don Pedro Dam, located on the Tuolumne River, is owned jointly by the Modesto and Turlock Irrigation Districts.

As one of the state’s premier recreational lakes, your days at Don Pedro Lake will be filled with swimming, fishing, hiking, and water sports. Located just two hours south of Sacramento and 40 miles west of Yosemite, you’ll find that a vacation at the lake is as convenient as it is enjoyable.

One of the best ways to start your visit is in a boat, drinking in the beauty and getting to know the layout of the reservoir. Rent a boat or bring your own, and launch from one of the three public boat ramps. You’ll notice how popular these boat launches are: the Irrigation Districts own all land 15 feet above the high lake level, which has prohibited the construction of any private docks. All types of boating are engaged in at Don Pedro Lake. Power boats pull water skiers, tubers and wakeboards while jet skis race the length of the lake.

During your initial tour of Don Pedro Reservoir, you’ll notice anglers with their lines in the water. There is a year-round open season on all fish in the lake, which include black bass, bluegill, brook trout, crappie, catfish, king salmon, kokanee salmon, and rainbow trout, many of which are stocked. Fishing is most enjoyable in spring and winter, when the lake is still calm and the influx of summer visitors has yet to begin. However, the fish bite year-round, and the catches are so good that many anglers swear their undying loyalty to this California fishing jewel. As always, make sure you have a valid California fishing license before you arrive.

If you love the outdoors and would like to get a little more involved, there are over 100 miles of horseback riding and hiking trails for you to enjoy. Walk through the forest, discover favorite lookouts, photograph beautiful and interesting flora, and observe the area mule deer, raccoons, coyote, fox, and Golden and Bald eagles interact within their natural habitat.

Though there are many places to stay around Lake Don Pedro, one of the most unique options is your own houseboat. Imagine going to sleep with the moon reflecting on the lake outside your window, and waking up to the beauty of an orange sunrise, as tiny waves lap at your boat. There are several houseboat options at the lake, ranging from 50 feet to 70 feet, and each one will give you a front row seat to the 24-hour beauty of the lake.

Camping is also very popular at Don Pedro Lake with three campgrounds: Fleming Meadows, Moccasin Point, and Blue Oaks. The campgrounds offer group camping, tent camping, RV camping, plus day-use picnic areas and sandy beach swimming.

Nestled into the dramatic Sierra Nevada Mountains, Lake Don Pedro is a hidden jewel that you won’t want to miss, so make your plans, pack your bags, and start enjoying the great offerings of this central California reservoir.

Things to Do at Don Pedro Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding

Fish Species Found at Don Pedro Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Brook Trout
  • Catfish
  • Chinook Salmon
  • Crappie
  • Kokanee Salmon
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Salmon
  • Sunfish
  • Trout

Find Places to Stay at Don Pedro Lake

If you’re considering a Don Pedro Lake lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.

Recommended Sites to Book a Don Pedro Lake Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Don Pedro Lake lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

Don Pedro Lake Statistics & Helpful Links


Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: Modesto and Turlock Irrigation Districts

Surface Area: 12,900 acres

Shoreline Length: 160 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 804 feet

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 600 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 830 feet

Average Depth: 121 feet

Water Volume: 2,030,000 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1971

We strive to keep the information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. However, if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you! Please fill out our Content Correction form.

Shop Don Pedro Lake Gifts

Custom Lake Tumblers

Captain / First Mate Custom 20 oz Tumbler

Custom Lake T Shirt

Personalized My Boat My Rules Unisex T-Shirt

Custom Lake Coffee Mug - On Lake Time

On Lake Time Custom Coffee Mug – 11oz or 15oz


Advertise Your Don Pedro Lake Business or Vacation Rental

LakeLubbers will soon offer businesses the opportunity to advertise and homeowners and property managers the ability to showcase their vacation rentals to the thousands of lake lovers searching our site daily. If you would like additional details, please contact our advertising team.


Looking for the Don Pedro Lake Forum?

LakeLubbers previously offered visitors the ability to create accounts and participate in lake forums. When we overhauled the site’s content management system in 2021 we had to disable those features. We’re evaluating options and welcome your comments and feedback here. We also encourage you to join our lake-lovin’ community on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest!

Don Pedro Lake Photo Gallery

New photos coming soon!

Spread the word! Share our Don Pedro Lake article with your fellow Lake Lubbers!