Hume Lake, California, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - West - California - High Sierra -

Also known as:  Hume Reservoir

Fifty miles east of busy Fresno, California, Hume Lake awaits. One of the best-loved scenic lakes within the Sequoia National Forest, little Hume Lake has been welcoming visitors since it was created in 1908. The world’s first multi-arched concrete dam was built across Tenmile Creek in the southern Sierra Nevada Mountains to form a reservoir for storage of cut logs. Hume Lake also supplied water to what became the world’s longest log transport flume for floating lumber from this inaccessible wilderness to Sanger, 73 miles away. The flume was sometimes utilized by adventurous tourists who braved the rapid downhill trip along the flume in specially-designed boats.

The timber being logged was the magnificent sequoia. Even though many thousands of board-feet of lumber were removed from the sequoia stands and the vast forests of old-growth sequoia decimated, the difficulty of transporting the lumber eventually made the entire process unprofitable. The Hume Lake venture was abandoned, the spillways closed and the flume fell to ruins. The dam, soundly built, continues to hold back the 87 acres of water to maintain Hume Lake. In 1935, the US Forest Service purchased the lake and the surrounding lands which were not already privately owned. The Hume Lake Recreation Area eventually became a part of the Sequoia National Forest, while the tiny settlement of Hume, which had grown up near the western end of the lake, still supports a very popular religious-based camp, small school and a few local businesses.

The shoreline, heavily forested with second-growth trees, proves an attractive location for a variety of water-based activities. The church camp wisely decided to open its facilities to the benefit of visitors, providing a cafe, store, snack shop, laundry, disk golf course, paint ball range, climbing wall and vacation rental cabins. The camp also rents canoes, kayaks and a few fishing boats, both for rowing or use with electric motors-no gasoline motors are allowed on the lake. The rentals are available to all visitors unless reserved by one of the church groups who come here for youth camps and retreats. Private cottages in the tiny village of Hume are also available for daily or weekly rental. Visitors can swim at both the church camp and at the Sandy Beach Day Use location along the south shore. The Day Use area provides rest rooms, picnic areas and several walking trails in the nearby woods. A two-and-a-half-mile Loop Trail that circles the lake is popular, both for walking and mountain biking. A fishing pier is provided to allow for shore fishing.

Hume Lake is primarily stocked with trout-a fact that makes the church camp’s annual ‘fishing retreat’ extremely popular. A boat launch ramp is provided on Forest Service land at the east end of the lake, and another fishing pier on the north shore near the campground assures everyone has access to the water. Visitors must obtain the correct Recreation Pass from the Forest Service, and a fishing license is required of anglers.The southern Sandy Beach Day Use Area is extremely popular and often becomes crowded on hot summer weekends. Facilities on the north shore are usually quieter, although some say ‘Youth Camp’ weeks at the church camp can be rather noisy. Equestrian camping is not available here, but other National Forest campgrounds nearby provide horse camping and horseback riding trails.

The Hume Lake Campground holds 74 campsites, with a few available to RV campers. Water and restrooms are available, but no electricity or showers are provided. There are picnic areas within the campground, and walking trails lead to the lake and to the west end for access to the store or cafe. The campground is popular enough that reservations are recommended. Marked trails throughout the area provide plenty of access to the surrounding forest and an opportunity to view native wildlife and birds. Although the campground is closed in winter, the area itself is open for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Trails lead to nearby areas where a few old-growth sequoias and numerous second-growth trees grow. The entrance to the Hume Lake Recreation Area is near the Kings Canyon National Park entrance and a popular stop for all visitors to both Giant Sequoia National Monument and the national park.

No visit to Sequoia National Forest is complete without a visit to some of the basins still holding the largest ancient trees. Forest visitor maps can be obtained from the Ranger Headquarters, as can more detailed maps for hiking and back-country, dispersed camping. The Converse Basin Grove is close to Hume Lake and contains the largest tree on national forest land. The Boole tree is among the largest in the world and was deliberately spared by early loggers due to its impressive size. The oldest stump, verified to be about 3200 years old, is also in the Converse Basin Grove. Interpretive trails through the area lead walkers along a tour of some of the most amazing old trees. The entire area is filled with hiking and biking trails, impressive vistas and an abundance of wildlife.

Hume Lake’s proximity to the cities along the Highway 99 corridor means the lake and its environs get many local visitors. Plenty of hotel lodgings exist along Highway 99 for non-campers. And the area surrounding Hume Lake and Sequoia National Forest has plenty of privately-owned guest cottages, resort-style lodgings and amenities geared for tourists, including unusual local artisan crafts, eclectic food choices and a variety of privately-operated attractions to provide for every need. So, plan now for your first visit to Hume Lake.

*The depth of Hume Lake is not available.

Things to do at Hume Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Horseback Riding
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • National Park
  • National Forest
  • Ruins

Fish species found at Hume Lake

  • Trout

Hume Lake Photo Gallery

Hume Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: US Forest Service

Surface Area: 87 acres

Shoreline Length: 3 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 5,200 feet

Completion Year: 1908

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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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