Lake Madrone, California, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - West - California - Shasta Cascade -

Also known as:  Madrone Lake

Lake Madrone might be small at just 25 acres, but it is anything but scant on looks. The lake is a phenomenal beauty surrounded by a gated mountain community in rural Butte County. In the Shasta Cascade region of California, characterized by vast landscapes and the great outdoors, the lake is a lovely retreat in the respite of nature.

Thickly lined by redwoods, dogwoods and other forest trees, Madrone Lake has fascinating history. Before the arrival of the California Gold Rush, the lake area was home to the hunter-gatherer Maidu people who had spread their villages all across the Sacramento Valley to the Nevada state line. In 1850, a trail was established through the Sierra Mountains from Reno to Marysville, passing through the region where Lake Madrone is currently located. As hotels and other establishments rose up around the pass, gold was discovered in the 1900s near Berry Creek, on which Lake Madrone was eventually impounded. The discovery, which occurred a quarter mile south of today’s Lake Madrone, was the beginning of many in that area and the Berry Creek Mine became one of the richest mines in Butte County.

The success of the mine attracted some development to the area and the Berry Creek Hotel, close to where the Lake Madrone Dam is now, was built to accommodate miners. It was eventually destroyed by fire but in the 1920s a small mill was built and a dam, the Apple Tree Dam, was established creating Lake Madrone. The dam washed out in 1929 and was replaced by a second dam in 1931 which is still standing strong today. The Lake Madrone Trading Post was established not long after the second dam. It had a store, bar and shell gas. The “Post” changed its name to Lake Madrone Inn in 1975 before shutting down in 1988. The abandoned inn can still be seen on the lake.

Lake Madrone is a private escape for those looking to get away for the weekend, a week or two, or for a whole season. Vacation rentals are available among the houses established on the forested land around the lake. Real estate options are viable too. You can make Lake Madrone your year-round retreat. A ski beach serves the Lake Madrone community where various community events such as picnics are held. Residents swim, boat and fish on the lake. Though recreation is the lake’s primary purpose, it is also used as a resource for fire protection.

Just north of Lake Madrone is the Plumas National Forest. Its vast and diverse acreage of mountains, lakes, streams, valleys, meadows and canyons will provide phenomenal experiences to any nature enthusiast. You will love the many adventures in the wild. Activities include cycling, climbing, hunting, caving, horse riding, mineral prospecting, and nature viewing. Also not too far from Lake Madrone is Lake Oroville, a manmade lake sprawling about 16,000 surface acres. A 47-foot viewing tower gives visitors an amazing panoramic view. The lake is great for sailing or windsurfing, and is also known for bass fishing. With the Chico-Paradise metropolitan area so close by, you have endless opportunities for a mix of beautiful scenery, delectable dining, rich history, dynamic culture, and great entertainment.

Come to Lake Madrone in any season. The native dogwoods are lovely in the fall; the winters’ snowfalls are majestic; spring is alive with nature’s love; and the summers are simply sublime. The lake is always beautiful. Enjoy a romantic holiday in seclusion at Lake Madrone or live in perpetual bliss as you watch the seasons change in the reflection of the water.

Things to do at Lake Madrone

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • National Forest

Fish species found at Lake Madrone

  • Bass

Lake Madrone Photo Gallery

    Lake Madrone Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

    Water Level Control: Lake Madrone Water District

    Surface Area: 25 acres

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,984 feet

    Maximum Depth: 25 feet

    Water Volume: 200 acre-feet

    Completion Year: 1931

    Drainage Area: 15 sq. miles

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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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