Lake Wildwood, California, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - West - California - Gold Country -

A delightful private lake in California’s Gold Country, Lake Wildwood is ideally placed to furnish variety and enjoyment. The 290-acre man-made lake in the Sierra foothills is the centerpiece of an upscale housing development geared toward recreation. The lake and its nearby golf course provide a serene setting for family fun only 50 miles northeast of Sacramento. The lake is the latest in a series of changes for this corner of historic Nevada County and likely to be the last for quite some time. Originally the land was the territory of the Maidu Native Americans. When gold was discovered in the area, the throngs of eager miners settled in small towns all over Penn and Grass Valleys, effectively uprooting the native tribes.

The little settlement of Rough and Ready near the future Lake Wildwood holds the distinction of actually seceding from the United States. On April 7, 1850, local residents, dissatisfied due to a new mining tax, voted to secede and form their own nation. For three months, the Great Republic of Rough and Ready was a sovereign territory with its own constitution, president and cabinet. However, the story relates that the citizens of the new Republic were overcome with patriotic fervor when other local settlements began planning Fourth of July celebrations and quickly rejoined the United States. The miners simply couldn’t stand to pass up a good party! The often fruitless search for gold soon led to settlers pursuing ranching and farming. The area that is now Lake Wildwood was once a meadow on the Van Tagger Ranch.

In the mid 1960s, the Boise Cascade Company, anticipating the housing explosion to come, bought up large tracts of land to develop. Several thousand acres were purchased in the Penn Valley along Deer Creek, and the creek was dammed to form Lake Wildwood. The development consists of over 3,000 acres around Lake Wildwood and includes an 18-hole golf course. The clubhouse and public areas of the development include tennis courts with pro shop and patio, swimming pool, children’s wading pool, marina with fuel, boat slips for property owners, lifeguard at the swimming beach, and five parks for residents – four with sand beach, restaurant, bar and meeting rooms. The tightly-knit community now hosts over 40 special interest clubs to keep property owners occupied and engaged in their favorite activities. Picnic facilities are provided at all parks.

Lake Wildwood is an all-sports lake and is popular with water-skiers. Here, residents and their guests enjoy tubing, pontooning, power boating, canoeing and kayaking. The lake is reputed to be an excellent bass lake, offering largemouth bass, bluegill and catfish. There is no public access to the lakeshore; fishing and boating on Lake Wildwood are restricted to residents and their guests. The quiet streets in this gated community are safe for bicycling and walking, and other activities are just a short trip away.

Just three miles south of Lake Wildwood, a part of the property purchased by Boise Cascade was donated to Penn Valley for a park. Western Gateway Park has a highly-rated disk golf course, rustic amphitheater, age-appropriate playgrounds, fitness trails, jogging, wildlife observation, dog park, horseshoe pits and swimming holes, along with a historic Buttermaker’s Cottage. The town of Penn Valley offers small-town shopping, groceries, hardware, services, churches and restaurants. Just ten miles east on Highway 20, Grass Valley and its twin, Nevada City offer a wide variety of cultural venues, historic buildings and specialty shops. Just south of Grass Valley, the Empire Mine State Historic Park offers living history exhibits and tours of portions of the famed mine that produced more gold than any other in California. The hundreds of acres of back country holds miles of trails for hiking and horseback riding. Local festivals are common in the small towns surrounding Lake Wildwood, including Secession Days at Rough and Ready on the last Sunday in June.

Lake Wildwood is located just 10 minutes away from Lake Englebright, a great swimming and hiking destination along the Yuba River. A variety of ski areas are about an hour away, including the Donner and Tahoe areas. Thousands of acres of Tahoe National Forest offers unlimited areas for canoeing, hiking and camping. And for those desiring the amenities only a large city can offer, Sacramento is only 50 miles away. Sacramento possesses a variety of historical and cultural activities ranging from the Sacramento Opera to the Golden State Museum, casinos, amusement parks, professional sports and every form of nightlife and fine dining.

Lake Wildwood is within easy reach of Sacramento, Tahoe and Reno. Finding vacation rentals at Lake Wildwood is usually not difficult; some private residences rent by the week or month, often with lakefront decks and every possible amenity. Although there is no camping at the lake itself, there are several campgrounds within a ten mile radius. Real estate is also available, either existing homes or building lots. Only 20 miles from Beale Air Force Base, Lake Wildwood makes the perfect business-and-pleasure destination for those doing business with the military. So come see for yourself all Lake Wildwood has to offer. And bring the fishing tackle – the bass are reported to be huge, and hungry!

Things to do at Lake Wildwood CA

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Swimming Pool
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Tubing
  • Golf
  • Tennis
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • National Forest
  • Museum
  • Playground
  • Amusement Park
  • Shopping
  • Casino Gambling

Fish species found at Lake Wildwood CA

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Catfish
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Sunfish

Lake Wildwood CA Photo Gallery

Lake Wildwood CA Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: Lake Wildwood Association

Surface Area: 290 acres

Shoreline Length: 7 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,212 feet

Average Depth: 20 feet

Water Volume: 3,840 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1970

Drainage Area: 55 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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