Whiskeytown Lake, California, USA

Welcome to the ultimate guide for history, statistics, local fun facts and the best things to do at Whiskeytown Lake.

If you’re considering Whiskeytown Lake vacation rentals, we’ve made it super easy to explore accommodations and nearby hotels using the interactive map below. Simply click on a listing to compare similar properties, best rates and availability for your dates. Or keep scrolling to read our Whiskeytown Lake guide!

Whiskeytown Lake visitor and community guide

Lake Locations: USA - West - California - Shasta Cascade -

Pristine Whiskeytown Lake is located 8 miles west of Redding in the Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, a portion of the larger Shasta-Trinity Recreation Area. It is formed by Whiskeytown Dam on Clear Creek as part of the Bureau of Reclamation’s Central Valley Water Project, providing water for agriculture, and it was dedicated by President John F. Kennedy in 1963. Additional water comes from Whiskey Creek and from the Lewiston Reservoir, which is supplied by the Trinity River, coming through the Clear Creek Tunnel from the bottom of Trinity Lake. As the water enters and exits Whiskeytown Lake through a series of tunnels and penstocks, it generates hydroelectricity through the Judge Francis Carr and Keswick Powerhouses.

Because Whiskeytown Lake is located at the junction of the Klamath Mountain range and the northern edge of the Sacramento Valley, it is home to a unique collection of animal and plant life. In fact, the locals often choose Whiskeytown for their outdoor activities because of the wildlife that surrounds the lake. There are numerous breeding pairs of bald eagles that nest on the lake’s sparkling shores. If you find yourself on one of the back country trails and are a careful observer, you just might find brown bears, mountain lions, blacktail deer, turtles and racoons sharing the habitat.

Whiskeytown Lake provides outdoor enthusiasts with many options. Camping is available near the water at Oak Bottom Campground, as well as in other more remote campsites for the more adventuresome camper. Hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking are popular on the many trails at Whiskeytown Lake, some of which tour historic sections of the park, such as Gold Rush Era buildings, mines and miner’s ditches. Ranger guided programs are offered during the summer months, including gold panning and kayak tours. You don’t need to be an expert hiker to enjoy Whiskeytown’s trails. One of the most popular is the Crystal Creek Trail, which takes you to one of the largest waterfalls in Northern California.

For watersports, Whiskeytown Lake provides 36 miles of shoreline and 3,200 surface acres for fun and recreation. The lake’s placid surface is excellent for swimming, scuba diving, kayaking, and rowing. Sailing, water skiing and boating are extremely popular during the hot north-state summers, although personal watercraft are prohibited. The Oak Bottom marina offers year-round moorage or slip rentals and a snack bar, hot showers, and a marina store during the summer months. Brandy Creek Beach offers a rare treat for swimmers, with daily lifeguard service and a snack bar.

If you’re an angler, you’re going to love the 30-foot visibility of Whiskeytown’s waters. Whiskeytown has relatively stable water levels and less water traffic than other area lakes, making it the perfect home for Largemouth, Smallmouth, and Spotted Bass. This lake is known for its Kokanee Salmon and year-round Brook and Rainbow Trout population for shore anglers. Other local fish include Sunfish, Catfish, and Sacramento Pikeminnow.

Overall, if you’re looking for a great getaway, Whiskeytown Lake is one of the best destinations in Northern California. Whether you want to learn a little about California history, experience wildlife in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, indulge in some spectacular photography opportunities, play in the clear blue water, or simply relax on the beach, Whiskeytown Lake is the spot for you.

Custom Whiskeytown Lake house decor

Read our full review of these personalized lake house signs.

Things to do at Whiskeytown Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Kayaking
  • Water Skiing
  • Scuba Diving
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Waterfall
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • National Forest

Fish species found at Whiskeytown Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Catfish
  • Kokanee Salmon
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Salmon
  • Spotted Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Trout

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Whiskeytown Lake

The Whiskeytown Lake map shown above is a simple and stress-free way to search for trip accommodations. But if you want to take a deeper dive to find the ideal waterfront home, cabin, condo, hotel or resort, visit our favorite lodging partners by clicking the buttons below.

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.

Whiskeytown Lake photo gallery

New photos coming soon!

Whiskeytown Lake statistics & helpful links

divider

Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

Surface Area: 3,200 acres

Shoreline Length: 36 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,210 feet

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 1,176 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 1,220 feet

Maximum Depth: 264 feet

Water Volume: 241,096 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1963

Drainage Area: 203 sq. miles

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.

Advertise your Whiskeytown Lake vacation rental

LakeLubbers will soon offer homeowners and property managers the opportunity to to showcase their vacation rentals to the thousands of lake lovers searching our site daily for accommodations. If you’d like additional details, please contact our advertising team here.

divider

Looking for the Whiskeytown 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 and Instagram!

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