Shaver Lake Information

Shaver Lake is located in the Sierra National Forest of Fresno County, California, at an elevation 5,500 ft in the San Joaquin Valley. The town of Shaver Lake California borders its southwestern shore. Shaver Lake is 50 miles northeast of Fresno, California. It covers 2,177 acres with 22 miles of shoreline, an average depth of 65 feet, and a maximum depth of 135 feet. Pine forests on the granite mountains of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range in the Sierra National Forest hug Shaver Lake, full of sapphire blue waters.

Southern California Edison (SCE) owns the land around Shaver Lake and manages its recreation sites. Shaver Lake is on Stevenson Creek, with several smaller streams flowing into it, and it also receives water from the tunnels of Southern California Edison's Big Creek Hydroelectric Project. Shaver Lake is busy generating electricity and its water temperatures warm up nicely by midsummer, with an average summer temperature of 78 degrees.

The town of Shaver Lake has a variety of restaurants, stores, and services. Shaver Lake is extremely rural with little development on its shores. Archeologists have found granite, steatite, also known as soapstone, and obsidian knife blade artifacts made from the geographical resources around Shaver Lake by early indigenous people who lived in the. Shaver Lake’s local culture stems from the logging industry established by settlers in the 1890s.

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History of Shaver Lake

The Pacific Light and Power Corporation, later named Southern California Edison (SCE), built the Shaver Lake Dam and completed it in 1927. Shaver Lake’s 180-foot dam was built in 50-foot blocks, with a keyway to hold it in place and a 30-inch copper sheet to make it watertight. SCE discharges some of the lake’s water into Stevenson Creek for fish and other wildlife, and diverts the rest to Big Creek, where it powers several hydroelectric plants in succession. Big Creek connects Huntington Lake, about 14 miles northeast, to Shaver Lake.

Alfred Louis Kroeber (June 11, 1876–October 5, 1960), an American cultural anthropologist, studied the indigenous people who lived and traveled in the Shaver Lake region. In 1923, Kroeber reported that the groups who may have occupied the Lake Shaver and Huntington Lake area are the Western Mono (Monache) or Mono living on the south side of the San Joaquin River, and the North Fork Mono, Northern (Owens Valley) Paiute, and the Yokuts.

Kroeber comments on the spread of the Mono to the west as follows: "Above all, the Mono in the San Joaquin Valley and those east of the Sierra cannot have been separated by very many centuries because they differ no more than superdialectically in the north and merely dialectically in the south." He suggested they crossed the Sierra to settle in the San Joaquin drainage a little less than five hundred years ago, and states that their new occupancy must have been at the expense of previous Yokuts' holdings.

The fascinating history of logging in the Shaver Lake region began in the 1890’s, with the construction of a sawmill and small dam to create a ponding lake, which was the first Shaver Lake. The rugged terrain and canyons made logging in the Sierra Nevada unprofitable until the V-flume arrived. California was booming and needed lumber. J.W. Hines invented the V-type flume, two flat boards joined together at a right angle, 1859.

In 1890, pioneer families Sample, Letcher, Heiskell, Miller and Davis built an earthen dam on Stevenson Creek, created a lake, built a box flume with a V-flume above it that would carry water and lumber from Shaver to Tollhouse, California, 14 miles southwest. They diverted the water from the box flume to Big Dry Creek, near Clovis, California, and sold to ranchers. In 1891, they sold the flume to Frank Bullard and others from Yolo County.

Bullard and company reorganized the operation under the name Fresno Flume and Irrigation. In 1892, Michigan lumbermen, L.P. Swift and C.B. Shaver, with local pioneers, Bullard, Musick, Butler, and Colson purchased the project. A 45-mile V-flume with steep grades sent sawn lumber to Clovis, California, about 30 miles southwest of Shaver Lake on today’s roadways. The seemingly inexhaustible lumber supply operation played a significant role in the development of the Fresno area, the San Joaquin Valley farming industry, and the Big Creek Hydroelectric project.

C. B. Shaver is the namesake of the Shaver Lake and the town of Shaver Lake. The Pacific Light and Power Corporation flooded the sawmill operation in 1927 when they finished building the new Shaver Lake Dam for the Big Creek hydroelectric project. Shaver Lake covers an extensively logged area. The town of Shaver Lake sports a nostalgic logging theme. Several buildings in town are old, converted sawmills.

Today, Shaver Lake is part of the Big Creek Hydroelectric project, which includes a system of lakes, tunnels, steel penstocks, and powerhouses that convert water into electricity. The San Joaquin Valley Railroad arrived in Clovis in 1891 and the V-flume in 1893. Both created new markets for ranchers, farmers and the lumber industry.


Fishing Shaver Lake

Shaver Lake supports 16 species of fish. The favorite game species of anglers are bass, bluegill, catfish, crappie, Kokanee salmon, and rainbow trout. Other game species include smallmouth bass, black crappie, and brown trout. Since 2011, the Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project, the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG), and others have worked hard to restore fish populations in Shaver Lake. Spectacular catches are the proof.

California state fishing regulations apply. Nearby creeks and streams to Shaver Lake are also popular to fish in. You can easily find a Shaver Lake, California, lake map online or buy one from local businesses. Anglers often find bass lurking around rocky points, but most of the bass are typically small. Kokanee salmon hang around the dam. Trollers find success working the area from Boy Scout Cove to Black Rock.

Good places to catch rainbow trout are around any of the creek inlets and in the coves near Camp Edison. When cool weather sets in, fishing from the shore for trout is more productive than from boats. Among the good spots are The Point and around Dorabelle Cove. There are two marinas, a public boat ramp on the north side, a fee-based boat ramp at Camp Edison. Hire one of several expert guide services to show you where the best catches are.

Find experienced local guides on our Shaver Lake Fishing Guides page.


Boating Shaver Lake

Shaver Lake offers great boating for everyone from wake boarders to sailors. Two boat ramps offer quick access to the lake and a little over 2,000 acres of open water, which provides room for skiers, anglers, scuba divers, and personal watercraft. Both marinas and several businesses have boat rental services, with a wide range of boats and watercraft. There is one island to visit, The Island, near Amethyst Cove off of the northeastern shore.

Fresno County maintains a public boat ramp at the north end. Camp Edison has boat launching facilities for its paying customers and a marina. The Sierra Marina at the north end of the lake has a boat ramp. The marinas offer fuel, supplies, boat slips, marine repairs, and more.

There are several swim beaches located around Shaver Lake in the campgrounds, marinas, and day use areas. The Shaver Lake Public Access Beach is located on the northeastern side of the northern arm of Shaver Lake and Camp Edison is huge with tons of beachfront and picnic areas.

Plan your outing on our Shaver Lake Boat Ramps Map, and keep an eye on the Shaver Lake Level. Find or sell a boat on our Shaver Lake Boats for Sale page.


Shaver Lake Real Estate

Southern California Edison owns most of the property on Shaver Lake. There may be one to two homes for sale on its lakefront at Shaver Lake Point on the northern arm of the lake. They can sell for over $3,000,000, and prices range down from there with a median price of $892,000. The rest of the homes for sale are in the towns of Shaver Lake and Old Old Bretz Mill. Price points there range from $1,000,000 on down to $80 thousand.

Fresno is the nearest metroplex with city conveniences and it takes a little over an hour to drive there from Shaver Lake’s southern shores. Shaver Lake and Old Bretz Mill are the closest towns offering a variety of restaurants and services. There are no public schools serving the Shaver Lake Region. Shaver Lake is extremely rural with a large tourist population.

To find your dream lake home, explore our Shaver Lake Homes for Sale page.


Shaver Lake Cabins and Vacation Homes

There are plenty of cabins and vacation homes for rent at Shaver Lake. One of the three property management and vacation rental agencies operating in the area can help you find a great vacation home for your visit to Shaver Lake. The cabins are mostly one or two bedrooms while the vacation homes are larger. There are many to choose from with around 500 vacation homes in the Shaver Lake area along pet friendly options, but you should still plan and book in advance.

There are a few parks with cabins only for rent. Non-campers can book a cabin or room at the Shaver Lake Village Hotel or Elliott House Bed and Breakfast. Shaver Lake Village is tiny, but you will find great food at the surprisingly epicurean establishments. The town of Shaver Lake is less than a mile from Shaver Lake’s southwestern arm.

Find the perfect vacation home on our Shaver Lake Cabins page.


Camping at Shaver Lake

On Shaver Lake’s western shore, Camp Edison’s 252 campsites come equipped with a BBQ grill, fire ring, picnic table, and food box. Its campsites provide easy access to the water along with electricity, cable television, and high-speed Wi-Fi, courtesy of SCE’s hydroelectric project. A small general store provides things you may need or forgot to bring. The SCE recommends tire chains in the winter. Do not bring your own firewood. You must use local Shaver Lake firewood.

Camp Edison offers different options for campers, with 43 full hookup sites with electric, water and sewer, and 209 sites with electric hookups. Its Dogwood Loop sites are available year round, with special rates from Oct 15 to May 14. Other amenities at Camp Edison include:

  • 4 RV Disposal Sites
  • Clean bathrooms including showers with purchase of shower card upon arrival
  • 2 laundromats
  • Wi-Fi is available in most of Campground at an additional cost
  • Tent trailers and travel trailer rentals available
  • Beach front day use
  • Group picnic area reservations
  • Summer time educational activities
  • Scavenger hunts
  • Craft days
  • Yoga and zumba classes
  • Ghost walks
  • 35 miles of trails
  • Basketball/volleyball courts,
  • The Museum of the Sierra

The Camp Chawanakee Boy Scouts of America is on the south side of Shaver Lake.

Swanson Campground is located near the town of Shaver Lake, just east of Camp Chawanakee. Paved and dirt roads provide access to the campground for tents and camping trailers. There is a vault toilet, and each site has a table, fire ring, and grill. A Campground Host is on site.

The Dorabelle campground is a series of loops and spurs above Shaver Lake with a variety of campsites, with some tucked into the forest while others are more open and back up to boulders. A few sites have a view of the lake.

The Dinkey Creek Campground is spread out along the banks of its namesake creek in a thick forest of Ponderosa pines and cedars. It has a 50 capacity group site, a mix of standard or tent-only single sites with drinking water, paved spurs, picnic tables, fire grills, and vault and flush toilets. A Campground Host is on site and a picnic area is on a large sandy flat above the creek at the north end of the campground. Their amphitheater offers educational programs on summer weekends. Presentations by knowledgeable local experts cover topics on the history, constellations, wildflowers, forestry, and others.

Check out our list of campgrounds and RV parks for your family adventure on our Lake Shaver Lake Camping page.


Trails at Shaver Lake

Thirty-five miles of trails surround the Shaver Lake. You can ask the Shaver Lake Volunteers for trail maps or look them up online. Most of the trails section off of Premier Trail, which encircles the lake. Below are descriptions of a few of the best hiking trails at Shaver Lake.

Premier Trail: 14 miles, circles Shaver Lake, divided into sections, marked with painted white circles marked with a black P, and the cross-country skiing section is marked with blue diamond shaped signs above the snow line.

Ely Mountain Trail: A challenging trail with a good climb, 2.5 miles, 3-hour roundtrip, and  spectacular views.

Lily Trail at Dorabella Cove: About one mile, marked for nordic skiing, parking inside Dorabella Campground for a fee, gentle ups and downs, and good views of Shaver Lake.

Lake View Trail: 4 miles, 3.5-hour roundtrip, easy for horseback and mountain biking, partly on the north shore of Shaver Lake, several hills, and rated moderate.

Balsam Forebay: Trailhead on west side of Highway 168 about 8.7 miles above Shaver Lake, easy walk, mostly level, with picnic tables and restrooms.

Musick Meadows Loop Trail: 1.6 miles, less than an hour roundtrip, mostly flat, and good for beginning nordic skiers in the winter.

Nevin’s Loop Trail: 3-miles, ample parking across from trailhead, moderate incline, but mostly flat, and located on Nevin’s Penisula on the south side of Shaver Lake.

Mountain biking trails include parts of Perimeter Trail, Ely Mountain Trail at 2.3 miles, Musick Meadows Loop Trail at 1.6 miles, Nevin’s Loop at 3 miles, Secondary Trail at 2.7 miles, and Transfer Station Connector at 0.4 miles.

You can bring your horses to ride on the trails surrounding Shaver Lake, and Shaver Stable near the town of Shaver Lake offers one-hour, two-hour, and longer guided horseback rides with experienced guides.


Things to Do at Shaver Lake

Shaver Lake is the primary attraction at Shaver Lake. It lies in an extremely rural mountain range, but there are some excellent restaurants in the town of Shaver Lake and Old Bretz Mill and a few interesting attractions.

The Central Sierra Historical Society Museum is located in the Camp Edison Campground at Shaver Lake. The museum displays antiques, Native American artifacts, and historic memorabilia of the entire mountain area that includes the Big Creek Hydroelectric Historical District of Huntington Lake, and the Mono Hot Springs-Edison Lake-Florence Lake area. The Museum is off Highway 168 just before entering the main town area. Watch for the Camp Edison Campground sign to your left coming down from Mono.

The Museum of the Sierra, located at 42642 Tollhouse Road, Shaver Lake, California, preserves the cultural and natural history of the Sierra Nevada through education and curation of historical artifacts and stories. Indoor exhibits include offers fascinating and educational cultural displays ranging from beautifully crafted Native American items to the early pioneers’ personal effects. Outdoor exhibits feature the Sierra Nevada history and offer a unique STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education experience for students, a nature trail, and a scavenger hunt.

During the winter months with enough snow, cross-country and nordic skiers can take advantage of some of the trails marked for skiing around Shaver Lake. Skiers can contact the Shaver Lake Volunteers for trail maps and information online.

Plan your trip on our What To Do At Shaver Lake page, and our Shaver Lake Event Calendar.


Shaver Lake Weather & Climate

Shaver Lake sees an average of 36 inches of rain, with two inches of snow, and 268 days of sunshine per year. The winter low in January is 23 degrees with a summer high in July of 83 degrees. July, August, and September are the most comfortable months for this region.

Keep an eye on the skies with our Shaver Lake Weather Forecast page.


Shaver Lake Zip Code

Shaver Lake is in the 93664 zip code of Fresno County, California.


Flora and Fauna at Shaver Lake

Wildlife viewing opportunities include black bears, bobcats, coyotes, mule deer, foxes, marmots, porcupines, and quail. Dense forests of cedar, ponderosea pine, sugar pines, and white fir trees populate the mountains surrounding Shaver Lake. Birding includes nesting flycatchers, mountain quail, warblers, and woodpeckers at Camp Edison. Meadows near Shaver Lake are good for sighting warblers, cassin’s, purple finch, Lawrence's goldfinch, green-tailed towhee, mountain quail, woodpeckers, and owls, including an occasional Great Gray.

Shaver Lake Email Updates


 

Shaver Lake Current Weather Alerts

There are no active watches, warnings or advisories.

 

Shaver Lake Weather Forecast

Tuesday

Rain

Hi: 44

Tuesday Night

Rain

Lo: 36

Wednesday

Slight Chance Rain/Snow

Hi: 44

Wednesday Night

Mostly Clear

Lo: 33

Thursday

Mostly Sunny

Hi: 49

Thursday Night

Mostly Clear

Lo: 40

Veterans Day

Partly Sunny

Hi: 54

Friday Night

Partly Cloudy

Lo: 42