Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area is a popular destination for hiking, biking, swimming, waterskiing, and boating. Visitors can often spot a variety of animals, such as squirrels and chipmunks, during the day. Mountain lions and coyotes are nocturnal, and therefore unlikely to be roaming during daylight hours, but they live in the area as well. Birdwatchers enjoy the abundance of great blue herons, ducks, loons, red-tailed hawks, and scrub jays. Fish are particularly abundant between February and June, although trout, bass, catfish, and crappies can be caught year round.
Mesa Campground is one of the prized amenities of Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area. The campground has 136 campsites. Each site contains a fire ring and a barbecue, and they are all within walking distance of shower facilities and bathrooms. Visitors from out of town will want to take advantage of the large number of nearby San Bernardino National Forest hikes. Stay for a few nights and check out the Deep Creek Hot Springs and Big Bear Lake West Shore Beach. If you are coming with a large group, try the nearby Silverwood Lake Group Campgrounds, which can accommodate over 100 people.
Until the 1790s this area was home to the Serrano Indians. They lived here for more than two millennia, occupying small settlements that were nestled up against streams. Their homes were constructed from reeds and willow, and they were very conscientious about allowing the earth to remain in its natural state. They sustained themselves with the natural resources found in the area and traded with their neighbors to the east and west. Colonization devastated the Serrano Indians, and their numbers dropped drastically due to newly introduced diseases. Thousands died, and a mere 119 survived the San Gabriel Mission. Some of their descendants live nearby today.
The lake was named after conservationist W.E. Silverwood (known as “Ted”), who dedicated his life to conserving water and soil. He lived with his wife Connie on a ranch in the area for 25 years. The same year that they bought the ranch, Silverwood was instrumental in the formation of the Yucaipa Valley Soil Conservation District, which still exists to this day, although it is now called the Inland Empire Resource Conservation District. He also supported the State Water Project, which provides southern California with both power and water.
Note: For reservations and questions contact California State Parks at 760.389.2281.