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Pets allowed
Yes
Guided tours
No
Backcountry camping
No
Lodging
No
Please respect the outdoors and leave no trace. One tip how to dispose of waste properly: Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products. For more information, visit https://lnt.org/learn/7-principles

Millerton Lake, a stone's throw away from Fresno and CA-99 in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley, is one of the San Joaquin River's largest reservoirs. The reservoir was named for the town of Millerton, the original seat of Fresno County. The town was inundated and wiped from the map when Friant Dam was built in 1942 and the lake was created in its stead.

With 19 miles of shoreline and nearly 5,000 acres of water surface area, and with depths over 300 feet in parts, Millerton Lake, at capacity, is one of the largest lakes in Central California. It is located in the heart of a sunny area surrounded by green hills and shrubbery. However, in recent years, the lake has been profoundly affected by the severe droughts in California, and has suffered the fate of many other reservoirs in the region. As of the fall of 2015 (when the pictures above were taken), the reservoir held less than 40% of its maximum capacity, and the proof is quite evident at the boat launches. Two massive 10-lane boat ramps are sitting well above the water on the south side of Millerton Lake, and the single 2-lane north side ramp near Meadows Campground has been extended nearly a quarter-mile in length in the worst times of the drought to provide lake access for boaters. The water level has been showing signs of recovery as of late. As of spring 2016, it is at about 60% of its capacity.

Despite the effects of the drought, the area still remains a fantastic option for those in the San Joaquin Valley looking to do basically any summer outdoor activity. Hiking trails loop around the hills on the north shore, where there are also dozens of campsites at several different campgrounds, many of which have incredible views of the lake and every amenity a state park campground can offer. In the winter months, bald eagles are frequently spotted around the area as well. Additionally, a fish hatchery is located just south of Friant Dam.

As a designated recreation lake, boat ramps are located on both the north and south shores, with more than enough parking for vehicles and trailers. The lake's waters are open for a variety of activities. Whether you are here to fish, jet ski, or even go speed boating, the lake's size allows for hundreds of visitors to safely do different activities on the water. In addition, a marina, which offers boat and tube rentals, can be found in a cove at the southeast end of Millerton Lake, although the drought has pushed it about a quarter of a mile from the normal parking area.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

High

Parking Pass

State Park Fee

Pros

Expansive lake views. Close to Fresno. Several boat ramps and campgrounds.

Cons

Heavily affected by drought in recent years.

Address

Friant, CA 93626
United States

Features

ADA accessible
Campgrounds + Campsites
Showers
Amphitheater
Flushing toilets
Boat ramp(s)
Bicycling
Potable water
Picnic tables
Covered picnic areas
Marina
Fishing
Horseback riding
Bird watching
Wildlife
Wildlife

Site type

Full hookups

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Adventures

Millerton Lake State Recreational Area

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Millerton Lake State Recreational Area

Comments

06.26.17
thinking about doing some camping here next month. has anyone recently been there? If so, how were the conditions? thank you
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