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Overview

Bass Lake hides in the shadow of its Yosemite and Mono Lake neighbors. Warm blue waters (that reach about 80 degrees Fahrenheit in summer) hugged by pines and sequoias, make this a favorite among unpretentious outdoor adventure lovers. Yet a mere hundred years ago, this lake was actually a meadow, home to Chuckchansi Native Americans (and later the Mono tribe) and a teeming population of great blue herons (these big guys still populate the area). To create energy for the San Joaquin Valley, a creek was dammed, and Bass Lake was born. While the waters used to be heavily polluted, these days they are awash with bass and happen to still ...

Bass Lake hides in the shadow of its Yosemite and Mono Lake neighbors. Warm blue waters (that reach about 80 degrees Fahrenheit in summer) hugged by pines and sequoias, make this a favorite among unpretentious outdoor adventure lovers. Yet a mere hundred years ago, this lake was actually a meadow, home to Chuckchansi Native Americans (and later the Mono tribe) and a teeming population of great blue herons (these big guys still populate the area). To create energy for the San Joaquin Valley, a creek was dammed, and Bass Lake was born. While the waters used to be heavily polluted, these days they are awash with bass and happen to still generate electricity for the people in California's Central Valley. In summer, rent a houseboat and char up the BBQ, or take a jet ski out on the lake. Anglers populate fishing boats to see who can snag the biggest of the sixteen species of bass living in the lake. You can camp by the waters, hike through the Sierra National Forest, visit the exact center of California, and make a day trip to Yosemite or Mono Lake. In winter, cozy up in a vacation rental, take a snowmobile tour, or make a trek to Badger Pass Ski resort for a round of snowboarding.

Michele Bigley
About the Expert

Michele Bigley is the author of Northern California: An Explorer's Guide and Great Destinations Kauai from Countryman Press.

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Michele Bigley for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Western United States, approximately 51 miles south from Yosemite.
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Summer, early fall, winter, spring