Bass Lake Named One of the West's Best Lakes

Bass Lake – A Quick Guide

A year-round vacation destination, Bass Lake was named one of the “West’s Best Lakes” by Sunset Magazine and remains a popular tourist destination since the 1930s. From fishing to swimming, hiking, and boating, read our quick guide to discover all that Bass Lake has to offer!

Campgrounds in California - Bass Lake

Where is Bass Lake?

Bass Lake is located one hour north of Fresno via State Hwy 41 and Road 222. Take Hwy 41 to Oakhurst, three miles north of Oakhurst take Road 222 turn off to Bass Lake. Bass Lake at Yosemite Resort is conveniently located 18 miles from Yosemite’s South Entrance and within walking distance of Bass Lake.

History of Bass Lake

More than a hundred years ago, Bass Lake was a lush green meadow among pine tree-covered hills and mountains. A plan was created in 1895 to build a dam that utilizes the waters of Willow Creek to generate hydroelectric power. The very first structure was built in 1901 and enlarged in 1905. The dam that exists today was constructed in 1910 and is 145 feet high.

Did you know that Bass Lake used to be known as the Crane Valley Reservoir? 

Bass Lake, formerly named Crane Valley Reservoir, was completed in 1910 to protect property downstream. The name change came after a lumber operation polluted the lake, killing all the fish. As punishment, the government made the lumber company replace all the dead fish. Guess which species they decided on? Bass! And now you know why they call it Bass Lake.   

Things to do – Bass Lake

The are many reasons why vacation goers are attracted to Bass Lake. At 3,400 feet in elevation, the lake is nearly 5 miles long and offers pristine waters, sandy shores, and beautiful views of the surrounding pine trees. With summer water temperatures nearing 80 degrees, Bass Lake is a great location to enjoy swimming, boating, and watersports without a wetsuit. 

Boating on Bass Lake

Bass Lake is one of California’s premier boating, swimming, and sailing lakes. At Bass Lake, you’ll find several marinas with boat and watercraft rental companies and boat launching facilities. Free public boat launching facilities are available at the Wishon Boat Launch, located at the south end of the lake. An accessible boat launch is available. There is a fee to use boats and watercraft on Bass Lake. The Madera County Sheriff’s Department administers fees based on the horsepower of your boat or watercraft. Registration is located at the Sheriff’s tower along the north shore.

Fishing at Bass Lake

Only an hour’s drive from Fresno, Bass Lake is a popular fishing destination for anglers far and wide. The lake has more than 16 species of fish including; trout, bass, kokanee salmon, catfish, crappie, and bluegill. The annual Bass Lake Fishing Derby takes place the first weekend in May and draws a huge crowd of anglers and spectators. Click here for a Guide to Fishing on Bass Lake.

Hiking Trails Near Bass Lake

Some of the most popular hiking trails near Bass Lake include Way of the Mono, Willow Creek, Goat Mountain, and Spring Cove trails. Click Here for a map of trails around the lake.

Yosemite This Year Visitor’s Guide Page 20

Bass Lake at Yosemite features RV campsites, cabins, and tent camping with amenities in Bass Lake, California. Located 18 miles from Yosemite’s South Entrance, BLAY is the perfect place to hang your hat during your next hiking trip.