California is home to a wealth of state and regional parks, and considering the size of the state, there is always a handful of outdoor recreation areas that seem to stand the test of time, attracting visitors year-after-year to its open-air wonders.
Among those is Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area, set high in the heart of the San Bernardino National Forest, capturing the imagination with vistas of snow-capped mountain peaks reflected on a stately lake that was formed by the 249-foot Cedar Springs Dam. At 3,350 feet, it is the highest reservoir in the State Water Project.
The lake is an angler’s paradise and provides plenty of trout, largemouth bass, catfish and bluegill to catch. This body of water also attracts waterfowl, raptors, migratory Canada Geese and an occasional bald eagle, making it a magnificent birding experience.
From January through March, barge tours to view the bald eagles are available to view these magnificent creatures. Other activities at Silverwood SRA include hiking, bicycling, boating, swimming and water skiing.
To facilitate these activities there are couple of swimming beaches in the area, as well as 13 miles of paved hiking and bicycling trails that includes a point of entry to the crown jewel of America’s scenic trails — the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail.
At the lake, there is also the marina with a launching ramp for all boats and PWC’s, boat and equipment rentals, and a general store that sells bait, fishing equipment and other supplies.
The densely forested park surrounding the lake provides numerous shady picnic areas, including three that can only be reached by boat.
With so much to do at Silverwood SRA, visitors will find that an overnight stay is a must, and camping is available right on the site.
In fact, this location is home to The Mesa Campground with its 136 family campsites.
These come with everything you might need to have a great night of outdoor camping adventure, including a picnic table, barbecue grill and fire ring at each site as well as restrooms and showers nearby. Along with that, there are also more than a couple of group sites.
These sites can hold over 100 people at a time, so you can bring quite a crowd along. Finally, there are seven walk-in sites that can be used by bicyclists and hikers. Other nearby recreation areas include Lake Gregory in Crestline and Lake Arrowhead.
Seeing as this park is located at a pretty high elevation level, the climate itself changes quite drastically with the seasons. From late spring to early fall the temperatures sit around a scorching level in between 90-100 degrees Fahrenheit.
In the colder months, it can range from anywhere in between 30 and 60 degrees. The park is open Friday through Tuesday, from 7 am – 5 pm and is closed on Wednesday and Thursday.
During the summer months of May thru September Boating reservations are a must and the reservation allotment is usually full each Saturday and Sunday 125 maximum reservations.
Campsites are available by reservation. Reservations are recommended year round because each reservation is site specific.
There are two swim beaches located at the southern end of the lake. Lifeguards are on duty daily from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.
From January through March, barge tours to view the bald eagles are available. Saturday or Sunday tours are popular attractions. Reservations are recommended; call (760) 389-2303.
Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area is located in the San Bernardino Mountains, approximately 11 miles east of Interstate 15 on Highway 138