Lake Berryessa serves as a reservoir for Monticello Dam which is located in Napa County, California. The 20,000 acres of the reservoir was built by 1963 with a total volume capacity of 80 cm3.
Being the largest lake in California, the Lake Berryessa does not only stores water to generate hydroelectricity but offers interesting recreational activities and breathe taking views!
With warm summers and wet winters, the Berryessa shores is a great place to visit and take a break from the bustling urban life. The lush green hills surrounding the lake fill the atmosphere with a unique and refreshing element that is surely worth experiencing!
Moreover, it is interesting to note that the Green Valley Fault runs parallel to the lake in the west hills. Also, the presence of the exceptional flora and fauna is quite remarkable with plants like white alder and leather oak swaying in a harmonious motion while you hike in the luxuriant vegetation.
The Wildlife Management Area of California Department protects the following inhabitants:
- Mountain Lion
- Black-tailed deer
- Western rattlesnake
The Glory Hole
Perhaps, the most indulging feature of the Lake Berryessa is the celebrated Glory Hole. This open bell mouth spillway with a 72-diameter has a straight drop of 200 feet. This spillway narrows down from 200 feet to 28 feet!
This dynamic construction creates a wonderful site when the dam reaches its full capacity and gives the effect of depression in water.
The management of Berryessa shores offers a diversity of recreational activities including water skiing, jet skiing, picnicking, swimming, kayaking, and canoeing. Boating, fishing, and hunting are some of the most popular activities with certain modifications in the area to facilitate the sport.
For boating in the Lake Berryessa, people usually prefer seaplanes which are powered watercraft that can take off from seaplane bases and land in the water. Certain areas of the Lake has been reserved for swimming to prevent any possible accidents due to seaplane landing or other boats.
Furthermore, fishing in Lake Berryessa can be carried out throughout the year as it contains both warm water and cold water fish species. Some of these species are native like rainbow trout while others were introduced after the reservoir formation. The variation in fishes includes:
- Chinook Salmon
- Largemouth Bass
- Channel catfish
Cedar Rough Wilderness
Apart from the Lake Berryessa Recreational Area, the Cedar Rough Wildlife area has also been opened up for the visitors. The wilderness is accessible through the car as well as boat, however, proper pathways and trails have not been constructed yet. The forest is covered with Sargent’s Cypress, therefore, hiking can be a difficult option but the exotic wilderness is surely worth the effort!