Bass Lake Recreation area is located at the 3400-foot elevation in the Sierra National Forest, about a one hour drive North of Fresno via State Highway 41. The primary recreation attractions of the area include camping, picnicking, boating, water skiing, swimming, fishing and hiking. The recreation area, which is open all year, serves as an excellent location from which to explore the high country attractions of the Sierra National Forest and Yosemite National Park.
In 1895, a plan was devised to use the waters of willow Creek to generate hydroelectric power for the residents of the great San Joaquin Valley. The first earthen dam was built in Crane Valley in 1901. The dam was enlarged in 1905 and the present Dam was built in 1910. The lake was called Crane Valley Reservoir for many years, but the name was eventually changed when a small Bass Lake lumber operation polluted the lake, killing all the fish that were in it. The lumber company was ordered by the government to replace all the fish that were lost. The chosen fish was Bass, hence the new name-Bass Lake.
Bass Lake generates 27 megawatts of power through 5 downstream power houses and is owned by Pacific Gas & Electric. It has developed into a major resort and recreational facility.
Reservable campgrounds in the Bass Lake Recreation area include Forks Campground (FRKS), Cedar Bluff (CEDF), Lupine (LUPE), Spring Cove (SPCO) and Wishon Point (WISN). Crane Valley (CRVA) and Recreation Point (RECR) are the Group campgrounds. Picnic Areas are all lake front and are acquired on a first come first serve basis. Reservations can be made by calling the National Recreation Reservation Service at 1-877-444-6777, or you can log on to www.recreation.gov.
Lupine and Cedar Bluff campgrounds are open year round as well as the two group campgrounds, Recreation Point and Crane Valley. The Day Use areas have tables, cooking areas, restrooms and some have paved walkways and picnic sites that are handicap accessible. Boat launching at Bass Lake is available. Campsite shade is created from a mixed forest of Pine, Oak and Cedar trees.
Recreation includes swimming and boating at the lake, hiking trails, bicycling, fishing, photography and more. Nearby the campgrounds you can rent boats, plan a day visit to Yosemite National Park and the big trees, go horseback riding, or ride a logger train. Come have fun and an outdoor adventure at Bass Lake!