Photo of Cachuma Lake, Santa Barbara County, CA

Cachuma Lake

Cachuma Lake is a favorite destination for those in the greater Santa Barbara area. Although no body-to-water contact is allowed, there are still plenty of recreation opportunities available around the lake.

Camping is popular at the Santa Barbara County Park; and fishing, hiking, and other outdoor activities draw many visitors every year. Cachuma Lake Recreation area includes a swimming pool, Nature Center, and miles of hiking trails. They also offer a Junior Ranger Program on Saturdays.

Entrance Fees

Cachuma Lake Water Level


Cachuma Lake's There is no body-to-water contact allowed, so there is no water skiing or jet skiing. Boats which pass inspections can be launched the same day. A 40 MPH speed limit in the center of the lake means bass fishermen can move quickly from area to area. Canoes and Kayaks are permitted and even have areas set aside exclusively for them.


Cachuma Lake has one marina with a variety of fishing and pontoon boats for rent, along with paddleboats, kayaks, and rowboats. There is a good launch ramp. Support services include fuel, a store and snack shop, and boat storage.


Cachuma Lake is quickly becoming a leading bass fishing destination. Smallmouth bass are a favorite target of sportsmen as well as largemouth bass and rainbow trout. Bowfishing for carp is allowed here. Cachuma Lake is also home to bluegill, catfish redear sunfish, and crappie. An annual trout fishing derby draws large numbers.


Cachuma Lake campgrounds are part of the Santa Barbara County Park. They are clustered for the most part on a single peninsula close to the marina, a swimming pool, store, and other support services. Group campsites and yurts are available. There are several good National Forest campgrounds within a few miles of the lake.


Cachuma Lake offers several small cabins for rent at reasonable prices. Beyond those, lodging must be found in neighboring communities. Prices are generally high.


Cachuma Lake rests in the Santa Ynez Valley between ridges of the Santa Ynez Mountains. Visitors to Cachuma Lake enjoy its rugged beauty, its variety of inlets and coves, and its wild shorelines.

Nearby Communities

Eight miles to the west of Cachuma Lake is the small community of Santa Ynez with restaurants and lodging. Twenty-two miles to the south are Santa Barbara and Goleta. Many visitors to the lake like to take the 12 miles drive to the west to spend a day in the picturesque Danish town of Solvang.

Cachuma Lake Swimming Pools

Location: Cachuma Lake Recreation Area
Open: Memorial Day Weekend and June 12 - Sept. 6 (Closed Mondays and Tuesdays)
Session Hours: 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM (Sessions are 50 minutes)
Cost: $3 per session
Lifeguards on Duty

Photo of swimming pools at Cachuma Lake, Santa Barbara County, CA


Cachuma Lake Facts
Lake Size: 3,100 surface acres
Maximum Depth: 150 feet
Length: 6.5 miles
Shoreline: 42 miles
Dam Construction: 1953
Lake Owner: Bureau of Reclamation
Maximum Lake Elevation: 751 feet
Average High Air Temperatures
  spring: 79 degrees
  summer: 93 degrees
  fall: 85 degrees
  winter: 66 degrees
Summer Surface Water Temperature: 79 degrees


Cachuma Lake

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Cachuma Lake Recreation

Cachuma Lake Nature Center
Exhibits on local environment, including mounted specimens of animals and birds
Information on Bradbury Dam, flora and fauna, geology, and Chumash Indians.
(805) 693-0691
Located in the Cachuma Lake Recreation Area

Hiking at Cachuma Lake
Self-Guided Hikes
Sweetwater Trail - 2.5 miles connects Bradbury Dam and campgrounds
Oak Canyon Nature Trail - .5 miles at the Nature Center
Mohawk Loop - quarter mile trail at Mohawk Mesa
Other longer trails into Los Padres National Forest.

Junior Ranger Program
Children learn about local wildlife and the environment
Year-round on Saturdays, 12:30 Pm - 1:30 PM, $2 per child
Meet at the Nature Center
(805) 688-4515


California's Greatest Lakes

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