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Camp Far West Lake is an artificial reservoir south of Waldo Junction and Spenceville State Wildlife Area, northwest of Wheatland and Horstville, and southwest of Beale Air Force Base. It extends into parts of Nevada County and Placer County, but the largest portion of it is in Yuba County. It is formed by Camp Far West Dam on the Bear River and Rock Creek. Long Ravine also empties into it.
Camp Far West Lake drains an area of 286 square miles, and at full capacity, contains 104,500 acre-feet of water. It has 3.2 square miles of surface area and 29 miles of shoreline. Its elevation is 260 feet.
Camp Far West Cemetery is located on Wintun Way, just west of the lake.
Camp Far West Dam was built in 1963 as part of the Central Valley Water Project for flood control and irrigation. It is owned by South Sutter Water District and is constructed of rocks and dirt. It is 185 feet high.
The lake is named for a Gold Rush immigrant camp that was located slightly downstream. The camp was the farthest west camp that arriving gold miners passed through before reaching the Sacramento Valley.
|8176 Camp Far West Road, Wheatland, CA 95692-9756|
The recreation area features two boat ramps and many trails for bicycling, hiking, and horseback riding. Campsites feature picnic tables, barbecues, and full hook-ups. Other recreational activities permitted include fishing, swimming, jet skiing, and water skiing. There are two mini-marts that sell bait, tackle, snacks, soda, beer, and ice.
The bass and catfish at the lake have been found to be significantly contaminated with methylmercury, probably due to the use of this chemical in local gold mining. As a result, it is recommended that children under 18 and women of childbearing age should never eat the bass and catfish, while men 18 and older and women 45 and older should eat no more than one serving per week. Bluegill and other sunfish are contaminated to a lesser degree; children under 18 and women of childbearing age may eat one serving per week of these fish, while men 18 and older and women 45 and older may eat up to three servings per week.
The north shore is open all year, but the south shore is open only from mid-May until September. From April through September, the park is open from 6:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. From October to March, it is open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., except that on Fridays and Saturdays it is still open from 6:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. The gates are locked at closing time. Quiet hours are from 10:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.
Per comments on the Camp Far West Lake Facebook page in 2015, these are the entry fees: $15 per vehicle for day use, $20 for day use with a boat or two jet skis, $25 per night for camping, $30 per night for camping with a boat or two jet skis. Vehicles must display the proper entrance tag at all times. The speed limit is 15 miles per hour on paved roads and 5 mph on dirt roads. All vehicles must stay on the roads. No ATVs, minibikes, or other off-road vehicles are permitted.
For boats, the speed limit is 5 miles per hour when within 200 feet of any shoreline or swimmer.
No firearms or fireworks of any kind are permitted.
Anyone causing a disturbance or violating any rules will be escorted off the premises. Management reserves the right to refuse or revoke entrance to anyone.
From April through September, camping reservations are accepted from Monday through Wednesday. Reservations must be for a minimum of two nights; on major holidays, the minimum reservation is three nights.
From October through March, camping is a first-come, first-served basis.
Camp Far West Lake FindLakes.com: Camp Far West FishersNet: Camp Far West Lake Map California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment: Safe Eating Guidelines for Fish from Camp Far West Reservoir California Department of Water Resources: Station Meta Data: Bear River at Camp Far West Dam Camp Far West Historic Site