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Welcome to Lake Kaweah

Lake Kaweah provides many types of recreation for park visitors. The lake was formed by the construction of Terminus Dam on the Kaweah River. The dam was completed in 1962 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to provide flood damage reduction and water conservation.

During the spring run-off season it stores 185,000 acre feet of water. Energy production was added in 1990 with the construction of the Terminus Power Plant. The new hydroelectric plant produces an average of 40 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually, which is equivalent to 67,000 barrels of oil.

As of 2004, the largest fusegates in the country were placed in the Lake Kaweah spillway. You can see the fusegates from our Kaweah Heritage Visitor Center, located atop Lemon Hill.

Lake Kaweah sits in the southern Sierra Nevada foothills, 20 miles east of Visalia on Highway 198.

Mailing Address:

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Lake Kaweah/Terminus Dam
P.O. Box 44270
Lemon Cove, CA 93244-4270

Visitor Center: 559-597-2005
Office: 559-597-2301
FAX 559-597-2468


Office Hours:
Monday - Friday 7:45 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

From Visalia, follow Highway 198 east to the park.

Ranger Programs:
Ranger-led programs can be scheduled by calling 559-597-2301.

Please help us make everyone's visit enjoyable by:

  • Keeping your pets on a leash in developed recreation areas.
  • Keeping fires confined to grills and pits. Bring your own firewood. Fire restrictions vary by recreation area throughout the year, so please confirm current guidelines with park staff before building fires.
  • Maintaining quiet between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
  • Operating vehicles only on designated roads and parking areas provided.
  • Camping only in designated campsites.
  • Helping clean up litter.
  • Reporting safety hazards to park personnel.
  • Reading the park rules, copies of which are posted throughout the park.

All areas are patrolled by Corps of Engineers rangers and deputies of the Tulare County Sheriff's Department. If you need help, contact a park ranger or deputy sheriff. Dial 9-1-1 for emergencies.

Camping Reservations

link to

Recreation at Lake Kaweah

Day Use:

Picnicking can be enjoyed at all accessible areas of the park. Lemon Hill, Kaweah and Horse Creek recreation areas have tables and piped water. A $5 day-use fee is charged at Lemon Hill, Slick Rock and Kaweah recreation areas. Swimming is permitted at your own risk around the lake but is prohibited at posted areas near the marina, boat ramps and the dam's intake structure. In the interest of safety, we ask that swimming must be done close to shore and never alone.


Some Lake Kaweah campgrounds are flooded during parts of the year when the lake level is high, so please call the park office to confirm availability. Horse Creek Campground has 80 campsites, restrooms with flush toilets, showers, and a trailer dump station. Campsites are equipped with tables and fire rings.

Fire restrictions vary by recreation area throughout the year, so please confirm current guidelines with park staff before building fires. Eight people are permitted per campsite and there is a 14-day limit per 30-day period.

Campfire programs are presented at the Horse Creek Amphitheater on Saturday nights from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.

To reserve a site, visit RECREATION.GOV or call 1-877-444-6777.


The lake offers a variety of opportunities for water-skiing, sailing, and pleasure boating. Launch ramps are located in the Kaweah, Lemon Hill and Slick Rock recreation areas.

The marina at Lemon Hill offers boating and camping supplies, fishing tackle, a snack bar, boat rentals and fuel. Call 559-597-2526 for marina information.

For information about boating registration and operating regulations, contact the Tulare County Boat Patrol Office at 559-597-2437.


Lake Kaweah offers both lake and stream fishing. Largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill, catfish, and rainbow trout are the most common. Bass, limit 2, must be a minimum of 15" long before they can be kept by the angler. Fishing licenses and supplies can be purchased in nearby towns.


The Corps of Engineers is now included in the America the Beautiful interagency pass!  For a one time purchase of $80, you have access to all of your favorite Corps parks in addition to all the other federal public lands and national parks for one year after the date of purchase.

Individuals 62 years or older can buy a $10 lifetime senior pass, which does not expire. All other passes and kids 15 years or younger are free of charge at all federal recreation areas. Senior and access pass holders also receive a 50 percent discount on campsites at Corps-managed campgrounds.

Be sure to pick up your America the Beautiful pass at any of our parks as the money is turned right around and invested in the facilities to improve your recreational experience.

Get details about the America the Beautiful pass series here

 Camping Day Use

Annual Pass

$20 $5 $40

The Corps Annual Pass gives unlimited access to day-use areas at any Corps park for one calendar year, and is sold at all Corps parks.


Lake Kaweah is fed by the Kaweah River, which originates in the Sierra Nevada at Sequoia National Park. Long ago, Yokuts, Wukchumne, and Kaweah people lived and hunted along this river. Spaniards were the first Europeans to explore this area two centuries ago. Settlers arrived fifty years later.

Cattleman Hale Tharp started a ranch at the confluence of the Kaweah River and Horse Creek in 1856. He lived here until his death in 1912. Several landmarks still bear his name.

Kaweah Views

Graffiti removal
Graffiti removal
Volunteers work to remove graffiti at Cobble Knoll Recreation Area of Lake Kaweah, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District park near Lemon Cove, Calif. This was one of several projects accomplished at Lake Kaweah during National Public Lands Day, Sept. 28, 2013. (U.S. Army photo by Bill Spring/Released)
Postcard from the ladies
Postcard from the ladies
On litter patrol at Horse Creek Campground, Lake Kaweah, during National Public Lands Day, Sept. 29, 2012. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers park staff and an army of volunteers celebrated the day with park improvement projects, camaraderie and food.
Water safety at Tulare County Fair
Water safety at Tulare County Fair
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers park rangers from Lake Kaweah and Success Lake partnered with Tulare County Lake Patrol to participate in the 94th annual Tulare County Fair. Thousands attended the fair and were educated on water safety, flood reduction, state and federal regulations and the impact on local communities. From left are County Officer Tommy Crosswy and Park Ranger Chad Kilgore.
Owl visits wildlife presentation
Owl visits wildlife presentation
This beautiful owl, shown by Louise Culver of Critter Creek Wildlife Station, highlighted a special Labor Day presentation at Lake Kaweah.
Houseboats on Lake Kaweah
Houseboats on Lake Kaweah
Houseboating is popular on lovely Lake Kaweah.
Spilling into the spillway
Spilling into the spillway
Fusegates at Terminus Dam are tested.
Lake Kaweah and Terminus Dam
Lake Kaweah and Terminus Dam
Hilltop view down on Terminus Dam at Lake Kaweah.




image - one less spark, one less fire