US Army Corps of Engineers
Sacramento District Website

image - scenic Hensley Lake

Boat launch facilities and day-use recreation areas are open. Use of the swim beach, playground, campgrounds and group picnic shelters is prohibited and the project office remains closed to visitors.

All 2020 camping reservations have been refunded through We are working with our federal, state and local partners to determine a reopening date and want to ensure the public and our staff are as safe as possible. Once we determined a date, visitors will once again be able to make reservation through

image - Hensley Lake water level today

Welcome to Hensley Lake

Hensley Lake is surrounded by the oak woodlands of the Sierra Nevada foothills. The 1,500 acre lake was created by the construction of Hidden Dam on the Fresno River. The dam is 163 feet high, 5,730 feet long and has a capacity of 90,000 acre feet of water.

Built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for flood control, irrigation, resource management, and recreation -- the lake attracts a growing number of park visitors each year.

 View a park brochure


Located near the geographic center of California, the park is 17 miles northeast of Madera.

Mailing Address:
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Hensley Lake
P.O. Box 85
Raymond, CA 93653-0085

FAX 559-673-2044


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

From Madera, follow Road 400 northeast to Hensley Lake.

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 and using only dead and down wood.
  • 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.
  • Hunting only in designated areas.
  • 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 Madera County Sheriff's Department. If you need help, contact a park ranger or deputy sheriff.
Dial 9-1-1 for emergencies.

Useful Links:

Rules and Regulations:

Title 36 - Parks, Forests, and Public Property Chapter III - U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Part 327 - Rules and regulations governing public use of Water Resources Development Projects administered by the Chief of Engineers.


Every Kid in a Park: 4th graders can get free parks access.

Bobber the Water Safety Dog: Information on water safety for children.

Operation Dry Water: Learn about the dangers of BUI - Boating Under the Influence of alcohol.

National Water Safety Program: Information that could help save your life or the life of someone you care about.


Hidden Dam - Hensley Lake Public Input Form Hensley_Public_Input_Form.pdf

Master Plan, Hidden Reservoir 1968

Hidden Reservoir Master Plan Jan.1968.pdf

Camping Reservations

link to


Recreation at Hensley Lake

Visitor Center:

A small visitor center is located at the park office. Ranger programs can be scheduled by calling 559-673-5151.

Day Use:

The Buck Ridge Recreation Area has a swim beach and 33 picnic sites, each equipped with a table and barbecue grill. A group picnic area with barbecue, tables, and horseshoe pits is available by reservation through RECREATION.GOV. In the 500-acre wildlife area you may enjoy hiking, bird watching, hunting, mountain biking, and horseback riding.

 Map of the Buck Ridge Trail


Hidden View campground has 55 campsites, flush restrooms with showers and a trailer dump station. Campsites are equipped with a table, fire pit, and barbecue grill. Some sites have electric hookup. Some sites also have a shade shelter.  

The Hidden View Area also has a self-guided nature trail, and playground. There is a 14-day limit per stay. The Hidden View campground gates open at 6 a.m. daily. The gates close at 10 p.m. during peak season (President's Day weekend thru September 30) and 8 p.m. off-season.

 Map of Hidden View Campground

Group Camping:

Hidden View has two group camping areas, with gazebo picnic shelters. Each group camping area is available by reservation to groups of up to 50 people through RECREATION.GOV. Groups may also reserve the Wakalumi primitive area by calling our park headquarters.


The 1,500-acre lake provides plenty of space for water-skiing, sailing, personal watercraft, and pleasure boating. Launch ramps are located in the Buck Ridge and Hidden View recreation areas.

Take an online boating course at WWW.BOAT-ED.COM. Passing this California boating safety course will also make you eligible for a discount on your boat or PWC insurance with many insurance providers.


The Corps of Engineers participates in the America the Beautiful-Federal Recreational Lands Pass Series. The series includes the; Annual Pass, Annual 4th Grade Pass, Annual Senior Pass, Lifetime Senior Pass, Lifetime Access Pass, Volunteer Pass, and Military Pass. Be sure to pick up your America the Beautiful pass at any of our Corps parks as the money is directly invested back into the facilities to improve your recreational experience. Get more details about the pass series here

The Annual Pass is a onetime purchase of $80. You will have access to all of your favorite Corps parks, and participating federal agencies public lands. The Annual Pass is good for one year from the date of purchase.

Individuals 62 years and older have the choice of purchasing an Annual Senior Pass for $20 which is good for one year from the date of purchase, or a Lifetime Senior Pass for $80, which does not expire. Senior and Access Pass holders also receive a 50 percent discount on campsites at Corps-managed campgrounds.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers also sells their Corps Annual Pass for $40. The Corps Annual Pass gives unlimited access to day-use areas at any Corps park for one calendar year at the date of purchase.


Camping Group Camping Group Day Use Day Use

$20 standard            

$30 electric

$100 $30


$40 Annual Pass


Numerous game fish abound in the waters of Hensley Lake. Species include largemouth black bass, crappie, bluegill and catfish. Rainbow trout are planted during the winter months. Some of the best fishing is found in the coves around the lake. Anglers may keep 2 bass over 15" in length.

 Fish guide with pictures

Volunteeer at Hensley Lake:

Check out our VOLUNTEER APPLICATION (MS Word format)

Historical Information:

The former Fresno River basin which is now Hensley Lake used to be home to the Miwok and Yokuts people. Their presence in the area is still evident, mostly in the form of milling areas, where they prepared food.

Also of historical interest is a monument in the Buck Ridge Recreation Area erected to the memory of Major James D. Savage. Highly successful as a miner, trader and leader, Major Savage is credited with the discovery of Yosemite Valley on March 25, 1851, during the Mariposa Indian War. As a trader, Savage established a store on the Fresno River where he made a small fortune trading goods for gold with local miners.

Hensley Views


                                   image - one less spark, one less fire