Eastman Lake

H.V. Eastman Lake lies in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in central California, about an hour’s drive north of Fresno, California. 

H.V. Eastman Lake was created when Buchanan Dam first began storing waters of the Chowchilla River in 1976.  The dam is an earth and rockfill structure 205 feet high and 1,800 feet in length.  At maximum capacity, the lake has 1,780 surface acres and stores 150,000-acre feet of water.  At 600’ elevation, summers are warm, and the winters are mild, allowing for year-round recreation. 

Built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for flood control, irrigation, recreation and wildlife management, H.V. Eastman Lake is both a functional as well as beautiful, family friendly park. 

Located in central California, the Eastman Lake is 23 miles northeast of Chowchilla. View Map

Mailing Address:
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
H.V. Eastman Lake
P.O. Box 67
Raymond, CA 93653-0067

FAX 559-689-3408


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

From Chowchilla, follow Avenue 26 east to Road 29. Turn left and follow Road 29 north to Eastman Lake.

  Current Status  

All day use facilities, campgrounds and the project office are open to the public.   

Camping reservations can be made now through Recreation.gov.

 Recreation Area Services Status

  Recreation Area Info & Fees  

Observation Center:
Open each day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Observation Center is a good place to discover Eastman Lake. An audio-visual program, displays, and brochures are available to visitors. Group tours and park ranger programs can be scheduled by calling 559-689-3255.


  • Day Use - $10
  • Day Use Shelter - $30.
  • Annual pass -  $40. The Corps Annual Pass gives unlimited access to day-use areas at any Corps project for one calendar year.

The Corps of Engineers participates in the America the Beautiful-Federal Recreational Lands Pass Series. The series includes the; Annual Pass, Every Kid Outdoors Pass available to 4th and 5th graders, 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 projects 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 $80, and you will have access to all of your favorite Corps recreation areas 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 project and is good for one year from the date of purchase.

The Codorniz Campground has 65 sites and is open all year. Each site has a parking spur, table and firepit/grill. Conveniently located restrooms provide flush toilets and hot showers. Eight people are permitted per campsite and there is a 14-day limit per stay.

Codorniz Campground sites are $20 per night; $30 with electricity and water; $30 for electricity, water and sewer; and $30 for universal access site.

 Codoniz Campground Map

Wildcat Campground offers 19 sites, which includes three family equestrian sites, at $20 per night. 

 Wildcat Campground Map

Group Camping:
Three group camping areas in the Codorniz Recreation Area are available by reservation and equestrian groups can reserve the Wildcat equestrian group camping area.


Group camping: North A (40 people) $80; North B (100 people) $90; South (160 people) $100; and Equestrian (60 people) $60.

Wireless internet is available in the main Codorniz Campground to registered campers.

Reservations for the above camping are available through Reserve America at 1-877-444-6777 or on the web at recreation.gov

Recreation Areas:
The Chowchilla area provides for a variety of recreation activities. Included are: picnicking, fishing, swimming, hiking, kids playground, volleyball, horseshoe pits, and an aqua-toy. Restrooms are available. The Monument Ridge area has a disc golf course, a softball diamond, picnic tables and vaulted waterless toilets.

Boating is permitted year round. The body of the lake provides plenty of space for water-skiing, sailing, and pleasure boating. Launch ramps with courtesy docks are located in the Chowchilla and Codorniz recreation areas. Certain parts of the lake have No Wake restrictions. 

Equestrians, hikers, and mountain bikers may enjoy the trails at Eastman Lake. For current trail information, contact the project office.

Eastman Lake has been designated as California's first Trophy Bass Fishery by the California Department of Fish and Game. Anglers may keep only one bass with a minimum length of 22". There is also a cumulative limit of 25 pan fish. Whether you are a beginner or an old pro, the lake offers a challenging fishing opportunity. Species include largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill and catfish. Rainbow trout are planted during the winter months. Taking carp by bow and arrow or spearfishing is permitted.

Hunting is permitted by archery and shotgun only. No rifles, air guns, slingshots, or other projectile devices are allowed. Hunting is permitted year-round in the Wildlife Management Area and above Raymond Bridge. Lakeview Trail is open to hunting August 1 to 30 November. All California Department of Fish and Wildlife hunting regulations apply.

 Hunting & Fishing Info

Historical Information:
The Yokut and Miwok tribes once claimed this area as their home. Evidence of their presence in the area is still evident, mostly in the form of mortar and metate areas, where they ground acorns for food. Also of historical interest is a monument to the Town of Buchanan located along the entrance road. This once thriving copper town now exists only in legend and a few tattered photos.

  Camping Reservations 

  Fun & Games for Kids
  Additional Information

Please help us make everyone's visit enjoyable by:

  • Watching children closely when around water.
  • Keeping your pets on a leash at all times.
  • Keeping fires confined to grills and pits and using only dead and down wood.
  • Maintaining quiet hours 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 and keeping a neat campsite.
  • Reporting safety hazards to project staff.
  • Reading the project rules, copies of which are posted throughout the facility.

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

Corps Recreation Across our Nation

Volunteer at a Corps Recreation Area

State Hunting & Fishing Regulations

Recreation on Federal Lands

Project Documents:
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.