Hensley Lake

Hidden Dam, Hensley Lake are located approximately 40 miles north of Fresno, California, or 18 miles northeast of Madera, and is surrounded by the oak woodlands of the Sierra Nevada foothills.

The project was authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1962 and is managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to provide flood control, irrigation, recreation, and resource management benefits. Hensley Lake provides flood risk management to more than 145,000 acres of urban and rural land, including the City of Madera and suburban, industrial, and agricultural areas along the Fresno River.

Flood protection is accomplished using the multi-purpose reservoir with 90,000 acre-feet storage capacity. In addition to flood control, Hensley Lake provides an irrigation supply of 25,000 to 50,000 acre feet of water per year.

Recreational opportunities include boating, swimming, picnicking, disc golf, bird watching, and hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails that provide scenic views with opportunities for wildlife viewing, fishing, and hunting. Hensley Lake boasts one campground, Hidden View, with 55 campsites. The campsite types range from tent to electrical sites (30-50amp) and two group campsites that can accommodate 50 people each.

Construction of Hidden Dam on the Fresno River resulted in the 1,570-acre Hensley Lake which has a capacity of 90,000 acre feet of water. The dam is 163 feet tall and 5,730 feet long. 

E-mail hensley-info@usace.army.mil

Telephone: (559) 831-7040
Fax: (559) 673-2044

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

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

Address: 25207 Road 407, Raymond, CA 93653

Longitude: 37.11540 Latitude: -119.89490   View Map

  Current Status  

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

 Recreation Area Services Status

  Recreation Area Info & Fees  

Visitor Center: A small welcome area greets visitors as they enter the Hidden Dam, Hensley Lake Ranger Station. Visitors get a brief glimpse into the dam’s construction, design, and purpose. Local wildlife is displayed to give the visitor a peek at what they might see while touring the area. Lake maps and brochures are available to take home. USACE day/annual passes and America the Beautiful Passes are available for purchase. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., closed on federal holidays.

Day Use: Hidden Dam, Hensley Lake offers many areas to come enjoy for the day, some of which charge a day use fee.

-Buck Ridge Recreation Area ($10 Day Use Fee) has one designated swim beach with picnic tables and a volleyball court, one boat ramp with courtesy dock, one fish cleaning station, 40 picnic sites (each equipped with a table and barbecue grill), one small playground, a group shelter that can be reserved at https://www.rec.gov, an 18-hole disc golf course, Major James D. Savage Monument, and a 10.5 mile multipurpose trail (mountain biking, hiking, horse riding). Four water-borne restroom buildings and two vault toilets are available for use.

 Buck Ridge Trail Map

-Vista Point offers the best views of the lake, so make sure to bring your camera! The area has two small parking lots and a few picnic tables to use. A small viewing shelter is a short walk from the parking lot. One vault toilet is available for use.

-Road 400 has three access points at Hidden Dam, Hensley Lake. Each offers excellent access to the water for fishing and walk-in vessels like kayaks and canoes. The third access point offers a vault toilet available for use.

-Wakalumi Wildlife Management Area offers great opportunities for hunting, fishing and wildlife viewing.

-Hidden Dam Recreation Area ($10 Day Use Fee) has one boat ramp with courtesy dock, one fish cleaning station, one gravel fishing access road, and two trails. Pohonichi Trail: a dirt, one-mile multipurpose trail for mountain biking, hiking, and horse riding. Shaw-Shuck Nature Trail: A quarter-mile, dirt hiking trail. One vault toilet is available in the boat ramp parking lot.

Camping: Hidden View Campground is located within Hidden View Recreation Area. It offers 53 campsites (23 electric campsites with 30- and 50-amp and 30 non-electric campsites) and two group campsites that can accommodate 50 people each. Each campsite is equipped with a picnic table, barbecue grill, fire pit, and a lantern hook. Some sites have shade shelters. There are four comfort stations located throughout the campground that offer water borne toilets and hot showers. A large playground is available between A and B loops, an amphitheater located by Comfort Station #4, and the Shaw-Shuck Nature Trail (self-guided) located near the dump station. In the group camping area, there is also one sand volleyball court and a horseshoe pit to enjoy. Non-electric sites are $20/night, electric sites are $30/night, Group camp sites are $100/night. Hidden View Campground is 100 percent reservable. Make your reservations at https://www.rec.gov or by calling (877) 444-6777.

 Hidden View Campground Map

Boating: Hidden Dam, Hensley Lake has 1,570 acres of water to enjoy! Space enough for fishing, water-skiing, sailing, personal watercrafts and pleasure boating. There are two boat ramps available on property: one at Hidden View Recreation Area and one at Buck Ridge Recreation Area. Life jacket loaner stations are located at each ramp, outside of the Ranger Station and at the Buck Ridge Swim Beach. Simply borrow a life jacket for the day and return it when you’re finished. All vessels shall have all required safety equipment on board and be properly registered.

Fees: USACE Day Use Pass: $10/day, automatic pay stations are located inside of both the Hidden View and Buck Ridge Recreation Areas and only take credit or debit cards.

USACE Annual Passes can be purchased at the Ranger Station Monday-Friday 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (closed all federal holidays).

Hidden Dam, Hensley Lake also participates in the America the Beautiful Pass Program (ATB). All ATB passes can be obtained/purchased at the Ranger Station Monday-Friday 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (closed all federal holidays). ATB passes available are: Annual, Senior Annual, Senior Lifetime, Military Annual, Military Lifetime, Access, Every Kid Outdoors (4th Grade Passes). For details about cost and benefits for the passes, please visit America the Beautiful Pass Series - Olympic National Park (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov).

Fishing: Largemouth Black Bass, Bluegill, Crappie, Catfish, and Rainbow Trout are favorites with anglers. All areas of Hensley Lake are available for fishing year-round.

Fishing is permitted in accordance with applicable federal, state, and local laws except in areas designated as “No Fishing” by the District Engineer. For specific game law information visit https://wildlife.ca.gov/Regulations.

Hunting: Hunting and trapping is permitted in accordance with applicable federal, state, and local laws except in areas designated as “No Hunting” by the Sacramento District Engineer. For specific game law information visit https://wildlife.ca.gov/Regulations.

Title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations applies to all project lands and waters owned by USACE. Hunting with shotguns and archery is allowed in designated hunting areas.

 Hensley Lake Hunting Map

Volunteer at Hensley Lake: Our Hidden Dam, Hensley Lake team is dedicated to providing quality outdoor recreation and natural resources. We need your help in making Hidden Dam, Hensley Lake the best it can be! For more information about volunteering, current opportunities, and how to apply, you can contact the Ranger Station at (559) 831-7040 or email Hensley-info@usace.army.mil.

If you are interested in volunteering at other USACE recreation sites, please visit https://www.vol.gov.

Historical Information: Prior to USACE management, the Fresno River Basin, now Hensley Lake, used to be home to the Miwok and Yokuts people. Evidence of their presence in the area are still visible.

The Hidden Dam Project on the Fresno River in Madera County, California was authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1962 to help manage the consistent flooding in the city of Madera which had previously seen $615,000 worth of damage annually. The project was completed in 1975 at the cost of $32.1 million.

Major James D. Savage: A historical monument in memory of Major James D. Savage can be found in the Buck Ridge Recreational Area. Savage is credited with the discovery of Yosemite Valley on March 25, 1851, during the Mariposa Indian War. Savage was a highly successful miner, trader, and leader. He established a store on the Fresno River where he made a small fortune trading goods for gold with local miners.

  Fun & Games for Kids
  Additional Information

Corps Recreation Across our Nation

Volunteer at a Corps Recreation Area

State Hunting & Fishing Regulations

Recreation on Federal Lands

Project Documents:

 Hidden Dam Hensley Lake Public Input Form

 Hidden Reservoir Master Plan 1968

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.