The 8 Best Lakes Around Los Angeles California!

Written by Jennifer Gaeng
Updated: September 18, 2023
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While Los Angeles may be better known for celebrities than bodies of water, it is also the land of 22 lakes! Lake Tahoe in Northern California is known for its stunning beauty and wonderful vacations, but Los Angeles also has some beautiful lakes and reservoirs as well. Today we are going to read about eight of the best lakes, reservoirs, and hot springs located around Los Angeles, CA!

Castaic Lake

Castaic Lake California

Castaic Lake is the largest state water project in Southern California.

© Diaz

In the Sierra Pelona Mountains of Northern Los Angeles lies Castaic Lake. This lake is a reservoir that was formed by the Castaic Dam on Castaic Creek. It is the largest state water project in Southern California and is best known for its 112,000 acres of parkland and fishing. This lake houses some of the most trophy award-winning fish such as the largemouth bass and rainbow trout. In other words, this lake is a fisherman’s dream destination!

Echo Park Lake

Echo park in Los Angeles, California

Beautiful Echo Park Lake is part of an extremely popular area of the city.

© Maltinti

Echo Park Lake is nestled amidst the ultra-cool neighborhood of Echo Park. This iconic Los Angeles lake is known for its quirky swan boats, which residents love to rent during the summer. It is home to lots of different events, like the popular Lotus Festival. Not only is this beautiful lake a part of an extremely popular park, but it also serves a big purpose within the city. This reservoir is a large detention basin used for storm drainage.

Diamond Valley Lake

Diamond Valley Lake

This lake offers beautiful and natural views.

©Lvi56 / Creative Commons – License

Diamond Valley Lake is about two hours away from Los Angeles, located in the southern part of the San Bernardino national forest. It is one of the newly manufactured lakes and offers beautiful, natural views. Although this lake is viewed by a lot of hikers trekking through the national forest, it is also a great fishing spot. This is because it is one of the largest reservoirs in Southern California, offering a wide variety of fish including bass and trout!

Lake Hollywood

Lake Hollywood California

This lake in the Hollywood Hills is important in the city’s water supply.

©Alaina Sharpshair/

Lake Hollywood is a reservoir located in Hollywood Hills. Not only does this lake provide some magnificent views for hikers, but you can spot the famous Hollywood sign from here! It was created from the Mulholland Dam built in 1924. It has been maintained by the Los Angeles Department of water and power ever since. This lake may be a beautiful sight, but it serves a key role as part of the city’s supply and storage system also. Although this lake may seem insignificant compared to others, it still contains roughly 2.5 billion gallons of water!

Machado Lake

Machado Lake

Fishing is no longer allowed at this lake.

©Tracie Hall / flickr – License

Machado Lake is in Los Angeles County and is known for its wildlife. However, it is also home to a lot of other animals! Sadly, many people have used this spot to release their pets to when they no longer wanted them. This has also contributed to lowering the quality of the water. In fact, fishing is no longer allowed at this lake due to ongoing restoration. Water activities have been limited as well. This lake captures runoff from Los Angeles and is also home to over 300 species of migratory birds. Although this lake has fallen under tough times regarding pollution, it is still home to some fascinating creatures and wildlife!

Deep Creek

Deep Creek Hot Springs is non-commercial.

©Levi Clancy / Creative Commons – License

Just two hours away from Los Angeles, Deep Creek Hot springs is in San Bernardino County. This beautiful spot is a favorite for many hikers, offering stunning views and trails around the natural hot springs. It is noncommercial and serves as a great getaway destination for many people seeking both relaxation and health benefits. This is due to all the natural minerals that the hot springs provide. There are six to seven geothermal pools located here. About five of them have temperatures that range from 100 to 105 degrees!

Pyramid Lake

Lake Pyramid, CA

If you drive an hour outside of L.A., you’ll reach Pyramid Lake.

© Diaz

Pyramid Lake is a reservoir located an hour outside of Los Angeles. It is nestled in between Los Padres national forest and Angeles national forest. It is the biggest body of water that is left from Lake Lahontan, a massive body of water that once covered a substantial portion of Nevada. This lake is a great spot for fishing, swimming, camping, boating, and more. Not only is it a great spot for vacation and activities, but it is one of the most beautiful desert lakes in the entire world! Expect to see stunning views of mountains and sunsets when visiting this incredible reservoir.

Big Bear Lake

Big Bear Lake California

The most abundant type of fish resides in Big Bear Lake.


Big Bear is a small city in Southern California, located about two hours outside of Los Angeles. This spot is often called the jewel of the San Bernardino forests. Why? Because it offers tons of water activities and a family-friendly snow summit in the wintertime! As for the lake itself, it is Southern California’s largest recreation lake! It is seven miles long and about one mile wide. Big Bear Lake offers stunning views, lots of fish, and more. Although the city is known for its ski resort, in the summertime the lake itself is the main attraction. It offers the most abundant types of fish, including bass, trout, and catfish. Not only is it a fisherman’s dream, but it has some of the most picturesque views anyone could ask for!

In Conclusion

All these lakes and reservoirs near Los Angeles offer a lot of different activities, wildlife, and scenery. However, they still need care and respect. Some of these lakes are facing severe effects of pollution and require heavy restoration to bring them back to the beauty they once were. Never litter when vacationing and limit activities that involve pollution, such as boating. We can all do our part to restore these beautiful bodies of water.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Maltinti

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About the Author

Jennifer Gaeng is a writer at A-Z-Animals focused on animals, lakes, and fishing. With over 15 years of collective experience in writing and researching, Jennifer has honed her skills in various niches, including nature, animals, family care, and self-care. Hailing from Missouri, Jennifer finds inspiration in spending quality time with her loved ones. Her creative spirit extends beyond her writing endeavors, as she finds joy in the art of drawing and immersing herself in the beauty of nature.

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