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Your guide to Shaver Lake
Tucked in the majestic Sierra Nevada Mountains, the tiny former logging town of Shaver Lake is a hidden gem with an expansive lake ringed by thick pine forests and cabins. While the refreshing waters are what draw many up the mountainside, there’s plenty of fun to be had on dry land in the Sierra Nevadas, where hundreds of miles of trails provide ideal opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. Located a 90-minute drive south from storied Yosemite National Park, Shaver Lake can also serve as your serene base for an ambitious day trip or a chill spot to recover in after visiting one of the nation’s most trafficked parks.
When is the best time to stay in a vacation rental in Shaver Lake?
June through September are your best bet for warm weather if you’re planning on a lake vacation, with temperatures in the mid-70s and low 80s Fahrenheit. July and August are usually the hottest months, but not too hot — temperatures spike into the 80s — and thanks to the mountain elevation, spring is cool and winter chilly. The mountain climate means evenings can be brisk year round, so pack layers.
What are the top things to do in Shaver Lake?
The Southern Edison Company dammed up several streams in 1927 to create Shaver Lake in order to generate electricity for Los Angeles, but it is thousands of miles from the bustling industry it powers — both literally and figuratively. The lake offers 22 miles of tranquil, boulder-studded shoreline and over 2,000 acres of placid lake surface. The Shaver Lake Marina caters to all of your aquatic whims, renting out 12-passenger pontoon boats, jet skis, paddleboards, and more. It also runs a small general store where you can stock up on sunscreen and snacks. If you like to fish, try your luck at hooking a rainbow trout or smallmouth bass, just two of the species you’ll find flitting around the lake.
You’ll be glad you took a break from swimming once you’re inside this small, secluded grove of giant sequoias, located about half an hour’s drive from the lake. Giant sequoias — which can grow to over 300 feet tall and live thousands of years — are the biggest trees on Earth and only grow naturally in the Sierra Nevadas. While these staggering giants are the main draw, in fall the dogwood trees also put on show, turning a brilliant red. Plunk down at a picnic table and lunch in the shade of these leviathans, or just hike the trails, staring up in wonder.
Central Sierra Historical Society Museum
On the grounds of this partially open-air museum you can find all kinds of contraptions that once powered the logging communities of the Sierra Nevadas, including something called a steam donkey, built in 1902, which was a kind of portable engine used to move logs. You’ll also find a 1912 railroad caboose, a Mack Truck built in 1920, and a replica flume tender’s cabin — a modest home built along the river for men whose job it was to keep lumber moving smoothly downstream to the sawmill.