Sparkling Whiskeytown Lake takes its name from an old mining camp. When the lake was created in the 1960s by the construction of a 263ft dam, designed for power generation and Central Valley irrigation, the few remaining buildings of old Whiskeytown were moved and the camp was submerged. Today, the lake’s serene 36 miles of forested shoreline is a perfect place to camp while enjoying non-motorized water sports.
The visitors center has knowledgeable staff that can answer your questions about the area. Look for ranger-led interpretive programs and guided walks. The hike from the visitors center to roaring Whiskeytown Falls (3.4 miles round-trip) follows a former logging road and is a good quick trip.
On the western side of the lake, the Tower House Historic District contains the El Dorado mine ruins and the pioneer Camden House, open for summer tours. In winter it’s an atmospheric place to explore.