Cachuma Lake Recreation Area

Cachuma Lake makes a wonderful destination for fresh water boating and fishing activities, as well as camping, picnicking, Frisbee golf, hiking and wildlife watching (especially bald eagles and ospreys). Located between the Santa Ynez and San Rafael Mountains, Cachuma Lake Recreation Area offers tent sites, cabins, yurts, hookups and group areas for rent, which can be reserved.

There is a marina where watercraft (canoes, kayaks and boats) can be rented or launched, or you can take, for a fee, a two hour Eagle and Wildlife Lake Cruise with a park naturalist. During the summer months there is a swimming pool. In addition to many miles of hiking trails around the lake, the Neal Taylor Nature Center has interesting and informative displays.

At the western end of the lake, there is a Vista Point turnoff for the Bradbury Dam, which created Cachuma. From the parking lot, there is a terrific wooded trail with excellent views of the lake. The Sweetwater Trail is also recommended.

Lake Cachuma has something for almost everyone to enjoy.



1 Lakeview Dr., North of Highway 154, watch for sign

Managed By

County of Santa Barbara (pursuant to a management agreement with the federal Bureau of Reclamation)

Distance from UCSB

21 miles

How To Get There

Bike (challenging), Drive

Things To Do

BBQ, Birdwatching, Camping, Frisbee Golf, Hiking, Historic/Cultural Interest, Other Recreational Activities (Fishing, Boating), Picnicking, Playground/Swings, Relaxing, Swimming (in the summer in pools), Viewing, Walking, Watchable Wildlife

Fun Facts

Lake Cachuma is an important drinking water and irrigation reservoir that was created by the federal Bureau of Reclamation in 1953 with the construction of Bradbury Dam. That same year, the County of Santa Barbara signed a lease with the Bureau to manage the Cachuma Lake Recreation Area.

Other Information

There is a very good Lake Cachuma Recreation Area brochure, which includes maps.

This destination has an accessible fishing pier, an accessible boat launch and accessible showers (see map).

Nearby Public Lands Worth Visiting

The Los Padres National Forest can be accessed near Lake Cachuma. With stunning views of the lake and more, the beautiful Tequepis Trail is especially worth exploring on foot or mountain bike.

Best Time To Visit

Spring, Fall, Winter, Summer (if you like heat)

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