Silverwood Lake is a man-made reservoir located in the San Bernardino Mountains of Southern California. The lake was created in 1971 when the Cedar Springs Dam was constructed on the Mojave River. Today, it is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts looking to enjoy the area’s natural beauty. In this article, we will explore the magic of Silverwood Lake, including its history, weather, wildlife, and activities.

Featured image credit: Don Graham

Silverwood Lake Overview

Silverwood Lake spans over 3,350 acres and offers a variety of recreational activities for visitors. The lake’s clear waters are perfect for swimming, boating, and fishing. In addition to aquatic activities, the surrounding park offers hiking, camping, and picnic areas. The lake is also home to a diverse wildlife population, making it a great place for nature lovers. The waterfront pristinely compliments the San Bernardino Mountain range to form a picturesque view, perfect for a weekend getaway.

A view of Silverwood Lake
A view of Silverwood Lake

Credit: bossco, CC BY-SA 2.0


Silverwood Lake has a rich history dating back to the early 1800s when it was part of the Mojave Indian territory. The lake was once part of the Mojave River and served as a vital water source for the native tribes that lived in the surrounding area. In the late 1800s, the area around the lake became a popular destination for homesteaders who wanted to settle in the region. These settlers were drawn to the area’s abundant natural resources, including its fertile soil and seemingly endless water supply.

During the early 1900s, the lake was a popular spot for fishing and fun, and several resorts and campgrounds were established around its shores. In the 1920s, the Santa Ana River Project was initiated to provide a reliable water supply for the growing populations of Southern California. As part of this project, Silverwood Lake was created in 1971 through the construction of the Silverwood Dam on the Mojave River.

The reservoir was named after William F. Silverwood, a former general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. 
Over the years, Silverwood Lake has played an important role in the history of Southern California, serving as a vital source of water and a popular destination for outdoor recreation. Today, it remains a cherished natural resource for locals and visitors alike. Whether you’re looking to fish, hike, or relax in the great outdoors, Silverwood Lake has something for everyone to enjoy.

Overlooking Silverwood Lake and the San Bernadino Mountains
Overlooking Silverwood Lake and the San Bernadino Mountains

Credit: Don Graham, CC BY-SA 2.0


Silverwood Lake has a Mediterranean climate, with hot and dry summers and cool winters. During the summer months, temperatures can reach over 100°F, making water activities particularly appealing. The winter months bring cooler temperatures, with occasional snowfall at higher elevations.

Things to Do

There are plenty of activities to enjoy at Silverwood Lake. During the warmer months, the refreshing waters of the lake are perfect for swimming and boating, and for those who don’t have their own boat, rentals are readily available. Anglers will find themselves in paradise, with an array of fish species, including rainbow trout, largemouth bass, and catfish. For land lovers, the park boasts picturesque hiking trails, campgrounds, and picnic areas that offer stunning views and serene relaxation.

There’s plenty to do in colder months, too! The crisp winter air creates a peaceful atmosphere, perfect for exploring the park’s majestic hiking trails. The park’s campsites are also open year-round, offering a unique opportunity to cozy up around a campfire and enjoy the peaceful serenity of nature.

If you’re looking for something more exhilarating, the surrounding mountains offer skiing and snowboarding opportunities at nearby resorts such as Snow Valley and Mt. High. Additionally, the park’s picnic areas and scenic vistas provide a picturesque backdrop for a winter picnic or a relaxing drive through the area’s natural beauty.

No matter the season, Silverwood Lake promises a memorable experience for all who visit.

American white pelican, which can be spotted at Silverwood lake
American white pelican, which can be spotted at Silverwood lake

Credit: Manjith Kainickara, CC BY-SA 2.0


Silverwood Lake is home to a diverse population of aquatic wildlife, including several species of fish, birds, and mammals. Anglers can expect to catch various fish species, including rainbow trout, largemouth bass, and catfish. The lake is also home to birds like the American white pelican, great blue heron, and common merganser. Beavers, coyotes, and bobcats are just some mammals that call the area home.


Is there a fee to enter Silverwood Lake?

Yes, Silverwood Lake charges an entry fee. Fees vary depending on the season and whether you are a resident of California or not.

Are there any boating restrictions at Silverwood Lake?

Yes, there are restrictions on the use of boats at Silverwood Lake. Boats are only allowed in designated areas and must comply with speed and noise regulations.

What types of fish can I catch at Silverwood Lake?

Anglers can expect to catch various fish species, including rainbow trout, largemouth bass, and catfish.

Are there camping facilities at Silverwood Lake?

Yes, the park offers camping facilities, including tent and RV sites. Reservations are recommended, especially during the summer months.

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