Lake Thomas A Edison

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Lake Thomas A Edison
Location Fresno County, California[1]
Coordinates 37°22′58″N 118°58′34″W / 37.38278°N 118.97611°W / 37.38278; -118.97611[1]Coordinates: 37°22′58″N 118°58′34″W / 37.38278°N 118.97611°W / 37.38278; -118.97611[1]
Type reservoir
Primary inflows Mono Creek, Cold Creek
Primary outflows Mono Creek[2]
Catchment area 88 square miles (230 km2)[2]
Basin countries United States
Max. length 3.5 miles (5.6 km)
Max. width 1 mile (1.6 km)
Surface area 1,878 acres (760 ha)[2]
Average depth 67 feet (20 m)
Water volume 125,000 acre feet (154,000,000 m3)[2]
Shore length1 13 miles (21 km)[3]
Surface elevation 7,648 feet (2,331 m)[1]
1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.

Lake Thomas A Edison (also known as Thomas A. Edison Lake and Edison Lake) is a reservoir in the Sierra National Forest and in Fresno County, California. It is in the Sierra Nevada, and near the Pacific Crest Trail.

The reservoir's waters are impounded by Vermilion Valley Dam (National ID CA00441), which was completed in 1954.[2] The reservoir and dam are part of the Big Creek Hydroelectric Project.


The reservoir discharges into Mono Creek,[2] a tributary of the South Fork San Joaquin River. However, some of its water is diverted to Huntington Lake by means of the Ward Tunnel.[4]

Vermilion Valley Dam[edit]

Vermilion Valley Dam
Country United States
Location Fresno County, California
Coordinates 37°22′12″N 118°59′14″W / 37.37000°N 118.98722°W / 37.37000; -118.98722[5]
Opening date 1954
Owner(s) Southern California Edison
Dam and spillways
Type of dam Earthen
Impounds Mono Creek[2]
Height 167 feet (51 m)[2]
Length 4,234 feet (1,291 m)[2]
Elevation at crest 7,650.5 feet (2,331.9 m)[2]
Width (crest) 20 feet (6.1 m)[2]
Dam volume 4,200,000 cubic yards (3,200,000 m3)[2]
Creates Lake Thomas A Edison
Total capacity 125,000 acre feet (154,000,000 m3)[2]
Catchment area 88 square miles (230 km2)[2]
Max. length 3.5 miles (5.6 km)
Max. width 1 mile (1.6 km)

Vermilion Valley Dam is an earthen dam 4,234 feet (1,291 m) long and 167 feet (51 m) high, with 8 feet (2.4 m) of freeboard. Southern California Edison owns the dam.[2]


Located in Sierra National Forest near the Pacific Crest Trail, Lake Thomas A Edison is the centerpiece of Vermilion Valley Resort and Vermillion Campground, which support boating, camping, fishing, swimming, canoeing, kayaking, and horseback riding.[3][6]


The lake is three hours by car from Fresno. Take State Route 168 east to Huntington Lake, head east on Kaiser Pass Road. The road crosses Kaiser Pass (elevation 9,175 feet (2,797 m)) and closes during the winter months. The United States Forest Service does not recommended it for buses, large motor homes, or vehicles towing trailers.[7]

A ferry crosses the lake twice a day, linking Vermilion Valley Resort with the John Muir Wilderness trailhead and providing access to and from the John Muir Trail and Pacific Crest Trail.[7]


The lake was named after American inventor Thomas Edison to mark the 75th anniversary of his invention of the incandescent light bulb.[8] The dam was named after the valley it flooded, noted for its reddish soil.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Lake Thomas A Edison". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Dams Within the Jurisdiction of the State of California (T-Z)". California Department of Water Resources, Division of Safety of Dams. Retrieved December 21, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "Welcome to Vermilion Valley Resort". Retrieved December 21, 2012. 
  4. ^ "The Big Creek System". Retrieved December 21, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Vermilion Valley 104-023 Dam". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. 
  6. ^ "Facility Details - Vermillion, CA". Retrieved December 21, 2012. 
  7. ^ a b c "Lake Thomas A. Edison". Retrieved December 21, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Description of the Big Creek System". Retrieved December 21, 2012. 

External links[edit]