Loon Lake (California)

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Loon Lake Reservoir
Loon Lake, CA.jpg
Location El Dorado National Forest
El Dorado County, California
Coordinates 38°59′17″N 120°19′52″W / 38.988°N 120.331°W / 38.988; -120.331Coordinates: 38°59′17″N 120°19′52″W / 38.988°N 120.331°W / 38.988; -120.331
Type Reservoir
Primary inflows Buck-Loon Tunnel
Primary outflows Gerle Creek
Catchment area 5,200 acres (2,100 ha)
Basin countries United States
Max. length 3.5 mi (5.6 km)
Water volume 76,200 acre·ft (94,000,000 m3)
Surface elevation 6,381 ft (1,945 m)
References U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Loon Lake

Loon Lake Reservoir is a reservoir in the El Dorado National Forest of El Dorado County, California, United States. The 76,200 acre·ft (94,000,000 m3) lake is formed by Loon Lake Dam, completed in 1963 as part of the Upper American River Project by Sacramento Municipal Utility District to conserve spring snow melt runoff for use during the summer and autumn for hydroelectric power production. Loon Lake Dam impounds water at the headwaters of Gerle Creek which, prior to the dam, flowed intermittently through (natural) Loon and Pleasant Lakes. But most of the water now stored in Loon Lake Reservoir arrives from Buck Island Reservoir in the adjacent Rubicon River watershed by way of the Buck-Loon Tunnel. Nearby is Loon Lake Chalet, a popular winter recreation destination. In summer, a boat ramp for water sports and camping are available, but the area is less popular than nearby Union Valley Reservoir and Rubicon Trail.

It is popularly referred to as Loon Lake, although strictly speaking this is the name of the former lake now inundated by the dam. Boaters still refer to the northeast portion of the reservoir as the Pleasant Lake Arm, the portion over the inundated Pleasant Lake.

Loon Lake Dam[edit]

Loon Lake Dam is a rockfill structure that is 0.4 mi (0.64 km) long by 108 ft (33 m) high. It includes a 250 ft (76 m) long side channel spillway on the right bank, a 910 ft (280 m) long by 95 ft (29 m) rockfill auxiliary dam, and an earthfill dike. Construction of the present dams began in 1962 with the dismantling of an older dam at the same site, constructed before 1910.

Loon Lake

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