Pyramid Lake (Los Angeles County, California)

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Pyramid Lake
Pyramid Lake and San Emigdio Mountains.
Location Angeles National Forest / Los Padres National Forest
Los Angeles County, California
Coordinates 34°38′39″N 118°45′51″W / 34.644153°N 118.764258°W / 34.644153; -118.764258Coordinates: 34°38′39″N 118°45′51″W / 34.644153°N 118.764258°W / 34.644153; -118.764258
Type Reservoir
Primary inflows West Branch California Aqueduct
Piru Creek
Primary outflows West Branch California Aqueduct
Piru Creek
Basin countries United States
Water volume 222,000 acre·ft (274,000,000 m3)
Surface elevation 786 m (2,579 ft)
References U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Pyramid Lake

Pyramid Lake is a reservoir formed by Pyramid Dam on Piru Creek in the eastern San Emigdio Mountains, near Castaic, Southern California. It is fed by the West Branch California Aqueduct water, after being pumped up from the San Joaquin Valley and through the Tehachapi Mountains


The 222,000 acre·ft (274,000,000 m3) reservoir lies on the border between the Angeles National Forest and the Los Padres National Forest, in the northwestern portion of Los Angeles County. It is to the west of Interstate 5 south of Tejon Pass. The former alignment of US Route 99 is below the waters here, replaced by I-5.

Pyramid Lake and San Emigdio Mountains.
View south towards Pyramid Dam from boat.
Pyramid Lake earthworks.


The 118 m (387 ft) earth and rock dam was built by the California Department of Water Resources and was completed in 1973. Pyramid Lake is part of the California Aqueduct, which is part of the California State Water Project. Outflow goes downstream to Castaic Lake, which is the terminus of this West Branch aqueduct line.

Pyramid and Castaic act as the upper and lower reservoirs for the Castaic Power Plant; a 1,495 megawatt pumped storage hydroelectric plant.[1] It is the deepest lake in the California Water Project system.[citation needed] Its name comes from the Pyramid Rock, created when a ridge was cut through in 1932 by the Ridge Route Alternate (US 99). Pyramid Rock still exists directly in front of the dam.[2]


Pyramid Lake offers boating, fishing, jet skiing, and picnic areas (including 5 unique sites that are accessible only by boat), and courtesy docks.[1][3] Vista del Lago Visitors Center overlooks the lake.[4] Access is from Interstate 5.

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