French Lake, California

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French Lake
Former settlement
Coordinates: 39°25′14″N 120°32′27″W / 39.420556°N 120.540833°W / 39.420556; -120.540833Coordinates: 39°25′14″N 120°32′27″W / 39.420556°N 120.540833°W / 39.420556; -120.540833
Country United States
State California
CountyNevada County

French Lake, California[1] located in Nevada County, was a California Gold Rush community, now uninhabited. It was located by a lake of the same name.


French Lake
French Lake.jpg
Southwest shore of French Lake, 2010
French Lake is located in California
French Lake
French Lake
LocationNevada County, California
Coordinates39°25′14″N 120°32′31″W / 39.42056°N 120.54194°W / 39.42056; -120.54194 (French Lake (lake))
Basin countriesUnited States
Surface elevation6,676 ft (2,035 m)

French Lake Reservoir, at an elevation of 7500’-6680’,[2] is part of a string of lakes, including Bowman Lake, Sawmill Lake, and Faucherie Lake to the northwest, as well as Meadow Lake and Fordyce Lake to the southeast. French Lake Road, used by the Nevada Irrigation District and not available for public use, skirts the lake's northwest perimeter before heading east to Meadow Lake Road. An unsigned road near the lake's southeastern banks veers northeast to Meadow Lake Road above English Mountain's now uninhabited Baltimore Town and Summit City in unincorporated Nevada County.[3][4]


Prior to the Maidu, French Lake was inhabited by the Martis people, a now extinct Native American tribe. The Martis' Meadow Lake Petroglyphs (also known as 4-Nev-3) are a historical landmark.[5]

In 1878, the world's first long-distance telephone line operated between French Lake and French Corral, California, 58 miles to the west, including the towns of North San Juan, and North Bloomfield on the phone route.[6][7] The phone line was used to pass information regarding water flow from French Lake for post-California Gold Rush hydraulic mining.


  1. ^ "French Lake, Nevada County, California CA". Retrieved 2008-08-14.
  2. ^ sierraoutdoorrecreation
  3. ^ "French Lake". Archived from the original on 2008-07-25. Retrieved 2008-08-14.
  4. ^ "Pop place(s) in Nevada County, California". Retrieved 2008-08-14.
  5. ^ "Meadow Lake Petroglyphs ** (added 1971 - Site - #71000169)". Retrieved 2008-08-14.
  6. ^ Brower, Maria E. (2006). Gold Rush Towns of Nevada County. Charleston: Arcadia Publishing. p. 23. ISBN 0-7385-4692-5.
  7. ^ "French Corral Gold District". Retrieved 2008-08-14.

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