Lake Hemet

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Lake Hemet
Lake Hemet 1.JPG
Location of Lake Hemet in California, USA.
Location of Lake Hemet in California, USA.
Lake Hemet
Location of Lake Hemet in California, USA.
Location of Lake Hemet in California, USA.
Lake Hemet
LocationMountain Center, Riverside County, California[1]
Coordinates33°39′58″N 116°41′35″W / 33.66611°N 116.69306°W / 33.66611; -116.69306Coordinates: 33°39′58″N 116°41′35″W / 33.66611°N 116.69306°W / 33.66611; -116.69306
Lake typereservoir
Primary inflowsSan Jacinto River
Primary outflowsSan Jacinto River
Basin countriesUnited States
Surface area470 acres (190 ha)[2]
Water volume14,000 acre-feet (17,000,000 m3)[2]
Shore length112 mi (19 km)
Surface elevation4,340 ft (1,323 m)
1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.

Lake Hemet is a water storage reservoir located in the San Jacinto Mountains in Mountain Center, Riverside County, California,[1] with a capacity of 14,000 acre-feet (17,000,000 m3)[2] of water. It was created in 1895 with the construction of Lake Hemet Dam.[3] Originally built by a private company, today it is owned and operated by the Lake Hemet Municipal Water District (LHMWD).

Facts and statistics[edit]

Aerial view of Lake Hemet at the end of the Garner Valley as seen from above the Anza Pass at 8,500 feet MSL.

Lake Hemet is an artificial lake in the San Jacinto Mountains, 4,340 ft (1,323 m) above sea level. Lake Hemet is part of the San Bernardino National Forest. Lake Hemet has a surface area of 470 acres (190 ha)[2] and 12 miles (19 km) of shoreline. Fishing is the primary attraction to the lake, which is stocked with rainbow trout, channel catfish, bluegill and largemouth bass. Other Lake Hemet activities include boating, picnicking, hiking, and camping in the surrounding areas.

LHMWD provides water from Lake Hemet to a geographically diverse service area in Riverside County, including portions of the cities of Hemet and San Jacinto, and to the isolated but growing 4,500-foot (1,400 m) high Garner Valley, a community located on San Jacinto Mountain.

LHMWD's customers are represented by a publicly elected board of five directors in 5 divisions. They represent approximately 13,800 domestic and 51 agricultural customers within a 26-square mile (67 km²) service area.

Service connections

  • 1,800 in 1955
  • 1,873 in 1957
  • 2,623 in 1962
  • 3,747 in 1967
  • 5,000 in 1972
  • 6,850 in 1977
  • 13,636 in 2003
  • 13,960 in 2004

Length of Lake Hemet Municipal Water District Pipeline

  • 30.8 miles (49.6 km) in 1957
  • 53.59 miles (86.7 km) in 1962
  • 78.29 miles (127.6 km) in 1967
  • 96.82 miles (155.8 km) in 1972
  • 127 miles (204 km) in 1977
  • 136 miles (219 km) in 2003
  • 139 miles (224 km) in 2004

It is 13 miles (23 km) SW of Palm Springs, California, United States.


Lake Hemet Dam 1895

Development of the San Jacinto Valley can be traced to 1887, with the formation of the Lake Hemet Water Company and the Hemet Land Company by Edward L. Mayberry, his wealthy San Francisco friend, William F. Whittier, and their partners. These two companies allowed the partnership to acquire land and water rights from the San Jacinto Valley to the west end of Garner Valley in the San Jacinto Mountains.

Lake Hemet Water Company placed the first stone of the Lake Hemet Dam on January 6, 1891. When this arched masonry structure was completed in 1895 at a height of 122.5 feet (37.3 m), it was the largest solid masonry dam in the world—a title it would retain until the construction of Roosevelt Dam in Arizona in 1911. In 1923, the Hemet dam was raised to a height of 135 feet (41 m).

The 1932 opening of the Pines to Palms Highway (SR 74) from the coast to Palm Desert was significant in developing Lake Hemet for increased recreational uses.[4]

LHMWD was founded on September 27, 1955, to take over the activities of the Lake Hemet Water Company, purchasing the Lake Hemet water system with funds raised through a bond initiative.

Appearances in popular culture[edit]

Shots of the lake were used in the 1980s CBS television show Airwolf, in which recurring character Stringfellow Hawke lived in a cabin on the lake.

The lake was featured in Visiting... with Huell Howser Episode 923.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Lake Hemet". The California Parks Company. Retrieved October 15, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d "Dams Within the Jurisdiction of the State of California (H-M)" (PDF). California Department of Water Resources, Division of Safety of Dams. Retrieved April 5, 2013.
  3. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Lake Hemet 817 Dam at 33°39′41″N 116°42′22″W / 33.66139°N 116.70611°W / 33.66139; -116.70611
  4. ^ Lech, Steve (2012). For Tourism and a Good Night's Sleep: J. Win Wilson, Wilson Howell, and the Beginnings of the Pines-to-Palms Highway. Riverside, CA: Steve Lech. pp. 152, 159, 230. ISBN 978-0-9837500-1-7.
  5. ^ "Lake Hemet- Visiting (923) – Huell Howser Archives at Chapman University".

External links[edit]