Vail Lake

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Vail Lake
LocationRiverside County, California
Coordinates33°29′28″N 116°58′17″W / 33.49111°N 116.97139°W / 33.49111; -116.97139Coordinates: 33°29′28″N 116°58′17″W / 33.49111°N 116.97139°W / 33.49111; -116.97139[1]
Primary inflowsTemecula Creek, Kolb Creek, Wilson Creek
Primary outflowsTemecula Creek
Basin countriesUnited States
Water volume61.5×10^6 m3 (49,900 acre⋅ft)

Vail Lake is a large reservoir in western Riverside County, southern California.


It is located on Temecula Creek, in the Butterfield Valley, south of Oak Mountain, of the Black Hills, in the Santa Margarita River watershed. It is approximately 15 miles (24 km) east of Temecula.[1]

Vail Lake covers approximately 1,100 acres (4.5 km²) and has a storage capacity of 51,000 acre feet (63,000,000 m3),[2] although it currently contains about 34,000 acre feet (42,000,000 m3) of water.[3]

Vail Lake is supplied by storm water runoff from Kolb, Temecula, and Wilson Creeks.[3] Surface water stored in the lake is used to help replenish local ground water supplies through recharge operations.[4]


Land near Vail Lake is the only known native habitat of the endemic and endangered flowering shrub Ceanothus ophiochilus, which was named the Vail Lake ceanothus when it was discovered in 1989.


It was created in 1948 when the owners of the Vail Ranch constructed the 132-foot (40 m) high Vail Lake Dam, which has been owned and operated by the Rancho California Water District since 1978.[5]

The property surrounding Vail Lake is privately owned, and recreational access to the lake is privately controlled. The Butterfield Country Recreation Park was established in 1968 to provide public access to the lake and its marina, but the park was closed by its owners in 1989.[5] In 1995, a members-only resort facility was opened at the location of the former park; and in 2000, the area was re-opened to the public on an annual-fee basis. Recreational activities at Vail Lake include fishing, boating, RV, mountain biking, miniature golf and swimming.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Vail Lake
  2. ^ Reservoir Information, California Department of Water Resources, Division of Flood Management, 2007-01-25, retrieved 2007-02-20
  3. ^ a b O'Leary, Tim (2006-01-08), "Water pressures: District strategizes to meet demand, save", The Riverside Press Enterprise, retrieved 2007-02-20
  4. ^ "Water Quality". Rancho California Water District. Retrieved 2007-02-20.
  5. ^ a b Gerstbacher, Emily. "Temecula History: A Chronology 1797-1993". Retrieved 2007-02-20.
  6. ^ ""Vail Lake: Southern California's Boating and Fishing Secret"", SCMA Headings (PDF), Southern California Marine Association, July 2002, retrieved 2007-02-20