Lyons Reservoir is a man-made lake that is formed by the construction of Lyons Dam back in 1930 by PG&E. This reservoir is currently the municipal water supply for Twain Harte and other localities in the lower elevations of the Sierra Nevada, above Sonora. Lyons Reservoir is surrounded by the Stanislaus National Forest and provides many recreational opportunities like fishing, hiking, biking, horseback riding, picnicking, bird watching among others. Since Lyons is a municipal water supply there is no swimming or boating allowed. Lyons Reservoir sits at 4200 feet elevation, and as a result is only open from May 1 to November 1, where outside of those months the main gate at Hwy 108 is locked and no vehicle entry is allowed. The opening day and closing day may vary depending on the weather at that time of the year. Visit the Stanislaus National Forest website for area status.
The area surrounding Lyons Reservoir is full of history since the Sugar Pine Railroad once traversed the banks of this lake (back in the 1920’s I believe). Remnants of the old tracks are visable along the east side of the reservoir. The tracks once extended all the way down to Rushing Meadow at the north end where it crossed over the South Fork Stanislaus via an old trestle that is long gone. From there the railroad meandered through the mountain up the Crandall and beyond.
Several hikes near Lyons Reservoir include the Sugar Pine Railroad Grade from Confidence to Lyons, the Sugar Pine Railroad Grade from Lyons to Fraser Flat and the Lyons Lake Loop. All these hikes are relatively flat and are manageable by almost anyone, however, the Lyons Lake Loop requires you to wade through the S. Fork Stanislaus at the north end of the lake so this hike is best done at low water levels in late summer or fall. Fishing is also a very popular activity at Lyons Reservoir where on any given day you will find several fishermen casting their lines off the dam. California fishing regulations apply so make sure you are in compliance.
Lyons Reservoir is located off Hwy 108 a couple of miles north-east of Mi-Wuk Village. A two-mile dirt road on the west side of the highway takes you down to a parking area near the lake. The dirt road, although bumpy, is maintained and passable by most vehicles.
- Hrs of Operation: May 1 – Nov 1, dawn till dusk (day-use only)
- Fees: free
- Restrictions: no Swimming, no Camping, no OHVs
- Best Season: spring, summer, fall
- Managed By: PG&E
- Dogs: yes