1. Lake Cunningham, 2. Cottonwood Lake, 3. Calero Reservoir, 4. Guadalupe Reservoir, 5. Almaden Reservoir, 6. Stevens Creek Reservoir, 7. Calaveras Reservoir, 8. Chesbro Reservoir, 9. Lake Del Valle, 10. Crystal Springs Reservoir, 11. Coyote Lake. San Jose is California's third largest city. This is the leading tourist center of California by top services as well as the beautiful natural landscape. Let's explore the best lakes to visit in San Jose!
- Lake Cunningham
- Cottonwood Lake
- Calero Reservoir
- Guadalupe Reservoir
- Almaden Reservoir
- Stevens Creek Reservoir
- Calaveras Reservoir
- Chesbro Reservoir
- Lake Del Valle
- Crystal Springs Reservoir
- Coyote Lake
A man-made lake named Lake Cunningham may be found in Lake Cunningham Park in East San Jose, California, next to the Eastridge Transit Center and Eastridge Mall. The Geographic Names Information System does not identify it as a geological feature (GNIS). It is close to Reid-Hillview Airport and is situated on Capitol Expressway. In Lake Cunningham Park, there is also a skate park and a theme park called Raging Waters.
The stormwater that formerly departed the canyons and percolated through the gravel below ground was diverted into pipes beneath the streets and sent to Thompson Creek and Lake Cunningham as a result of the severe urbanization in the nearby hill areas. As a result, there has been more runoff during the winter storms. Unfortunately, the lake’s water quality is very poor, making it impossible to access even by boat at this time. Even so, the park offers a variety of activities, including volleyball, horseshoes, rollerblading, picnics, and other land-based sports.
Along the east bank of the lake are the Lake Cunningham Action Sports Park and Lake Cunningham Native Garden, and on the west lies Raging Waters, San Jose. In the hills above the lake and all around it, there are hiking trails. Lake Cunningham is one of the best lakes to visit in San Jose.
Location: 305 South White Road, San Jose
A short distance from US-101 in South San Jose is where you’ll find Cottonwood Lake in Hellyer County Park. Despite being small, the lake has excellent fishing.
Using the lake’s launch ramp, anglers can throw their lines from the shore for northern pike or for brook, rainbow, and brown trout. Unpaved County Road 344 takes travelers farther into the woods for off-roading, where a number of forest roads lead to unlimited exploration. For those interested in hiking a mile or 500 miles across the state, the Colorado Trail passes close by. The covered day-use picnic tables on the lake’s edge are ideal places to unwind and observe the local fauna if relaxation is your thing. Cottonwood Lake Campground is ideally situated close to the lake to unwind after an active day. Self-contained campers can find scattered camping areas even further down the road.
Cross-country skis and snowmobiles can be used in the winter to explore neighboring routes. It is a well-liked location for ice fishing after the lake freezes over. Just beware of flying pucks as ice hockey is also played on the lake.
Location: 985 Hellyer Ave, San Jose
The Calero district of Almaden Valley in South San Jose is home to the Calero Reservoir, commonly known as Calero Lake, a reservoir in San Jose, California. In addition to a vast region surrounding the lake and hundreds of acres of hills, it is home to Calero County Park. There is a lot to do around the 1,809-hectare county park that surrounds the 141-hectare lake.
The lake, which is the fourth largest reservoir in the region, was created by the Calero Dam in 1935. It collects runoff from the foothills and supplies drinking water to county people.
Location: 23205 McKean Road, San Jose
Guadalupe Reservoir, which is located right on the southern outskirts of San Jose, is a serene lake because it is entirely encircled by vegetation. It is located in Almaden Quicksilver County Park, in fact. It is 614 feet above sea level. It has a 3,415 acre-foot capacity and a surface area of 74 acres. On Guadalupe Creek, a tributary of the Guadalupe River, near Hicks Road, there is a reservoir. The de Anza expedition gave the Guadalupe River the name Rio de Nuestra Seora de Guadalupe on March 30, 1776, in honor of the Mexican saint who served as the expedition’s main patron. One of the six initial systems whose development was approved by voters in 1934 was the Guadalupe dam and reservoir, which was built in 1935.
The 30-hectare lake is open to fishing, but there is a catch-and-release rule because eating the fish is dangerous. Swimming and using any form of watercraft are not allowed in the lake. The scenery and the park, which has approximately 60 kilometers of hiking paths, are the main draws for tourists to Guadalupe Reservoir. Additionally, picnicking, biking, and horseback riding are options.
Location: Hicks Road, San Jose
In the hills south of San Jose, California, is the man-made lake known as Almaden Reservoir. It shares a boundary with the 1,685 ha (4,163 acres) Almaden Quicksilver County Park, which offers a few opportunities for horseback riding, hiking, picnics, and fishing. There are no swimming or boating restrictions in the reservoir. Due to excessive mercury levels, the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment has issued a “Do Not Eat” advice for any fish captured in Almaden Reservoir.
It is one of the 10 reservoirs controlled by the Santa Clara Valley Water District and is one of the smallest, measuring only 25 hectares. Nonetheless, it provides 4% of the water for the region.
Almaden Reservoir, like Guadalupe Reservoir, has a catch and release policy, and swimming in the lake is not permitted. In addition to equestrian, cycling, and hiking paths in the nearby Almaden Quicksilver County Park, there are picnic tables close to the lake’s beach.
Location: Santa Clara County, south of San Jose, California
Stevens Creek Reservoir
A man-made lake called Stevens Creek Reservoir can be found close to Cupertino, California, in the Santa Cruz Mountains’ foothills. The reservoir is surrounded by a 1,063-acre county park with catch-and-release fishing, picnicking, hiking, and horseback riding opportunities. While swimming is prohibited, non-power boating (such as using a kayak) is permitted for a portion of the year. Jet skis and motorized boats are not permitted. Before launching, every vessel must be checked for invasive Quagga mussels.
The Stevens Creek County Park has outstanding mountain biking and more than 14 kilometers of multi-use trails. There are tables available at the peaceful Lakeshore Picnic area on a first-come, first-served basis. Stevens Creek Reservoir is one of the best lakes to visit in San Jose
Location: Santa Clara County, San Jose, California
Photo: wikimedia commons
Calaveras Reservoir is situated in the Calaveras Valley next to the Sunol Regional Wilderness region, about north of San Jose. The lake was formerly an agricultural area, but it was converted into a reservoir as the need for drinking water in the region grew. Specifically, Arroyo Hondo and Calaveras Creek supply the reservoir with water. The Calaveras Fault runs parallel to and to the west of the dam site in this geologically active area of the Calaveras Valley. The original dam had to be replaced due to the seismic risk. Construction on the replacement dam started in 2011, and it was finished in 2019.
Today, ranchers utilize the lake’s water to put out fires rather than for drinking. The wildlife, though, is what draws most tourists to the lake and its environs. Here, among others, it’s common to see coyotes, deer, turkey vultures, red-tailed hawks, red-winged blackbirds, and purple martins. The pair of bald eagles that have made the lake and the valley their home since 2008 can also be seen.
Location: Calaveras Road, Milpitas, San Jose
Chesbro Reservoir is located in the city of Morgan Hill, which is northeast of San Jose and is a beautiful part of the Chesbro Reservoir County Park. The Elmer J. Chesbro Dam was built in 1955, resulting in the 133-acre lake. The reservoir is surrounded by a 94-hectare county park with catch-and-release fishing, picnicking, and hiking opportunities. There are no swimming or boating restrictions in the reservoir.
There aren’t many activities available in Chesbro Reservoir itself, but there are many in the nearby park. Instead, visitors come to simply take in the views from the coastline or while having a picnic.
Despite the lack of clearly defined trails, Chesbro Reservoir County Park is a fantastic place to go hiking. Only knowledgeable hikers should attempt to investigate it, according to this. Because this reservoir is off-limits to watercraft, it is incredibly tranquil and quiet. There is still plenty of giant carp and largemouth bass that cruise within 30 feet of the shoreline, despite the fact that many fish are spotted jumping out in the middle of the lake where you can’t reach them.
Location: 17655 Oak Glen Avenue, Morgan Hill, San Jose
Lake Del Valle
The 50-kilometer trip to Lake Del Valle in Livermore, which is located northeast of San Jose, is well worthwhile. The 287-acre lake is a part of the picturesque undulating hills of the Del Valle Regional Park. The 1968-completed Del Valle Dam creates the lake.
Two swimming beaches on either side of Lake Del Valle are staffed with lifeguards during the busy summer months. Visitors are welcome to swim at their own risk year-round anywhere north of the boat ramp if they’re feeling a little more daring. Keep your floaties at home, please!
Location: Del Valle Road, Livermore, San Jose
Crystal Springs Reservoir
One of the best lakes to visit in San Jose is Crystal Springs Reservoir. This is actually a pair of lakes in the northern Santa Cruz Mountains, some 45 minutes northwest of the city. The lakes receive their water from local precipitation as well as a conduit that connects them to Yosemite National Park’s Hetch Hetchy Reservoir.
The extraordinary biodiversity of the plants and wildlife in Crystal Springs Reservoir is well recognized and draws nature enthusiasts from all over the world. The Marin Dwarf Flax, San Mateo Woolly Sunflower, and San Mateo Thornmint are among the threatened species that can be found here.
Most visitors come here to trek along the Crystal Springs Regional Trail and enjoy the magnificent local scenery. The three sections of the path are ideal for hiking as well as jogging, cycling, and equestrian riding. When completed, the 17.5-mile-long Crystal Springs Regional Trail will span from San Bruno to Woodside. The trail’s 15.3 miles are finally finished. The 1,210-mile Juan Bautista DeAnza National Historic Trail can be replaced by this leisure route.
Location: Canada Road, Burlingame, San Jose
The 182 hectare Coyote Lake is part of the 2,279 hectare Coyote Lake Harvey Bear Ranch County Park. You may reach the lake from San Jose by taking US-101 south for about 50 kilometers. The artificial lake, which is the second-largest reservoir held by the Santa Clara Valley Water District, was made possible by the construction of the Coyote Dam. Coyote Lake is utilized for recreation in addition to serving as a source of water.
Swimming is not permitted, but other water sports including water skiing, jet skiing, power boating, sailing, canoeing, and kayaking are allowed. Camping spots, hiking paths, picnic places, and Saturday night campfire activities are all offered in the neighborhood county park.
Along with black bass, bluegill, crappie, and Eurasian carp, the lake is well-known for these species. There is a great variety of wildlife in the area, and sightings of deer, turkeys, and other birds are frequent. Miles of trails are available for mountain bikers, hikers, and equestrian riders. It is not permissible to swim in the lake.
Location: Coyote Reservoir Road, Gilroy, San Jose