Once referred to as Pine Ridge, Shaver Lake, California was founded in the late 1800's. Logging, ranching, and hydroelectric power industries drove the development of this community. Lewis P. Swift and Charles B. Shaver explored the Shaver Lake, CA, area in early 1891 and decided to join forces to build and operate the Shaver sawmill in the late 1890's to supply lumber to Fresno, Clovis, and the surrounding communities such as Auberry, Prather, Tollhouse, Friant, Pineridge, Big Creek, and Lakeshore. They later built a flume that traveled from Shaver to Clovis, allowing them to move sawn wood down the steep grades of Pine Ridge with minimal expense.
This flume is still standing in numerous locations around the Shaver Lake area. The Shaver Mill operated for twenty-six years. To this day it was one of the largest mills operating in Fresno County, cutting a total of 450 million board feet of lumber. The hydroelectric power industry began in this area when visionary John S. Eastwood started work in 1895 on the first powerhouse, located in the Willow Creek area. His company, the San Joaquin Electric Company, began providing power to Fresno a year later. Many people believed his ideas were too far-fetched. Unfortunately, he went bankrupt in 1899 because he lacked backup generating facilities and capital. Determined to make his visions work, he went out scouting suitable sites for a vast hydroelectric system consisting of a series of reservoirs connected by a network of tunnels, allowing water to be reused continuously as it dropped down the mountainside. Eastwood turned to Southern California Edison (SCE), a developer that would be able to put his plans into action. SCE began the project in 1910 and finished it on October 23, 1927 with completion of the Shaver Lake, CA, dam. Months later, SCE's hydroelectric system was in operation. A year later Shaver Lake reservoir was full, providing unlimited recreational activities for generations to come.
Other Lakes in the Area:
Courtright Reservoir is located about an hour southeast of Shaver Lake at 7,900' elevation. It is part of PG&E's Helms hydroelectric power system. You quickly realize that you are visiting a High Sierra lake, with massive granite all around you, wind worn cedar trees and of course the pure, thin, high elevation air.
Edison Lake is another lake about 90 minutes past Huntington Lake, via a primitive road, at the 7,700' elevation. You drive over Kaiser Pass (elevation 9,200') and near the John Muir Wilderness, where you will be astounded by the distant views and incredible terrain. Edison Lake is one of the most scenic lakes and is known for fishing and relaxing. Edison Lake is a well-known stop along the Pacific Crest Trail and the John Muir Trail. Packers can catch a ferry into the Vermilion Valley Resort for a fresh pack, a shower, hot meal, supplies and shelter.
Huntington Lake is a scenic High Sierra reservoir which is located 90 minutes northeast of Fresno, CA., and approximately 30 minutes beyond Shaver Lake on Highway 168. Located at the 7,000' elevation, Huntington Lake is enjoyed by thousands of visitors each summer who swim, camp, fish, sail, wind surf, Jet Ski, and water ski. Huntington Lake is widely known for its perfect sailing conditions and has been rated the number two sailing lake in California. The average summer temperature is about 20 degrees cooler than the nearby San Joaquin Valley.
Huntington Lake is a great place to relax and enjoy the crisp, clean air and cool, pure water of the Sierra high country. The lake is approximately seven miles long and one-half mile wide and has three dams. Huntington Lake is a part Southern California Edison's Big Creek hydroelectric power project.