A gigantic granite bowl that captures Sierra sunlight, exhilarating air, and liquid snow. Lake Spaulding practically shouts for paddlers to visit. The skies are normally deep blue and the water sparkling clear. Mountain ridges soar 2,000 feet above lake level. Easily accessible in a spectacular setting, Lake Spaulding is a major storage reservoir for Pacific Gas & Electric Company’s Drum Spaulding Hydroelectric Project. Pines and open granite surround the lake. The coves and inlets on the east side of the lake provide some seclusion, particularly on weekdays. Smooth granite slabs make comfortable spots to soak up the Sierra’s brilliant sunshine. By midsummer, Castle Peak’s crystalline snowmelt warms enough for enjoyable swimming. The high elevation, reflection from the granite and water, and bright sun can quickly cause sunburn. The west side of the lake offers great views, particularly the point immediately south of Rim Powerhouse. Grouse Ridge parallels the north side of the lake. Six miles to the east, Old Man Mountain is a steep granite crag that seems to be sheered on the north side. Four miles to the southeast, several antennas identify Cisco Butte. You can find the transcontinental railroad and Interstate 80, but they are not intrusive by sight or sound.
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