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Lake Berryessa, Napa

4.4
#6 of 9 in Parks in Napa
Lake Berryessa is the largest lake in Napa County, California. This reservoir in the Vaca Mountains is formed by the Monticello Dam, which provides water and hydroelectricity to the North Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area.
The reservoir was named for the first European settlers in the Berryessa Valley, José Jesús and Sexto "Sisto" Berrelleza (a Basque surname, Anglicized to "Berreyesa", then later respelled "Berryessa"), who were granted Rancho Las Putas in 1843.
The lake is over 20,000 acres when full. It is approximately 15.5 miles long but only 3 miles wide. It has approximately 165 miles of shoreline.
Near the dam on the southeast side of the reservoir is an open bell-mouth spillway, 72ft in diameter, which is known as the Glory Hole. The pipe has a straight drop of 200ft, and the diameter shrinks down to about 28ft. The spillway has a maximum capacity of 48,000 cfs . The spillway operates when there is excess water in the reservoir; in 2017 after heavy rains it started flowing, for the first time since 2006. In 1997 a woman was killed after being pulled inside the spillway.
The active Green Valley Fault runs parallel to the Lake in the hills to the west.
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Lake Berryessa Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
42 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • Stunning scenery. Great place for a leisurely drive, picnic, camping, or boating. We came in the middle of the week in early May and almost had the whole place to ourselves. Brought food and drinks, h...  more »
  • Friendly attendant at the entrance giving flyers and instructions about park use and restrictions. Surprisingly entrance and parking is free. It was a fun short hike. Temperature about 85 with light b...  more »
Google
  • This place was such a wonderful place to visit. We did some of the hikes on the west shore and followed that up with stopping at the glory hole dam drain. It is quite a sight and definitely recommend it to anyone in the northern California region. Only an hour and a half from Sacramento and maybe 30 minutes from Vacaville. CONS: YOU WILL LOSE SERVICE SO MAKE SURE YOU SET YOUR GPS BEFORE YOU GET INTO THE AREA.
  • We had a great trip to the Lake Berryessa marina! The accommodations and the staff were great!

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