Turlock Lake Park, California

Dad kept saying last night that we will be visiting a park to walk the dogs and a bit of walking ourselves. He first suggested Pacheco State Park but we later found out that pets are not allowed on trails so we looked for another spot and found Turlock Lake Recreation, State Park. So with parents, Deelow, Ollie and the four dogs: Chloe, Yusuf, Corvo, and Sal we went on to the lake.

It took us about a 40 minute driving through the inside roads and to 120 to a small road to Robert Ferry’s Road and following the signs reached Turlock Lake State Recreation Area. Its open 365 days and if there was no one in the entrance booth, it has the pay it yourself booth. outside the booth was an envelope that you fill up and put the $12 per vehicle entrance. As we look for small bills here is the beginning of its history.

Turlock Lake

Turlock Lake Miwoks For thousands of years, the Central Sierra Miwok hunter-gatherers who supplemented their main dietary staple of acorns with other seeds, edible plants, fish, and large and small game, built seasonal villages of bark or tule reeds along the banks of rivers and streams. With the coming of Europeans, the essence of their existence—the vitality of the land, family life, the seasonal cycle, ritual and social interaction—was soon destroyed, along with large numbers of Miwok who had no immunity to the diseases introduced by the Europeans. Despite these drastic changes, descendants of the Central Sierra Miwok still live in the area, practicing ancient cultural traditions and passing them on to the next generation.”

The History of the lake and area

The park was almost empty besides a few trucks with their sailing boats attached to it. We parked by the picnic area and we all went down and leashed the dogs. I took Yusuf, Dad to Chloe, Deelow to Corvo and Ollie to Sal. Deelow and I crossed down the sandy shores eastward and hike up the hill. Yusuf and I went ahead and took videos and pictures of the beautiful lake and the islands in the middle. The yellow hills reminded me of gold and the gold rush of the valley came up to my mind.

Dad with Chloe

“Gold Mining Gold was found along the Tuolumne River in Stanislaus County by French sailors in 1849. Their camp quickly grew into a settlement known as French Bar or French Camp, and eventually became La Grange. The easily obtained placer gold played out by 1856. Gold mining returned to the Tuolumne River when the La Grange Dredging Company formed in 1905 to extract gold from an eight-mile section of the river, now part of the park. Several million dollars in gold were extracted before dredging operations ceased in 1952.”

Dad and Chloe managed to catch up with us and we walked and ran along the trail in the banks of the lake and we stopped for a bit by one of the cabins and parking lot. There were changing rooms and restrooms in the cabin where all looked outdated but still blend in the surrounding.  Me and Dad exchange dogs and I got Chloe. Me and Chloe ran up the hill with the cool wind. We moved on walking along the paved road up to the hill until the closed area where authorized personnel were only allowed. An old man in his cart racing vehicle passed through and wave at us and we did the same.

Mom carrying Yusuf

It reminded me that maybe that this was a private area that still belongs to Kevin’s wife’s property (my Blue Diamond co-worker) and we saw his in law’s house on the tip of the other side of the lake, the only house in the area. There was a boat dock on our side and we walked to the information post and looked around and saw Deelow and Ollie with the dogs were still on the other side where we came from. They were still tiny specs so we turned around and head back to them. As we walk back here is the continuation of the lake’s history.


Turlock Irrigation Districts

Just as the Tuolumne River furnished water for mining, it also provided rich soil for agriculture, and by 1857 farms lined its banks. The farmers irrigated their crops with the spring floodwaters of the Tuolumne River, leaving them vulnerable to periods of drought. With the backing of farmers, in 1887 Assemblyman C. C. Wright proposed a new kind of local government agency—an irrigation district—to help deal with the problem of crop irrigation. The first district to be established under the Wright Act was the Turlock Irrigation District. To control water for irrigation, this district and the Modesto Irrigation District together constructed La Grange Dam in 1893. Despite this, the water needs of the farmers were barely being met. To solve the problem, the Turlock Irrigation District built a 3,500-acre reservoir between La Grange and Waterford that became known as Turlock Lake.

After meeting up with the rest, we walked by the banks and let the dogs drank some waters. Dad took Deelow and Ollie and the dogs back up the dead-end while I and Yusuf stroll back to the picnic area. We used the vehicle road and reached the top where there was a nice shade under a tree and view of the lake. Then we went down and came across Mom and she went down with us and gave some water to Yusuf. I went to the other side where there is another posting and saw a history of the lake.


In 1950 the Turlock Irrigation District leased Turlock Lake, with its 26 miles of shoreline and 228 acres of foothill country, to the State of California to form Turlock Lake SRA. From several lookout points, visitors can view the surrounding savannas and some of the cattle ranches and orchards nearby. Lake Road, which separates the campground from the day-use area, offers an excellent perspective of the campground, the river and sloughs, and miles of dredger tailings piles, the by-product of a half-century of gold mining.

I went back to see that the others had return so with Dad with Sal and Me and Corvo we walked back to the other side, where the dock was located and the posting of the history of the park, up until the dead-end by the park’s signage and a closed road. We took several photos and head back, Deelow catch up with Chloe and we exchange. Once we all got back to the vehicle wee put the dogs on the back o the truck and I tried to look for a brochure but the booth was closed so I failed to get one. After that Dad drove us all out of the park and back to the road home.

Here is the link for more information:

Click to access TurlockBrochure1.pdf

Say Cheez!

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