Lake Hemet was once a sleepy mountain lake that offered much outdoor solitude and great fishing. However with the now addition of a water park on the lake, swimming and recreational boating, much of the majestic mountain lake features this lake once provided are gone in exchange for municipal water district profits.
Lake Hemet is an idyllic mountain lake located in the San Jacinto Mountains, a short drive up into the mountains from Hemet, California. I have fished this lake many times and thought this would be a great chance to do a write up on it. The lakes is partly divided between Municipal Water District and Federal Land. For decades this was a quite sleepy lake that saw very little attention and was a great place to get away to quickly for some outdoor solitude and fishing. However in the last year it has largely become a swimming and boating lake.
Ok, so I have never been a big fan of any lake/park operated by the Municipal Water District. I have always found the prices to be extremely high and improperly managed. Almost all California lakes are man-made freshwater reservoirs typically always owned/managed by Municipal Water Districts, which over time become in disrepair because the prices are set so high that people stop going and there is then no money to maintain the park/lake. It’s a vicious cycle that never seems to end. As example in the past year I have seen the prices at another lake (Lake Skinner) double in price from entrance to camping to fishing, this lake already was seeing extremely low activity before raising them.
Lake Hemet is no exception when it comes to pricing:
Day Use : $15 per vehicle including up to first two people (more after the first two)
Swim Beach : $5 per person (shouldn’t that be part of the Day Use Fee?)
Swim Beach and WaterPark: $10 per person
Camping : $28 per night for two people
I won’t go into all the other fees but if you would like to see them you can go to Lake Hemet Fees.
Depending on what outdoor experience you are looking for Lake Hemet has the possibly of filling many with the addition of the Family Water Park during the summer months. Personally I have always liked the solitude that Lake Hemet used to provide because of its low attendance but a lot has now changed.
To avoid the fees if you have a Wilderness Pass you can go to the west side of the lake where you can park. The lake provides Rainbow trout, channel catfish, carp, bluegill and largemouth bass. The largemouth bass fishing is very slowly, and you will be lucky to catch any here, but the trout fishing can be great at times if you can keep the carp off your line. Once you park in the Wilderness parking there is a well worn trail leading down to the water, follow the trail to the west for 500 yards or so to a nice secluded beach area, this is one of the best fishing spots I’ve found if you are fishing from the shore line. During certain times of the year the wasps in the area can be vicious so be careful with small children.
The camp store located at Lake Hemet has a lot of goodies that you might need while you are out, however like any lake camp store the prices are high, but it is the convenience that you are paying for since there is no other store unless you are willing to drive an hour up into Idyllwild.
|Food and Drink||33.66970710318287,-116.67461085336981||You can get convenience store style food and drink here, but expect to pay a premium price for everything. I suggest you bring what you need with you to save some $$$.|
|RV Sites||33.668065333669624, -116.68150985249667||Premium Lakefront RV Sites|
|Tent Sites||33.66753017500401, -116.6819493798539||Premium Lakefront Campsites|
|RV Sites||33.66710514030564, -116.67903113382636||These are considered interior RV sites with hookups.|
|Trail Closed||33.66663396856041, -116.70605743071064||There is a locked fence located here to keep people away from the spillway. I have hiked to the spillway from the north side, and it is a very steep shear cliff down to the bottom, hence the reason it is blocked off.|
|Lake Hemet||33.6671444289582, -116.69220614712685||There are small boat, pontoon, and kayak rentals available. Canoes are not allowed! The Waterpark is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day.|
|Camp Area||33.67024492770955, -116.68146693715244||There are several campsites available, check their website for more details on available campsites and amenities.|
|Wilderness Area||33.67035832591208, -116.69897639760165||You will need a Wilderness Pass to park and hike in from this area. It is less crowded and there is no cost for entry other than the annual pass.|
|Fishing Spot||33.66609820529519, -116.70419061323628||This sandy beach is a good spot for trout, during spring watch out for the wasps that love to swarm this area as well.|
- Idylic Mountain Lake Scenery
- Lake doesn't get much of a crowd during the week so you can get away from crowds.
- Trout fishing is hit or miss, one of the best areas is over in the wilderness area, but you will need a pass.
- The prices are high on entry, campsites, and food
- In the summer the east end of the lake is turned into a floating amusement area.
- Lots of drinking and loud parties on weekends.
- Up to an hour drive to the nearest town.
- No hiking trails, there are only dirt access roads.