The Mariposa Newsletter

Santa Margarita Lake

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Created by the construction of the Salinas Dam in 1941, Santa Margarita Lake was originally designed to furnish water to Camp San Luis Obispo. Today, swimming in the lake is not permitted as it is the drinking water reservoir for the City of San Luis Obispo.

Beyond the developed area of the park, Santa Margarita Lake Natural Area represents several thousand acres of designated open space. This section of the park is managed for its natural resource values, passive recreational use, and environmental education opportunities. The area is accessible to hikers, bicyclists and equestrians. Motor vehicles are not permitted in the Natural Area. Santa Margarita Lake Regional Park is a nature lover's retreat. With thousands of acres of unspoiled open space, the park is home to countless species of plants and wildlife making it the perfect location for nature study, boating, and fishing.

ATTENTION BOATERS - Launch ramps are closed due to low water level. Hand launching of kayaks, canoes and other small boats is still permitted.

The following links will provide you with information regarding invasive species that could affect Santa Margarita Lake and Lopez Lake Recreation Areas
San Luis Obispo County Parks              California Department of Water Resources             California Department of Fish & Game

Park Ranger Office 805.788.2397
P ool Rental 805.781.5930, option 4
Marina Point Store: 805.438.1522 - NOW OPEN under new management

There are 60 primitive campsites (no hook-ups) and reservations can be made up to one year in advance. Campsites are located in the Coyote, Roadrunner, Grey Pine, and Osprey campgrounds The Sapwi and Khus campgrounds are primitive boat-in sites that can be reserved by individuals or groups (up to five sites maximum). There are shower facilities available for .75 for 3 minutes.
santa margarita lake
Santa Margarita Lake is noted for its excellent fishing and peaceful boating. Cast your line into Santa Margarita Lake and you'll find hungry redear, striped bass, trout, catfish, crappie and bluegill. Fish from shore, use one of the launch ramps, or try your luck from a boat or canoe.
two riders on horseback
Individual picnic sites with shade, ample seating, larger barbecues and other amenities are found throughout the park. The White Oak Group Day Use Area is perfect for family reunions, company picnics, club barbeques or special events, and can be reserved year-round. The park also hosts a vast range of hiking and riding trails which offer breath-taking views of the lake and surrounding mountains.
white oak group picnic area
The Santa Margarita Lake has a public swimming pool this is open from Memorial Day weekend and continues through Labor Day Monday. If you would like to rent the pool for a company picnic, birthday party or a special celbration please contact our reservation desk to book your reservation. Reservations can be made one year in advance.
santa margarita lake pool


Directions to Santa Margarita Lake
Driving north or south on Highway 101 take the Highway 58 exit into Santa Margarita. Follow thru town and look for Highway 58 signs. At the end of town you will turn right onto Highway 58. This is also referred to as Santa Margarita Lake Road or Pozo Road. Follow this road for approximately 6 miles to Santa Margarita Lake Road. Do NOT turn left onto Highway 58. You want to continue straight until you get to Santa Margarita Lake Road. Turn left (the Rinconada Store will be on your right). Entrance to Santa Margarita Lake is at the end of this road.

  Directions to Natural Area
Primary access to the Natural Area is from River Road at the east end of the lake. Take Pozo Road about eight miles southeast of Santa Margarita Lake road, turn left on River Road, and proceed for about two miles. The entrance is on the left.

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Santa Margarita Lake Recreation and Natural Area
4695 Santa Margarita Lake Road
Santa Margarita, CA 93453
(P) 805.788.2397

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Last Revised: January 20, 2015