Courtright Reservoir is located in one of the most superb geological areas of California. Bare granite domes rise from the shores of Courthright Reservoir and above the deep canyon cut by Helms Creek located at the north end of the lake. Ice Age glaciers sculpted the mountain peaks, slopes and valleys giving them their unique present day shape. To the east Mt. Goddard rises majestically to 13,568 feet in elevation.
Courtright Resevoir is accessible late May through November. Take Hwy 168 east from Clovis towards Prather. Continue through Prather towards Shaver Lake. Just before you reach Shaver Lake, turn right on Dinkey Creek Road and travel 11.7 miles east to the intersection of the Dinkey Creek Road and McKinley Grove Roads. Turn right and travel 13.6 miles east to the Courtright Reservoir turnoff. Turn left and travel north 7.5 miles to Courtright Reservoir.
PG&E operates and maintains several campgrounds around the lake. On the west side, you will find Trapper Springs which provides single and double camp sites. Marmot Rock is located at the south end of the lake which provides 14 walk-in campsites. Both campgrounds are first come-first served, no reservations are accepted. A fee is charged for overnight camping. On the east side of the lake is Voyager Rock which is a primitive campground accessible only by boat or by high clearance Off-Highway Vehicle. This campground has limited services. No fee is charged.
Courtright is an ultimate destination for avid anglers looking to hook up a German brown, rainbow or Eastern Brook trout. The limit is 5 per day, 10 in possession. A public boat launching facility is available at the south end of the lake, no fees or permits are required. State fishing regulations apply.
Hiking and Equestrian Trails
To the north and east of the Lake are the Dinkey Lakes and the John Muir Wildernesses. The Cliff Lake Trailhead provides access to the Dinkey Lakes and the Maxson Trailhead provides access to the John Muir Wilderness and Kings Canyon National Park. Wilderness permits are required for overnight stay. Horseback riding and guided pack services are available.
At the Maxson Trailhead is the beginning of the 31-mile Dusy-Ershim off highway vehicle route. Driving time for the entire route is 2 to 3 days. This route is recommended for advanced drivers, and not recommended for full size pickups, long wheel base vehicles or for traveling alone. Campfire permits are required for camping outside of designated campgrounds.
The nearest services are located at Wishon Village near Wishon Lake. Wishon Village has a store, phone, and campground with full RV hookups.
History of Courtright Lake
Courtright Reservoir was built in 1958 by Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) as a part of the Kings River Project that includes a system of lakes, tunnels, steel penstocks and powerhouses that divert water from the Kings River to produce electricity. In 1984, the Helms Pumped Storage Powerhouse was added which uses water flowing downhill from Courtright to Wishon Reservoir to produce electricity during peak demand times. At night, water is then pumped back uphill to Courtright to be used again during peak demand times. The Helms Powerhouse is unique because it was built in a chamber carved out of solid granite a thousand feet underground at the north end of Wishon Lake.
More Information: Contact the High Sierra Ranger Station at 559.855.5355 or during the summer you can contact the Dinkey Creek Visitor Information Station at 559.841.3404.