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Lake Piru Camping Guide: Hours, Reservations, Swimming, and More

Lake Piru Camping Guide: Hours, Reservations, Swimming, and More

Welcome to the Lake Piru Camping Guide! If you’re looking for an adventurous and memorable camping experience in California, Lake Piru is the perfect destination for you. Nestled amidst the scenic beauty of Los Padres National Forest, this picturesque lake offers a tranquil escape from bustling city life. This comprehensive guide will provide you with all the essential information you need to plan a successful camping trip to Lake Piru.

Finding the Perfect Campsite

When it comes to camping at Lake Piru, you are presented with various campsite options to suit your preferences. The campground caters to both tent and RV campers, providing distinct features for each accommodation type. Regardless of whether you desire picturesque lake views or the comfort of shade-providing trees, there is an ideal campsite available for everyone’s enjoyment.

For those who prefer the classic camping experience, the tent sites at Lake Piru offer an excellent opportunity to immerse yourself in nature. Nestled amidst the serene surroundings, these tent sites allow you to fully embrace the tranquility of the outdoors. You can awaken to the gentle rustling of leaves, breathe in the crisp morning air, and take in the breathtaking views surrounding you. Whether you’re an avid hiker, a wildlife enthusiast, or simply seeking solace in nature, the tent sites at Lake Piru offer an ideal retreat.

If you’re an RV enthusiast, the campground provides convenient and well-equipped RV sites to accommodate your needs. These sites offer essential amenities to enhance your camping experience, such as electrical hookups, water connections, and sewage disposal facilities. Whether you’re embarking on a cross-country road trip or enjoying a weekend getaway, the RV sites at Lake Piru ensure a comfortable and enjoyable stay. You can relax in the shade of towering trees, savoring the gentle breeze as you unwind amid nature’s beauty.

Lake Piru Camping Guide: Hours, Reservations, Swimming, and More

Amenities offered at Lake Piru Campgrounds

RV sites

RV sites are available at Lake Piru Campgrounds for those who wish to camp with their recreational vehicles. These sites have water, electrical hookups, and a picnic table and fire ring.

Showers and modern bathrooms

One of the great amenities offered at Lake Piru Campgrounds is the showers and modern bathrooms. Ten shower buildings have hot and cold water, flush toilets, and sinks with running water. They are located throughout the campgrounds, so there is always one close by. The showers are open from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm and cost $0.50 for 3 minutes.

Laundry facilities

If you plan camping at Lake Piru at any length, it’s essential to know what amenities are available to make your stay as comfortable as possible. One key amenity that is often overlooked is laundry facilities. If you’re staying at one of the campgrounds near Lake Piru, chances are there will be a laundromat nearby. This can come in handy if you plan on swimming or hiking during your stay.

Full hookups

For those looking for a complete camping experience, Lake Piru Campgrounds offer full hookups. This means that your campsite will have water, electricity, and sewer access – perfect for RVs or those who want to enjoy all the amenities of home while enjoying the great outdoors. A limited number of full hookup sites are available, so be sure to make your reservation early.


Wi-Fi is available in all campgrounds. This allows campers to stay connected while on vacation. Not only does this allow campers to stay connected with friends and family, but it also allows them to stay up-to-date on the latest news and weather conditions.

Dump station

The Lake Piru Campgrounds offer a dump station for campers to dispose of their waste. There is a $5 fee for using the dump station. The hours for the dump station are from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm.

Lake Piru

Rules and Regulations 

If you’re planning on spending a day or two at Lake Piru, it’s essential to know the hours of operation. The lake is open from sunrise to sunset, and swimming is allowed during those hours. However, no lifeguards are on duty, so it’s essential to be aware of your safety while in the water. There are also a few other things to keep in mind when planning your visit:

  • Reservations are required for all campsites. You can make a reservation by visiting the Lake Piru Recreation Area website or by calling the recreation area at (805) 790-4311.
  • Camping is only allowed in designated campsites. There are a total of 236 tree-shaded campsites available, each one accommodating up to eight people.
  • Quiet hours are from 10 pm to 8 am. During those hours, generators must be turned off, and all music must be kept at a low volume.
  • Pack out all your trash and dispose of it properly.
  • Minimize campfire impacts by using established fire rings and burning only wood from the surrounding area.
  • Respect wildlife by observing them from a distance and not disturbing their habitats.
  • Stay on designated trails and avoid trampling vegetation.
  • Leave natural and cultural artifacts undisturbed for others to appreciate.

What are other activities available at Lake Piru?


In addition to swimming, boating, and fishing, several hiking trails are available at Lake Piru. The most popular trail is the one that leads to the waterfall, which is a moderate hike of about 2 miles. There are also shorter trails available for those who want to avoid hiking the whole way to the waterfall.

Rear view of female hiker hiking at Dolomites Alps, Cortina, Italy


Swimming is a popular activity at Lake Piru, and several areas are designated for swimming. The main swim beach is located near the day-use area, and a smaller swim beach is near the campground. There are no lifeguards on duty, so swimmers should use caution and swim at their own risk.



Fishing is a popular activity at Lake Piru. The lake is stocked with catfish, bass, and trout. Fishing licenses are required for anyone over the age of 16.

Father and mother with son and daughter on fishing together outdoors at summertime


Lake Piru is an excellent place for boating enthusiasts. There are plenty of boat rental companies around the lake, so you can easily find something that suits your needs. The lake is also large enough to accommodate all sorts of boats, from kayaks to pontoon boats.

Couple boating on a quiet lake


Lake Piru is an excellent place for a picnic! Plenty of tables and grills are available, as well as beautiful views of the lake. Picnicking is allowed in all areas except the swimming area and beach.

Two young female friends having picnic on a beach drinking cocktails

Wildlife viewing

In addition to swimming and camping, visitors to Lake Piru can also enjoy wildlife viewing. The lake is home to various birds, including ducks, geese, herons, and egrets. Mammals such as deer, squirrels, and raccoons are also frequently seen in the area. Visitors should bring binoculars and a camera to make the most of their wildlife viewing experience.

Binoculars and field guides for wildlife viewing


Can I swim at Lake Piru?

Many people wonder if they can swim at Lake Piru, and the answer is yes! However, there are a few things to keep in mind. The lake is unsupervised, so there is no lifeguard on duty. In addition, the water can be cold, so wearing a wetsuit or something similar is essential.

Do I need a fishing license at Lake Piru?

You must get a fishing license to fish at Lake Piru. You can purchase a California fishing license online or at any number of retail locations. A one-day fishing license for residents costs $16.90, while a one-day fishing license for non-residents costs $33.76. A yearly fishing license for residents costs $52.02, while a yearly fishing license for non-residents costs $106.96.

How much does it cost to camp at Lake Piru?

If you plan to camp at Lake Piru, you might wonder how much it will cost. Camping fees depend on the season. For example, During the peak season of April to September, it costs $32 per night without hookups. It’ll cost you $50 per night if you want full hookups. However, the prices go down slightly during the off-season of October to March. You can have a basic site for only $25 a night or an entire hookup site for $40.

What time of year is good for a trip to Lake Piru?

The best time to visit Lake Piru is in the summer when the weather is warm, and the water is perfect for swimming. However, you can also enjoy various activities at Lake Piru throughout the year.

How do I make a reservation?

There are several ways to make a reservation at Lake Piru. You can visit the recreation area’s website and select the number of people at your party and the dates you’d like to stay. You must also provide a credit or debit card for payment. You can also call the recreation area and make a reservation over the phone.