mid-elevation lake located in Shasta County, is set
in a golden pastoral
setting with spectacular
foothills in the distance. The winding waterway
flows through tall reeds, veering towards the west,
which eventually turns into Horr Pond. Big Lake is
an ideal retreat if you want to avoid crowds
and boat congestion.
Paddlers can launch at Big Lake, at a PG & E
public boat launch known as "Rat Farm". It is
reached from McArthur by turning north off Highway
299 on to Main Street, continuing past the
Intermountain Fairgrounds, crossing over a canal and
proceeding 3-miles north on a dirt road.
access road is a relatively flat drive through a
grassy prairie on a dirt road, which would be
extremely difficult to drive on after a recent rain.
There is a small parking lot with vault toilet
facilities by the launch access. Boats with
propellers are not advised due to the thick water
vegetation. There isn’t any running water, so be
sure to bring plenty of your own because it can get
extremely hot in this area during the summer months.
Due to its remote nature, I would highly recommend
paddling and camping at Big Lake with a companion.
Boat-in camping is available at Ahjumawi Lava
Springs State Park, which can only be reached by
boat from the hand launch access off of Rat Ranch
Road, from Big Lake. There are no public roads to it
and private motor vehicles are prohibited within
Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park. NOTE:
There are an abundance of rattlesnakes,
ticks and mosquitoes in this area.
One of the most frustrating things
in the world is to see a huge fish swim under your
kayak , and then be unable to snag one. Big Lake
offers excellent trout and bass fishing and a
breathtaking view of Mount Shasta. Fishing action is
pretty good for rainbow and brown trout in the two
to four pound class. Fishing is more rewarding at
the break of day, and in the evening, but during the
day you’re liable to come up empty handed.
Paddlers will be rewarded with breathtaking views of
Mt Shasta, and Mt. Lassen and other
nearby peaks, as
they glide along the winding interconnecting
waterways that flow towards the west, which
eventually turns into Horr Pond. There isn’t any
running water, so be sure to bring plenty of your
own because it can get extremely hot in this area
during the summer months.
Open: The boat speed limit is 10 m.p.h. The lake
is open daily year-round for boating.
Fees: There isn’t any day use or fee to launch
but there is a fee to camp.
Lake Facilities: The facilities consist of power boating,
swimming, and hiking trails. Car top launch boats