The Oroville Dam, which is the tallest and one of the largest earthen dams in the world, was completed in 1968 and stands 770 feet high with a crest 6,920 feet long. Over 80 million cubic yards of material were needed to build the Oroville Dam.
A giant cavern (almost as large as the State Capitol Building) was hollowed out to hold six power generation units beneath the dam. Coupled with four additional units in the Thermalito Power plant, more than 2.8 billion kilowatt-hours of power are generated annually.
Oroville is best known for its abundance of recreational opportunities. Lake Oroville, which was created via the construction of the Oroville Dam, is one of the recreational gems of California. With nearly 16,000 surface acres of water and 167 miles of forested shoreline, hundreds of campsites, world-class fishing, boating, sailing, fishing, picnicking, hiking, biking, horseback riding, fish hatchery tours, educational exhibits, scenery and wildlife, Lake Oroville is truly the great outdoors on a Western scale. It is also the second largest reservoir in California, second only to Lake Shasta. Lake Oroville is not overly crowded, and easily accessible by several highways.
Oroville Dam is located on the Feather River, nine miles east of Oroville, CA, located in the Sierra Nevada Foothills 75 miles north of Sacramento and 60 miles south of Redding. The coordinates of the dam are 38° 35.3′ North Latitude and 122° 27.8′ West Longitude.
From Sacramento, travel north on Interstate Five. In approximately three miles, turn off on Highway 99 north towards Yuba City. After 13 miles, take Highway 70 north towards Marysville. Oroville is 48 miles north on Highway 70. Take the second exit off the highway at Oroville Dam Boulevard (also Highway 162). Turn right on Oroville Dam Blvd. heading due east. Follow Oroville Dam Blvd. through town and in approximately nine miles the spillway and dam will be visible on the left hand side. Climb the hillside to the right of the dam, turn left at the stop sign and drive on top of the dam for spectacular views. One can also go straight through the stop sign and follow the green painted roadway stripe up to the Visitor’s Center.
From Redding, travel south on Interstate Five. In Red Bluff, turn onto Highway 99 south towards Chico. Approximately eleven miles past Chico, take Highway 149 which joins with Highway 70 to Oroville. Take the Oroville Dam Blvd. exit. Turn left onto Oroville Dam Blvd., heading due east. Follow Oroville Dam Blvd. to the dam and use the directions above to get to specific dam facilities.
Ownership/Operators: Oroville Dam is currently owned and operated by the State of California Department of Water Resources.
Tour information: For a tour of the Edward Hyatt Powerplant and/or the Feather River Fish Hatchery facilities contact John Ford at (530)534-2306. Tours are scheduled on a first come-first serve basis, and generally given in groups. Tours are free of charge. Allow two hours for the tour of the dam facilities and one hour for the fish hatchery.
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