Donnells Reservoir Photos – A HWY 108 Must See

If you’re making the drive up California’s mountain Highway 108, you’ll notice the turn for this beautiful (though manmade) high Sierra lake, about 20 minutes after you pass the town of Strawberry. While it isn’t 100% natural, it’s still quite memorable – and an effortless stop along the way. Here are some Donnells Reservoir photos to check out….

Beautiful lake vista - Donnells Reservoir photos
Donnell Reservoir Overlook

This feature is actually a dam that was built on the Middle Fork of the Stanislaus River. Like Hetch Hetchy to the south, this water supplies hydroelectric power and farmland irrigation to communities in the west (in this case, Stanislaus & San Joaquin counties).

Paved Walking Path & Lake View Through Trees
Path & Lake View Through Trees

You can easily park the car at the vista turnout – plenty of spaces, and it’s free. There is a nice paved path that takes you down to the viewing platform.

Landscaped walkway with wildflowers, down to viewing platform - Donnells Reservoir photos
A Very Short Walk

The first time I stopped here, it was a blue sky summer day – but there were no clouds. Those that are familiar with my photography know how much I value clouds in my photos. Haha. So, as you can see below, the second time I was more fortunate. Well, to be more accurate, I planned carefully, and was rewarded for studying the weather forecast…

Stunning lake landscape - Donnells Reservoir photos
Wouldn’t kick that view out of bed

Anyhow, you can climb all around the scenic overlook. As a matter of fact, 15 minutes is probably all it takes to soak in the surroundings here.

Dardanelles Cone in the Distance - Highway 108 view
Dardanelles Cone in the Distance

You may note some nearby peaks & landmarks, such as the Dardanelles across the valley.

Paved Trail Heading Up to Parking Lot
Same Paved Path, Later in the Season

Additionally, the reservoir (also known as Donnells Lake) is used for fishing, boating, camping, and even hunting. Up the road a bit further is Beardsley Lake, although I have yet to visit it. I don’t think it’s quite as accessible (or scenic?).

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About My Photos

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– Nathan Allen

About Me

Photographer Nathan Allen

I’m Nathan Allen, photographer / creator of (Yosemite Photos) and international travel site I Dreamed Of This. In truth, I lived in San Francisco, New York, & Singapore…but nothing compares to life in the mountains. I share my experiences HERE.