Canyon Lake is an affluent gated community in Riverside County, California, United States. One of only five gated cities in California, Canyon Lake began as a master-planned community developed by Corona Land Company in 1968. The “City of Canyon Lake” was incorporated on December 1, 1990. It geographically spans 4.7 square miles (12 km2). The Lake was originally formed in 1927 after Railroad Canyon Dam was built. The lake covers 383 acres (1.55 km2) and has 14.9 miles (24.0 km) of shoreline. The population was 10,561 at the 2010 census.
The community of Canyon Lake consists of 2,017 acres (816 ha). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.7 square miles (12 km2), of which, 3.9 square miles (10 km2) of it is land and 0.7 square miles (1.8 km2) of it (15.92%) is water. The lake has 14.9 miles (24.0 km) of shoreline.
The Riverside County Sheriff's Department serves Canyon Lake through the Perris Valley Station (the former headquarters of the now-disbanded Perris Police Department), despite most residents' (and visitors') assumptions that the City of Lake Elsinore which has its own regional sheriff's station) is much closer to Canyon Lake than Perris. The City of Canyon Lake contracts for fire services with the Riverside County Fire Department through a cooperative agreement with Cal Fire(California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Fire station 60 is located within Canyon Lake's gated portion, near the North Causeway across the lake.
The private areas behind the gates (however) are patrolled by AlliedBarton Security (Community Patrol and Lake and Marine Patrol) with the assistance of the Riverside County Sheriff's Department's Perris Valley Station, which contracts with the city for its law enforcement services.
Students attend school in the Lake Elsinore Unified School District. Students typically attend Tuscany Hills Elementary, or Cottonwood Canyon Elementary, Canyon Lake Middle and Temescal Canyon High School (7 miles).Mt. San Jacinto College maintains a campus in nearby Menifee (6.4 miles). The nearest University Of California campus is University of California, Riverside (25 miles). Canyon Lake is nearly equidistant from four California State University campuses located at San Bernardino (45 miles), Fullerton (48 miles), and San Marcos (50 miles), as well as Cal Poly in Pomona (48 miles).
The community is named for Canyon Lake, also known as the Railroad Canyon Reservoir, which it surrounds. The reservoir, created in 1928 with the construction of the Railroad Canyon Dam, covers approximately 525 acres (212 ha), has 14.9 miles (24.0 km) of shoreline, and has a storage capacity of 11,586 acre·ft (14,291,000 m3). It is owned and operated by the Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District.
The reservoir is supplied by storm water runoff from the San Jacinto River and Salt Creek. Water from the reservoir feeds the Canyon Lake Water Treatment Plant, which provides approximately 10% of the domestic water supply in the Lake Elsinore/Canyon Lake area.
In 1882 the California Southern Railroad built a line from Perris to Elsinore along the east side of the San Jacinto River. The Santa Fe Railroad bought the line and joined it with their line in San Bernardino. Floods in 1884, 1916, and 1927 washed out the tracks and the Santa Fe Railroad decided to abandon the line. Soon after the last flood the Temescal Water Company bought the railroad right-of-way, as well as 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) from Henry Evans, a rancher, and other land from B.T. Kuert. Those were the two parcels that make up most of Canyon Lake today. Construction started in 1927 to build a dam across the river to store water. It was finished in 1929. Railroad Canyon Reservoir, when built, was one of the largest fresh water lakes for fishing, hunting and camping in Southern California. The reservoir and the surrounding area was leased as a concession from Temescal Water Company as a recreational area under the operation of the George D. Evans family from 1937 until after World War II. After the war Ray and Alpha Schekel, along with John and Darleen Kirkland, operated the resort until 1949 when the lake was drained for repairs to the floodgates. Elinor and Donald Martin operated the resort from its reopening in 1953 until 1968. In 1968 the Corona Land Development Company developed the new community.
One of only five gated cities in California, Canyon Lake began as a master-planned community developed by Corona Land Company in 1968. Consisting of 4,801 community lots, all of the homes within the city are located within the Canyon Lake Property Owners Association (POA), and all but a few roads within the city are privately held and maintained. The entrances to the Canyon Lake POA are gated and guarded, accessible by residents and selected guests approved by the owners within the POA.
The community is served directly by the Canyon Lake Community Church, which is the only church with its own facilities within the City of Canyon Lake, but located outside the gated portion of the community. Tides Church's facilities are in the Canyon Lake Towne Center.