Monday, January 30, 2023
Text Size

Atascaero Creek





Volunteer - Litter Removal Program Registration

The City's Litter Removal Program provides local residents, businesses, service organizations and all service-minded individuals with an opportunity to help make a difference in our community! This volunteer program is an effort to beautify the community and enhance the quality of life of our residents by removing litter and protecting our local environment. This program serves as both a litter abatement and prevention effort that works proactively with residents, neighborhoods and businesses toward a shared goal: a clean and beautiful community where we can live, work, play and do business.

The City provides volunteers with gloves, plastic bags, safety vests, and litter pick up tools, and arranges to collect the bags of litter that are gathered by volunteers. Individuals or groups can participate! For more information, call (805) 470-3148 or follow the link above to register online.


Category: Parks & Facilities

Atascadero Lake provides many assets and recreational activities for residents of the City of Atascadero. Following are some interesting facts many people may not know about the Lake!

Q: What is the history and background of Atascadero Lake?

Long before there was an “Atascadero Lake”, the small, shallow basin which was to eventually become the Lake, naturally filled with the winter rains and then, just as naturally, receded during the summer heat. Atascadero “Lake” is actually a pond; a low-lying area fed by rainfall and run-off. Please see this link for information about the Salinan tribe of Native Americans and their connection to Atascadero Lake.

As part of his dream for the Colony of Atascadero beginning in 1913, E.G. Lewis had engineers enlarge the existing natural basin, and then he featured the Lake in his promotions to help draw people to the new Colony. As in the past, Atascadero Lake continues to fill each year during the rainy season and then slowly dries as the summer progresses.

In times of limited rain or drought, the water level in Atascadero Lake is much lower than when we’ve had a good, wet season. Without enough rain to create a significant runoff, the lake doesn’t have a chance to fill to capacity, and then the water level sinks much more rapidly in natural response to the warm and semi-arid climate we normally experience here in Atascadero.

Q: Did you know the size, depth and volume of the lake?

Size: 30.5 Acres
Maximum Depth: 13 Feet
Average Depth: 6.85 Feet
Maximum Volume: 68,100,000 Gallons


During the warm summer months, a common and nearly annual source of concern when the water levels recede is algae blooms. Algae are essential ingredients in a balanced aquatic environment. However, following periods of hot weather, conditions which trigger episodes of rapid algae growth followed by its rapid die-off can occur. The cycle is a natural one that occurs during the hot summer months, and can unfortunately result in unpleasant odors occurring from the decomposing algae. Through the years, there have been various efforts undertaken to help maintain the Lake’s water quality and minimize algae blooms.

In 1962, prior to incorporation of Atascadero as a City, San Luis Obispo County had the bottom of the lake scraped to further enlarge and deepen the basin, and the soil from that sediment removal project was then used to create the island.

The City of Atascadero has a nearby water well which has been used in the past to help supplement water levels in the Lake, but when there’s little rainfall, the shallow well naturally runs low and therefore is of not much use during these periods. The City has also implemented the use of a diverter in Atascadero Creek to send some of the creek’s water flow into the Lake, to assist in keeping the water levels in the Lake at optimal levels. Again, during periods of drought or even just when winter rainfall is low, Atascadero Creek doesn’t run as high and therefore water cannot be diverted from the creek into the lake.

The City of Atascadero has also implemented various aeration efforts through the years, including removing sediment from the lakebed, aeration devices and fountains and an on-going repairs and upgrades to the creek-to-the lake supply pipeline.

To further assist in maintaining an optimum water level and quality, in recent years the Friends of Atascadero Lake (FOAL), a local non-profit group which was formed to help keep the Lake beautiful and inviting, drilled a new well on a nearby property and installed a supplemental pipeline to the Lake, which provides fresh water during the summer months. In 2017, FOAL commissioned an aeration system to promote circulation and oxygenation to the Lake.

Even though algae growth cannot be completely eliminated, the City has employed and continues to explore various methods to address algae growth, and continues our work and partnership with Friends of Atascadero Lake and other members of the community. Addressing water quality and algae blooms in Atascadero Lake has always been and always will be a very important and ongoing effort.

Although the Lake is owned by the City of Atascadero, it is important for the public to know that all projects that are planned to be taken in or near Atascadero Lake are governed and overseen by numerous State and Local Regulatory Agencies (such as Regional and State Water Quality Control Boards, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and more.) The regulatory process must be followed and the appropriate permits and approvals must be received from one or more of these entities, before the City of Atascadero can undertake any actions which affect the Lake or its environs.

Q: Where does algae come from?

Our beautiful and very scenic Atascadero Lake contains numerous aquatic plants and naturally occurring algae, which provide filtration and shade and are an essential ingredient in providing a balanced aquatic environment. Unfortunately, hot summer days combined with direct sun and reduced water circulation, can create conditions which trigger certain varieties of algae to grow at an extremely rapid rate. Following periods of hot weather, Atascadero Lake routinely experiences very normal cycles of extreme algae growth, also known as algae blooms.

Q: How do we resolve the algae problem?

Even though this natural algae growth cannot be completely eliminated, the City has employed and continues to explore various methods to address it.  Addressing water quality and algae in Atascadero Lake has always been an important and ongoing effort of the City’s.  We have implemented a long-term algae management plan which involves the use of aquatic pesticides, hydrologic and algae level studies, and biological and botanical resources surveys. The management plan focuses on prevention and provides options for addressing algae blooms that do develop. City staff recently performed preventative measures to prevent massive weed growth that would promote algae in open waters, and we have options to implement other measures if needed to eradicate algae blooms.  The City uses herbicides sparingly and only after other preventative measures are in place.  In addition, the water conditions are monitored, sampled and tested; routinely and as needed. It is important to note that all activities and actions the City undertakes that affect Atascadero Lake comply with various State and local regulatory and licensing agencies, including the Department of Fish and Wildlife and the State Water Resources Control Board.

Category: Parks & Facilities

  • Exterior with fountain - Photo courtesy of George Westlund
  • First floor Rotunda Ceiling - Photo courtesy of Rick Evans
  • First Floor Rotunda ceiling detail - Photo courtesy of Rick Evans
  • Fourth Floor Rotunda - Photo courtesy of Rick Evans
  • Grand Opening - Taken at the Grand Opening of the Atascadero City Hall on August 20th, 2013
  • Photo courtesy of Tim Griffith
  • Photo Courtesy of Luke & Liz Phillips Photography


Original construction of the Historic Atascadero City Hall began in 1914 and was completed in 1918.   In 2003, the building sustained significant damage in the San Simeon Earthquake.  After being closed for 10 years, and undergoing extensive renovations and retrofitting, the building re-opened in August 2013.

For a detailed history of the building and to learn more about the renovation process, please click HERE.

During the renovation process, four historic fountains that grace the corners the building were restored to their original beauty. Built with the original construction, the fountains stopped working decades ago and were converted into planters.


Visit Historic Atascadero City Hall

The Historic Atascadero City Hall is open Monday - Friday from 8:30 am - 5:00 pm.  Part of the Atascadero Historical Society Museum is housed in the building, and the tours give a fascinating history of the building and Atascadero.

Private Docent led tours are available by appointment.

How to schedule a tour: Please email or call (805) 466-8341. The Atascadero Historical Society is a volunteer based organization and therefore emails will most likely receive a faster response.

Fee: Tours of the Atascadero City Hall and Historical Society Museum are complementary, and there is a donation box for the Atascadero Historical Society in the lobby of City Hall.

Rental Information

The Historic Atascadero City Hall may be rented for meetings. Please click HERE for more information.

This Historic Atascadero City Hall may also be rented for Special Events on Saturdays and Sundays.  Please click HERE for more information.



Category: Parks & Facilities
Category: Parks & Facilities


The Community Center is a brand new state of the art facility that is available to rent. It has an conference room complete with 12 lap tops, arts & crafts room with sinks, dance room and a full size gymnasium that seats up to 800 people for your event. For more information on renting the Community Center for your event please call 805-470-3426.

To rent a room at the Community Center you must complete the Rental Contract.

The rates vary by user group; Atascadero resident, Non-resident & Non-profit (tax ID # required).

Other forms: Security Deposit Form & Gym Floor Plan

Category: Parks & Facilities
Rental rates for the Pavilion on the Lake vary depending on the room, the day of the week, and the time of day. Atascadero residents receive a different rate because their taxes already help partially fund the facility. Non-profits groups receive a discount with a valid tax id number. Please click on the appropriate link below for current rates:

Room Rental Rates


Wedding Packages

Wedding (non-Atascadero resident)

Wedding (Atascadero resident)

Category: Parks & Facilities

Skate Park Facility Rental
The A-Town Skate Park is available for private, supervised rental, during closed hours. For rental fees and availability, please call
(805) 461-7606.

Category: Parks & Facilities

City facilities are located throughout the community. Facilities include City Hall, Police and Fire Stations, Community Center and more. These facilities are maintained by the Public Works Department.

Historic City Hall

Historic City Hall


6500 Palma Ave
Phone: (805)461-5000
Hours: 8:30am - 5:00pm M-F


Departments located in City Hall:
  • Central Reception
  • City Manager's Office
  • Community Development
  • Public Works – Administration
  • Technology
  • Administrative Services
Colony Park Community Center

Colony Park Community Center

5599 Traffic Way
Office Phone: (805)470-3426
Teen Center Phone: (805)470-3360
Office Hours: 8:00am - 5:00pm M-F
Teen Center Hours: 3-8pm M-F

Services at this location:

  • Teen Center
  • Cafe
  • Classes
  • Full-size gym
  • Recreation Division

Rent part of this facility

Fire Station 1

Fire Station 1

6005 Lewis Ave
Phone: (805)461-5070
Hours: 8:00am - 5:00pm M-F

Services at this location:

  • Fire Reception
  • Code Enforcement
  • Fire Marshall
  • Emergency Services
Fire Station 2

Fire Station 2

9801 West Front Rd
Phone: (805)461-5091

Services at this location:

  • Emergency Services


    6555 Capistrano Ave
    Phone: (805)461-6161
    Hours: Varies


    This is not a city facility
    Pavilion on the Lake

    Pavilion on the Lake

    9315 Pismo Ave
    Phone: (805)470-3178


    Services at this location:

    • Special Events
    • Weddings
    • Banquets
    • Receptions
    • Conferences
    • Meetings
    Police Station

    Police Station

    5505 El Camino Real
    Phone: (805)461-5051

    Services at this location:

    • Emergency Dispatch
    • Investigations
    • K9 Program
    • Property & Evidence
    • K9
    • Cadets
    • VIPS

    Ranger House

    Lake Park
    9305 Pismo Ave
    Phone: (805)470-3178

    Rent this facility

    The Ranger House is located in the center of the Atascadero Lake Park and just 20 steps from the Pavilion. The house is perfect for small meetings that need a quiet retreat or can be used as a breakout room for larger meetings held at the Pavilion. It is also used as a "Bride's Dressing Room" for wedding ceremonies and receptions held at the Gazebo and Pavilion. The Ranger House is fully equipped with a kitchen, bathroom, and TV with DVD/VCR available for rent.
    Wastewater Treatment Plant

    Waste Water Treatment Plant

    8005 Gabarda Rd
    Phone: (805)461-5000
    Yard Hours: 7:00am - 3:00pm M-F

    Services at this location:

    • Public Works - Operations
    Category: Parks & Facilities

    The Parks Division is responsible for maintenance of City parks, trees, medians and City grounds. The City maintains the regional Lake Park Complex including playground equipment, barbecues, picnic areas, the lake and grounds. The City also maintains the Paloma Creek Park Sports Complex and Playground, Traffic Way Park, Sunken Gardens Park and the Historic Administration Building grounds. In addition to the City Parks, the Division maintains medians, City parking lots and planters.

    Click on the images to view slide shows of the parks

    Apple Valley Park

    1980 San Ramon Rd
    Phone: (805)470-3360

    Amenities at this location:

    • Open Fields
    • BBQ Areas
    • Walking Paths

    Colony Park

    5599 Traffic Way
    Phone: (805)470-3360

    Rent part of this facility

    Amenities at this location:

    • Softball Fields
    • Playground
    • Basketball Courts
    • Outdoor Basketball & Pickleball Courts
    • Covered BBQ/Picnic Area
    • Pickleball Courts

    Atascadero Lake Park

    9305 Pismo Ave
    Phone: (805)470-3360

    Rent part of  facility

    Faces of Freedom

    Atascadero Lake FAQ's

    This park is the destination of residents and visitors year-round. Atascadero’s charm is accentuated by the beautiful lake. There is a walking path that follows the edge of the lake for a stroll, jog or bike ride lakeside. The park also has a playground, restrooms, large and small barbecue areas, horseshoe pits, the Faces of Freedom Veterans Memorial, and the Charles Paddock Zoo.

    Paloma Creek Park

    11665 Viejo Camino
    Phone: (805)470-3360

    Rent part of this facility

    Paloma Creek park provides the City with 2 multi-purpose sports fields, 2 lighted softball fields, a little league field, a sand volleyball court, and a playground. The park is home to many tournaments, year-round, as well as sports league games and practices.

    A-town Park

    5493 Traffic Way
    Phone: (805)461-7606

    The A-town Park offers inside and outside skate and scooter riding.

    Skate Park Home Page

    Stadium Park

    Phone: (805)461-7606

    Trail Information

    Shortly after the turn of the 20th century, Stadium Park fulfilled promises of country life combined with city culture. These promises were made by Atascadero's founder, E.G. Lewis, in printed leaflets which were distributed nationwide while trying to attract residents to his colony. During the 1920's, Stadium Park was a gathering place for community events, concerts, and theater. Performances were held on a big stage under an Oak tree. That stage was later moved to where the Atascadero Lake Pavilion now stands. Stadium Park looks very much the same today as it did 100 years ago! Besides being a beautiful park, it is a natural amphitheater with gently sloping hills leading to the basin. Acoustics are ideal just as nature made them. Now, at the turn of a new century, Stadium Park again plays another major role of transforming Atascadero into a destination of culture interest. Make sure to check out the park's well maintained hiking trails and informational kiosk.

    Sunken Gardens

    6505 El Camino Real
    Phone: (805)470-3360

    Rent all or part of this facility

    Inspired by “The Grand Basin” at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, Atascadero founder E.G. Lewis envisioned a formal Sunken Garden to adorn the civic center in his new colony. Restored in 2005 as originally designed with walkways crossing the length and width of the gardens and meeting at a central fountain designed by architect Walter D. Bliss of the San Francisco firm of Bliss and Faville.

    The "Wrestling Bacchantes are currently undergoing restoration. Sculpted by Italian artist Petrilla and exhibited at the 1904 World’s Fair by the Italian Government, the sculpture is one solid piece of carrara marble. Purchased by Atascadero Founder E.G. Lewis for display in the Atascadero Colony Civic Center.



    Non-city Parks


    Planning to Host a Special Event?

    If you are interested in hosting a special event at a City owned park? Refer to this guide for step-by-step instructions.

    Step-by-Step Guide to hosting a Special Event

    Please call (805) 470-3360 to check availability and fill out the Outdoor Facility Use Agreement

    Category: Parks & Facilities

    More Articles...

    1. Rental Procedures

    Login Form

    Sign up for email notifications, submit online requests, edit contact info.