Cherry Lake California Fishing, Camping, Boating

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Cherry Lake

Cherry Lake, close to Yosemite National Park and within the backcountry of Stanislaus National Forest, is 4 square miles of water that is ideal for fishing, boating and camping. Read More

  • Cherry Lake is within the backcountry of Stanislaus National Forest
  • The lake is outside of Yosemite National Park off Highway 120
  • Try your hand at catching some trout or salmon
  • Explore the eastern shoreline of the lake for a day of adventure
  • Campsites are available with tables and fire rings


Cherry Lake CA is on the western side of the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains, surrounded by a heavy pine and cedar forest. It’s close enough to Yosemite that you can camp at the lake and visit the park by day. However, the outdoor recreation available is enough to keep you busy for your entire vacation.

Location & Information

Cherry Lake California is approximately 25 miles east of Sonora, nestled between Emigrant Wilderness and Yosemite National Park. Follow Highway 120 east towards Yosemite, and about 5 miles east of Groveland, turn left on Cherry Lake Road. The lake is 20 miles from this point.

The best times to visit Cherry Lake is June through October. The road across the dam is closed for the fall and winter seasons starting in September. The area east of the lake is restricted to foot travel after September.

Contact information:
Stanislaus National Forest
Groveland Ranger District
24545 Highway 120
Groveland, CA 95321


You’ll find wonderful views and plenty of family activities at Cherry Lake.

  • Fishing
    Cherry Lake fishing pleases all anglers with catches of rainbow, brook and brown trout as well as Kokanee salmon.
  • Swimming
    There’s swimming near the boat ramp, although the beach is somewhat rocky. On the eastern shore, you’ll find a sandy beach that is ideal for swimming, but you can only access this area by boat.
  • Boating
    You can launch from the ramp right off Cherry Valley Road. Cherry Lake is great for boating because there are few crowds. You can put in at a number of places along the eastern shoreline as you explore the coves.
  • Hiking
    The Cherry Lake Trailhead, on the southern edge of the lake, offers the perfect access point to the Emigrant Wilderness and about 185 miles of trails, lovely meadows and glacial lakes.
  • Camping
    You’ll find first-come, first-served Cherry Lake camping here with picnic tables, fire rings, paved roads and restrooms. There are 46 sites with tent and RV camping.
  • Winter Sports
    This area boasts a lot of activity in the winter, with snowmobiling, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.

Fun Facts

The earth-filled Cherry Valley Dam was built in 1954, creating Cherry Lake, the largest lake in the region. The lake supplies water for the Modesto and Turlock districts.