Cherry Lake Camping: Discover Your Next Adventure

Camping at Cherry Lake in Stanislaus National Forest is an adventure we’re all eager for! Imagine waking up to the sound of birds, the scent of pine, and a vast, glistening lake ready for all sorts of fun activities. Whether you’re into boating, fishing, or just want a peaceful swim, Cherry Lake Camping offers it all.

Sunset over Cherry Lake, tents nestled among pine trees, a crackling campfire, and a serene reflection on the calm water

Accessible year-round, visitors can explore miles of hiking trails, fish in the largest lake in the forest, and soak in the serenity of the natural surroundings. We can camp right by the water, enjoy the boat launch, and use the available restrooms. Be prepared, though—this is a remote location with no cell service or grocery stores, so come well-stocked!

Located just a couple of hours from Yosemite, camping at Cherry Lake is perfect for those wanting a blend of adventure and relaxation. With mixed conifers all around and the sounds of nature filling the air, it’s hard not to fall in love with this scenic spot. Get ready for an unforgettable experience at Cherry Lake!

Planning Your Trip

Planning a trip to Cherry Lake is an exciting adventure for us outdoor enthusiasts. Cherry Lake offers amazing camping, beautiful views, and plenty of activities. Let’s break down exactly what we need to consider for a successful and enjoyable trip.

Getting There

Cherry Lake is located in the Stanislaus National Forest, about an hour east of Tuolumne City and Groveland. To reach our destination, we’ll drive along Highway 120 until we reach Cherry Lake Road. Elevation changes are significant as we approach the lake, so be prepared for some winding roads and sharp turns.

In winter, road access can be limited due to snow, so checking current conditions beforehand is crucial. For the most up-to-date route information, we should visit the U.S. Forest Service website.

Selecting a Campsite

We have options when it comes to camping at Cherry Lake. The Cherry Valley Campground offers sites that are available via reservation at, as well as some sites that are first-come, first-served.

The campground has both single-family and double-family sites, perfect for different group sizes. The campground is well-equipped with facilities like a boat launch and vault restrooms, although there are no cell service, fuel, grocery, or water services at the lake. For those with RVs, spaces are limited, so booking ahead is advisable.

Packing Essentials

Proper packing is key to our Cherry Lake camping trip. Since there are no grocery or water services, we need to pack ample food and water. Essential items include a sturdy tent, sleeping bags, cooking gear, and warm clothing due to the elevation which can bring fluctuating temperatures.

Don’t forget outdoor recreation gear like fishing equipment, hiking boots, and swimming attire. Safety gear is also crucial because of potential hazards like loose rocks and debris flows in the Rim Fire Burned Area. A well-stocked first aid kit and a reliable map of the area will ensure we are prepared for any situation.

With these planning steps covered, we are ready for an unforgettable camping experience at Cherry Lake!

Exploring Cherry Lake

Sunset over calm water, surrounded by lush green trees and distant mountains. A campfire flickers on the shore, casting warm light

Cherry Lake offers a fantastic mix of water activities and breathtaking natural trails. Whether we enjoy getting out on the water or exploring the surrounding wilderness, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Water Activities

Cherry Lake is the perfect place for water sports and fishing. We can boat on the largest lake in Stanislaus National Forest. The lake has a boat ramp near the dam for easy access. If we love swimming, we can enjoy the calm waters surrounded by beautiful scenery.

Fishing enthusiasts can try their luck at catching Kokanee SalmonRainbow Trout, and Brown Trout. With plenty of spots to cast our lines, we can spend a peaceful day fishing.

Don’t forget to bring all necessary supplies, as there are no cell, fuel, grocery, or water services at Cherry Lake. Remember to check the USDA Forest Service page before visiting for updates on road conditions.

Trails and Wilderness

For those of us who love hiking and exploring nature, Cherry Lake is a treasure trove of trails and wilderness. We can embark on adventures from the Cherry Lake Trailhead, easily accessible from Cherry Lake Road. The trails range from easy walks to more challenging hikes.

Some trails lead into the Emigrant Wilderness, providing stunning views and a chance to see diverse wildlife. Whether we’re hiking, mountain biking, or horseback riding, the trails offer a way to connect with nature.

It’s important to be cautious of potential hazards, such as loose rocks and flash floods in the Rim Fire Burned Area. Always check for trail updates and safety tips before heading out.

Cherry Lake Camping Amenities

Cherry Lake camping has a lot to offer, from well-equipped campsites to convenient day-use areas. Whether you’re planning to stay overnight or just visiting for the day, you’ll find everything you need for a memorable trip.

Campsite Facilities

At Cherry Lake, the Cherry Valley Campground offers a variety of facilities to make our camping experience comfortable. There are 41 campsites and 5 double campsites. These sites can accommodate tents, trailers, and RVs, making it a versatile choice for different camping preferences.

Each campsite is equipped with fire rings and picnic tables, which are perfect for cooking and enjoying meals outdoors. Moreover, we have access to vault toilets, ensuring basic sanitation needs are met even in the great outdoors.

It’s important to note that there is no cell service at Cherry Lake, so we should plan accordingly. There are no on-site amenities like fuel, groceries, or drinking water, so bringing all necessary supplies is essential.

Drinking water is not provided directly at the campsites, but we do have paved roads leading up to the site, making it accessible by most vehicles.

Day-Use Areas

For those who are visiting Cherry Lake just for the day, plenty of amenities make our visit enjoyable. The lake itself is the largest in the Stanislaus National Forest and offers a variety of activities like boating, swimming, and fishing. We can start our adventure from the boat launch area, which is well-maintained and provides easy access to the water.

Designated day-use areas feature picnic tables and spots to relax by the water. These areas are perfect for family outings or group gatherings, allowing us to enjoy the natural beauty without needing an overnight stay.

Keep in mind that the road access to Cherry Lake is subject to winter closures, so it’s crucial to check conditions if we plan to visit during colder months.

Area Attractions and Activities

The sun sets behind the tranquil Cherry Lake, surrounded by lush greenery and campgrounds. Canoeists glide across the glassy water, while hikers explore the nearby trails

Cherry Lake camping is packed with activities and nearby attractions that promise an enriching experience. From exploring trails to fishing and snapping breathtaking photos, there’s something for everyone.

Beyond Camping

There’s so much to do beyond just setting up camp. First, we can explore the Groveland Ranger District, which offers plenty of walking and hiking trails for all skill levels. The diverse scenery includes lush forests and clear streams.

Nearby, the historic Andresen Mine offers a glimpse into the area’s rich past. Also, the proximity to Yosemite makes it easy to include a day trip to one of the most famous national parks. Adventure enthusiasts can also hit the whitewater rapids of the Tuolumne River.

Fishing and Wildlife

Cherry Lake is a haven for fishing and spotting wildlife. The lake is teeming with trout and salmon, making it a great place for an afternoon of fishing. Let’s bring our fishing gear and see if we can catch some dinner!

Wildlife lovers will also enjoy observing the local fauna. The area around the lake, and especially along Cherry Creek, is teeming with various animals. Deer, foxes, and even the occasional bear can be spotted. Birdwatchers can marvel at the many species of birds that inhabit the region.

Photography and Sightseeing

The stunning scenery around Cherry Lake is a feast for the eyes and a delight for photographers. Whether we’re capturing the serene lake at sunrise or the rugged landscape shaped by the Rim Fire, every shot is Instagram-worthy.

We can’t miss the lookouts and vistas that offer sweeping views. The area is perfect for both amateur and professional photographers looking to capture the beauty of nature. Visit the highest points for panoramic views that span from Sonora all the way to Yosemite.

Let’s make sure to explore every angle and take lots of photos to remember our adventure by.

Safety and Conservation

A serene lake surrounded by lush trees, with a campsite nestled among the greenery. A sign promoting safety and conservation stands at the entrance

When we head to Cherry Lake for camping, it’s crucial to keep safety and conservation in mind. From dealing with wildfire risks to respecting wildlife, our actions can ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Wildfire Precautions

Wildfires are a serious threat in the Sierra Nevada, especially following events like the Rim Fire. We must be extremely careful with campfires and use designated fire pits or campfire pits. Ensure there’s always water nearby and never leave a fire unattended.

Due to drought conditions, the risk of wildfires increases. Always check for fire bans before starting a campfire. We also need to clear the area of dry leaves and twigs that could catch fire.

Following these steps not only protects us but also preserves the beautiful Stanislaus National Forest for future visitors.

Respecting Wildlife

Cherry Lake is home to abundant wildlife, including Kokanee Salmon, Rainbow Trout, and Brown Trout. When fishing, it’s important to follow local guidelines to protect these species.

We must also avoid feeding wildlife, as human food can harm them. Keeping our campsite clean by storing food in sealed containers helps deter animals from approaching.

It’s essential to observe animals from a distance and never disturb their natural habitats. By respecting wildlife, we help maintain the delicate balance of the ecosystem at Cherry Lake.

Frequently Asked Questions

Visitors gather around a campfire at Cherry Lake, surrounded by tents and trees. A sign with "Frequently Asked Questions" is posted nearby

Let’s dive into some common questions people have about camping at Cherry Lake, the amazing activities available, and what to expect when visiting.

How can I reserve a campsite at Cherry Lake?

Campsites at Cherry Lake can be reserved through It’s simple and convenient. Make sure to book in advance to secure your spot, especially during peak seasons.

What are the best spots for dispersed camping near Cherry Lake?

For dispersed camping, head east of the lake. The area is restricted to foot travel after September, providing a more secluded experience. Remember to follow all forest rules and regulations to protect the environment.

Are there any free camping areas around Cherry Lake?

Yes, there are free camping areas near Cherry Lake, especially in the surrounding Stanislaus National Forest. These spots are perfect for those looking for a more rustic experience. Always check the local regulations and fire restrictions before setting up camp.

What are the camping fees for a stay at Cherry Lake?

The camping fees at Cherry Lake vary depending on the season and campsite amenities. Typically, fees range from $15 to $25 per night. For exact prices and availability, visit

What should I know about fishing in Cherry Lake, CA?

Cherry Lake offers excellent fishing opportunities. You can fish for various species, including trout and bass. Make sure to have your California fishing license and be aware of local fishing regulations to ensure a great experience.

If you liked this blog post about Cherry Lake Camping, don’t forget to leave us a comment down below to tell us about your experience with it.

Feel free to check out the rest of our blog as well if you are looking for more Camping and hiking spots or inspiration!

Enjoy your camping adventure at Cherry Lake!

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