It is fascinating to reflect that Lake McClure and Lake Don Pedro, which at their closest lie within three miles of each other, represent the lower reaches of the Merced (McClure) and Tuolumne (Don Pedro) rivers, here so far removed from the granite valleys, waterfalls, and alpine meadows of Yosemite with which both are dramatically associated.
Nestled in the foothills, these tranquil lakes are water lovers’ paradise, offering camping, fishing, sailing, house boating, water skiing and jet skiing.
Places to Stay
Combined the two lakes offer almost 20,000 surface acres of water (at maximum lake levels) and over 200 miles of shoreline, filled with coves large and small where you can either set up in one of the on-shore campsites or anchor your houseboat for the ultimate water camping experience. Available fish species include salmon, trout, bass, catfish, bullheads, crappie, bluegill and others.
Both these lakes are easily accessed via State Highway 132, about eight miles east of Coulterville. Lake McClure and its baby sister, Lake McSwain, also can be entered at Merced Falls, about 27 miles from Merced and 25 miles from the town of Mariposa, via Catheys Valley. The Bagby recreation area (camping, picnicking, swimming, fishing and boat ramp, but no marina), on Lake McClure’s upper reaches, is situated on Highway 49, 15 miles north of the town of Mariposa, and 12 miles south of Coulterville.