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Lake Yosemite, Merced

#5 of 9 in Things to do in Merced
Lake Yosemite is an artificial freshwater lake located approximately five miles (8 km) east of Merced, California in the rolling Sierra Foothills. UC Merced is situated approximately half a mile (0.8 km) south of Lake Yosemite. The university is bounded by the lake on one side and two canals (Fairfield Canal and Le Grand Canal) run through the campus.
Lake Yosemite is a reservoir built in 1888 for irrigation purposes. It is currently owned and operated by Merced Irrigation District, which supplies irrigation water to farms in Merced County. Recreation on the lake is managed by the Merced County Parks and Recreation Department.
All boating is permitted, including jet skis and water skiing. The lake is equipped with boat launches, full service marina, and boat rentals (paddle boats, kayaks, and jet skis). Swimming is allowed only in certain designated areas where life guards are present. Swimming outside of these areas is strictly prohibited and could result in a citation.
Onshore, shaded picnic areas are available which feature picnic tables, barbecue pits, restrooms, and a small playground.
Lake Yosemite Sailing AssociationThe lake is home to the Lake Yosemite Sailing Association, which was founded in 1988 and currently has more than 90 members. The LYSA hosts sailboat races at Lake Yosemite Thursday evenings during the summer months and also organizes sailing trips to nearby lakes and bays in California.
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Lake Yosemite Reviews

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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.0
40 reviews
  • My friends and I had been getting together for lunch (and the occasional hike) every 2 weeks for a few years now. COVID-19 put an abrupt halt to our activities. With the recent advancement of...  more »
  • Always a go-to to get outside for early morning kayaking (north shore off Old Lake rd. to launch for free) or for getting under the shade and picnicking on the south shore and main entrance (fee...  more »
  • It's a nice place to spend the day enjoying a picnic, swimming, or boating with family and friends.
  • Beautiful lake in Merced city 💕

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