Lake Yosemite

Coordinates: 37°22′35″N 120°25′44″W / 37.37639°N 120.42889°W / 37.37639; -120.42889
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Lake Yosemite
Location of Lake Yosemite in California, USA.
Location of Lake Yosemite in California, USA.
Lake Yosemite
Location of Lake Yosemite in California, USA.
Location of Lake Yosemite in California, USA.
Lake Yosemite
LocationMerced County, California, United States
Coordinates37°22′35″N 120°25′44″W / 37.37639°N 120.42889°W / 37.37639; -120.42889
Primary inflowsMain Canal
Primary outflowsFairfield Canal
Le Grand Canal
Basin countriesUnited States
Max. length0.899 mi (1.447 km)
Surface area500 acres (200 ha)
Average depth53 ft (16 m)
Water volume7,425 acre⋅ft (9,159,000 m3)
Surface elevation253 ft (77 m)

Lake Yosemite is an artificial freshwater lake located approximately 5 mi (8.0 km) east of Merced, California, in the rolling Sierra Foothills. UC Merced is situated approximately 0.5 mi (0.80 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.[1] Recreation on the lake is managed by the Merced County Parks and Recreation Department.[2]


All boating is permitted, including jet skis and water skiing. The lake is equipped with boat launches. Swimming is allowed only in certain designated areas. Swimming outside of these areas is strictly prohibited and could result in a citation. A kayak/SUP rental business (The Padyak Shack) is in operation and has a friendly and knowledgeable staff.

Onshore, shaded picnic areas, which feature picnic tables, barbecue pits, restrooms, and a small playground, are available.

Lake Yosemite Sailing Association[edit]

The lake is home to the Lake Yosemite Sailing Association (LYSA), which was founded in 1988 and currently has more than 90 members. The LYSA hosts club sailboat races at Lake Yosemite Thursday evenings during the summer months and also organizes sailing trips to nearby lakes and bays in California. Lake Yosemite Sailing Association also conducts Youth Sail camps during the summer months, teaching and training the next generation of sailors. [3][4]

Alleged paranormal phenomena[edit]

The lake's tower is said to be haunted by the "Lady of the Lake". According to the horror stories, the ghost has long flowing white hair and wears a long white gown. She is said to walk around the tower catwalk and on the lake's surface looking for her lost child or lover. The ghost has also been reported to walk along Old Lake Road, occasionally stepping into the path of oncoming traffic.[5][6][7][8]


Lake Yosemite
Lake Yosemite
Tower at Lake Yosemite
Tower at Lake Yosemite

See also[edit]



  1. ^ "Find Lakes - Lake Yosemite". Archived from the original on 2017-09-07. Retrieved 2008-06-03.
  2. ^ Merced County Parks and Recreation Department - Lake Yosemite
  3. ^ LYSA History Archived 2008-08-28 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ LYSA Activities and Events Archived 2009-01-06 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ MercedNet - Lake Yosemite (Untitled Document) Archived 2010-02-28 at
  6. ^ Ghosts of America - Merced, California Ghost Tales Page 2
  7. ^ Weird Fresno: Is Merced's Lake Yosemite haunted?
  8. ^ Shadowlands Haunted Places Index - California 2

External links[edit]