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Merced Lake High Sierra Camp

Backcountry Shelter

One of Yosemite National Park’s five historic High Sierra Camps, Merced Lake High Camp was originally the site of a patrol outpost for the U.S. Calvary built in 1905. It became one of the first three hikers’ camps built by Desmond Park Service Company in 1916. The camp remained open for two summers, but was closed in 1918 due to the Desmond Company’s financial difficulties. The camp reopened in 1922 as a boy’s camp complete with tennis, baseball and basketball courts. The Curry Company expanded Merced Lake High Camp to its present size in 1928. The tennis, baseball and basketball areas returned to forest floor, and the camp opened to hikers and saddle trips of all ages. The original barn and ice house for the camp are still in use.

A short distance from the lake and with a small cascade and perfect swimming pool at its edge, Merced Lake High Camp is popular for rest days along the High Sierra Camp Loop. Guests relax by the lake, fish, swim, or enjoy a day hike to Washburn Lake. With the largest available occupancy of any of our high camps, Merced Lake is great for groups and often this camp has availability for the last-minute planner. Merced Lake can also be a handy base camp for further backpacking into the remote southern end of Yosemite. Have a mule pack up your tent and camping gear and set out for seldom visited areas such as Isberg Pass or Red Peak Pass!

All High Sierra Camp lodging is in canvas tent cabins with dormitory-style steel frame beds with mattresses, pillows, woolen blankets or comforters. To maximize the number of people able to enjoy the High Camps, we do our best to fill all the beds. The staff makes every effort to keep members of a party in the same tent(s), but sometimes splitting a party is necessary.

A satisfying dinner and breakfast are served family-style in a main dining tent while you meet and compare notes with other High Sierra Camp lodging guests. Every effort is made to accommodate advance requests due to dietary restrictions such as food allergies, vegetarian or vegan diets. Sack lunches, which must be ordered the night before they're needed, may also be purchased at each camp

Cascade next to Merced Lake High Sierra Camp

Eco-Friendly Notes

DNC Parks and Resorts, Inc. created GreenPath®. GreenPath is a formal, documented and comprehensive environmental preservation plan, and covers just about everything we could think of to preserve and protect our natural resources. This plan is woven into everything we do - from contributions to environmental organizations to employee volunteerism. GreenPath is our way of making sure that our treasures are available for generations to come.

Number of Persons Shelter Will Accommodate

18 cabins with a total occupancy of 60 guests

Pet Friendly Notes

Pets are not allowed on Yosemite's wilderness trails. All lodging and restaurants within Yosemite National Park do not allow pets. In Yosemite, pets are allowed on fully paved trails and roads.

Structure Access

Merced Lake is part of a 50-mile loop of High Sierra Camps, spaced roughly 5.7 to 10 miles apart. Located high in the Yosemite wilderness and accessible only by foot or saddle, each of Yosemite's High Sierra Camps feature a unique and spectacular setting. Due to high demand, reservations are available on a lottery basis. However, if you miss the lottery process, please check during the summer season for last minute availability at the individual camps.

What to Bring

To reduce the impact of stock on trails, guests provide their own sheets or sleep-sacks and towels. While full packs are not necessary, please review our Trip Preparation information for a recommended packing list.


Shelter Warming Source


Nearby Places