This small lakeside town offers easy access to water-focused fun in Sierra National Forest.
On the southwest shore of its namesake lake, the small town of Shaver Lake offers lodging, restaurants, shops, and other services to support visitors to the popular recreational lake. With 20 miles of shoreline and warm surface temperatures in the summer, Shaver Lake is a popular lake for swimming, boating, padding, waterskiing, and water sports. Anglers flock here for the more than 15 species of fish, including Kokanee salmon and rainbow trout. More than 30 miles of trails also surround the lake. Campers have plenty of options, from lakeside campgrounds around Shaver Lake to developed and dispersed campgrounds in the national forest and parks nearby.
Situated on Shaver Lake’s shores are a handful of campgrounds, some with hundreds of campsites and plentiful amenities including wifi, marinas, boat ramps, and horseback riding facilities. On the lake’s southwest shore, the US Forest Service Dorabelle Campground offers 67 campsites with limited amenities but drinking water and vault toilets. Two miles south of the lake, the primitive Swanson Meadow Campground features eight campsites.
The Sierra National Forest surrounds Shaver Lake. Spanning more than a million acres, the landscape varies from rolling foothills to alpine peaks, and more than 60 developed campgrounds. Bass Lake, Huntington Lake, and Mammoth Pool Reservoir are all a short drive away, and offer more than a dozen campgrounds among them. To enjoy natural hot springs, head to the Mono Hot Springs area. Several campgrounds also offer easy access to the Dinkey Lakes and Ansel Adams wilderness areas.
To the southeast of Shaver Lake, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks is home to numerous groves of giant sequoias, the tallest trees in the world, and one of the country’s deepest canyons, along with glacial valleys, massive caverns, and waterfalls. The two parks together offer more than 20 developed campgrounds. Tent cabins are also available for those looking for more luxury. Popular options include the Sunset, Crystal Springs, Azalea, Hume Lake, and Princess campgrounds.
One of the country’s most popular national parks, Yosemite National Park is known for its granite monoliths, grand vista points, waterfalls, epic rock climbing, and hundreds of miles of trails. The park offers more than a dozen developed campgrounds, with the Wawona Campground the closest to Shaver Lake. The campgrounds in Yosemite Valley offer easy access to many highlights, while several high sierra camps offer the best of backpacking, without having to carry everything.
Summers are the most popular times at Shaver Lake and both lakeside campgrounds fill up early. Boat ramps and marinas are usually open from April to October. Shaver Lake is open for fishing all year, though fishing in area streams is often limited to between late April and November. Spring and summer are good times for birdwatching. In the winter, enjoy snow play at several area SNO-parks and the China Peak Mountain Resort near Huntington Lake.