Camp Mather

Camp Mather Sign

Choose your favorite summer recreation and you will find it at Camp Mather in the High Sierra. In a setting unparalleled in the West, your family can take advantage of the many activities available at San Francisco’s own vacation land.

You’ll enjoy all your favorite outdoor activities in this locale of spectacular beauty. Crystal clear lakes, surging streams and quiet mountain forests surround Mather and offer unlimited recreation to visitors. Water sports abound with swimming at Birch Lake and Pool. Fishing is plentiful in any of the nearby mountain streams and lakes. There are miles of hiking and horseback riding trails, all at their scenic best within these tranquil surroundings.

Fun-filled days are capped with entertaining nights of dances, campfire songs, skits and games. From dusk to dawn, an air of relaxation prevails throughout the Camp slowing down the quickened pace of modern life. An experience in dining awaits you as hearty home cooked meals are prepared and served to you three times daily, cafeteria style.

Campfire entertainment, sport activities, supervised recreation programs for children, fine dining, all are yours at very reasonable rates at Camp Mather!

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Cabin Information

Nestled among the tall pines are rustic cabins that can accommodate one to six persons. Furnishings include electric lights, beds, and mattresses. Separate bathhouse facilities with hot water, laundry rooms with coin-operated washer/dryers are easily accessible.

Items campers should bring include pillows, blankets, linen, a flashlight, extension cord, double socket and plug, padlock, clothes hangers, and mosquito repellent. No special food preparation is made for baby's formulas or special foods. No pets or firearms are allowed.

A concession store that sells sodas, candies and sundries is open throughout the summer. Campers are advised to bring travelers checks since personal checks are not accepted.


From San Francisco, take Bay Bridge-Route 580 (bypass Tracy) continue on (highway changes to Route 120), bypass Manteca, then through Escalon and Oakdale. Right turn at Yosemite Junction to Chinese Camo and Groveland. Stay on 120 when you come to Yosemite Gatehouse sign, go 1/8 mile to Evergreen Road, turn left, and stay on Evergreen Road until you come to Mather. Watch for signs indicating these towns. All are on Route 120.

For More Information Please Call (415) 831-2715.



Swimming - Birch Lake and pool, both in camp, have trained lifeguards. A spacious lawn area for sun bathing adjoins the lake and pool. (Swimming only when lifeguards are on duty.)

Recreation Activities - Experienced recreation personnel lead group games, organize tournaments, arrange dances and serve many other recreational interests, including regular campfire programs, talent shows and nature hikes.

Hiking and Biking - Numerous mountain trails bring the vacationer to the beauty of the High Sierra. Sunrise Peak and Inspiration Point are favorite spots for breathtaking views of Hetch Hetchy Valley, O'Shaughnessy Dam and the deep Tuolumne River gorge. Bring your bike to explore old fire roads or take you to "Inspiration Point".

Games - Facilities are available for tennis, badminton, ping-pong, horseshoes, volleyball and softball. Please bring your own tennis racquets and softball gloves. Badminton racquets and ping-pong paddles, basketballs and volleyballs are available for use.

Horseback Riding - For those who enjoy riding, there are well-trained horses accustomed to mountain trails. A corral concession service provides horses for hire by the hour or the day. Special rides such as breakfast rides, children's rides and pack trips are offered at reasonable rates.

Fishing - Try your luck in the Tuolumne River, South and Middle Forks of the Tuolumne, Cottonwood Creek and along the shores of Hetch Hetchy. California Trout License required.

Young Children's Programs - There are special arts and crafts programs, recreation activities and also a play area with play apparatus.


Camp Mather is the perfect center for sightseeing. Both half day and full day trips to some the most spectacular scenery in the High Sierra is easily reached by automobile.

Hetch Hetchy Reservoir  - A twenty-minute drive and nine miles away, is the O'Shaughnessy Dam, where one may see San Francisco's gigantic dam and water supply. From there you might wish to take a two-mile hike on marked trails to Wampama Waterfalls.

Yosemite Valley  - The splendor of Yosemite National Park can be found just 27 miles and a 45-minute drive away in the Yosemite Valley. Here within seven square miles are the spectacular Yosemite and Bridal Veil Falls and the sculptured beauty of El Capitan and Half Dome.

Tuolumne Meadows - A leisurely hour's ride from Mather over the Tioga Pass Road and through the Yosemite High Camps brings one to the exquisite Tuolumne Meadows. A walk through this natural alpine garden, at 8600 feet of elevation, makes a delightful day excursion - an unforgettable odyssey among sparkling streams, glistening lakes and mountain wildflowers.

Highway 49  - The historic gold rush towns of Sonora, Columbia and Angels Camp, home of the Calaveras County Frog Jumping Contest, are within easy driving distance of Mather.



The history of Camp Mather dates back many years before the area became a popular vacation site. Even before the pioneers settled in California, Mather was home to a group of Miwok Indians, who made their camp near where the corral now stands. Artifacts are occasionally found from these Indians.

Although there are signs that prospectors may have re-settled the area during the gold rush era, it was actually not until the early part of this century that the area became heavily populated, when the City of San Francisco began construction of a dam at nearby Hetch Hetchy Valley.

During this time, a sawmill was built on the lake side of Mather to supply the lumber needed for the dam's construction. ' Birch Lake, now the camp "swimming hole," was used to float logs needed for the project.

At the same time, the Yosemite Park and Curry Company used the other side of camp to house tourists interested in seeing both Yosemite National Park and the construction of the dam. The company built the Jack Spring Dining Hall for this purpose, the building that now serves as the Camp Mather kitchen and dining room.

When the O'Shaughnessy Dam was completed, many of the facilities were no longer needed. In the mid 1920's, the City of San Francisco designated the property for use as a family recreation area. It was named Camp Mather in honor of Stephen T. Mather, the first director of the National Park Service.

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