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McClure's lake haven

After a mild start to the summer, things got cookin’ in late June with arrival of triple-digit temperatures, and triple-digits last until August.

Lake McClure, which lies among the rolling Sierra Nevada foothills and stately oak trees of Mariposa County, provides guests a get-away from the triple-digits of the Central Valley.

Lake McClure is owned and operated by the Merced Irrigation District, which also owns Lake McSwain just a few mile downstream.

Both lakes — technically, reservoirs — are fed by the Merced River, which flows out of Yosemite National Park. After the historic rains and snowfall of this past winter, the Merced River feeds Lake McClure with plenty of chilly, heat-beating water.

With a wide body of open water near the dam, Lake McClure is big enough for boaters to spread out, with plenty of coves and inlets to explore. Water skiers, jet skiers, wakeboarders, kayakers, paddlers, houseboaters are welcome. Anglers are welcome, too. They’ll enjoy fishing for trout, bass and salmon.

Lake McClure is served by Barrett Cove Marina (on the western shore), which offers a variety of personal watercraft to rent.

As for camping, guests have several options.

McClure Point Camping and Recreation Area — located seven miles from neighboring Lake McSwain on Lake McClure Road — offers more views of the water than any other campground. Barrett Cove is the largest of the lake’s recreation areas, with more than 200 campsites. Horseshoe Bend Camping and Recreation Area is a few miles west of Coulterville on Highway 132. The Bagby Camping and Recreation area is located just below the Merced River at the inlet of Lake McClure. And, of course, there’s always the campsites at nearby Lake McSwain.

Day-use fee is $10 per vehicle ($3 for motorcycles, maximum two persons), plus $9 with a boat. An annual day-use pass is $125, and $100 to add a boat.

It costs $75 to rent the small picnic pavilion, and $125 for the large. A barbecue pit and wagon can be rented for $45, only at Barrett Cove.

The daily campground site fee is $30, with a second-vehicle fee of $12 (maximum eight persons per site).

For more information, visit, or call 209-354-2955.