Lakes Activities

Enjoy Beautiful Mountain Lakes

The Summer Camp is located just 10 minutes from the Lakes Basin Recreation Area, which has over 70 pristine mountain lakes and where we run much of our aquatics program. We'll also run activities at a few of our other favorite lakes such as Deadman's Lake and Stampede Reservoir and possibly even Donner Lake. You won't get bored with just one lake, but will have many to explore.

In addition to swimming, some of our favorite lake activities include rock jumping, kayaking, and paddle boarding. Here's a description these activities as well as some of the lakes we visit:

Rock Jumping

Rock jumping is a time-honored camp activity. We'll swim or boat over to the island in Salmon Lake or hike up to Upper Sardine Lake to visit two of our favorite spots.


You'll also be able to go kayaking on lakes, including Lower Sardine Lake and Salmon Lake. The kayaks we use are open "ocean" type kayaks that can take 2 or 3 people. During our sessions of two-weeks or longer, we may mix up our destinations, which could also include Stampede Reservoir and Donner Lake. Our favorite kayaking trip is across Sardine Lake followed by a short hike up the feeder stream to a 40' hidden waterfall for a good scrub!

Paddle Boarding

This is an enormously popular activity. You'll climb aboard what looks like a very long surf board where you can sit, kneel or stand. This is actually great exercise, working your core and arms and helps improve balance. It also offers a unique perspective of the lake and shoreline.

Lower Sardine Lake

Lower Sardine Lake is very scenic, with the majestic Sierra Buttes providing a beautiful backdrop for your kayak trip across the lake. You'll paddle about 3/4 of a mile (1 kilometer) across the lake and beach at the inlet stream. You'll then hike up the stream a short way until you reach a hidden 40 foot (13 meter) waterfall. There's always someone who can't resist wading under the falls for a natural scrub!

Upper Sardine Lake

Upper Sardine Lake is very dramatic. It's upstream of Lower Sardine Lake by about 1/10th of a mile (0.2 kilometers) and is tucked right against the towering granite walls of the Sierra Buttes. It's great for the views, rock jumping, and swimming.

Salmon Lake

Salmon Lake is another gem. It has its own island to paddle around and explore, and has some great rocks from which you can jump into the water.

Stampede Reservoir

Stampede Reservoir is bigger than either Sardine or Salmon lakes. It has a beautiful and varied coast line and a couple of islands. There is a camp ground from which we occasionally run an overnight trip.  The lake is great for kayaking and paddle boarding.

Sand Pond

Sand Pond is a shallow, sandy bottom lake with a beach and warms up nicely for a mountain lake, making it a terrific place for a swim.

Volcano Lake

Volcano Lake is another hidden treasure, located on the ridge above Lower Sardine Lake. It's one of our destinations for day hikes and overnights.

Donner Lake

Donner Lake was made famous by the ill-fated Donner Party, which tried unsuccessfully to cross the Sierra Nevada mountains by wagon train one winter in the 1800s.  This large lake provides a beautiful view for you while rock climbing. If you like to paddle, you'll have lots of shoreline and inlets to explore.

Deadman's Lake

Deadman's Lake is located at the end of a scenic 2 mile (3 kilometer) trail from Camp, this high Sierra lake is tucked under Deadman's Peak (who would've guessed?) and off the beaten track. We rarely see other people at the lake, and it's great for taking a dip after the hike. We might also run an overnight camp-out under the stars here.

Deer Lake

Deer Lake is in the heart of the Lakes Basin Recreation Area. It's a favorite destination for short hikes, overnights, and a way-point for longer backpacking trips.

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If your plans change, you can get a refund before May 1st less a cancellation fee. And if you enroll after May 1st, you may still cancel and receive a refund if you notify the Camp within 7 days of your enrollment, or the start of camp for your child, whichever comes first, less a cancellation fee.  (See our Refund Policy.)

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