Backpack to Boothe Lake

Yosemite Vogelsang High Sierra Trail

Added by Kevin Abernethy

Hike to this lake for secluded camping and great options for swimming and cliff jumping. 

Starting at the Tuolomne Meadows Visitor Center you will head south to jump on the John Muir Trail, move east for 2.8 miles on the JMT until the trail intersects with the Vogelsang High Sierra trailhead, you head south when you reach this trail. Once you hit the Vogelsang trail you are 5.5 miles from Boothe Lake. Tuolomne Meadows sits at 8,600' and Boothe Lake is at about 9,800' but luckily the elevation gain is slow and steady. At about 10,000' you will see the sign leading you to Boothe Lake where you will descend for 0.3 miles and then you will take the unmarked fork to the right and walk another 0.3 miles to the lake. This is a strenuous trail so load up on snacks and water, if you need to filter some water you follow Rafferty Creek for about 4.5 miles on the Vogelsang trail.

There are several camping options around the lake, especially on the east and north sides. There is a great beach on the north side, but please follow the Leave No Trace guidelines and set up camp at least 200' from the water. Check the lake level first, but there are nice cliffs to jump off of on the west side of the lake.

If you are camping overnight you will need a Wilderness Permit. Additionally, you can make this an out-and-back trip but I recommend continuing down to the valley to make this a great thru-hike. If you opt for the thru-hike you can take Sunrise Lakes to Clouds Rest, check out Vernal and Nevada Falls, or try to lock in a permit for hiking Half Dome. If you hike back to Yosemite Valley you can take the shuttle bus back to your vehicle. Make sure to check on the YART's schedule first. Either way you can park your car at the Tuolumne Meadow's Visitor Center or the Dog Lake parking area. 

Pack List

  • Wilderness Permit
  • Bug Spray
  • Swimming Gear
  • Tent
  • Backpack
  • First-Aid Kit
  • Food
  • Water and Filtration System
  • Camera
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Bear Canister (Required)
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More



Backpacking, Camping, Hiking, Photography, Swimming

Skill Level:



Spring, Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:



16.6 Miles

Elev. Gain:

1400 Feet



Cliff Jumping
Swimming Hole

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How to Get There

about 1 month ago

High Sierra beauty

I spent a gorgeous autumn night at Boothe Lake and had it all to myself! The permit is for the "Rafferty Creek" trailhead, which allows you to stay at Boothe Lake, the Vogelsang High Sierra Camp backpacker's area, or further south at Vogelsang Lake and beyond. Spring would mean snow at 10,000 ft and fall will be quite cold! Summer is the ideal time to visit, gorgeous blooming wildflowers and abundant water.

about 1 month ago

Added by Kevin Abernethy

Time is gift, and I try to spend my time doing the things I love with the people I love

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