Camp Mather


Camp Mather to Remain Closed in 2021

Camp Mather, the City-owned family summer camp in the High Sierra wilderness, will remain closed in 2021 due to Covid-19 risks.

It is the second summer coronavirus concerns have shuttered the 337-acre site, which hosts about 500 campers and 70 employees each week. The shutdowns were made after extensive consultation with health officials in both San Francisco and Tuolumne counties.

The beloved camp, which has served San Franciscans for more than 90 years, faces significant challenges in ensuring social distancing. Campers share bathrooms, meals, and social activities. 

Camp Mather’s remote location near Yosemite could present an obstacle to medical care during an outbreak. Additionally, the spread of the virus and its uncertain forecast has made it difficult to recruit camp employees.

Women by a campfire
Kids riding bikes
Woman riding a horse
Pile of logs by trees
Kids and adults at an archery range
Two people paddleboarding
Kids participating in a sack race
Youth on a challenge course high above the ground
Kids performing a program on-stage
  1. History
  2. Activities
  3. Accommodations
  4. Registration Information


The Origmorgue29_mather_entrance-600x354ins of a San Francisco Family Tradition

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.