Lake Eleanor is a reservoir located in the northwestern corner of Yosemite National Park in the Stanislaus National Forest. This remote, beautiful alpine lake sits at an altitude of 4650′ and is the perfect spot for mid-summer swimming, fishing kayaking or hiking or for those that just want some back country peace and quiet. Make sure and bring a picnic because you’ll want to spend most of the day here. Although Lake Eleanor is technically part of Yosemite National Park, access to this lake is free via Cherry Lake and some back roads. The hike to Lake Eleanor is a short, easy 1/2 mile from the dirt parking area.
To reach Lake Eleanor take Cherry Lake Rd (FR 1N07) from Groveland or Cottonwood Rd (FR 1N04) from Tuolumne about 30 miles until you reach Cherry Lake. Cross over Cherry Lake Dam and turn right on FR 1N14 and drive for another couple of miles till you reach the gate (beyond the gate is Yosemite National Park). Park your car and continue on foot for 1/2 mile or so till you reach Lake Eleanor. You can either take the trail on the west side of the lake or cross over the dam and explore the south side.
Some of the best fishing on lake Eleanor is purportedly trolling from a canoe or kayak, but to get your boat on the water you must pack it
in. I also heard that fishing for brown or raindow trout from the shore isn’t bad either.