Madera Peak is located a few miles outside the southeastern boundaries of Yosemite National Park. It is at the end of a long spur ridge of the Sierra Nevada that forms Yosemite's boundary, extending from Mount Lyell towards southwest. Despite its moderate stature, it is a prominent peak when viewed from the west side. From the summit of Madera Peak one gains great views of a vast complex of high ranges including Ritter Range, the Sierra crest, Silver Divide, Yosemite boundary divide, and Clark Range.
Being relatively close to road (5 miles air distance) and having many easy routes, Madera Peak is frequently climbed. Most of its routes are class 2 or straight forward snow walks, except for its steep east face. The many lakes in the West Fork Granite Creek drainage below Madera Peak are well-visited early-summer fishing spots. However, the area's relatively difficult access and its gentle forested terrain helps keep number of hikers far lower than other parts of Yosemite.
Many easy to moderate peaks exist in the area, requiring longer approaches than Madera Peak. Among these are Merced Peak, Triple Divide Peak, Sing Peak, Gale Peak, and Post Peak.
To get to Madera Peak from spring to fall requires long drives on back roads; in winter due to the closure of these back roads, to get to it requires days of snow travel.
The closest trailheads to Madera Peak are in the Clover Meadow area: Jackass Lakes trailhead, Norris Creek trailhead, and Fernandez Pass trailhead. These are easily reached by spur roads from Clover Meadow. To reach Clover Meadow there are two ways:
1. From the town of North Fork, take the narrow winding but paved Minarets Highway (also called Sierra Vista Scenic Byway)for 60 miles to the east. This is the easiest approach.
2. From the town of Bass Lake, take the narrow winding and partially paved Beasore Road for about 45 miles to the east. At Clover Meadow it joins Minarets Highway to form a loop. Beasore road opens later in spring than Minarets Highway.
The shortest route to Madera Peak is about 5 miles one-way from the Norris Creek trailhead. It is usually done as a day hike.
Madera Peak is located in Ansel Adams Wilderness. Overnight travel in the area requires a free permit. Pick up permits at the Sierra National Forest ranger stations in the towns of Oakhurst or North Fork.
When To Climb
Late spring through fall. Winter ascent requires days of snow travel to approach Madera Peak.
Back country camping requires a free permit. Obtain permits at the Sierra National Forest ranger stations in the towns of Oakhurst or North Fork.