Photo of Pinecrest Lake, CA

Pinecrest Lake


Pinecrest Lake has been a family vacation destination for more than a century. This beautiful alpine lake is proof that even a small lake can be one of California's best. Pinecrest is popular for slow-speed boating, fishing, swimming, camping and hiking. The 4-mile trek around the lake is almost a required initiation for first-timers. A great marina offers boat rentals, nearby stores have supplies, and lodges offer a variety of accommodations.

Pinecrest Lake is located a half-hour's drive east of Sonora in the Stanislaus National Forest. Admission, parking, and boat launching are all free.



Boating

Pinecrest Lake sees mostly anglers on its clear waters. Fishing boats, pontoon boats, and float tubes dot the lake. Pedal boats, sailboats, kayaks, and canoes also launch into the lake.

Marinas

Pinecrest Lake has a single marina that offers a good supply of rental boats. The single launch ramp can be busy of summer weekends.

Fishing

Fishing at Pinecrest Lake is mostly for rainbow trout. Anglers do well from boats and shore. An accessible fishing pier, a safe place for children and others to cast their lines into the water, is located near the beach.

Campgrounds

Pinecrest Campground is located at the western end of the lake, with campsites close enough that campers can walk to the beach, marina, or fishing pier. Other campgrounds are located nearby, including a group campground overlooking the lake.

Lodging

Pinecrest Lake Resort is the main lodging choice right at the lake, along with cabin rentals. Nearby, however, are a number of lodges with a variety of facilities from cabins to lodge rooms.

Scenery

Pinecrest Lake is another mountain beauty with Sierra peaks rising in the background and thick pine and cedar forests along the shores. A rocky point juts into the lake near the dam.

Nearby Communities

The community of Pinecrest Lake has a grocery store, sporting goods store, and restaurant. Only a couple of miles away in Strawberry are another restaurant and store. More services can be found back down the mountain in small communities like Twain Harte or a half hour away in Sonora.



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Pinecrest Lake Facts
Lake Size: 300 surface acres
Maximum Depth: feet
Length: 1.5 miles
Shoreline: 4 miles
Original Dam Construction: 1856
Larger Dam Construction: 1916
Reservoir Owner: Pacific Gas & Electric
Maximum Lake Elevation: 5,600 feet
Average High Air Temperatures
  spring: 66 degrees
  summer: 79 degrees
  fall: 71 degrees
  winter: 46 degrees
Summer Water Temperature: 72 degrees

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Pinecrest Lake

2 Stars

BOATING

3 Stars

MARINAS

3 Stars

FISHING

4 Stars

CAMPING

3 Stars

LODGING

5 Stars

SCENERY



Recreation Opportunities Near
Pinecrest Lake


  • Bicycling and Mountain Biking, rent a bike from the Hub in Pinecrest near the store
  • Nature Hikes - Stop at the Summit Ranger Station for directions to short, local nature walks
  • Outdoor Movies and Programs - First-run family movies and ranger programs at the amphitheater. Sonora Pass Vacations
  • Horseback Riding - Trail rides at nearby Aspen Meadow Pack Station
  • Niagara Creek OHV - Niagara Creek OHV

Pinecrest Lake Renovations


Pacific Gas and Electric Company and the Stanislaus National Forest are working on a multi-year plan to upgrade facilities at Pinecrest Lake. Improvements include new docks, parking areas, and restrooms at the east end of the lake. The project is scheduled to conclude in 2017.

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California's Greatest Lakes


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