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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
|Lake Size:||300 surface acres|
|Original Dam Construction:||1856|
|Larger Dam Construction:||1916|
|Reservoir Owner:||Pacific Gas & Electric|
|Maximum Lake Elevation:||5,600 feet|
|Average High Air Temperatures|
|Summer Water Temperature:||72 degrees|
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.