A weekend getaway to Pinecrest Lake with Nik

Togoboat Guide to water adventures along with reviews and helpful tips from nature lovers just like you.

What to expect

Pinecrest is a resort town in the Stanislaus National Forest. The lakes, streams, and rivers in the area were originally part of an elaborate wooden flume and ditch system built during the Gold Rush to provide water for washing gold in placer mining.

Pinecrest Lake, originally known as Strawberry Lake because of the wild strawberries that once grew there, is a perfect place to chill around. Highlights include paddling to the Strawberry Dam, fishing for trout, jumping off a cliff (for extreme-lovers only), and don’t forget a picnic on the beach with BBQ spots, which is also dog friendly (as long as your dog is on a leash).

Togotip: use the oars when paddling to and away from the public beach shore, don’t use a motor in the area where people swim.

Everything is well-equipped for a water adventure and Nik is on the way to explore this route and share all juicy details.

“At Pinecrest Lake Marina you can launch for free, also there is a rental spot with boats, kayaks and paddle-boards. During the summer months the lake’s waters stay cool, clean and refreshing. Near the marina you’ll find a small and incredibly delicious ice cream stand with vanilla, chocolate and chocolate-vanilla bestsellers, keep in mind a long queue. I’d recommend planning an early arrival. At 10 AM the main parking lot is usually fully occupied, so we had to cruise along the roads waiting for someone to leave.

There are not many accommodation choices nearby. Two weeks before the trip the closest cabins to the lake were overpriced or booked long in advance. We stayed at Long Barn. This small town is 11 miles from the lake, so we decided that a picturesque view along the road would be worth driving. You can see many squirrels, the occasional raccoon, and the very occasional black bear. The bears are around, but shy. History shows that the area which is now Pinecrest was used by the Me-Wuks as a trading ground. Scattered throughout the forest you can still find evidence of ancient grinding rocks used by the Me-Wuks in areas assumed to be their campsites.

As in all small-american towns, everything closes at 10 PM, which leaves you a choice to buy ribs, meat for burgers, beer and cook it all at home (renting a house with a grill was probably the best idea).

On the second day we went on a hike around the lake, through the Dam and along the houses (where there is shallow water). A real riddle is how these houses were built and how people get there if a boat is the only way of transportation.


We found Pinecrest Lake as a perfect place to enjoy the quiet sensations and the stunning beauty of mountain life. Don't forget to take some photos along the way”.

If you have any tips to add, leave a comment below so everyone can see.

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