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Pinecrest Lake Loop, Strawberry CA

• 4-star hike
• 3.8 mile loop
• Medium difficulty | Gain 360 feet (Peak 5,725 feet)
• Strawberry, CA
• Driving Directions: Trailhead

Peaceful views from the Eastern end of Pinecrest Lake.

Five-and-a-half thousand feet above sea level in California's Sierra Nevada mountains and some thirty miles East of Sonora, Pinecrest Lake is a popular escape from Central Valley heat in summer months, but also a great destination for sledding and scenic snowscapes in winter before State Route 108 closes for the season.

Featuring a large crescent beach, a marina, several campgrounds and even an outdoor movie theater, the lake is well appointed and there something to keep each member of the family happy. For the more active among us, the four mile long looping trail is a great way to escape the bustle of the beach.

Pinecrest Lake Loop

Pinecrest Lake Loop 4★
3.8 mi, Loop, Medium, Gain 360 ft
Trailspotting Map at AllTrails

Though a clockwise route starting at the beach begins with a sandy flat trail, we recommend sturdy footwear for this hike as the sand quickly yields to rock, and the rocky and uneven surface persists for the full circuit of the lake. There are plenty of places to stop for a picnic on your route, and the panoramic mountain lake views are everywhere on this hike. Plenty of shade too.

For a longer journey that includes a swimming hole, check out our AllTrails link to the Cleo's Bath Trail at the bottom of the page which doubles the length of the hike via an out-and-back trail at the East end of the lake that runs parallel to the South Fork Stanislaus River.

Clockwise from the beach the trail starts flat. | Fishing for rainbow trout from Strawberry Dam.

Excellent sandy beach on the Western shore of Pinecrest Lake.

Add a sidetrip to Sonora's Railtown 1897 State Historic Park.

• Trail Links: Official, Railtown 1897
• Public Maps at AllTrails: Lake Loop, Cleo's Bath
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