Pinecrest Lake Loop Trail is a 3.7 mile loop trail located near Pinecrest, CA that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible from May until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.
NOTE: Dogs are not allowed near the lake between May 15th and Sept 15th.
Great for kids and dogs. Fairly quick hike. I think it took us 2-3 hours with plenty of stopping along the way. The lake water is much lower in fall, but even in spring the waterfall on the other side of the lake hasn't been running for the past few years.
Easy hike with beautiful scenery. Plenty of places to stop for rest or leisure.
Awesome trail, beautiful scenery. Not too hard, my 6 year old got pretty tired but still had a great time. Nice places to stop and take a break for lunch and swimming. Took our dog, he had a great time as well. I had not been hiking here since high school, but we'll be coming more often for sure!
All three in our group had wore our pedometers. They all read 7 miles, not 4. Be sure to jump in the lake as the day warms up it's a trail where you must watch your step the whole way because of rocks and tree roots.
Beautiful place! Great hike/walk/ Family friendly.
Was a great morning hike with lots of beautiful scenery :)
Great easy hike. Trail can get a little crowded in the summer but nothing to unbearable. Great for dogs!
This is definitely more of a walk than a hike, which is what I expected, so I brought my dogs and they loved it...they were also quite tired once we got home :) (just as a FYI - dogs are not allowed near the lake between May 15-Sept 15). I was confused as to where the trails were so I asked a ranger/employee where the trails were and he was confused as well, and just said that the campgrounds are in alphabetical order so I would find "Dodge Ridge Trail" by the D campsite. I also underestimated the beauty and popularity of this place, and when I come back I will definitely bring my beach blanket, food and floaties :) I also recommend getting there early - I arrived around 11:30 am on a Saturday and it was difficult to find parking, and seeing the carloads of people who came after me I'm not sure they ever found spots. One lady interrupted me when I was talking to the Ranger because she was mad she couldn't find parking and all the handicap spots were taken and her husband couldn't walk far. She bit off his head like it was his fault. So another FYI is that arriving early will avoid the headache and stress of trying to find a spot :)
It's always nice
We love the activities at this lake. Last year our kids were five and six, and they struggled to make it the whole loop (but they did make it!) and this year, at ages six and seven, they did great and enjoyed it with only a couple short breaks.
The trail itself has two actual stairways (made of metal) as well as some narrow portions. Some sections can get muddy (but are still easy to navigate), and trail markers are necessary when finding your way over the rocky outcroppings on the back side of the lake where there is no vegetation to help create a path. There are a lot of up and down elevations on all kinds of surfaces (smooth boulders, stairs out of cut rock, gravelly slopes, etc.) and will provide a challenge for the casual hiker.
If you are looking to avoid crowds, this hike isn't for you (at least not in summer). The lake is a popular area and the trail is well populated.
We have seen a lot of wildlife here, including deer, a small snake, butterflies/ladybugs, and at dusk there are bats which are great fun to watch - if you happen to be looking up!
The lake and surrounding mountains are beautiful. It snows heavily here and they drain the lake quite a bit for winter, so I would classify this as a seasonal hike.
Cleo's Bath trail is at the back side of this lake - using this same trail as a starting point - and has a waterfall.
This is a fun, kid and dog friendly hike. If you're concerned everyone in your group may not be able to do the whole loop, start on the marina side and just hike to the dam as a test run.
After making the loop you can enjoy fishing, paddle boating, ice cream at the snack shack, or even an outdoor movie at the longest continuously running movie theater in California. See you there!
I really enjoyed this hike. Children and dog friendly. Apprx. 4.3miles.
Although Sonora area was around 85degrees, Pinecrest lake area was around mid 60s.
Also, rocky areas reminded me the Mediterranean coasts of Turkey and Greece..
i.e.; The Lycian Way
Nice little hike
Scenery was great!! Lots of wildflowers and lady bugs! 5 year old daughter did really well! A little rocky but overall real nice hike!
great quick hike, best early in morning to avoid crowds
Nice trail. We went from the parking lot to the bridge near Cleo's Bath and back as we got a late start. Next time we will start by the Marina and hike the whole loop.
It was an awesome hike! Lots of rocks and a few up and down stairs but beautiful views. I've done it twice. The first time I jogged it by myself. Second time I took my 4 year old son and he did awesome. He hiked the entire lake on his own.
Great trail but it is more than 3.4 miles. It is very easy my 5 year old completed it with no problems. Have fun!