Pinecrest Lake Loop

Sonora, California

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This mostly pine and cedar–ringed human- made lake in an open granitic basin with a mountain backdrop is a Western Sierra summer recreation mecca. Although the southwest end of the lake’s marinas, beaches, and rustic cabin resort services are the antithesis of a “wilderness” experience, the 4.0-mile National Recreation Trail stitching the lakeshore boasts a surprisingly stunning and ruggedly natural hiking experience. The trail crosses granite shelves and climbs up rock- terraced steps along the north and east stretch of the lake loop with refreshing dipping opportunities for you and Pooch. Members of the Sierra Me-Wuk tribe were the first to set up seasonal camps for trading in the Pinecrest area. The business of storing the “liquid gold” took root during the mining days of the Sierra Nevada and flourished in the logging era to supply the growing towns of the Sierra foothills. Strawberry Lake, named for the wild strawberries in the meadow, was created by a dam in 1856.
Best Dog Hikes Northern California

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Best Dog Hikes Northern California

by Linda B. Mullally and David S. Mullally (Falcon Guides)

This mostly pine and cedar–ringed human- made lake in an open granitic basin with a mountain backdrop is a Western Sierra summer recreation mecca. Although the southwest end of the lake’s marinas, beaches, and rustic cabin resort services are the antithesis of a “wilderness” experience, the 4.0-mile National Recreation Trail stitching the lakeshore boasts a surprisingly stunning and ruggedly natural hiking experience. The trail crosses granite shelves and climbs up rock- terraced steps along the north and east stretch of the lake loop with refreshing dipping opportunities for you and Pooch.

Members of the Sierra Me-Wuk tribe were the first to set up seasonal camps for trading in the Pinecrest area. The business of storing the “liquid gold” took root during the mining days of the Sierra Nevada and flourished in the logging era to supply the growing towns of the Sierra foothills. Strawberry Lake, named for the wild strawberries in the meadow, was created by a dam in 1856.

© 2014 Linda B. Mullally and David S. Mullally/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Sonora
Length: 4.3
Trail Type: Loop/Lollipop
Skill Level: Easy
Duration: 2.5 hours
Season: Late spring to late fall
Trailhead Elevation: 5,648 feet
Top Elevation: 5,720 feet
Accessibility: Dog-friendly
Local Contacts: Stanislaus National Forest, 19777 Greenley Rd., Sonora 95370; (209)532-3671; www.fs.usda.gov/stanislaus; Summer Ranger District, 1 Pinecrest Lake Rd., Pinecrest 95364; (209)965-3434; www.fs.usda.gov/stanislaus
Local Maps: USGS Pinecrest; USGS Stanislaus National Forest
Topo Map: Pinecrest Lake Loop Topographic Map
Guide Book: Best Dog Hikes Northern California Guide Book
Driving Directions: View Directions
Trail Directions: View Guide

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