Pinecrest Day Use Area

Stanislaus National Forest

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Pinecrest Lake is located 40 minutes east of Sonora, California, and is within a 3-hour drive from major metropolitan areas including San Francisco, Sacramento and many valley cities. The lake is located at 5,600 feet elevation and provides cool summer relief, spectacular scenery, and lake shore beaches for relaxing, swimming and picnics.


Pinecrest Lake is popular for swimming, hiking, kayaking, fishing and sailing (small boats). A nearby resort offers boat rentals, lodging and groceries. Movies and interpretive programs are provided in the evenings at the amphitheater, also located in the day use area. Two campgrounds within the Pinecrest Basin offer opportunities at nearly 300 campsites within one mile from the Pinecrest Day Use Area. *Outdoor movie showings and interpretive programs typically end for the season by mid-October due to weather. Please check for availability.


Group use sites are fully accessible and provide group size pedestal grills, food storage boxes, group picnic tables and food prep table. Water hydrants and recycle and garbage cans are also located within the sites. Flush toilets are located nearby. 

* Water hydrants are not available during the winter months due to freezing. ** Group sites may be under snow during winter months. Please plan accordingly as accessibility may be limited after heavy snowfall.

Natural Features

The day use area is surrounded by mixed conifer, providing shade during warm summer days. The group picnic sites are located within sight of the lake offering easy access to the lake, beach and hiking trails.


For facility specific information, please call (209) 459-9236.

Nearby Attractions

The Pinecrest National Recreation Trail traverses Pinecrest Lake for an easy four mile hike. Numerous opportunities for swimming, fishing, boating and lake play are within 100 feet from each group use picnic site.
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Campground Matrix

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