About Pinecrest

Marina at Pinecrest Lake

High in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, yet less than three hours away from the Bay Area, the perfect family resort awaits you. Pinecrest Lake Resort, rests at 5600’ feet in elevation just steps from the shores of beautiful Pinecrest Lake. Above us sits our namesake, Pinecrest Peak, a majestic granite mountain rimming the deep blue waters of fabulous Pinecrest Lake.

Pinecrest Lake resonates in the hearts of many generations. Built during the logging era of 1914, the lake was to provide drinking water to the lower elevations and generate power through the power house down stream at Spring Gap. In 1923, Pacific Gas and Electric Company purchased the dam from San Francisco and Sierra Water & Power Company (see sidebar for more Pinecrest History).

Hiking at PinecrestThough off the beaten track, Pinecrest sits in the heart of the Stanislaus National Forest and is accessible and open year round. Pinecrest is the perfect place to enjoy the quiet sensations and the stunning beauty of mountain life. Pinecrest Lake Resort is home to Cabins, Townhouses and Motel rooms as well as The Steam Donkey Restaurant, Pinecrest Lake Marina, Sport Shop, Grocery Store, Post Office, Pinecrest Hub Bike Rental, Serene Bean Coffee Bar and lake side Snack Bar.

Pinecrest Lake is the perfect location for your summer vacation or a winter getaway. During the summer months the lake’s waters stay cool, clean and refreshing. The Pinecrest Lake Marina offers motorboat, paddleboat, kayak, sailboat and party boat rentals. For the fisherman or woman Pinecrest Lake is stocked on a weekly basis with Rainbow Trout, a great catch! Spend your early morning hours catching that night’s dinner, your mid-day relaxing on the beach with a great book and take an evening kayak paddle on the lake before the sun sets.

Dodge Ridge Ski ResortDuring the winter months snow takes the center stage. Just four miles from major ski area, Dodge Ridge, Pinecrest provides an easy a well-maintained base for your skiing, snowboarding or snow play vacation. Additionally the Pinecrest area is a wonderful location for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Many families spend quiet days building snow men and having snowball fights on the resort premises and their nights relaxing by a warm fire.

Pinecrest History

Pinecrest History

Prior to the California Gold Rush of 1848 anthropologists agree that the first inhabitants of Pinecrest were the early bands of Me-Wuk Indians. 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 the Gold Rush began the Me-Wuks were treated poorly by the early settlers; leading to the diminishing numbers of Me-Wuk Indians. Over time miners and settlers began searching for new opportunities. Soon, logging became a major industry in the area. With logging came the development of many foothill towns. Water was vital to the survival of these towns. Many lakes, such as Pinecrest were developed in order to sell and provide water to the foothill towns.

Pinecrest Lake sits in what was once a meadow surrounded by granite outcroppings. Originally, Pinecrest Lake was called Strawberry Flat because of the wild strawberries that once grew there. In the 1960’s the name was officially changed to Pinecrest.

Pinecrest Lake is the last in a series of dams constructed on the South Fork of the Stanislaus River. In the beginning the purpose was to divert water via ditches and flumes to the mining claims and towns in and around Columbia and the foothills. Much of this aqueduct system remains intact today and is still used as a portion of the main water system for the surrounding area. A large part of the aqueduct in the forest was built with wooden flumes, builders carried portable sawmills into the forest to mill the trees into boards in order to construct the flumes.