Pinecrest Lake, Stanislaus National Forest, California

Sonora Pass Lodges, Inns, and Resorts

Tuolumne County

Mileage to Pinecrest Lake

  • Sonora - 30 miles
  • Stockton - 90 miles
  • Sacramento - 134 miles
  • Modesto - 77 miles
  • San Jose - 152 miles
  • San Francisco - 160 miles

Early Times at Pinecrest

Pinecrest was not the popular camping place in the 19th century that it is today. Most of the early campers chose instead to go to Strawberry where a lodge had been established. Fishing and hunting were the favorite past-times.

One of the first to tromp about Pinecrest was Grizzly Adams. He had a cabin down the road in Sugar Pine and used to hunt in the Pinecrest area, sometimes killing, and sometimes trapping, bears.

The Tuolumne County Water Company established the earliest reservoirs in the Pinecrest area in the mid and late 1850s. Three large reservoirs and several smaller ones were built using log crib dams (log frameworks filled with dirt and rock). At that time and for many years afterward, Pinecrest Lake was known as Strawberry Lake.

The Old Emigrant Trail

From 1852 to 1854 emigrants traveled along the Walker River Trail from the Carson River in Nevada to Sonora. The trail led from Burst Rock down the ridges to the top of Dodge Ridge. From there it turned sharply down hill, crossing the North Fork of the Tuolumne River (more of a creek there) and winding down near today's Dodge Ridge Road to Camp Blue.

There in the meadow was a small outpost that sold supplies to the emigrants. From Camp Blue the trail angled up the hillside to the ridge just north of Highway 108 and followed the ridge for miles, passing through the playground at today's Pinecrest School. When easier and shorter trails opened in the mid-1850s, the old Walker River Trail was quickly forgotten.

For more information about the emigrants and the trail, see the book Sonora Pass Pioneers, sold by the Tuolumne County Historical Society.

Lodges, Inns, and Resorts

A number of fine resorts, lodges, and inns are found along the Highway 108 corridor leading up to Sonora Pass. Visitors can choose lodging high in the mountains, in the vicinity of Pinecrest Lake, or lower down the pass. Some offer rustic cabins, but others are well-equipped with modern conveniences such as WiFi and cable TV.

Kennedy Meadows Resort

Kennedy Meadow Resort is 57 miles east of Sonora, situated among towering pines along the banks of the Middle Fork of the Stanislaus River. The resort has been operating there for 90 years. They have cabins for rent, a general store, restaurant, and saloon. The Kennedy Meadows Pack Station is adjacent to the resort.

A fire some years ago destroyed the iconic old resort building, but ashes and debris were quickly moved away and a new building rose in its place.

the old Kennedy Meadows Resort

The Old Kennedy Meadows Resort

Kennedy Meadow Resort is a popular base for people with a variety of interests, including fishing, hunting, horseback riding, hiking, and just relaxing in the mountain air. Many families have made it a tradition to return for a few weeks every summer. The resort does not handle campground reservations.

Kennedy Meadows Resort

Kennedy Meadow Resort opens on the third Friday of April and remains open through the Columbus Day holiday in October. The store sells basic grocery, camping, and fishing supplies. The restaurant is a popular destination for home-cooked meals, the nearby saloon is a favorite, and the pack station offers trail rides and pack trips into the Emigrant Wilderness.

More about the Kennedy Meadows Resort.
More about the Kennedy Meadows Pack Station.

Pinecrest Lake Resort

Pinecrest Lake Resort is 30 miles east of Sonora at Pinecrest Lake. Because of its proximity to the lake to other recreation venues, Pinecrest Lake Resort is a popular destination for many vacationers, both summer and winter.

Pinecrest Lake Resort

Pinecrest Lake Resort has a variety of lodging facilities available, including motel rooms, cabins, and townhouses. The motel rooms have two queen size beds, televisions, and daily maid service. There are 2 or 3-bedroom cabins. Each cabin has a full kitchen complete with refrigerator, stove and oven, microwave, dishes, utensils and bathroom.

Pinecrest Lake Resort townhouses are available in a two-bedroom layout, sleeping six people or with three bedrooms sleeping 8 people, each unit housing one bathroom with a shower/tub combination. Each townhouse is two stories, with sleeping accommodations and bathroom upstairs and living room and kitchen downstairs. Each unit has a full kitchen with a stove, oven, microwave, dishwasher and utensils. Townhouse living rooms are complete with cable television, propane fireplace and couch. All linens and towels are provided.

Nearby facilities include the Steam Donkey Restaurant and Bar, tennis courts, and the Pinecrest Lake Marina.

For reservations call (209) 965-3411
Pinecrest Lake Resort

Pinecrest Chalet

The Pinecrest Chalet, located on the Dodge Ridge Road near Pinecrest, transferred to new ownership in 2019. The resort is on the banks of the North Fork of the Tuolumne River (little more than a stream here).

Pinecrest Chalet sign

The Pinecrest Chalet offers 1 to 4-bedroom chalets, Rates: $$ - $$$ The chalets have kitchens and televisions, fireplaces, and BBQs.

The Pinecrest Chalet first and foremost is a family-oriented recreation resort. They host ski clubs, church groups, hiking clubs, scout troops, and even weddings. During the summer season, their guests enjoy swimming in a heated pool nestled among the pines. They also offer a year-round fitness center, an amphitheater, and seasonal basketball, volleyball, and horseshoes. Wi-Fi and coffee service are also complimentary.

Reservations: (209) 965-3276
Pinecrest Chalet

Strawberry Inn

the Strawberry Inn

Strawberry Inn is located on Highway 108 in Strawberry. It provides rooms for rent, dining, and banquet facilities. It was established in 1939. Knotty pine, a stone fireplace, and an excellent collection of paintings, sculptures and woodcarvings decorate the Strawberry Inn, providing an accent to an already beautiful setting.

The Strawberry Inn is only a few miles from Pinecrest Lakes, Beardsley Reservoir, Dodge Ridge Ski Area, and Leland High Sierra Snowplay. The Inn overlooks the South Fork of the Stanislaus River. Rooms Rates: $$

Dining offers tables overlooking the river and at their attached octagonal two-story gazebo.

(209) 965-3662
Strawberry Inn

Dardanelle Resort

The Dardanelle Resort was established in 1923 at the convergence of Eagle Creek and the Middle Fork of the Stanislaus River. The resort is located at an elevation of 5,700 feet, 51 miles east of Sonora, CA, on Highway 108.

Dardanelle Resort

The Old Dardanelle Resort

Before the devastation of the 2018 Donnell Fire, Dardanelle Resort featured a number of popular venues and services, including a store, restaurant, rustic housekeeping cabins for rent, motel rooms, and RV sites with full hook-ups. Public showers, laundry facilities and a gas station were available. The fire destroyed many of the buildings.

Rebuilding Dardanelle Resort

the Dardanelle store

Dardanelle Store - 2021

Dardanelle Resort is coming back. Plans are underway to rebuild and provide the same friendly services that travelers enjoyed for so many years. In the meantime, a small store has been opened, along with a refreshment stand, outdoor tables, and RV camping. Weekends often bring music and social gathering.

Gables Cedar Creek Inn

Gables Cedar Creek Resort

The Gables Cedar Creek Inn is located on Twain Harte Drive in Twain Harte, close to the Twain Harte Golf Club. They offer cabins and a creekside vacation house for rent on their grounds. The Situation Room is a place for guests to relax and read or use the pool table or watch TV. The Inn has recently added two restaurants in town, The Shack for lunch and early dinner and The Local Press, a coffee shop.

Cabins: $$
USA toll free: (888) 900-4224
(209) 586-3008
Gables Cedar Creek Inn

Lazy Z Resort

The Lazy Z Resort is located on Middle Camp Road on the outskirts of Twain Harte. They have cabins for rent, a clubhouse, and 40 acres of beautiful grounds with waterfalls spilling into a pool. They have facilities for weddings, retreats, and other events.
Cabins sleep from 2 to 8 people. Rates: $$

(209) 586-1214 or Lazy Z Resort


Long Barn Lodge

The Long Barn Lodge is located in Long Barn, just off Highway 108, 6 miles east of Twain Harte. They offer 20 motel rooms and 8 cabins for rent on their 5-acre site, Rates: $$. Facilities include a swimming pool and BBQ and patio for use in the summer.

Long Barn Lodge

A room that can hold up to 200 people is available for gatherings. They host weddings, family reunions, and parties. Catering is available. The lodge also has conference facilities and an ice-skating rink (winter only).

Contact information:
Toll Free: 800-310-3533
Long Barn Lodge

The Rivers Resort

The Rivers Resort

The Rivers Resort Office

The Rivers Resort is located on Highway 108 in Strawberry next to the Strawberry Store and overlooking the South Fork of the Stanislaus River. They have 10 cabins scattered along 3 acres of forest land. The cabins were built in the 1950s during the TriDam construction project. Most are two or three-story homes with a rustic, knotty pine decor. Most have been remodeled. Many have views of the river.

The cabins come fully equipped with cooking supplies and linens. They have cable TV. They are housekeeping cabins which means that you are expected to clean them upon your leaving, except for the linens. Rates vary by cabin and season, $$ - $$$

(800) 514-6777
The Rivers Resort


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