Cleo’s Bath Hike
The Cleo’s Bath Hike is an awesome alpine adventure that can be enjoyed by intermediate hikers and families with older children. Leading explorers along the shoreline of Pinecrest Lake, this route opens to the granite river valley, wonderful wading pool, and waterfall. This trail offers an unparalleled experience in the Stanislaus National Forest.
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Route Description for Cleo’s Bath Hike
The Cleo’s Bath Trail is an excellent choice for your next hike in the Stanislaus National Forest. Offering wonderful views and the option for several other adventure pursuits—this is an immersive experience. Open year-round, this trek is best enjoyed in the summer months, so you can hop in and enjoy the water! Note Cleo’s Bath can be dangerous in the spring when the river surges, so use your judgment and swim at your own risk. Additionally, the final push to the bath is extremely steep, requiring some rock-climbing, which may be difficult for children and even your dog! *Note this hike is dog friendly except between May 15th-September 15th.
The Cleo's Bath Trail checks all the boxes by offering a lake, a valley, a waterfall, a swimming hole, and beautiful views! Get your heart rate up as you scramble up through the South Fork Stanislaus River Valley to the bath—and cool yourself off in the chilly alpine waters. This hike is unlike any in the area, offering both a relaxing nature walk and a strenuous climb, but don’t worry, the beautiful scenes make it all worthwhile! If time permits, following your awesome trek, take a paddleboard out onto Pinecrest Lake and enjoy the alpine views from a different perspective.
Embark on your adventure along the Cleo’s Bath Hike from the trailhead off Pinecrest Avenue. Here, you can choose to hike in either direction, but we chose to venture counterclockwise, heading southeast along the Pinecrest Lake Trail. This section of the hike will guide you past the Pinecrest Amphitheater and along the beach before diverting you northeast. Wandering this path, you will be bounded by the lake on the left and charming lakeside cabins on your right. Enjoy the sights of the encompassing granite bluffs that impose the lake.
Eventually, you will reach an intersection, keep right here and you will be diverted onto the Cleo’s Bath Trail. At this point, the trail will increase in intensity—demanding stamina and scrambling. Heading east, the path will near the South Fork Stanislaus River, passing impressive granite sculptures. Mind your footing on the uneven terrain as you ascend the river valley, and eventually, the path will plateau before confronting a steep cliffside. Roll up your sleeves because you are about to do some rock climbing! Carefully navigate the rocky, vertiginous terrain up to Cleo’s Bath, a charming pool located in a smooth granite basin.
If the water is calm and you need to rejuvenate your tired feet, wade into the chilly alpine waters! After dipping into the waters, you can sun on the granite rocks before beginning your return. Retrace your footing back along the Cleo’s Bath Trail when you are ready. Exercise caution as you climb down the rocky cliffside.
At the trail’s end, turn right onto the Pinecrest Lake Trail. This section of the path will guide you over a bridge on the east side of the lake. From here, you will be granted commanding views of the shimmering alpine pool in the west and the flanking mountains. Continue northwest along this path to the dam on the west side of the lake. At this point, you are near your adventure’s end– simply follow the Pinecrest Lake Trail all the way back to the trailhead.
Pinecrest Lake is a scenic alpine river that was built in 1914. This last is the last in a series of dams constructed on the South Fork of the Stanislaus River used to divert water to lower elevations and generate energy. Sitting at an elevation of 1,707 m, this scenic alpine lake offers numerous outdoor pursuits, including fishing! The state department regularly stocks the lake with rainbow trout! So head out and fish, swim, boat, bike, or hike—the possibilities are endless.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you swim in Cleo’s Bath?
Yes, Cleo’s Bath is a popular swimming hole above Pinecrest Lake.
Where is Cleo’s Bath?
Cleo’s Bath is located in the Stanislaus National Forest above Pinecrest Lake.
How long is Cleo’s Bath Trail?
The Cleo’s Bath Trail is a 12.2 km lollipop hike.
Insider Hints for Cleo’s Bath Hike
- If time permits, and you have a permit, try your hand at some trout
- Pack lunch and have a picnic overlooking the stunning alpine lake
- Don’t forget your swimsuit, so you can enjoy Cleo’s bath
- Use your judgment, and don’t swim in the bath when the waters are surging
- Grab a bite at The Steam Donkey Restaurant and Bar after your hike
- In the winter months wear microspikes or snowshoes to navigate the path
Getting to the Cleo’s Bath Hike Trailhead
The Cleo’s Bath Hike departs from the Pinecrest Lake Trailhead off Pinecrest Avenue.
Cleo’s Bath Hike Elevation Graph
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Cleo’s Bath Hike Reviews
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