By Donna Polizzi
Winding roads to Bass Lake are a nature lover’s eye candy. The drive alone can calm the most active mind, passing lush foothills with a dusting of snow and studded with boulders, old barns, oak and pine trees.
I’ve been to Bass Lake many times and the beauty never escapes me. If I had to describe it in one word … it would be tranquil. Staying at the Pines Resort, located at 54432 Road 432, Bass Lake, was a great call. It turned out to be a charming secluded mountain retreat with 84 chalet units and 20 suites that sit right on the lake. It’s rustic and I loved the smoky, sweet pine scent of wood burning in the wood stove.
If you’re looking for an escape in the mountains, comfortable accommodations, with a full kitchen on a breathtaking lake, book it. I would be remiss not to warn you about two things … descending a really steep set of stairs to the cozy bedroom can be a challenge and the king size fluffy white bed is the type you’re tempted to jump up and down on. Of course, I wouldn’t!
I have no doubt that you will be in awe, the moment you see this beautiful lake and will instantly become fully present. It’s a true scenic sensation. Deep, blue water sparkles in the sun like diamonds, flanked by a thick forest of pine trees.
Dave Birabent is one of the workers at the Pines Resort and he had some interesting insight. Birabent shared, “Check out ‘Devils Slide.’ Even when it’s dry outside, the rock is super slick. The terrain is interesting. Large leaves grow out of the river and the further back you go the bigger the leaves get.” He wasn’t kidding. This area looks like something out of Jurassic Park.
Bass Lake is relaxing and beautiful. If you’re up for some crappie fishing, (that’s a type of fish), the fishing is decent. You can also catch Kokanee salmon, rainbow trout, bluegill and large mouth bass. A lot of people prefer Shaver Lake for fishing, if they’re hoping for a big catch.
Black bears roam the lake. There is one in particular that hangs out at the Pines Resort maintenance shed that periodically runs down to the lake and hides under the dock.
Several locals have seen black bears and a local who had a recent bear encounter claimed that they are bold. “They huff, hiss and charge at you, then usually turn away and run.” Usually! Really!
With a chuckle, Birbabent also shared a potentially life saving tip. “If you’re chased by a bear … climb a tree and get yourself onto the thinnest branch and hope the bear won’t follow for fear it will fall.”
Is your first thought A.) Can I run fast enough? Or B.) What if the thinnest branches don’t hold me? I was advised to wear mosquito repellent when I went hiking. Humm… somehow, that didn’t seem very important. Here’s another tip. Animals in the wild dislike red lights, so bring your Laser pointer with you.
After a long day exploring, check out Ducey’s on the Lake restaurant. It is a beautiful place to eat with a magnificent view and great food. On June 2, 1988, Ducey’s had a grease fire in the kitchen and burned down and the re-opening of the award winning restaurant and steakhouse was on April 20,1991.
Ducey’s Bar & Grill is a great place to get an Irish coffee or a Moscow Mule, while enjoying a great view of the lake. Dinner was fantastic and bring your appetite, because the portions are large. The dessert tray presented one of the toughest decisions that I had to face in 2016. Everything, including the service was wonderful.
Bass Lake is one of the best spots in California to explore. Nearly every curve in the road presents a new view with jaw-dropping, gorgeous scenery. Sunset Magazine has touted Bass Lake as one of the West’s top 10 best, lake destinations.
Only 17 miles away is my next stop. Yosemite National Park.