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Four BIG Days at Bass Lake
Itineraries Four BIG Days at Bass Lake


  • Centrally located in California, Bass Lake is an easy, half day's drive from most parts of the state. Plan to arrive by midday to make the most of your time away.
  • Get out of the car and stretch your legs, you've arrived in paradise.  A great way to first see the lake is from the Way of the Mono Trail which is an easy one-mile loop to a semi-exposed granite rock with views of all of Bass Lake. This area was originally named Crane Valley by early settlers who mistook the great Blue Herons that nest here for Cranes.  
  • Check into your accommodation - Bass Lake is ready to welcome you with an array of options to meet any budget. From hotel rooms to suites, little fishing cabins to luxurious multifamily homes, RV resort to tent camping, you can find the perfect hideaway for your lake escape.
  • Enjoy dinner from Ducey's on the Lake or Ducey's Bar & Grill, the portions are generous and the food is delicious.  You can dine-in overlooking beautiful Bass Lake or take-out and find your spot lakeside, break out the picnic blanket, and enjoy a Bass Lake sunset on the beach. Alpenglow abounds!   
  • The nearby the Marina Bar and Grill at Bass Lake Boat Rentals is a hip option on the north side of the lake. Enjoy their outdoor dining area with expansive lake and mountain views. Look up, did you spot the bald eagle? During the summer the music is popping daily at this tiki-inspired lakeside favorite.
  • Campfire songs, hot ciders and stargazing. The cool nighttime temperatures at 3,400 ft elevation help you drift away to a restful sleep. Dreaming of the great outdoors - literally!  The 1980's hit movie, The Great Outdoors with John Candy and Dan Aykroyd, was filmed right here at Bass Lake!
View of Bass Lake from Mono Rock

Way of the Mono Trail is the ideal place to find some peaceful moments. This one-mile loop is in the heart of Bass Lake.


  • Wake up before the sun, take a rented paddleboard to Willow Cove. In the still quiet of the morning, the lake is empty, the water is flat and calm and little ducks and goslings are the only ones who will be racing you to the water.  Note:  The lake is "no wake/slow zone" from 8 pm to 8 am daily, which makes for flat and calm waters during these times.
  • Watch the sunrise and the wildlife awaken, take deep breaths while you explore the cove.
  • Breakfast at the famous The Forks Resort, is always a treat (local favorite is the Chicken Fried Steak...delicious!) Hear from the local fisherman about how the fish are biting in this laid back family diner. Then pick up some bait, souvenirs and provisions from their convenient market.
  • Hike the Willow Creek Trail and have a picnic at Angel Falls. There are secluded swimming holes all along this trail, but the water can be swift and the rocks slippery. Practice an abundance of caution when in this area. Please remember - there are no bathrooms or trash receptacles on the trail. Everything that you pack in, must be packed out. This includes toilet paper and waste, so plan accordingly. Pledge to do your part to leave this piece of heaven more beautiful than you found it.  
  • Mosey back to your mountain hideaway for some well-deserved rest and relaxation. Try the nearby Pines Market and Deli for the house party provisions. Remember this is your vacation, take time to kick your feet up, bask in the sun, or nap in a hammock. 
  • Dinner at sunset, you pick the location! Pick-up pizza to-go at the Pines Village Bakery & Pizzeria or set up a BBQ shore-side and delight in California's most delicious Mexican Cuisine from Casa Velasco's, experience a Forks Burger at The Forks Restaurant, or great eats and ice cream treats from Miller's Landing Grill. Find your family's next tradition. 
Paddleboarding on Bass Lake

Early morning paddleboard sessions are restorative for the body and mind.


  • It's a great day - it's a lake day! 
  • Snag your perfect keepsake. With souvenirs, clothing, and adorable lake house decor available in the lovely shops located in the Pines Village, Bass Lake has it all. These "mom n' pop" run businesses have the highest level of public safety and cleaning standards in place. Being far from the crowded towns and cities, six feet of social distance in stores isn't out of the ordinary in this neck of the woods. Although major adjustments have been made to operating standards in every business, the hospitality and service from owners will leave you feeling welcomed and appreciated, just like always.
  • Rent ski boats, wake boats, fishing boats, pontoon boats, kayaks, canoes, stand up paddleboards, inflatables...honestly, this list could go on, but we think you've got the idea. Water sports, like tubing, skiing, wakeboarding and wakesurfing are what outdoor recreational dreams are made from. Rent from Miller's Landing Resort, The Forks Resort, or Bass Lake Boat Rentals, and find everything you need to make the smiles extra big this year.  
  • Drop an anchor or find a beach. Swim, smile, sunscreen - repeat as needed.
  • For lunch, the lake is your oyster, order food to-go and eat it on your boat, this is the good life.  
  • Enjoy occasional summer Friday night concerts called Bass Lake LIVE at The Pines Resort, dive-in movies at Miller's Landing, or nightly live entertainment at the Marina Bar and Grill. Entertainment from the water, no indoor theater necessary. Cheers to you and your sharp thinking, this is social distancing at its best. 
  • Locals Tip:  Every Wednesday from mid-May to mid-October, you can pick up fresh fruits, vegetables, jams, local honey, fresh baked breads and more at the Bass Lake Farmers Market in the Pines Village.

Rent a kayak. It's a wonderful way to enjoy the outdoors and explore the lake. 


  • Take a drive to the south side of the lake, enjoy breakfast pastries and coffee from the retro-metro van, dockside at Miller's Landing Resort and Marina. Available for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This insta-worthy stop has an abundance of fresh air and all the supplies you need for your next excursion.
  • Early morning fishing near the Crane Valley dam. If fishing isn't your forte, the walking trails along this portion of the lake are serene and the views are breathtaking. Humans aren't the only ones who know about this fishing spot. With two resident pairs of Bald Eagles nesting nearby, you'll often see majestic young eaglets in training.
  • It's not just the pristine waters, Bass Lake is world-renowned for its mountain bike trails. Beginners can have a blast all around the lake, but mountain biking masters have also been known to flock to this region. With trails like 007 on Old Central Camp Road, or the reconditioned trails on Goat Mountain, riders can find every level of adventure.  
  • Variety is the spice of life, and even more takeout options are available in the historical village of North Fork, or the town Oakhurst. Both are only a 10-minute drive from the lake. Pick up kegs, growlers and cans from South Gate Brewing Company, picnic wine from Idle Hour Winery, or spirits from Oakhurst Spirits. Ideal for transporting back to your lake house revelers.  
  • Enjoy a shoreline barbecue picnic at one of the many incredible day-use areas that surround the lake; Pine Point, Little Denver Church, or Lakeside picnic areas, just to name a few. Spend the afternoon building sandcastles at Recreation Point, or watch an epic sunset from The Falls Beach. The changing colors of the setting sun against a bluebird sky will leave you understanding why John Muir referred to the Sierra Nevada as, "the Range of Light". The wild and wonderful wilderness that surrounds Bass Lake is a natural reminder to take a break, disconnect, and unwind with the people who matter most. Looking for some space to stretch out? Relax, you've found it.  

Watch for some of the feathered locals on your way to breakfast.


  • Happy trails until we meet again. With paradise found this close, you'll likely be back soon.


Like what you see? Save this pin to your travel planning board to give you an easy way to find your way back here!  Also check out our other itineraries as well as blog posts for more ideas and pins!

Our annual Visit Yosemite | Madera County Visitors Guide can answer all your questions about visiting California's Gateway to Yosemite. From the park itself to the museums, wineries, art galleries and more throughout Madera County, our guide can help you plan the perfect vacation. Please note that we mail to the USA only, but anyone can download the guide.
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