Cali Paddlers are known for their passion of exploration. A desire to paddle our waters, and pay respects to the amazing wildlife and nature that lives in our waterways. Thank you to Bret Warner from Stand up to Alzheimer’s for exploring this great state and sharing new areas to paddle. -C.P.
Paddle Lake Gregory - Map
If the main way I judged new paddle spots was by how many people complimented one of my hollow wooden boards then Lake Gregory would be my favorite place to paddle ever. Especially if extra points were given for people commenting on the vintage Star Wars comic fabric glassed on to the board. Yes, I glassed star wars pictures right onto the nose and tail of my prone board. Without this incredibly valuable metric, however, Lake Gregory is still a pretty awesome place to paddle. Located in the town of Crestline, which is about halfway between Silverwood Lake and Lake Arrowhead, Lake Gregory is the quintessential peaceful mountain lake. The majority of the shore is lined with trees, which adds to the mountain aesthetic, and also severely cuts down on the wind. No Motor boats are allowed so the elusive glassy water you see on magazine covers and Facebook/Instagram is a consistent reality here. In addition everyone just seems stoked to be out playing in the mountains; just walking out to the water the good mood of everyone is infectious.
Because of all this, you have a very family friendly paddle spot. The boathouse, where you have to buy your launch permit, rents SUPs, Kayaks, pedal boats, and row boats. The calm water means you can take the little paddlers, if you have any, without worrying about rougher conditions. On top of all that they have a waterslide and floating jumpers on one end of the lake if you need extra encouragement to get the kids outside. To be fair the lake is quite small, which is nice when you are with inexperienced paddlers, but could be a disappointment to those looking for a longer workout. A lap around it, while hugging the shore, but staying far enough away not to get snagged by fishing lines gets you to roughly 1 3/4 miles. On both a 14’ SUP and 14’ prone I have been able to get great paddles in; I just end up waving to the people on the shore as I pass by them on my numerous laps around the lake. Although, I can see the size being an issue on a faster craft. With the floating jumpers gone, a lap around the lake gets to about 2 miles.
Every time I paddle here I feel like there is a mountain paddling community that just doesn’t know it exists yet. The excitement everyone has for being out there, combined with the mountain air just feels right to paddle in.
Need to know information:
- Launch Fee - $13. I have read in some places that personal craft of any kind are not allowed on the lake, even some of the buoys on the water say so. I am assuming this is leftover from some old rules. You can definitely paddle your own craft there. There do appear to be several places you could park and launch without going through the boathouse, but I genuinely would not consider this with how awesome everyone treats you on the water, even if 13 is a little steep.
- Parking - There is a $10 pay lot, but I have gone in the middle of a summer weekend day and found parking on the street only a few spots away from the boat house, which is where you will have to buy a permit.
- Craft allowed - There does not seem to be a limit on allowable craft, but the size of the lake may be prohibitive from taking some of the faster paddling vessels. I have been on my 14’ SUP and my 14’ prone, and been happy though.
- Post paddle Coffee - Both Paradise Mountain Coffee and the Lake Gregory Coffee Co can serve you an excellent cup for your drive back down the hill.
- Local Vibe - Lots of happy people renting kayaks and various other boats. Many of them will be curious and stoked on that fast thing you are paddling.
This is part of our Cali Paddler Explorations Series. We have the ambitious goal of paddling and sharing every body of water in our great state. We would love for you to share with us something by you and help us continue quest!
Team Writer Bret Warner - Paddling truly got its hooks into me when I, on a whim, watched the 1999 Santa Cruz Paddlefest with my dad. I had kayaked a little before, but from then on the addiction was palpable. My first kayak, a purple and turquoise Necky Rip, came soon after. The following year I was that kid at UCSD who had a surf kayak in the common study area instead of a surfboard in my dorm room. I also taught sea kayaking all through college in San Diego, and up in Santa Cruz after I graduated.
When SUP came around, however, the paddling addiction became even more rabid. The garage started to fill up with different types of boards, and is now more than half full of hollow wood boards I have built myself,both for environmental reasons, and because it’s awesome to get to talk about how you built your own board when people ask you about it after a race. I love the paddle racing scene in California right now. Everyone is so stoked to be on the water competing, and the fierce competition is matched by the smiling faces when the race is over. I have gotten to paddle crafts that I never really considered before, and can see myself getting hooked all over again on something else: prone, OC-1, surfski,whatever, I just need more garage space.
Three years ago I founded the non-profit Stand up to Alzheimer’s. An organization that raises money and awareness for Alzheimer’s research through paddle races. This organization was born from lacking a tangible way of dealing with my father’s diagnosis with Alzheimer’s, but has now become a way, hopefully, for other to help cope as well. Our next event is on July 9 in Monterey at Del Monte Beach, just a little north from Monterey Bay Kayaks. Visit us at www.sup2alzh.weebly.com.
Dan - August 03, 2020
I have kayaked twice on Lake Gregory in 2020 and have met the rangers and paid the fee. It was very pleasant.
Mike Chirlston - June 11, 2017
I have had the pleasure of visiting Lake Gregory with my paddle board and I heartily recommend it. I couldn’t agree more with you and your article is a great read. If you are thinking about visiting Lake Gregory then just grab your board and go.