First, pros: lake is beautiful, deep, transparent, warm, nice for a good rest after busy days in town.
We arrived in the afternoon to the gate of Pine Mountain Lake. The "ranger" at the entrance as she heard that we are here for camping merely said hello and gave us vague directions to the campground, so we had to come back to get details. The campground is 2 miles down the road from the entrance. Beware, the sign for campground is small and easy to miss (especially, if you travel at night). There is nobody in charge of the campground. When we entered the campground it was deserted, no people, no rangers. We spent some time trying to find our campsite (nobody mentioned its number when I made reservation over the phone). Again, if you arrive at night you'll have trouble finding your site as well (people who arrived late evening that day stopped at our campsite to ask for directions).
On the photo you can see a nice clean flat campsite. Well, the lower campsites (18-23) are like that, we had a campsite #11 - on the hill. We had a small child with us and we were always watching out for her not to fall down the steep cliff. The campsite is rather small, just enough to fit a single car and a tent. Our neighbors came with 2 cars and 2 tents, as rangers assured them over the phone that the campsites are large enough. They finally occupied two adjacent campsites (fortunately, there was an unoccupied one).
Then, we found restrooms down the hill with showers. But the door was closed with a code lock. The ranger at the entrance station "forgot" to give us the entrance code, so we had to come back to ask her. Moreover, when other campers began arriving, nobody had access code! So, the rangers at the entrance don't even bother themselves with such things...And they also don't give any hand-outs with maps, roads, facilities as you usually receive at the entrance to any other (NPS-operated) park.
Next day, when a ranger was driving by, I asked him where I could wash the dishes after the meal. He said we couldn't do it in the bathroom, so we had to use several taps all over the campsites. These taps are ok to use except one thing - they are over the campsite or even on the campsite. So when you wash smth the water and the washing liquid goes down to the tents, car...Luckily not all campsites were occupied, so we could wash everything without flooding anyone but still the water from dishes go the ground, under the trees...Nice care about environment...
Over the phone I was told that we'd have to pay $10 extra for parking near the lake, the pass valid for the whole weekend. When we asked for the pass it turned out that the price is $15 (they told somebody misinformed me, not that they sounded apologetic). Friday evening we spent at Marina Beach (the largest beach on the lake), with clean green grass for picnicking, beach volleyball, sandy beach. Next day when we arrived to the parking lot at the beach we were informed by somebody from the management that weekend parking is only for homeowners, so we had 2 options: either parking along the road and walking down to the beach (there were No Parking signs everywhere there, although some people parked under these signs), or the option of going to other 2 beaches. We went to Dunn Court beach. Hmm, a really small deserted sand beach with clay entrance and a small swimming area (30 by 50 ft).
The conclusion: we'll never go to the privately operated park.
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