Sonora Pass Vacations
Lodging and Camping
Mountain biking trails abound along the Sonora Pass highway. You'll
find everything from gentle railroad grades to steep, "bombs-away" single tracks. Logging roads make
great places to explore. Pick up a Stanislaus National Forest map at the ranger station in Mi-Wuk or
Pinecrest. Also get the Toiyabe National Forest map at the Bridgeport Ranger Station. For a dollar each you
can get various maps at the bike rental stand in Pinecrest (The Hub). Ask them about the Pinecrest Mountain
single track, a great downhill, or the whereabouts of any good freeride places.
With map in hand, you
can discover hundreds of miles of dirt roads great for mountain biking.
Some of the most popular mountain biking routes are shown here.
Sugarpine Railroad Trail
One way: 2.8 miles, moderate
Elevation gain: 500'
The Sugarpine Railroad Trail follows the course of the old Sugarpine Railroad that was used
to deliver timber from remote regions of the forest to sawmills. Today its gentle grade
makes it an excellent hiking and mountain biking route .
Start at the Fraser Flat Road trailhead. To reach it take the Fraser Flat turnoff from Highway 108
located 6 miles east of Long Barn, just before reaching Cold Springs. Follow the Fraser Flat
Road 2.5 miles down to the river.
Follow the trail upstream on the south side of the river. It goes about 2.8 miles up to where
it connects with Old Strawberry Road. It's only another 1.5 miles farther on the road to reach
the Strawberry Store where you can buy an ice cream before heading back.
Instead of returning along exactly the same trail, continue up Old Strawberry Road a little farther to
a single-track that cuts off from the road. It soon connects with the railroad grade and will lead you
back to Fraser Flat.
You'll discover some other great mountain biking trails in Northern California in Delaine Fragnoli's Mountain Biking Northern California's
Best 100 Trails.
Confidence to Lyons Reservoir - Railroad Grade
One way: 4.7 miles, moderate
Elevation gain: 200'
This trail provides a gentle 4.7 mile climb to Lyons Reservoir following the old sugar Pine
Railroad grade, great for mountain bikers. At an elevation of about 4,000' its usually
open by late spring. To reach the trailhead, take the
Confidence South Fork Road off Highway 108 near Confidence. A short distance past
Middle Camp Road the trail begins on your right. Watch for a gate.
In places it may pass through private property, so be sure to stay
on the trail to respect property owners rights.
You can ride along dirt roads around the reservoir or
explore connecting roads to other places.
One way: 2.5 miles, moderate
Elevation loss: 200'
Strap on your helmet for this 2.5-mile mountain bike ride along the old Columbia and Stanislaus River Water Company ditch line. To reach
the starting point take Twain Harte Dr. out of Twain Harte and follow it to Joaquin Gulley and then .5 miles
Mt. Elizabeth Road. The ditch road is on your left. It winds along the hillside to Cedar Ridge where you
find yourself on paved roads again. A maze of dirt roads on Mt. Elizabeth offer more challenging mountain bike rides.
One way: 3 miles, moderate
Elevation gain: 1,200'
On Highway 108 on the east side of Sonora Pass watch for the Leavitt Lake turnoff about 4 miles east of the pass.
The ride takes you up a dirt road (sometimes muddy in places in the spring) to Leavitt Lake (elevation 9,556').
The one-mile side road leading up to Koenig Lake is worth exploring. Strong forks and a sturdy frame will serve you
well on some of the rougher sections.
One way: 6.5 miles, moderate
Elevation gain: 500'
On Highway 108 on the east side of Sonora Pass park at a turnout about three-quarters of a mile west of
Sonora Junction (Highway 395). The mountain bike ride takes you along dirt roads past a series of lakes - Junction Reservoir,
Kirman Lake, Mud Lake, and finally up to Poore Lake. Several connecting roads allow for variations in your
Herring Creek Loop
Total ride: 12 miles, moderate
Elevation gain: 1000'
This 12-mile mountain bike loop follows dirt roads from the Herring Creek Campground up to the headwaters of Herring Creek, past
Bloomer Lake and then down through Three Meadows and back around to your starting point. A good route for intermediate riders that will
give you a great workout. Other connecting trails lead up to Pinecrest Peak, the beginning of a single-track route (pick up the map at the Hub in Pinecrest).
Hull Creek to
This 9-mile trail traces the route of the old West Side Lumber Company's railroad line. Trails on
old railroad routes guarantee an easy grade. This mountain bike trail, however, is tricky to reach and at times
difficult to follow. It is for the adventurous who have good directional skills and carry maps and
compass or a GPS.
From Long Barn take the North Fork Road or the Merrill Springs Road (they soon meet). Follow the
Merrill Springs Road toward Hull Creek and Clavey River. Cross the North Fork of the Tuolumne River
and go 6 miles where you pick up Forest Service Road 3N07. Look for a sign marking the West Side Rail
For more information about this location, see
(Note: You must register at their free site to use it.)
Mountain Biking on Ebbetts Pass and Carson Pass
Miles of exciting mountain biking terrain are found in the Ebbetts Pass region to the north. Trails lead out of
Arnold, Black Springs, Bear Valley, Lake Alpine, and Markleeville. To learn more,
visit our sister website
Ebbetts Pass Adventures.
Carson Pass (Highway 88), a short distance to the north, has many good mountain biking routes. The ride
up to the summit of Little Round Top has spectacular views and a thrilling return.
For more mountain biking routes on Carson Pass, see Up and Over Carson Pass.