Hiking in Calaveras Big Trees State Park
Distance: 1.5 miles loop, smooth walking surface
Elevation Changes: Level
The North Grove is adjacent to the parking lot and has easy access. The 1.5 mile tour of the grove is along a level, easy to walk trail. Among the highlights of the grove are the Big Stump, the Father of the Forest, and the Empire State Tree. The Empire State Tree measures 18 feet in diameter near its base. Giant Sequoias can live to be over 3,000 years old.
Distance: 3.5 or 5 miles loop, forest trail
Elevation Changes: 500 feet gain and loss
The South Grove is reached by driving 9 miles from the entrance gate down across the Stanislaus River and up to the parking area at the trailhead to the South Grove. The South Grove contains far more trees than the North Grove, but is less often visited because of its remoteness and more strenuous trail. The road to the South Grove is closed in the winter.
Loop trails through the grove are either 3.5 or 5 miles. Both routes begin with a moderate uphill climb. Hikers are rewarded with views of the park’s largest tree, the Agassiz Tree, along with the Smith Cabin Tree, Old Goliath, and the Moody Group.
Distance: 2.5 miles loop, forest trail
Elevation Changes: 200 feet gain and loss
The Bradley Grove trail begins to the left of the South Grove Trail just beyond the Beaver Creek Bridge. The 2.5 mile loop contains some “outrigger” giant sequoias along with many younger trees planted in the 1950s. The Bradley Grove also has stands of sugar pines, mountain dogwood and white alder.
Hiking in Arnold
Arnold Rim Trail(ART)-
ART is a unique trail system at mid-elevation in the central Sierra Nevada Mountains. The Arnold Rim Trail currently runs from White Pines Lake west to Sheep Ranch Road near Avery. This 11.2-mile section of trail is only the first of what is proposed to be a 35-mile trail connecting with Calaveras Big Trees State Park. A 6-mile section of trail continuing across Sheep Ranch Road and down near the Calaveras Ranger District office in Hathaway Pines is currently under construction. The trail is open to hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrians. The Arnold Rim Trail generally follows San Antonio Creek, crossing from its north side to the south about 2.5 south of White Pines Lake. Along its course the trail passes locations such as Penny Pines, Cougar Rock, and the San Antonio Falls overlook. http://arnoldrimtrail.org
Hiking Around Lake Alpine
Bear Valley to Lake Alpine
This trail runs between the east end of Lake Alpine and the community of Bear Valley. Along the lakeshore, the trail is paved and wheelchair accessible. West of the lake, the trail reverts to native surface as it meanders through the forest, hooking up with a portion of the historic Emigrant-West pioneer route. The trail is open to hikers, bicyclists, and equestrians. Bear Valley to Lake Alpine via the Emigrant Trail
Distance: 3.4 miles one way, mountain trail
Elevation Changes: 450 going up, 200 foot descent
Begin in Bear Valley near the Perry Walther Building and follow the trail across Highway 4. It continues up the south side of the highway until it intersects the Emigrant Trail after about 1.2 miles. Turn right up the Emigrant Trail, following it to the dirt road at the lower end of Lake Alpine. Take the road up to the Lake Alpine Resort.
Alternate: Instead of turning onto the Emigrant Trail, continue straight, paralleling Highway 4, passing Silvertip Campground and then descending to Lake Alpine (2 miles after passing Emigrant Trail).
Lake Alpine to Mt. Reba
Distance: 3 miles one way, mountain trail
Elevation Changes: 1,500 foot ascent
8,855 feet above sea level, Mt. Reba looks down on Bear Valley Mountain Ski Area to the southwest and the Mokelumne Wilderness to the north. The trail from Lake Alpine’s Chickaree Day Use Area to the summit is straightforward up Bee Gulch. A slightly lower sister summit .7 miles to the west is worth the walk. Alternate trails approach from the road leading into the ski resort
Lakeshore—Hiking at Lake Alpine
Easy walking. Follows south shore of Lake Alpine. Begins at Pine Marten Campground and ends at Forest Road 7N17. Hikers can continue walking along this road; however, it is a popular 4WD route, and there may be vehicles.
Access from Lakeshore Trail. Uphill climb of moderate difficulty with rewarding views of Lake Alpine, Spicer Reservoir and Dardanelles.
Hiking in Carson-Iceberg Wilderness
The 161,000 acre Carson-Iceberg Wilderness straddles the crest of the Sierra Nevada range, divided almost evenly between the Stanislaus and Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forests. Here you’ll find spectacular high country, with several peaks rising above 10,000 feet, broad river valleys, perennial creeks with small waterfalls, granite-strewn slopes, and meadow-filled valleys. Here are the headwaters of the East Fork of the Carson River, the Clark Fork of the Stanislaus, and the Mokelumne River.
Bull Run Lake
Trail head off Forest Road 8N13 off Hwy 4 at Stanislaus Meadow. First mile and a half is fairly level in a beautiful meadow, then starts the ascent into a more difficult slope. Connects with Heiser Lake Trail at the 2 mile marker.
Duck Lake is a small lake just within the boundary of the Carson-Iceberg Wilderness. The walk is scenic and pleasant, with some moderate ups and downs. Early in the season, the trail and meadow near the lake becomes wet and muddy, with lots of mosquitoes — so bring your repellent! Taking the loop trail around Duck Lake will add about 2 miles to your hike.
Uphill trail of moderate difficulty. Begins at Mosquito Lake on Hwy 4. Connects with Bull Run Lake Trail for loop route.
Trail head is located .2 miles east of Silvertip Campground, on Highway 4. Offers panoramic view of Lake Alpine area from Osborne Point. Ends at Emigrant-West Trail.
Hiking in Emigrant Trail
The 113,000 acre Emigrant Wilderness; bordered by Yosemite National Park on the south, the
Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest on the east, and State Highway 108 on the north; is an elongated area that trends northeast about 25 miles in length and up to 15 miles in width. Watersheds drain to the Stanislaus and Tuolumne Rivers.
Portion of historic pioneer route. Trailhead is on Hwy 4 at parking area 1/2 mile past Bear Valley. Trailhead not well marked at this time.
Hiking around Spicer Meadow Reservoir Area
Spicer Meadow Reservoir Road
Spicer Meadows leaves Highway 4 about 4 miles west of Bear Valley. Utica and Union are at about 6,800 feet elevation, Spicer a little lower at 6,400. The road is closed in the winter by snow, but a Sno-Park located at the junction with Highway 4 provides a winter launching site for snowmobilers and cross-country skiers into the area.
Elephant Rock Lake to Rock Lake
Distance: 1.8 miles one way, mountain trail
Elevation Changes: 800 feet gain going out
Drive out to the end of the Summit Lake Road off Spicer Meadow Reservoir Road. Hike from Elephant Rock Lake past Elephant Rock and up to Rock Lake. For an easier hike only go as far as Elephant Rock, a half mile each way over fairly level terrain.
Around Utica Reservoir
Distance: 6 miles one way, cross-country
Elevation Changes: 100 feet up and down
There is no established trail around Utica Reservoir, but a fairly obvious use trail circles the lake. Do all or part of the convoluted shore line. Bring your fishing rod and fresh water. Expect to take longer than you might walking on an established trail.
Spicer to Sand Flat
Distance: 5.5 miles one way, mountain trail
Elevation Changes: Drop 1000 feet going out
Start at Spicer Reservoir and hike through Corral Meadow and then make then steep descent into the Stanislaus River Canyon, arriving there at Sand Flat. There is a bridge, so you could cross and hike up to Highway 4 at Big Meadow for a pick-up (2.3 miles, 800-foot climb). Shorten this hike by beginning at Gardner Meadow on the Spicer Reservoir road (2.5 miles to Sand Flat, 900-foot drop).
Hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail at Ebbetts Pass
The 2,650-mile long trail crosses Highway 4 just east of Ebbetts Pass in Alpine County. While the PCT is best known for its long-distance backpacking opportunities by the infamous thru-hikers, a number of great day hikes are available from the two trailheads at Ebbetts Pass.
South to Noble Lake
Distance: 3.5 miles one way, mountain trail
Elevation Changes: Descend 500 feet and climb 500
Start at the trail head parking lot east of the pass. Follow the trail out a short distance to connect with the Pacific Crest Trail. Turn left onto the PCT, going south. The trail drops 500 feet to Noble Creek and then regains the elevation on its way up to Noble Lake.
North to Reynolds Peak
Distance: 4 miles one way, mountain trail
Elevation Changes: 100 feet up and down
Start at the trail head along the highway east of the summit of Ebbetts Pass. Hiking north on the trail carries you past the Kinney Lakes and along the rugged volcanic slopes of Reynolds and Raymond peaks. Great vistas of the mountains and valleys to the east open up along the way. Elevation changes along the trail are mild.