dogs on leash
off road driving
I came here on a early December day and did not see one other vehicle. Road is not the best to travel on but it is doable. Very nice views of the river in many places. I stopped at a picnic table looking at the river and had it all to my self. I stopped at the bridge and marveled at the view. I am glad I came here at least once.
Couple things on this trail, views are amazing! one thing to keep in mind if you are afraid of heights the road down is in good condition but its very narrow and a very steep drop hundreds of feet down so it is definitely a little nervy, but again amazing views. One you make it to the bottom there is a cool little spot where the water is calm that's absolutely beautiful. The bridge is very cool, I was alone so I didn't trek on the other side of the bridge but definitely will next time. Camping spots at the bottom by the river as well.
Wonderful hike. I loved the rolling granite hills. Lots of sun exposure but there were trees all around; the lakes were great respites. What I liked most was that you could just keep going and connect through to other routes. The trail is fairly obvious but there weren't many markers. The most ambiguous area is between Camp and Bear Lakes where the sandy trail criss-crosses with a stream. It's hard to tell what is the stream bank and what is the trail (I'd say to follow your gut, the stream leads the way).
I wouldn't call this "hiking". It's more of a leisurely walk on uneven terrain. Pretty flat all the way with occasional inclines. Really great walk in the morning after a couple of days hiking nearby Crabtree trail. The reservoir is pretty (tons of rises).
This is a beautiful and well maintained trail. Enter 23935 South Fork Road in your GPS. There is a locked pipe-gate that marks the trail head to keep motorized vehicles out with provisions to go around. Owned by Southern Pacific Industries, it is opened to the public. Horses, dogs on leashes, bikes and foot traffic permitted.
Easy 5 mile out and back smooth, flat ride under a mature canopy. Only a few reminders of any railway remain. The Mi-Wuk Ranger Station in Mi-Wuk Village has information and trail guides for on all local trails. For the more adventurous, the trail does eventually continues past Lyons Reservoir to Strawberry known as the Sugar Pine West Side Railway. Google Earth it. I plan on going there next.
There are rest rooms at Lyons Reservoir. The Reservoir, maintained by PG&E, is for drinking water only so no aquatic activity is permitted.
Parking is restricted to the shoulder of the road but given the sparse usage, parking should not be a problem.
Easy to find and easy to ride. Trail head is well marked with a big, rustic sign. The physical start is at the junction of Mira Monte and Buchanan roads.
Just poke in 19321 Mira Monte Road in your GPS. It starts out more like a ditch then after 50 yards or so, turns into the trail one would expect.
As other reviewers stated, first half is good enough for anyone and includes informative signs including some well placed, shaded, picnic benches overlooking the canyon below. After that, it becomes more like a single track with rocks and overgrowth.
At mile 4.5, when you reach what looks impassable, walk and follow the path then continue for a short distance to the end where you should find an old turnstile. That's the rail bed and trail end.
It's simply amazing how the old timers carved out the railways into the sides of these extremely steep, near impassable mountains.
Way back in the day very few people knew about this place. Then they built the road closer to it and made it a park...unfortunate. It was pristine and definitely clothes optional. It's still a very enjoyable place even with all the people. The last time I was there was 2006 and the friend I was with was talking to a gold panner who didn't wear clothes either. Turns out the guy has a web site as well...
Great hike, great weather. Wish I would have brought the fishing gear. As per last post driving directions per my phone not good. If coming up 120 from down the hill take a left on Cherry Lake Road, follow it all the way to the bottom of the ravine they'll be a sign that says Kirkwood Power House to the right. Go right and keep following pavement all the way to the end of the road, about a half mile. You'll see the sign for Stanislaus National Forest Trailhead with an obvious turn around, parking area and a bathroom there. Enjoy, We did!