Sonora Peak Trail is a 6.2 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Markleeville, CA that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from June until October.
Explore the dramatic Yosemite-like scenery of Stanislaus National Forest on open roads with nary a tour bus in sight. The 11,495 foot tall Sonora Peak lies in the heart of Stanislaus National Forest on CA-108, 2,000 feet above the second highest mountain pass in the Sierra Nevada mountain range known as Sonora Pass.
This is an awesome hike but hard to find the trail where it breaks off from the PCT. A good topo map should have it but it is about 2-3 miles from the trail head at Sonora Pass to the left right up a ridge line. Once to the top check out the Geo Cache and sign the book then sit back and enjoy the breath taking views. If you look at the photo I uploaded of the track I took the trail breaks off the PCT at the star waypoint marked as 12:18. Much shorter route to take then the one uploaded here.
This is a great little high-elevation (11,470 ft) hike, right off the highway.
Along with the elevation, I also encountered snow and a rather large bear on the trail.
The trail offers great views in all directions, especially the south, looking into Emigrant Wilderness.
Did this loop in late June from the Mary's Pass Trailhead (clockwise). The route is pretty straightforward. Start by going straight up to the ridge at Mary's pass, you will see wilderness boundary signage and very likely snow. Here the trail disappears, but look East (and a little north) and you will see it pick up again on the western flank of Sonora Peak. Head towards this point, navigating around or across any remaining snow. From here, just follow the trail up the NW ridge to summit where you will find a wind shelter and register. From the summit, the well-marked trail down the SE ridge until you get to the PCT. Follow this back to Hwy 108 (don't miss the sharp turn in the PCT like I did). Then head down the road past a snow-fed meadow back to the lot at the Mary's Pass trailhead.
Great trail. We went late spring so there was still some blooming. Once you hit the slopes high up, it sometimes felt a bit like the road to Mordor from Lord of the Rings, rocky and dry. But other than that, the view is amazing once you get to the top, you can see the peaks south toward yosemite national park.