West Side Railroad Trail to the Tuolumne North Fork

EASY 23 reviews

West Side Railroad Trail to the Tuolumne North Fork is a 5 mile lightly trafficked point-to-point trail located near Tuolumne, CA that features a river and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from January until June. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

5.0 miles 812 feet Point to Point

dogs on leash

wheelchair friendly

kid friendly

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

rails trails

trail running

walking

horseback riding

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

old growth

over grown

West Side Rail Trail is a 3.5 mile out and back trail located near Tuolumne, California that features a river and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash. 7.6 to river. This is a perfect 3 mile hike geared towards anyone in any skill level. You are not a hiker, then this trail is perfect for you. You casually stroll along a flat surface winding around the mountainside wandering the same trail that years ago had rails used for logging until the trail became to narrow for a train. Most of the rails are pulled up so even biking is possible. Keep in mind there are occasional ruts though. Butterflies and picturesque views afford anyone a good time. You can have dogs on the trail with you, I brought mine. For animals, there are occasional areas on the trail with streams and water bowls that people have filled for dogs. I stopped at the 3 mile mark as the trail had kind of overgrown and didn't want to have a chance encounter with a snake. I guess in the spring at some point, there is a crew that comes and maintains the trail and cuts the overgrowth back. If you wish for a longer hike, you can go the 7.6 to the bottom of the canyon and continue to the river.

mountain biking
29 days ago

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.

mountain biking
4 months ago

Mountain Biked on Aug. 3, 2016. Overall was a fun trail. Very convenient parking and easy to find trail head. The trail was nice and smoothe with minor to no technicalities to figure out. Well kept trail for about the first half, then gets very overgrown - shoulder high at some parts. Few minor scratches on hands and shins that gloves / long sleeves and longer socks could have prevented. There's a point where the trail is so overgrown that it becomes unrideable. If you don't see what I'm talking about, the thorny blackberry bushes will tell you real quick. The downhill is fun - can go pretty quickly and whip through the brush. The uphill is such a low grade you can hardly tell you're going uphill. I'll definitely do it again, but next time will be a bit more covered up and will definitely stop *before* the blackberry bushes, not in them.

hiking
5 months ago

The hubby and I took off allowing ourselves 1.5 hours to get as far as we could at a fast walk. We made it to the 3280 point on the map, nearly 4.5 miles. Turned around and walked/jogged back to the car. The trail is easy terrain, tons of beautiful views and wildflowers all along the way. At about the 2.5 mile mark, the path is narrow and very overgrown. Wear long pants and good shoes (my gym shoes were full of foxtails). We will definitely do it again, next time allowing us more time to make it to the river.

walking
7 months ago

First off the trail is not on Mira Monte Rd. Stay on Buchanan and the trail starts in the ditch. There are stairs with railing to insure it's the trail. I went on this trail with my parents and small child. I chose this trail because of the "easy" description and wheelchair friendly. My parents enjoyed the small incline. I thought it was a great trail for strollers, but be sure to bring the better stroller. There are some rougher areas. The scenery was beautiful. You have the hills and the river insight. I also enjoyed the old railroad along the trail. I highly recommend this trail.

trail running
9 months ago

hiking
11 months ago

My mom, dad, and I love this trail. It is very fun and peaceful, and is one of our favorites for exploring plants and wildlife. I highly recommend families to take their little one's to explore what this trail has to offer and to instill in them a love of nature. In town, there is also a nice cafe with excellent coffee and snacks.

hiking
1 year ago

Easy out and back trail with a very slight grade and signs along the way to inform you of the history of the local timber business. Decent views, but nothing spectacular. Occasional shade, but not a ton. Worth it if you really want to get out on a trail near Tuolumne, but not worth driving any distance to get too. You can take dogs and overall the trail is smooth an flat, so that's a plus for some.

mountain biking
1 year ago

Fun trail for an afternoon of moseying. This out and back trail begins downhill and returns uphill. It runs with the old railroad tracks, so the grade is an easy 2-3% but you can bomb down the trail if you want to get some speed and the return trip doesn't feel like uphill at all. I didn't see any other mountain bikers, but there were some hikers out. Most dogs are off leash, but under voice control. I went about 3.3 miles in, then turned back so I could chill at the North Fork Tuolumne River before sunset. I'll post an update when I do the full 7 miles to the river and back.
My tips:
Watch for railroad ties.
Some parts of the trail are very overgrown.

hiking
1 year ago

hiking
1 year ago

Nice easy hike with pretty views of the gulch and stream below. Lots of wild flowers in mid May. Good place for dogs.

walking
1 year ago

Awesome trail! Pretty easy for all level hikers. Flat trail and the incline and decline are extremely gradual. Beautiful view of the mountain.

hiking
1 year ago

Easy hike, actually more of a walk. The mileage varies depending on how far out you go before turning back. We went 10 miles round trip last week and about 6 today. Lots of wildflowers and poison oak!

hiking
1 year ago

A nice place to walk along the mountain side. You can see the for miles. An old abandoned logging train rail is still there. Two picnic tables along the way but no bathrooms. A great place to think. You can hear the sound of silence.

walking
1 year ago

More of a walk than a hike. An easy place to find with good parking. This old rail road grade is well maintained and there are benches and information points along the way. You are sure to meet a few locals on the trail for a pleasant chat. Really nice people from Tuolumne. No fear of getting lost or confused on this one.The path is nice enough to walk at night and flat enough for a jog. The country is beautiful and as one reviewer mentioned, you can keep going beyond the point of maintenance and the trail continues for days! This is one of the county's most popular trails. Kids on bikes, seniors and trail runners all enjoy this old trail. I give it 5 stars because of great accessibility, beautifully maintained and enjoyable at any age or skill level.

hiking
2 years ago

This was a pleasant walk. It goes farther than the 3.5 miles, it appears to go all the way to the bottom of the canyon. The slope is very gentle and you do not notice the incline in or out. We went in the middle of winter and the views of the canyon and river were very nice. There are other people and dogs on the trail. We found all other hikers and pet owners to be friendly and respectful. This trail is wide and easily walkable at least to the 3 mile marker. Past that the trail is obviously less used and has a lot more weeds taking over and the path is far narrower. I hope to go back and make it to the end of the trail soon.

hiking
3 years ago

Great level hike with very nice vistas, good for a young family, rail tracks make it fun for young boys. Didn't make it to the end and hope to soon.

hiking
3 years ago

In 105 degree weather this is ok because you have some shady spots here and there. Still with shade and all it may be too hot for dogs. My pups were running between shady spots because the trail was too hot for their paws. Had we not had the dogs the trail would have been a breeze in the park. Enjoy!


hiking
3 years ago

Nice scenic trail. The trail is pretty flat the whole way and seems like the perfect place for a morning jog. I ended up taking the old buchanan mine road down to the river. The trails meet about 1.5 miles in then it is .8 miles down to the river. The way there was super easy with pleasant views but it was a steep climb back up to the west side rail trail.

hiking
3 years ago

Loved the hike! It was a lil deceiving as the description said 3.5 miles out. The actual trail goes for many more as the original train track went 17 miles in that area. We stopped at 3.5 as the hike was truly enjoyable. Recommend it to anyone.

walking
4 years ago

This is a great place for all levels of walkers, runners, etc. In the spring, there are tons of wildflowers to be seen. You can drive right up next to the trail to park. There is some shade, but it can get hot there in the summer afternoons. There are some benches with nice views along the way, and there are several wooden signs labeling the local plants along the trail too. For information and to see more trails in the area, look at the link listed here (this trail is labeled Tuolumne Railroad Trail on the site).