Explore Sonora Pass - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Sonora Pass Map
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I absolutely loved this trail....my friend who is not a hiker came with me, we made it to the top no issues. amazing views. started raining as we were on the top. As we hiked down the rocks were extremely slippery. I hit a rock just right and rolled my ankle. Continued to hike until I couldn't go any further. Had to call 911 and be rescued out. Tualome co fire dept is absolutely AMAZING. 4 firemen hiked me out. Turns out I fractured my fibula in two places, had to have surgery requiring a metal plate with screws in my ankle. Still recovering but you can bet I will be back!

hiking
1 day ago

I hiked this trail today, 20 October 2018.

This trail and lake are gorgeous! The route is a manageable distance and elevation change, but the altitude slowed me down more than I expected. I imagine this lake being absolutely stunning on a sunny day (needs sun to be bright blue!) after a light snow. The sky today was clear and the lake was incredible. It’s not a massive lake, but definitely big enough for dogs and brave people to swim around and enjoy. The river, flowers, and icy waterfalls on the way were beautiful as well.

Trail:
The AllTrails directions will get you to the exact trailhead parking. Start your app where you have service and keep it on if you’d like to double check your progress to the lake. You’ll park along the road before the “9000 ft elevation” sign. Walk down the hill and cross the creek. You should see the trail go back up and over. The creeks were passable at this time without getting wet (as long as you can jump or rock walk, but it still isn’t that intense). Keep in mind that they’ll be a bit fuller and faster later in the day as the ice melts.
I found the trail to be easily followable. The path is well worn, and even at spots that were briefly uncertain, the area is clear enough to look on and see where you need to go. It’s a fairly straight trail anyway, you could point-and-shoot/river walk your way there easily. The hardest part was a bit of a rock slide scramble, but it was manageable. There was no ice or snow today to deal with. The only confusing part I got to was the last plateau of elevation before the last few tenths of a mile. The trail kind of abruptly ended at a step ridge, and it wasn’t obvious to me whether I was supposed to go over it or to head down the cliff side to the river. I realized that dropping down to the river was the correct way after a bit of bumbling around the ridge figuring the river will get me there anyway. The drop to the river was a bit harrowing at first, but there are plenty of rocks to make multiple points of contact on so you don’t totally eat it. From there, it was an easy walk up the river/trail to the lake.
The walk back is obviously just as simple. You can see the road once you’re halfway back. I don’t want to say it’s impossible, but it’s really really hard to get lost. There are opportunities to take a harder path over some rocks of course. My dog always found an easier way it seemed!

Overall, I thought this trail was moderate for someone in reasonable shape who can handle some climbing or at least butt scooting up and down rocks. It would’ve been easy if it weren’t for the altitude and those two spots that were a bit difficult to traverse.

Time:
I left the trailhead at 7:45 AM, about 20 minutes after sunrise. No one else was parked there, and I had about two hours to myself at the lake before heading back. I didn’t pass anyone else until about 11:15 when I was almost back to my car. At that point the lot was almost full and about 5 people were headed to the lake.
Leaving that early was nice because it was definitely bright enough to see, but the ridge shaded the trail (there are no trees) on the way up. Once I got to the lake, I had to wait about 30 minutes for the sun to hit the lake and reflect it’s gorgeous blue.

Dogs:
My hiking buddy today was my 16 month old lab mix. Apparently these trails require dogs to be on leash, but there were a few times I had to let him off so that we could safely negotiate the rock scrambles and creek crossings without messing each other up. I recommend having your pup wear a harness. It’s far easier for humans to scoot down steep ridges without forward momentum sending you over, and I had to pull on him a few times to help him brake. Of course he jumped rocks, creeks, and swam in the lake like a CHAMP. Keep this in mind if your dog is not the best on off leash recall, or if they’re not the most agile. Your dog will need supervision/coaching, especially on those steep parts I mentioned. Also, check their paws for scratches/blisters. Apply paw wax before leaving if they aren’t used to walking on rocks.

Bring:
Layers! It was in the 40s when I started hiking. About halfway, I got hot enough to shed the jacket and balaclava. It was also a tad windy at the lake.
Sunscreen. There is no shade after about 1030 AM.
Snacks. I like to bring dried fruit at high altitudes. There didn’t appear to be wildlife threats keeping people from bringing small snacks. I did not bring my dogs meat snacks though.
Water. I had a 2.5 liter camelbak that more than lasted me. My dog had some, but mostly preferred the cold, fresh river water to the lodge tap water (I don’t blame him).
Actual hiking boots. You’ll need them when avoiding slippery small rock slides while gripping onto bigger rocks that are cold or slick in the creek. Also, some rock spots are ankle breakers.

I think poles are unnecessary, if not inconvenient. I needed my hands free for the rock scrambles.

Enjoy!

This trail is easily one of my top trails to visit again. Just did this trail yesterday and the view was amazing. The hike might be short but man it was tough, but totally worth it. Recommend 5/5 stars!

My boyfriend and I hiked this trail in early Oct 2018. For fitness context, I am a mid twenty year old who goes to the gym 2-3 days a week and is active during my job and my boyfriend is in his early 30's and goes to the gym 4 days a week. We found this trail really great and got a nice workout in without feeling spent or crazy sore by the end. As people have mentioned, the bouldering is the main challenging part of this hike, but it's pretty short and surprisingly easy. For example, several dogs were able to do it. It took us from around 1:00-5:00 for the whole hike, but we stopped and explored the area around Cleo's Bath a bit. Also, the trail isn't incredibly well marked once you leave the pinecrest lake loop, so watch for the blue areas and stay with your group! We picked up a lost hiker on the way back to the lake so it definitely can happen. there was no place to get portable water along the trail but there was a flowing river so bring water or a filter. The only bathrooms were at the beginning of the trail.
Overall, a very beautiful hike for a wide variety of fitness levels.

backpacking
20 days ago

very nice not to difficult to get to. kids can do this hike. as for the road to rough it is but don't listen to the GPS. take Crabtree rd the two intersect.

backpacking
22 days ago

Gorgeous views, lots of campsites at Bear Lake, good amount of shade, and trail was clearly marked. Took a couple of newbies and everyone had a great time.

took about 1.25 hours to hike to the lake, some loose uphill but not bad at all. the lake was beautiful, some bees were around but not enough to disrupt the view. 10/10 would recommend!

Definitely will be doing this trail again. We only went to camp lake this day but will be back to continue to bear lake. The beginning is mostly incline and was heavily traveled with a few large groups. Once at the lake we explored a bit. It is worth while to hike up to the ridge to see the views.

backpacking
1 month ago

Hiked this as an overnight backpacking trip with my family: two girls, ages 13 and 15, and mid 40s wife. We did so over Labor Day weekend and were not expecting big crowds at the Crabtree trailhead. Fortunately, we were able to find a nice campsite at the lake. Most folks had already set up at the south end (where the trail enters the lake) but there are a lot more spots if you continue north/left. Fuel here is at a minimum. Also, it's easy to pick up that this is a popular spot (toilet paper, bit of trash, no low limbs on trees, etc). Overall, a nice beginner's backpacking trip. The lake itself was quite warm at this time of year and good for a dip.

Very nice mostly easy terrain until you get to the boulders. For me it was harder going up then coming down but totally worth it even without the waterfall. I’d advise wearing pants or longer shorts as I had to be in some awkward positions to climb the rocks and get back down. No woman wants scraped up legs. I enjoyed that it wasn’t full on sun. There was plenty of shade to enjoy on a hot day. Although I did see dogs at the bath I wouldn’t recommend bringing them up there. Also bring a backpack keep your hands free as you will need them both to get up to the bath.

Very nice trail . We didn’t have any trouble finding
The trails , not much water but it’s a beautiful place

hiking
1 month ago

Amazing! Great hike not for the beginner. So beautiful the water is so blue, along the trail you’ll see waterfalls, wild flowers and beautiful rock formations. I’m ready to do it again!

Great hike one of my favorite. Views at the top are amazing and when you get to the lake it is even better. Nice place to relax and chill at the water, people swam and hangout. I would say its semi-crowded but worth it and the hike is moderate. A must try hike!

Great trail. ROund trip from the parking lot to the lake and back was closer to 10 miles.

NOTE: paved road ends and you have to drive about 6 miles on a graded dirt road.

The trail had a few really nice vista points. And the lake was beautiful. I’d like to return and stay a couple nights.

Pretty hike but lots of mosquitos, my sister and I got eaten alive towards the end of the hike.

Parts of the trails were misleading. But overall it has beautiful scenery with some wildlife added to the trip. The hike is for sure over 6.7 miles. Also you need to be aware of some rock climbing involved. Overall I would recommend nice trail.

Was rather smokey when we started, but got better later in the morning. Challenging, but the worth the trek. Great view from the top!

Even in late summer with little flowing water the pools and vistas make the hike more than worthwhile!

backpacking
2 months ago

gorgeous hike with wildflowers and a big green lake. the stream crossings are super manageable this time of year but be aware of high risk for forest fires. we backpacked in and had the whole lake to ourselves. dog friendly!

Awesome hike and very scenic!

To say it was beautiful doesn't do it justice. Very scenic would definitely be doing this one again. Lots of mosquito's. Bring DEET! I think we fell in right after they hatched. However each day seemed a little better. Had a great time. No fish in these lakes. Plenty of frogs though. To summit all up, if you can go, go!

hiking
2 months ago

Don't follow the directions through this app. Thank God I was driving a Jeep, even then I had to get out and look and make some assessments as to whether I needed to turn around. Take Crabtree Rd out to gianelli and skip going through Dodge ridge. yikes. It was super pretty and a good adventure though. Def would recommend for a short lil hike with the kids.
Also this is labeled as lightly traveled and on a Monday I seen probably 15-20 other hikers. I would say that's at least moderately traveled.

First time hiking in Pinecrest and I absolutely loved Cleos bath trail. It's not too clearly marked in some areas, you can lose the trail. Some people are nice enough to spray paint arrows but they are fading. The swimming hole at the top is the best part of the hike!

We spent two nights at Chewing Gum Lake, July 25-27, with a day hike to Toejam Lake in between. Chewing Gum is a gorgeous lake, not cold this time of year, with great campsites. There were some mosquitoes at dawn and dusk but nothing severe--none at all during the middle of the day. The hike from the trailhead to Chewing Gum is a very good trail almost all the way and goes over two moderate ridges. The trail from Chewing Gum to Toejam is also mostly good except for the last 100 meters or so getting to Toejam, which is rocky and not too well defined. Toejam Lake is also gorgeous. The only good source of water between Chewing Gum and Toejam is at Whitesides Meadow, about halfway, so plan ahead--it was very hot out in the sun the day we hiked it.

19MAY2018 - Awesome day hike. Moderately challenging as advertised. We brought our dog and carried our 1 yo daughter along with us. not too crowded. Great views along the way and a beautiful snow-capped backdrop of the reservoir at the top. Perfect spot for lunch before heading back. It was also cool to see the old abandonded equipment along the way, from when the dam was constructed.

hiking
2 months ago

Trail was absolutely breathtaking. So many beautiful wild flowers. A few very challenging areas where climbing or crossing creeks required the help of friends. Definitely worth the challenge!

we only made it to Camp Lake but it was great!

Good place to take your little ones for a hike and camping trip. It’s gets very packed with people on the weekends!

beautiful area - horrible mosquitoes right now... glad we brought cards, was confined to the tent for relief. trail was tough for a flat lander but great views.

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