Explore the most popular horseback riding trails in Stanislaus National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

backpacking
17 days ago

The Dece Scouts headed to Preston Falls for an early season backpacking trip. The weather was supposed to be horrible. We started the hike in the rain, walking along the very high and flowing river. The rain died down after an hour or so, and by the evening it was clear skies. Lots of trees down on the trail, and parts were flooded, but all in all, a great hike.

This trail is near level with little grade. It is an out and back trail, unless two or more people will be hiking together. In this case a vehicle can be left at the far end for an easy return to the trailhead.

hiking
1 month ago

It was snowy and lovely. Met a couple of hikers. Saw folks on horseback. We only made it about 2.5 miles in and didn’t hike all the way to the dam. That was too much for us in the snow. We did see a small cascading waterfall. Very small. Lots of wildlife tracks. Exciting.

Easy and flat trail with beautiful views. Our dog loves it too. I can't wait to see the wildflowers in spring.

walking
2 months ago

Nice walk on a dirt road. Pretty busy with dogs, bikes, runners. Open in winter. Will go back!

I enjoyed the fact that there were markers along the way telling you the names of some trees. Also how far you have gone and some history of the rails. My dog enjoyed it as well.

off road driving
2 months ago

Are there trails that I’d be able to take my stock 2017 tundra on? I’m not expecting to do rock crawling, I just want to get on some dirt roads and climb up the mountain to see some beautiful sites!

on Lyons Dam

2 months ago

If you don’t have any fear of heights - walk the flumes to the dam. The views are stunning.

Wonderful hiking trail! Great trail markers and educational signs. Picnic tables and benches along the way. Awesome views. A trail for all ages to enjoy.

hiking
3 months ago

A fantastic day hike on a very mild Jan 2. Beautiful river with pools and rapids. We were the only two people on the trail. We didn’t start until noon so only got to large pool and falls about 3.5 miles in and came out to finish by dark. Will definitely come again to have more time.

Some nice views and very well marked trail but the trail got a little boring after awhile. It is very flat and anyone in reasonably good shape can do it. The trail ends abruptly with no major payout at the end which was a bummer. There are also lots of ticks so bug spray is a must and be carried you bring your furry friends.

backpacking
4 months ago

Backpacked out to the falls with the dog weekend of 12/16 -12/17: his first backpacking overnight and this was a nice introduction on a pretty gentle trail. Trail was mostly clear, but especially in the last mile the path was covered in downed trees, branches and debris from a previous fire. Pup is about 20 pounds so I had to carry him for a lot of this final stretch as it was such a mess.

It was very quiet-- one other truck when I arrived but otherwise not a single person on the trail the whole 24 hours. Beautiful hike, and the waterfall at the end makes for a beautiful rest at the end. No snow or ice yet, just some frost in the shadowed areas of the canyon.

I put the coordinates from alltrails in Google Maps and it took me most of the way there: it ended on the switchback road down to the canyon. At the bottom of the switchbacks, turn right and drive past the dam and water plant all the way to the end (it looks like it might lead to a back lot for the plant at one point) and you'll get to the large trailhead parking lot.

backpacking
4 months ago

We had a great time backpacking here the weekend of December 2nd 2017. This time of year it is hard to find a sutible place to go backpacking with my wife and 6 year old son. I was drawn to this place for it's low elevation, paved road access and close proximity to my home in the bay area. We were rewarded with a beautiful hike. We found a really nice camp spot about halfway. I really wanted to push on to the falls but my son was getting tired and the sun was soon to set. The natural beauty was abundant. This is a hidden gem that has been cast in the shadow of and often overlooked by Yosemite's grandeur.

Adventurous trail

backpacking
5 months ago

Not really sure why this says 10 miles, the map that I have marks it a little over 6 miles to the lake.
This was definitely a beautiful adventure! My friend and I chose this trail for our first backpacking trip and besides us not being correctly prepared, this was the perfect choice!
We started at 1030 and didn't make camp till 1700! Those backpacks really slow you down! The last mile, we walked through ankle deep mud and thought it was never going to end! Luckily, we made it, made camp, froze, and ended up having to share a tent. Thank goodness we brought emergency blankets haha.
Because of a miserable night of sleep/freezing, we cut our trip short and headed back at 0900 and made it to the car at 1500. We found a much easier way back through the marsh, just hike higher up, farther away from the water. ALSO, the ground was pretty frozen, so that definitely helped.
It was an amazing experience and am currently on the hunt for a better, warmer sleeping bag, so I can do it again soon!
Oh, the trail was pretty dead, but make sure to wear bright colors, there were lots of hunters for deer season.

Beautiful day and clear skies on 10/28/17! Trail is maintained well and very easy to follow. After the second bridge, you either go right or left. We went up the right side and down the left side. I think the right side is much better on the knees and less steep but I could be wrong. It just felt like there were more rocks/boulders on the left side (coming down). This is a beautiful hike as you get to see waterfalls along the way. I thought this hike was easy (I hike 2x a month or so) but my friend said it was hard for her (she doesn't hike).

elevation gain is actually only 880FT
mileage: 5.6 miles from Kennedy resort

6 months ago

I've been hiking this Trail for over 30 years in my most recent hike with my Great Danes I do believe I found some mountain lion tracks

6 months ago

Hike the trail all the time got some great views. I go back almost every year

backpacking
7 months ago

Stunning ridge line views. The best section of the PCT I've ever hiked. If you want to know the best day hike on the PCT, this is it!

backpacking
7 months ago

backpacking
7 months ago

prepared to get muddy in the last mile to the lake. everything else was amazing.

hiking
7 months ago

Great hike! While there are moments where the trail is faint, it was very easy to follow. Gorgeous vistas, lovely wild flowers right now, and the odd patch of snow. Nice amounts of streams with at least a little water for our black dog when she got hot. Even with a couple rain/storm bursts, it was well worth all the uphill (and downhill). Lake was a lovely destination, a little marshy around the edges closest to where the trail meets the lake. Thinking about a future backpacking trip to spend a weekend on the lake and exploring some more.

hiking
7 months ago

It's a down out and up back trail.

The start was a little tricky because it passes through a posted private property area. Stay on the "road" and you're good.

Lost my camera between Wood lake and Pine Valley trail head message me if you found it jennmurphy@sbcglobal.net

backpacking
8 months ago

I've hiked the relief reservoir a few times, this is definitely a step up. Hike took about 4 hours each way. Was hoping to do some afternoon scrambling but was hit with 5 hours of thunderstorms this weekend! Bring a book, deck of cards, and a waterproof tent just in case the sierras decide to give you a light show!

No mosquitos! Dropped down to mid 40's at night.

Gorgeous views, lovely lake, very lovely springy forest path for a while, has clearly been affected by heavy snow this past winter so lost the trail twice but was able to find it again looking at the topo

backpacking
8 months ago

One of the most beautiful and picturesque hikes of my life. Highly recommend. But if you want any semblance of solitude, do not go on a weekend. Once Sunday night hit, it was quiet again...minus the horses.

Did this hike this past weekend with my boyfriend and we loved it. Started at the Kennedy meadows campground parking lot. Absolutely beautiful hike! Passed a beautiful meadow. Saw lot of wildflowers. The hike was along a river which was nice. Snow capped mountains in the background. We loved that the trail wasn't extremely crowded. There was a bit of uphill and we were wondering where the heck the reservoir was, but we finally saw it and were in awe. We went in for a swim. It was freezing but we had the reservoir to ourselves. This would be an amazing spot to camp at overnight for backpackers. Would highly recommend this hike!

on Slick Rock Trail

mountain biking
8 months ago

We rode Mt Bikes down from Lake Alpine. There were plenty of spots where we had to get off and walk but what a beautiful trail. There were a lot of Jeeps and rock crawlers and it was fun to watch them climb the the big obstacle on the Utica side. There's a spot about 1/3 of the way from Lake Alpine where it opens up to a sea of granite and a stream running through there were people camping there. It's an amazing spot

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