Mountain Biking Trails and Cycling in Mother Lode
In this area you have to be pretty dedicated to biking or know the terrain to take on the challenges the Mother Lode can dish out. The best thing to do is ride with someone. Between the hills and weather it is easy to make excuses why not to get out on a bike. The truth is I have seen people who seem to bike everywhere and I envy the exercise they are getting. Biking seems the perfect pace to enjoy the beautiful vistas that the Mother Lode has to offer. Just be aware, the elevation changes rapidly around here!
- Big Trees
- Dragoon Gulch Trail
- Lyons Dam Railroad Grade Trail
- Mt. Elizabeth to Cedar Ridge
- Mokelumne Coast to Crest Trail
- New Hogan Reservoir
- New Melones
- Slick Rock Ride Mountain Bike Trail
- Sugar Pine Railway – Strawberry Branch
- Tuolumne Railroad Grade
Dragoon Gulch Trail
Off of Alpine Lane in Sonora
Located in the City of Sonora, the Dragoon Gulch Trail provides its visitors with a unique opportunity to stroll through the Mother Lode’s oak woodlands. The Dragoon Gulch Trail is a system of trails creating a 2 ½ mile loop. The trails travel along a natural creek up to the vista that provides a spectacular view of the City and its surrounding mountain ranges. The trails vary in difficulty making it perfect for the casual walker and for those who want a strenuous hike or jog.
Lyons Dam Railroad Grade Trail
This is a easy to medium ride on railroad grade, five miles to the dam from starting gate on South Fork/Confidence Road. Also excellent for family hiking, bring a picnic and enjoy the views of Lyons Reservoir.
Mt. Elizabeth to Cedar Ridge
A shady and tranquil trail that meanders along what the locals call the “ditch”. The man-made ditch runs throughout Tuolumne County and is our local waterway that feeds from the lakes and reservoirs.
Slick Rock Ride Mountain Bike Trail
You can begin on a hiking trail that is a portion of the Old Emigrant Road, then traverse a lengthy section of very rough 4 WD road past Slick Rock and onto gravel and newly paved portions of forest roads, then back up Highway 4 through Bear Valley. This route will take you over twenty-two miles. The scenery is majestic, as the elevations range from 7,800 feet on Osborn Hill to 6,400 feet near the Stanislaus River. Normally open early summer through mid-fall, there are great swimming holes in the Slick Rock area, and splendid views across Utica Reservoir.
Sugar Pine Railway – Strawberry Branch:
This trail follows the historic Sugar Pine Railway. It is lined with interpretive signs keyed to a brochure that describes the logging operations that were carried out here in the early and mid-1900s. A moderate ride, bring food and water and you can picnic along the route. The trail can be used year-round. Hiking and mountain biking are best in the spring, summer, and fall; you man cross-county ski on the trail during the winter months when snow permits.
Go two and a half miles on Stanislaus Forest Road 4N01 the Trailhead is on the right (east) side of the road before you cross the bridge over the South Fork of the Stanislaus River. Winter: California 108 to Old Strawberry Road, which is about 2 miles east of the turnoff to Fraser Flat. Turn left (north) on Old Strawberry road, and go about 2 miles to the trailhead, which is on the left (west) side of the road and is marked by a couple of posts that can be difficult to see from the roadway.
Some of the areas between Twain Harte and Lyons Dam are private property. Trail users, please respect this private property and keep to the trail.
Tuolumne Railroad Grade
West Side Rails: Tuolumne City to North Fork/ Tuolumne River:
The Westside Railroad Trail begins at Miramonte subdivision on Cottonwood Road, one mile east of downtown Tuolumne City. The trail overlooks the Tuolumne River Canyon. This is a beautiful ride in spring; all of the wild flowers are in bloom! Nice easy railroad grade for hiking on the upper end or you can mountain bike all the way down to the river and back up (straight up!) Buchanen Mine Road.
Bikes are not allowed to travel off-trail, on unpaved trails, or in wilderness areas. Mountain biking opportunities are available in designated areas outside of Yosemite. Helmets are required for all riders under 18. For Bike rides and thoughts about biking in Tuolumne County and the Central Sierra Nevada visit this Tuolumne Bikes blog.