Hwy. 108, the Sonora Pass at 9624' elevation, is the second highest Sierra mountain pass (that's a paved road.). No wonder it's usually the first to close in Sept/Oct.due to early seasonal snow in the autumn months, but it is also usually the last to open, due to melting snow & falling rocks. (Large granite walls tend to do that.) Time is limited to warmer months for this spectacular drive, but worth every anticipated day.
Carson Iceberg & Emigrant Wilderness lay on oposite sides of the highway. Backpackers really dig this region, as the terrain is extremely unique.
If your'e craving some mighty fine high Sierra scenery, but do not feel like dealing with the crowds at the nearby National Park, the Stanislaus National Forest is your best answer.
To the north, Hwy 4, Ebbetts Pass travels along the mountains into alpine views of lakes & granite.
High elevation rural camping is a real favorite with hearty RVers in late summer. Always check the weather reports when traveling up in this area. Thunderstorms are frequent in summer, and winter storms can roll in earlier than expected. Be prepared to travel with snow chains for your tires in fall months.
permits are required for overnight backcountry camping
check with the correct ranger district for all back country
Trail head parking spots located at:
Hermit Valley, elevation 7500' (Calaveras District)
[Grouse Creek, Mokelumne Wilderness hiking]
Arnold east on Hwy 4 for 29 mi. to Lake Alpine, go past the lake 10 mi. to the campground; open June - September
County Line Trailheads & Wheats Meadow Trailheads, (Summit District)
off of Highway 108 & Clarks Fork Road; Up behind Fence Creek Campground take Forest Service Rd# 6N06
A view of one camp spot at the trailhead called "County Line", on the borders of Alpine & Tuolumne County California. A backpackers & hikers Trailhead for accessing the volcanic wonderlands of the Dardanelles & the Carson-Iceberg Wilderness. Decent cell phone coverage at this spot.
Calaveras Ranger Distr. - Hwy. 4
more info: 209-795-1381
Pacific Valley [on Pacific Creek]
7600' elevation, vault toilets
Arnold CA, east on Hwy 4, 29 mi to Lake Alpine, go past the lake 8 mi. to the campground
open July - September
Hermit Valley [Grouse Creek, Mokelumne Wilderness, hiking]
7500' elevation, vault toilets
Arnold east on Hwy.4 29 mi. to Lake Alpine, go past the lake 10.5 mi. to the campground.
open June - September
Hwy 108 & Clarks Fork - Up on the Hill Forest Service Rd# 6N06
Up, way behind Fence Campground, the narrow dirt road winds it's way up to the backpackers trailheads of the Carson-Iceberg Wilderness & then dead ends at approx. 7 miles. Nice remote camp spots! Dispersed camping options are available along this route. RV's are not recommended on this washboard, curvy, winding road. The horse corral with nearby camping, is about 3-4 miles from Fence Campground. Trucks with trailers (horses, cattle or logging) frequent this road, so keep it slow. A smaller side road leads thru McCormic Meadow & Creek.