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Sonora Peak, Stanislaus National Forest

Conquer the heady heights of Sonora Peak on a great four mile round-trip in the heart of Stanislaus National Forest.
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Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Strenuous
Length: 4 miles
Duration: Half day

Overview :  Explore the dramatic Yosemite-like scenery of Stanislaus National Forest on open roads with nary a tour bus in sight.

The 11,495 foot... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Trailhead & Parking

Beginning at the signed trailhead located ad Sonora Pass, begin the 2,000ft uphill trek along the trail which runs parallel to the creek, through a thinning forest of pine trees.

Parking is located next to the trailhead, and additional parking is located just to the East (on the South side of the road) should the main parking area be snowbound)... More

2. Meltwater & Stubborn Snow

Meltwater and stubborn patches of snow combine to make the trail difficult to locate at times even though the route is a straight shot up the mountain to the saddle, which is where this guide comes in useful as a wayfinder.

Early blooms of Hood's Phlox are scattered around the scenery in mid-June, but by July wildflowers will be at their peak.

3. St. Mary's Pass

Only a mile into your hike you're now almost exactly a thousand feet above the trailhead and half way to the summit of Sonora Peak.

Thankfully the next half a mile isn't as steep as the last section of the hike, but now you're over 10,400ft above sea level you'll begin to notice the effects of the rarefied air up here. Remember to take things ... More

4. Final Push

The final push may be the steepest part of the hike, but with the summit of Sonora Peak firmly in your sights you're only a short distance from your goal.

If you're struggling at this point, simply take things very slow. Take three paces followed by a short rest and find a rhythm, adjusting the number of paces depending on your comfort.

5. Sonora Peak Summit (11,495 ft)

Congratulations! You've successfully climbed your way to the top of Sonora Peak high above the Stanislaus National Forest and the highest point in Alpine County.

Up here you'll find incredible views of Sierra Nevada peaks all around you, and a great little rock-walled bunker from which to shelter from the winds where you can enjoy flipping... More