NorCal Roadtrips

An Explorer's Guide to Northern California


Highway 108- Modesto to Sonora Pass

The early settlers in California had to cross the Sierra Nevada Mountains by necessity, they had to get to the other side. We do it for fun; its beautiful and there's lots to do. Sonora Pass is one of the choices. Others in very close proximity include Tioga Pass on the eastern side of Yosemite National Park, Ebbetts Pass via Hwy. 4, Carson Pass via Hwy. 88, Echo Pass via Hwy. 50 and Donner Pass via Hwy. 89/Int. 80. All make worthy road trips.

West of Sonora, Hwy. 108 will appeal to the camper, and particularly the boater, as it passes several warm water lakes like Woodward and New Melones Reservoirs. Once past Sonora it begins its climb into the Stanislaus National Forest, and the lakes become alpine with trout supplanting the warm water species found down below. Campgrounds abound. Once you begin the approach to Sonora Pass from around Dardanelle the camping options multiply, as does the scenic rating. At the pass (9,624 feet) back country fans begin to rejoice; to the north lies the 160,000 acre Carson-Iceberg Wilderness and to the south the 13,000 acre Emigrant Wilderness with its 185 miles of developed trails. Over the pass and slightly south comes the Hoover Wilderness. Day hikers do not require a wilderness permit in these areas, but overnight backpackers do. Icing on the cake? Yosemite National Park is just to the south.

On the pages linked below we provide an itinerary, with a blow-by-blow description of the sites you will pass, with links to those sites for a comprehensive write-up on each. Things To Do is just that. Campgrounds lists the places to camp other than those at the lakes; they can be found on the specific lake write-up. The Photo Gallery will eventually contain images that document a place. A picture is worth, etc.

Itinerary Things to Do Campgrounds Photo Gallery