Sonora Pass – HWY 108 Scenic Byway

Pinecrest Lake on Sonora Pass - Route HWY 108

The HWY 108 Corridor in California, better known as Sonora Pass is an exhilarating travel route across the Sierra from typically Mid May until the first real snowfall of the season in the fall.  However, recreation is an all season opportunity on the Sonora Scenic Hwy. From hiking, camping & fishing, to skiing, snowmobiling and snowshoeing, Sonora will invite family recreation and hard core physically challenging adventures.

The Below list of location and links will help you plan your next visit.

Popular destinations include Leavitt Meadows on the Eastside and Pinecrest Lake on the Western side of the mountain and The PCT Crossover on top of the pass.  One of Sierra Recs top tips for Sonora Pass, Pull over often and just listen, there are water features all over the place. Horseback riding out of Leavitt’s Meadow is an incredible day trip and hiking to the various back-country lakes in the Hoover Wilderness is always a great trip.

Lake and Pond Fishing Areas

  • Beardsley Reservoir –   located on the Middle Fork of the Stanislaus River.From Beardsley Dam downstream to the U.S. Forest Service footbridge at Spring Gap, there are special fishing regulations per the Department of Fish and Wildlife.
  • Pinecrest Lake – The California Department of Fish and Wildlife regularly stocks Pinecrest Lake with rainbow trout.
  • Donnell Reservoir –  located in a steep rocky canyon of the Middle Fork Stanislaus River approximately 5 miles upstream from Beardsley Reservoir, 7 miles from Highway 108 off Beardsley Road on 5N09X.
  • Lyons Reservoir – offers excellent fishing from the shore. Boating and swimming are prohibited at Lyons Reservoir. You’ll find rainbow and brown trout. Fishing in the river upstream from Lyons Reservoir is excellent.
  • Emigrant Lake – You’ll need to put in a full day of hiking  in order to reach Emigrant Lake, deep in the Emigrant Wilderness; but your efforts will be rewarded with great fishing. Nearby lakes such as Huckleberry Lake, Big Lake, and Buck Lakes are equally as good for fly fishing and spin casting. Click here for details map and info for this hike.

River and Stream Fishing Areas

The Leavitt Meadows Trail Access also provides great day hike and backpack fishing trips

Day Trip Fishing at:

  • Poore Reservoir
  • Roosevelt Lake
  • Lane Lake
  • Fremont Lake
  • Secret Lake
  • Upper & Lower Long Lake
  • Walker Meadows
  • Upper Piute Meadows


EBBETTS PASS (STATE ROUTE 4), MONITOR PASS (STATE ROUTE 89), AND SONORA PASS (STATE ROUTE 108) CLOSED FOR 2019/2020 WINTER SEASON Stockton – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has closed State Route 4 over Ebbetts Pass, Route 89 over Monitor Pass and Route 108 over Sonora Pass for the 2019/2020 winter season as of Monday, December 2, 2019. The routes were last open to vehicle traffic on November 26, 2019. The recent storms and accumulation of snow, make the seasonal closure necessary for the safety of motorists and Caltrans crews. The weather conditions on the passes and subsequent road conditions are among the determining factors in the decision to make the seasonal closure. Once the passes are closed for the winter, they will not be reopened until conditions warrant it. Each year, Caltrans crews work diligently to clear debris, remove snow and make highway repairs in order for the highways to reopen for summer travel. For the latest road condition information, the radio may be tuned to the Caltrans Highway Advisory Radio (HAR) at 530 AM, 1610 AM or 1670 AM or call the Caltrans Road Condition Hotline at 1-800-427-ROAD (7623). Real time conditions are also available online and for mobile phones at Winter weather and road conditions can change rapidly. Motorists should expect the worst conditions and be prepared when traveling in areas subject to hazardous conditions. All vehicles, including those with four-wheel drive or snow tires should, additionally, carry chains when traveling during snowy weather. Drivers without chains in their possession may not be allowed to proceed. When highway signs indicate that chains are required,...

Sonora Pass and Ebbett’s Pass Open For Summer Season

Expect lots of snow, but access over two of the Sierra Popular Scenic Routes opened today for recreational travel. TUOLUMNE COUNTY — The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has removed the winter snow, cleared the debris, made necessary repairs and opened State Route 108 (SR-108)/Sonora Pass at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 30, 2019. Sonora Pass rises to 9,623 feet, making it the second highest pass in the Sierra. Even with low volumes of snow, Sonora Pass and Ebbetts Pass require closure during the winter season. Sonora Pass has grades in excess of 20% and Ebbetts Pass had grades in excess of 23%, far exceeding typical highway grades of 6%. The steep grades, high elevation and narrow road cannot accommodate snow removal equipment and vehicular traffic at the same time. Travelers are advised that there are minimal services available and limited mobile phone service along the high elevations of Sonora Pass. Visitors are also advised to have a full tank of gas and to carry extra food, water and clothing to be prepared for any emergencies. Caltrans crews responsible for the road opening extend their best wishes for safe summer traveling to those who enjoy the recreational opportunities this part of California has to offer. Levitt's Meadow - Off HWY 108 Sonora Pass EBBETTS PASS IN ALPINE COUNTY OPENS Ebbetts Pass/State Route 4 is Now Open For the Summer Season - ALPINE COUNTY — The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has removed the winter snow, cleared the debris, made necessary repairs and opened State Route 4 (SR4)/Ebbetts Pass National Scenic Byway at noon on Thursday, May 30, 2019. Caltrans...

Some seasonal roads on Stanislaus National Forest will remain closed until June 30

This winter a series of strong storms hit California, causing extensive damage to roads, trails, infrastructure and ecosystems on California's national forests. SONORA, Calif., May 17, 2019 – For those travelers making plans to head to the mountains for Memorial Day weekend and beyond. the national Forest in many of the Sierra Mountain range has issued warnings of severe recreational road closures. The Stanislaus National forest which covers Some seasonal roads on the Stanislaus National Forest will remain closed until June 30, 2019, due to one of the heaviest snowfalls on record during the winter of 2018-2019. Forest staff continue to assess seasonal roads on all ranger districts and we will share seasonal road openings as they occur. Roads remaining closed until May 31 on Summit Ranger District are outlined in Forest Order 16-2019-01 and include Herring Creek and Eagle Meadow roads. A second forest order, 16-2019-02, highlights the closure of Forest Road 4N26 (Crabtree Road) from its intersection with Forest Road 4N25 to its termination at Crabtree Trailhead. This closure order is also in effect until May 31. Roads that will remain closed until June 30 on Calaveras Ranger District are outlined in Forest Order 16-2019-03. In addition, Forest Order 16-2019-05 closes Forest Road 5N56 until Dec. 31, 2019, due to significant damage to nearly a mile of road from its intersection with Forest Road 5N52. Jason Kuiken, Stanislaus National Forest Supervisor, said that in addition to the heavy snowfall, which continues to prevent safe travel on some roads, warm weather systems brought heavy rains and high winds that resulted in an unusually high number of fallen trees upon forest roads. “Allowing vehicles to travel these...

High Sierra Passes and Popular Recreational Areas Starting to Open For Summer 2017- Latest Updates

Inyo National Forest Opens Lakes Basin Road Wednesday Here Are The Most Recent Update For Popular Sierra Passes and Scenic Byways Sierra Rec Magazine, Eastern Sierra News - June 22, 2017-  Almost on cue with the Summer solstice in 2017 road crews and county agencies have started to get the upper hand on the 2017 snowpack and access to some of our favorite passes and recreational areas.  Yesterday Inyo National Forest announced the opening of Lakes Basin Road for the 2017 season and Last weekend Sonora Pass gates opened for visitors on the eastern side of the mountain. The High Sierra Passes are a summer tradition for many in our area and those traveling into the region. We have been contacted by so many who have made June Plans for the Eastern Sierra that have been shocked at the limited access they might have when arriving. The snow was such a blessing, but it did delay summer recreation for many. Here are the latest High Sierra Pass updates so you can plan your weeks adventures ahead. The reality, however still is setting in that access does not look normal to us this year as even as we enter our favorite areas via car we find plenty of snow still on the ground and limited access to parking and favorite trail locations. Earlier this week it was announced that the gates of Tioga pass were open to allow cars to drive up to Yosemite National Park via Tioga pass. However, this did not mean that the Yosemite Gates were open for access.  And as we read that the Lake Basin is now open we still discover...

Three Days in the Hoover Wilderness- A great beginners backpack trip out of Leavitt Meadow

Hoover Wilderness Backpacking From Leavitt Meadow Sonora Pass - Leavitt Meadow Ca, - Sonora Pass is known for its rugged steep drive over the Sierra. The vista-view points, access to the PCT  and various backcountry lakes and hikes.  However, for a true experience of Sonora pass a backpacking trip into the Hoover Wilderness provides an excellent taste of the rugged beauty of this Sierra Mountain Region. A day hike or horseback ride into the Hoover Wilderness and several close lakes is also rewarding. The 3.5-mile hike from Leavitt Meadow to Lane Lake can be done in less than 2 hours. Lane Lake and its sister Roosevelt Lake offer good fishing and comfortable campsites with views of the lakes. This easy hike makes a great backpacking outing on which to bring children and introduce them to the wilderness. The backpacking hike begins at the Leavitt Meadow Campground and heads up Leavitt Meadow. After a couple of miles, the trail climbs 400 feet to a ridge at 7,500' and then drops to the two gorgeous mountain lakes. Recently I spoke with a group of Ladies from the Carson Valley which took a three-day adventure hike/backpacking trip into the Hoover Wilderness out of Leavitt Meadow last summer on the East Side of the Sierra to visit a handful of scenic lakes, streams, and vistas. Here is a photo journey of their trip. [Best_Wordpress_Gallery id="5" gal_title="Leavitts Meadow Hikes"] Hiking Guide to Lane Lake and the Hoover Wilderness Getting Organized Wilderness Permits for the backpacking trip to Lane Lake can be picked up at the Summit Ranger Station near Pinecrest on the west side...

Hire A Pack Guide Out Of Leavitt’s Meadow And Enjoy The Backcountry

Leavitt Meadow Pack Station Provides Quality Trip into Hoover Wilderness for Visitors and Guests Leavitt's Meadow, Sonora Pass Ca -  So does hiking 12 miles round trip seems a bit excessive to you?  How about riding a horse and enjoying the backcountry all the same? Plus the Pack Horse can carry all you favorite items, fishing poles, tents, games, etc... Sound a little easier?  Well, of course. I run into people all the time asking me where to go and enjoy the Sierra, however often they don't really want to hike 6, 10, 15 miles to see some of these amazing location. Backcountry pack trips used to be a very common adventure in  the Eastern Sierra.  But speaking with the team at Leavitt Meadow pack station this last week, we found out that pack stations and pack guides are a dying breed of sorts.  Seems like many have learned to fear a horse instead embracing the gifts that they offer in our adventurous explorations. When I first was introduced to Craig at Leavitt Meadow Pack Station, he was looking to get the word out on an upcoming 4-5 day backcountry All inclusive Trip to Fremont Lake in the High Sierra. Fremont Lake  is known as a great high sierra fishing destination, for those willing to travel 8.5 miles in by backpack enjoy some of the finest Mountain Lake Fishing in the High Sierra. (By the way at the time of this article Craig still has several spots open for this trip and is willing to give our readers a huge savings if they book this week)  When Craig and I spoke...

Temporarily closure of Pinecrest Lake boat ramp

Sonora, Calif., (May 10, 2016)…The boat ramp at Pinecrest Lake will be closed to the public due to required inspections and maintenance on Strawberry Dam on May 16 and 26.  Click to view map. Pacific Gas & Electric Co. divers will be performing work on the tower outlet gates of Strawberry Dam, which feeds Pinecrest Lake; this was last completed in 1996. The dive crews will use the boat ramp for mobilizing and demobilizing large barges which are necessary to support the inspections and maintenance. Additionally, the lake area (displayed in the attached photo) and trail located in the immediate vicinity of the dam may also be closed to public access. The purpose of this closure is to ensure the safety of the pubic and the divers during these activities. Visitors to the Pinecrest Basin during this time are encouraged to look for signage indicating temporary changes to traffic patterns, trail closures and additional posted information about this work. Though the work is scheduled for completion some time on May 26, complications could arise which make it necessary to leave the barges in place over the Memorial Day weekend. The boat ramp is expected to be open for public use throughout Memorial Day weekend even if the barges need to remain in place past May 26. PG&E operates the Strawberry Dam as part of the Spring-Gap Stanislaus Hydroelectric Project, under the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission License No. 2130. For more information on this temporary closure, please contact PG&E Representative Scott Fee at 916-213-5026 or the Summit Ranger District Office of the Stanislaus National Forest at...

Stanislaus National Forest Announces Pinecrest Lake Campgrounds Are Open

Pinecrest Lake Campgrounds Open for the First Weekend of Fishing Season. Great news! #PinecrestLake #campgrounds on #HWY108 is scheduled to open April 28 — StanislausForest (@Stanislaus_NF) April 22, 2016 Pinecrest Recreation Area is located at Pinecrest Lake, a 300-acre lake owned and operated by Pacific, Gas and Electric Company. It is located 30 miles east of Sonora on State Highway 108. The Recreation Area lies in a timbered setting at an elevation of 5,600 feet. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife regularly stocks Pinecrest Lake with rainbow trout. Groceries and other services are available at the Pinecrest commercial center. Recreational opportunities available at the Pinecrest Recreation Area include: Three hundred campsites with tables, grills, flush toilets and potable water in two campgrounds (Pinecrest Campground and Meadowview Campground) Three group campsites with tables, grills, fireplaces, vault toilets and potable water in 1 group campground (Pioneer Trail Group Campground) Day Use Sites: Pinecrest Boat Launch; 50 picnic sites with grills, flush toilets and potable water in one picnic area (Pinecrest); Designated swimming area. Fishing: Accessible fishing pier and boat launch available. Hiking: Pinecrest National Recreation Trail, a 4 mile hiking trail around the lake; paved pathways connecting points of interest. In winter, the Pinecrest Lake and Pond Fishing The California Department of Fish and Wildlife regularly stocks Pinecrest Lake with rainbow trout. Groceries and other services are available nearby at the Pinecrest commercial center. In addition to the campgrounds shown above, Forest Service developed recreation facilities include: Pinecrest Boat Launch Fifty picnic sites with grills, flush toilets and potable water in 1 picnic area (Pinecrest) Designated swim area...

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