The Philadelphia Ditch is part of PG&E’s Spring Gap-Stanislaus Hydroelectric Project. The ditch begins life 1.5 miles upstream from Fraser Flat Campground on the South Fork Stanislaus River. The water from the South Fork flows into the ditch via the Philadelphia Diversion Dam where it flows 4.7 miles to the Spring Gap Forebay. It then travels down a one-mile penstock to the Spring Gap Powerhouse on the Middle Fork Stanislaus.
The Philadelphia Ditch Trail parallels this ditch for the entire length. Since this trail follows an old ditch the grade is very gradual and suitable for almost any skill level. The most difficult part is crossing over the handful a wooden flumes which can be 50 feet or so high so if you’re skidish of heights you might want to try and find a way around them. The trail is mostly shaded and ideal for cooler as well as warmer months. The access to this trail is off of Fraser Flat Road which is usually open from May to November depending on the weather. Visit the Stanislaus National Forest website to see if the road is open.
There are several access points to the Philadelphia Ditch Trail but the easiest is off Fraser Flat Rd (FR 4N13). Turn right just before the entrance to Fraser Flat Campground and park where the trail crosses the road. From here you can take the trail for 1.5 miles northeast to the Stanislaus River or three miles southwest to Spring Gap. If you want to traverse the entire length of the trail continue on FR 4N01 two miles past Fraser Flat Campground and park near the PG&E facility.