The China Flat to Spring Gap hike begins just below the Beardsley Reservoir Dam at the China Flat day use area. This hike is mostly level as it traverses along side the Middle Fork Stanislaus River for the entire 2.5 mile length. Total elevation change is only 230 ft with a max elevation of 3,150 ft.
There are many opportunities along this hike to explore the banks of the Middle Fork. The hike terminates at the Spring Gap Powerhouse where there is a foot bridge crossing the river to the other side. The trail continues on to Sand Bar Flat which adds another three miles one way to your hike. Once you’re finshed exploring the Spring Gap Powerhouse and surrounding area, retrace your steps back to China Flat.
To reach this hike drive five miles past the Pinecrest turnoff on Hwy 108 and turn left on Forest Road 5N02 towards Beardsley Reservoir and campground. Drive seven miles down into the canyon, turn left towards Beardsley Dam. Once you cross over the dam turn left down a steep one lane road taking you to the China Flat parking area below the dam. There are public restrooms and picnic tables here. Once parked, hike 1/2 mile southwest along the access road to the Beardsley afterbay wooden dam. The trail starts here.