Along the Sugar Pine Railroad Grade

This gentle sloping 4.5 mile one-way hike  follows the old Sugar Pine Railroad grade. This trail, or fire road, is open to hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders year-round but may be covered in snow throughout the winter months. The fire road traverses private property which is owned by Sierra Pacific Industries, so no motor vehicles allowed. The elevation starts at around 4000′ and only gains about 200′ total. On the way to Lyons Reservoir the views out over the Stanislaus River canyon and beyond are magnificent so make sure and take time to enjoy this.

Once you get to Lyons Reservoir the views are no less spectacular. With a back drop of conifers and blue sky, Lyons is the perfect spot for a Sunday picnic. Lyons Reservoir is also a popular California fishing destination so you might see several fishermen casting their lines from the top of the dam.

If you’re feeling a little adventurous you can hike down the steps to the back side of Lyons Dam to do a little exploring or cross over the dam to the other side.




  1. The ranger station mentioned above has plenty of information on the trail. Also the station at Strawberry has additional brochures/maps as well regarding the upper 2/3 of the track.

    The upper 1/3 which brings you closer to Strawberry is a little tricky to find. Along 108 East heading toward Strawberry, look for a sign that says “Spring Gap – Frasier Flat Campground. Follow that road to the river and just before the bridge you’ll see the trail head on the right.

    The middle 1/3 I have not tried. It’s in a more rugged condition. These are nice, short rides.

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