The Dragoon Gulch trail system connects a series of trails that creates about a 2.5 mile loop; perfect for the casual hiker or jogger who wants a good workout. The trail is open year-round from dawn to dusk to both hikers and bicyclists. The South Creekside Trail is surfaced and ADA accessible, the North Forest Trail is paved, and all other trails are natural surface. Dogs are allowed in Dragoon Gulch as long as they are on a leash and never left unattended.
Placer mining took place at Dragoon Gulch starting in 1849 but due to the lack of water it wasn’t extensively mined until after 1852. Dragoon Gulch was named for a group of cavalry soldiers (dragoons) of the US Army who stayed in the area and mined for gold in the ravine. It is unknown if the soldiers deserted their units or if they were on legal furlough to mine for gold. Evidence of placer mining can be seen in the form of mine tailings (rock piles) along the South Creekside Trail as well as the old man-made water ditch along the Ridge Trail.
Currently there are two parking areas for the Dragoon Gulch Trail, one at the north end of Woods Creek Park (near the baseball field) and another at the end of Alpine Lane. The parking area at Alpine Lane will take you right to the trail system where as the Woods Creek parking area you must travel along Sylvan Dr for about 1/4 mile to get to the trailhead. There are plans to expand the Dragoon Gulch trail system and add two more trailheads, one off of Racetrack Rd and one off of Leland Dr. For more information on the Dragoon Gulch Trail including maps and future expansion plans visit the City of Sonora website at http://www.sonoraca.com/visitsonora/dragoonpage.htm.
The photos of Dragoon Gulch below are in the order the hike was done. Starting point was the parking area on Alpine Ln and counter clockwise around the loop. This direction makes for an easy climb and slightly steeper decent. Clockwise around the loop will give you a steeper climb.