Countless hours have been spent riding, clearing and tagging the trails (or paths). Many people, including riders, hikers or bikers, help keep these paths open and accessible. We also try to maintain these trails during the riding season so that your ride can be trouble free, but trees do fall. We have done our best to give detailed directions to staging areas.
We do not rate the rides on the basis of difficulty. Everyone has their own idea of what is difficult and what is not. We have described the trails and what you will encounter. Some trails are more difficult than others. Some have many water crossings or steep climbs and narrow trails next to cliffs. Some trails will lead you through heavily populated tourist areas complete with horse drawn wagons. There are horses that simply will not tolerate walking through noisy wooden covered bridges. You be the judge of your and your horse's abilities. When in doubt, don't take the chance. You can always get off and walk or turn around and go back. Most of all, be safe.
Each trail has detailed information as to riding times, trail type (out and back or loop), season when rideable, elevations, terrain, difficulty (again, in our opinion), restroom facilities, availability of water and area camping. We also include "Attention" which gives information about hazards or difficult areas on the trail, which is once again, in our opinion. The detailed trail maps are in color for your convenience. The trails are tagged with pink and yellow plastic ribbons. Some of the trails have small wooden stakes with information where the path leads.
The book was bound in spiral form so that scanning or copying pages would be easy rather than having to take the whole book. That way your book stays in good condition for years to come.
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Correction to the Tuolumne Meadows Directions: On the Lyell Canyon ride or rides leading toward Tuolumne Meadow or back to camp from the twin bridges, the written instructions were vague. Lyell Cyn. option from #5. Copy/paste the detailed instructions below.
Tuolumne Meadow Loop
After crossing over the twin bridges you will reach a trail junction “high sierra camp - ranger station- glen aulin” (L) Cross bridge over Dana fork of the Tuolumne River (“Ranger Station .07 - Glen Aulin 6.7”)
On the 3-trail stock trail with a split heading to the right, continue straight ahead. The fork to the right leads to a parking lot.
We are on the Pacific Crest Trail, following the Tuolumne River downstream.
Off to the right are cabins. Then we pass the Tuolumne Meadows Ranger Station. Then, uphill to our right is the pack station stables (not the public stables). Past these is a parking lot. We are continuing on the trail below the parking lot.
Just as you reach the front of Lembert Dome on the right, the trail veers right. Follow this trail to the road, cross at the cross-walk (sign for “Lembert Dome” and “Soda Springs, Dog Lake, Glen Aulin & Stables” pointing right).
Crossing the road, pass dumpster to the single track tree lined trail (on the right of the parking lot). This is the public riding trail.
When you see the public stables, head left to the gravel road. Turn right to the parking lot to the left of the stables. Ride through the parking lot, picking up the trail leading downhill toward“Soda Springs, Parson’s Lodge & Glen Aulin”.
At next trail junction head right.
The road veers to the right. We are heading left toward the bridge/river crossing.
After the river crossing, ride on the wide trail across the meadow to Hwy. 120 (Tioga Road). Cross the road. Take trail marked “Tuolumne Meadows HSC - Cathedral Lakes - Sunrise”.
At junction, head left toward the campground and Elizabeth Lake.
Cross small wooden bridge. You will wind to the right up rock stairsteps.
Next sign says “Campground left and Elizabeth Lake Right”. Head right toward Elizabeth Lake (this is the trail directly above the horse camp). There is a trail leading directly to the top of the horse camp, above Campsite #4.
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Below Are Examples From Our Second Book Showing Description, Driving Instructions, Riding Instructions & Trail Map
NEVADA FALLS Riding Time:6 hours or 14 miles round trip Trail Type:Out & Back Season:Mid-summer until the snow flies Elevation: 5900 - 7200 Terrain:Boggy meadows, rocks, cobblestones, open sandy areas and nice single-track trails. Difficulty:Because of the mixed terrain, this is not recommended for novice riders and horses not accustomed to these conditions. Water:Many creek crossings Camping:Wawona and nearby Bridalveil Horse Camps (reservations required). Staging Area: Large parking area at Mono Meadow which is approximately 10 miles up the Glacier Point Road. Attention:There is nothing particularly scary or potentially dangerous about this ride.Just make sure you and your horse are in condition for the climbs. About the Area & Ride:This trail starts from the Mono Meadow trail head, with an immediate and fairly steep descent of 300 ft. in the first half mile.You continue to lose elevation all the way to Illilouette Creek (at about 3 miles), which means your horse will have a good climb at the end of this fairly long ride! You will reach Mono Meadow after about 1 mile.Take extreme caution here to keep your horse in the center of the trail where the ground is the firmest, as this meadow can be very boggy, especially early in the season.For that reason, it is recommended that this be a fall or late summer ride.Another reason to enjoy this ride in the fall is the fact that it is one of the few rides in the area that does have plenty of water crossings very late in the season. Once past Mono Meadow, you will cross a low divide and make a viewless descent to a major tributary of Illilouette Creek at 1.5 miles from the trail head.From the tributary we have a short climb to an open area with awesome distant views of Cloud’s Rest, Mt. Starr King, and Basket, North & Half Domes.After a descent through an old burned out fir forest, we emerge onto an open slope and head straight toward Mt. Starr King, the highest of the Illilouette Creek domes.Immediately after the view disappears, you will come to the Buena Vista Trail. This trail heads to Buena Vista Lake to the right and Glacier Point to the left. However, we will continue straight ahead to a crossing of Illilouette Creek.Once across the creek, the trail climbs for a short distance to a wide, open sandy area, great for a nice gallop if you are so inclined! (Note— It may be a good idea to check out the footing here before your gallop, as ground squirrels can be a problem in this area!!) The final 2 miles or so are a gentle climb through open expanses on the western side of Mt. Starr King.You will encounter a few more creek crossings and another good bog to cross (if you can call a bog “good”) before meeting up with a junction to a connecting trail (stay to the right), which meets up with the Panorama Trail at 0.5 miles.Following the signs toward Nevada Falls, the final mile descent of the Panorama Trail before reaching the falls is fairly steep and rocky.There is also old blacktop on parts of the trail.When the weather gets colder, this blacktop can actually be coated with a thin layer of ice, making it very slippery.This section of the trail is where the solitude ends as you are likely to encounter many more tourists. Once arriving at the top of the falls, you can cross over the footbridge and walk your horse onto the granite slabs leading down to the water for a welcome drink.It is best to cross back over the bridge and find a tree to tie up to.Have lunch here, as it is out of the way of most of the tourist traffic. With the horses secured, take a stroll back over the footbridge & walk out to the guard rail at the base of Liberty Cap for a heart stopping look straight down from the brink of the falls, as the Merced River plunges 594 ft. to the valley below. Truly spectacular! Take your time here to relax and enjoy the scenery & let your horses have a good rest (remember the uphill grind back to your trailer!)Then retrace your steps back the way you came.
Nevada Falls - Staging Area Driving Instructions
Nevada Falls - the ride
NEVADA FALLS THE RIDE
#1From the staging area, take the Mono Meadow trail.This has a steep descent for the first ½ mile. Ride through the boggy meadow, staying in the center of the trail and continue on toward Illilouette Creek.
#2Go past the sign for Buena Vista Lake and continue on across the creek. #3Stay on the trail heading left, following the signs for Nevada Falls.
#4When you come to a trail heading to the right, continue left toward Nevada Falls.
#5When you come to the Panorama Trail junction, head right toward Nevada Falls.Once arriving at the top of the falls, you can cross over the bridge and walk your horse down to the water.Enjoy a long rest as the ride home will be a workout. Return to your trailers on the same trail.