Backpacking / Trekking in Kennedy Meadows, Sonora, California USA

3 mi/4.8 km
Sonora Pass is located near Pinecrest, Tuolumne County, California, USA. It is off of Highway about 60 mi/96.5 km east of Sonora.

Trails are spread everywhere across the mountains. There is something for everyone in the Sonora Pass region, as there are all kind of trails, easy, intermediate and high elevation and also long day adventures. One of the best trails to go backpacking is Kennedy Meadows to Relief Reservoir.

It is a one way, 3 mi/4.8 km, moderate trail with elevation gain of 1000 ft/304.8 m. This trail takes you to the shores of Relief Reservoir. Begin your adventure at Kennedy Meadow. The first mile is an easy stroll, going through the meadow, where some episodes of “Little House on the Prairie”, a television creation by Michael Landon, were filmed.

After crossing a bridge, you begin a steep climb on a wide trail, carved out of the mountainside, right after the Relief Dam was being constructed in the early 1900’s. There is another bridge and steep climb, taking you past an old P G and E building. Not far away you find the area around the dam.

While continuing on the  trail along the hillside high above the reservoir, you turn onto a use trail that leads to the dam. You can camp near the Lake or the Meadow.

How to Get to Destination

164 mi / 264 km, 3 hrs 5 mins
Follow I-880S to San Jose. Take the exit 31 for I-238 to I-580/Stockton/Fresno. Follow the signs for I-238/I-880/Castro Valley/Stockton Fresno and enter I-238 S. Enter I-580E. Go straight for I-205E. Enter I-5N. Take the exit California 4E to Downtown Stockton. Enter CA-4 E. Enter CA-4 E/CA-99 S. Take the exit 252B to enter CA-4 E to Farmington Rd. Turn right to CA-4 E/Farmington Rd. Go to CA-4 Bypass E/Angels Camp Bypass. Head straight for CA-4E. Turn left on Bear Valley Rd.
BY CAR FROM Central Valley
89.6 mi / 144.2 km, 2 hrs 4 mins
Follow CA-108 E/E F St. Continue to follow CA-108E. Enter CA-49 N/W Stockton St. Turn left on CA-49 N/Golden Chain Highway N/S Washington St. Make an open right turn to Parrots Ferry Rd. Head straight to Parrots Ferry Rd. Turn right to CA-4E. Turn left on Bear Valley Rd.
BY CAR FROM Sacramento
125 mi / 201.2 km, 2 hrs 41 mins
Follow CA-99S. Take exit 273 to Liberty Rd. Turn left on Liberty Rd. Turn right to CA-88W. Turn left to CA-12E. Continue to CA-49 S/Golden Chain Highway S/W St Charles St. Turn left to CA-4 Bypass E/Angels Camp Bypass. Continue straight to CA-4E. Turn left on Bear Valley Rd.
Columbia Airport,
50.6 mi / 81.4 km

Amtrak serves the entire USA. For fares, tickets and schedules check the website.


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