Monday, July 26, 2010

Pinecrest Lake to Kennedy Meadows and back

We took a family camping trip up to Pinecrest Lake recently and I got a couple of rides in on Highway 108. The Sonora Pass road offers stunningly beautiful landscape, with good fishing and rock climbing. The granite here is excellent, but mostly without the crowds you get at Yosemite and along highway 50.

Here's a map of the route.

The road is smooth with mellow grades and low traffic. Although there's no shoulder to speak I did not feel crowded like I often do on urban roads, perhaps because the sight lines are generally very good.

I didn't take a camera but pictures can not convey the scale of the scenery. The highway cuts through miles and miles of classic high-Sierra granite carpeted with a mix of pine and sequoia forests on the lower slopes. Snow was still melting so the rivers were running high and all the little creeks and seasonal streams were flowing. The sounds were something else - bird calls, running water, wind in the trees - all as clear as could be. Many times I felt like I was just floating down the road.

There's a little store in Dardanelles for supplies, and Donnells Vista overlook has bathrooms that may have water but the area was closed when I rode by so I can't say for sure. There's not much else except a few campgrounds between Strawberry/Pinecrest and the store at Kennedy Meadows, so plan ahead and carry tools and supplies.

The round-trip ride from Pinecrest Lake up to Kennedy Meadows and back is highly, highly recommended.

The upper campgrounds at Pinecrest, closer to the lake, were great for families. There's bike paths connecting to the lake, where the snack shack has soft serve ice cream, good burgers, and excellent fries. The general store is well stocked in case you forget anything. It was a very relaxing week, even though there's a zillion people around everyone is cool and the kids were having a fantastic time.

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