Calaveras Big Trees State Park

Calaveras Big Trees State Park

Photo by NX1Z, Wikimedia Commons

Ebbetts Pass Itinerary for a 2 day RV Holiday

Image from www.byways.orgCape Horn Vista Image from www.byways.org

Day 1

Start: Calaveras Big Trees State Park

Suggested Time at This Site:      2 hours

Calaveras Big Trees State Park is home to two magnificent groves of Giant Sequoia, the most northern stands in the United States. With over 6,000 acres to explore, the Park is open year round with picnic areas, miles of hiking trails, visitor center, over 120 campsites and summer interpretive programs. Over 180,000 people travel from all over the world to pay homage to these enduring giants each year.

Stop 2: Bear Valley

Directions from previous place:     Take Highway 4 east past the towns of Camp Connell, Dorrington, Tamarack and arrive at Bear Valley. Next day, take Highway 4 a short distance to Route 207, following the route to the top.
Distance from Previous Site:          22 miles / 35.2 km
Travel Time from Previous Site:     45 minutes

Take the scenic drive to Bear Valley Village, where lodging ranges from upscale Lodge rooms and vacation homes to ample condominiums. Here, rest your pioneer spirit and replenish with dinner at the Creekside Dining Room. Next day, take in the views from the Bear Valley Mountain Resort, of which any time of year are absolutely breathtaking - picture perfect. From the southern lot, travelers can view the Dardenelle Range with its signature "sleeping lion" and "elephant" outcroppings. A short drive to the end of the resort brings you to the spectacular Mokelumne Peak and Canyon. You won't want to lean over too far!

Stop 3: Lake Alpine

Directions from previous place:     From Bear Valley Mountain Resort, take Route 207 back down and turn left on Highway 4 to Lake Alpine Lodge on the left.
Distance from Previous Site:           3 miles / 4.8 km
Travel Time from Previous Site:     10 minutes

Conveniently situated on the Byway, Lake Alpine is a favorite summer spot for kayakers and fishermen. A trail around the total circumference of the lake provides an inspirational hiking experience.

Stop 4: Cape Horn Vista

Directions from previous place:      From Lake Alpine, take Highway 4 east to the Cape Horn Vista.
Distance from Previous Site:           3 miles / 4.8 km
Travel Time from Previous Site:     10 minutes

Cape Horn Vista provides a 270 degree view of the Carson-Iceberg Wilderness Area, featuring the signature "sleeping lion" and "elephant" of the Dardenelle Range. There are only a few parking spaces among the granite outcroppings, but even slowing down a bit more and viewing this while moving is an outstanding scenic experience.

End: Camping along the byway

A variety of campgrounds, RV parks, and cabins are located throughout the byway. Be sure to plan ahead and make reservations when possible!

Totals for Day 1

Total Distance Traveled:     28 miles / 44.8 km
Total Travel Time:                 1 hour 5 minutes
Total Stopping Time:            2 hours

Day 2

Stop 1: Mosquito Lakes

Directions from previous place:     Continue on Highway 4 from Cape Horn Vista to Mosquito Lakes.
Distance from Previous Site:           4 miles / 6.4 km
Travel Time from Previous Site:     10 minutes

This is a stop you would make even if it wasn't included in this itinerary! Approximately 4 miles past Cape Horn, you'll come across two reflective shallow alpine lakes - Mosquito Lakes. Find a parking space among the granite boulders, bring a chair or picnic blanket, and most definitely, your camera. For anglers, this is a popular fishing site, as well. When the wind is calm, the reflection of the two rustic summer hunting cabins against the granite outcroppings, tall forest and bright blue sky creates a life memory documented on film.

Stop 2: Pacific Valley

Directions from previous place:     From Mosquito Lakes, continue on Highway 4 approximately one mile to Pacific Valley Campground turnoff to the south.
Distance from Previous Site:          1 miles / 1.6 km
Travel Time from Previous Site:    10 minutes
Suggested Time at This Site:         20 minutes

Just a short distance from Mosquito Lakes, you'll come to Pacific Valley and a within 1/2 mile on the dirt road to Pacific Valley Campground, you'll have the rare opportunity to view some outstanding backcountry peaks such as Lookout and Bull Run Peaks without the hike!

Stop 3: Hermit Valley

Directions from previous place:     From Pacific Valley, return to Highway 4 and contiue east to Hermit Valley.
Distance from Previous Site:           3 miles / 4.8 km
Travel Time from Previous Site:   15 minutes
Suggested Time at This Site:        45 minutes

The deep Sierra terrain opens to scenic Hermit Valley, where the Mokelumne River becomes the centerpiece of an open meadow teaming with wildlife and wildflowers.

From here you could opt to hike the Deer Creek Trail through the Mokelumne Wilderness and view beaver ponds on Grouse Creek, and 4-wheelers can opt to take the Deer Valley 4WD cross country road to Highway 88. During the 1850s, Hermit Valley provided an excellent resting place for travelers who had just descended the 1000 feet over to the east side and housed a toll gate for silver seekers in 1864.

Stop 4: Silver Creek

Directions from previous place:     From Hermit Valley, continue on Highway 4 eight miles to Silver Creek Campground.
Distance from Previous Site:           8 miles / 12.8 km
Travel Time from Previous Site:   15 minutes

Silver Creek Canyon presents impressive views from the byway, in a stretch sometimes referred to locally as the "white knuckle zone".

Stop 5: Carson River

Directions from previous place:     From Silver Creek, continue east on Highway 4 approximately eight miles to the East Fork of the Carson River.
Distance from Previous Site:           8 miles / 12.8 km
Travel Time from Previous Site:   15 minutes

The East Fork of the Carson River winds through steep canyons to gravel flats.

End: Grover Hot Springs State Park

Directions from previous place:     From Markleeville, turn left onto Hot Springs Road and travel three miles to Grover Hot Springs State Park.
Distance from Previous Site:          3 miles / 4.8 km

Grover Hot Springs State Park is open year round. There is a campground and picnic area, but the main focus is the hot mineral pools!

Totals for Day 2

Total Distance Traveled:     27 miles / 43.2 km
Total Travel Time:                   1 hour 5 minutes
Total Stopping Time:              1 hour 5 minutes

Featured content and image from www.byways.org

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