Northeast of Fresno and Merced, the Sierra National Forest has over 180 miles of snowmobile routes. These routes are located near Shaver and Huntington Lakes on SR168. Of the 180 miles, about 155 miles are groomed and maintained throughout the winter season.
These snowmobiling routes are access via 4 trailheads: Huntington Lake Trailhead, Kaiser Pass Trailhead, Tamarack Ridge Trailhead and the Wiskey Trail. A SNO-PARK permit is required for each vehicle parked at a SNO-PARK site from November 1 through May 30 of each year.
The Kaiser Pass Trailhead provides access to 95 miles of designated trails. These trails provide access around the Huntington Lake Basin, Kaiser Pass, Sample Meadow, Mt. Tom, Edison Lake and Florence Lake Areas. Novice and experienced snowmobilers may experience a variety of riding terrain. Snowmobiles are cautioned to be courteous to skiers using the trails. Restrooms and trail information are available at the site.
Note: Grooming of routes and trails are provided by The Sierra Snowmobile Association and the USDA Forest Service, and are sponsored through the California State Off-Highway Vehicle Program.
The Kaiser Pass area includes the following trails:
Rancheria Loop - (easiest) 1.5 miles
The trail is located in the Huntington Lake area near the Kaiser Pass Trailhead within the Rancheria Campground. The trail follows the road and trail system in the campground. The trail provides access to the lake. Skiers should beware of thin ice on the lake.
Huntington Lake Trail - (easiest) 10 miles
The trail may be entered from the Kaiser Pass Trailhead or the Huntington Lake Trailhead. From Kaiser Pass Trailhead the trail heads west above Highway 168 below the Rancheria Cabin Tract. It crosses the Huntington Lake Road adjacent to Rancheria Garage and Marina and proceeds through College Campground to the Huntington Lake Trailhead. From this trailhead it proceeds across the Deer Creek Bridge into Deer Creek Campground onto the Huntington Lake Road, which is not plowed in the winter.
The trail follows the road toward the town of Big Creek and ends at the Stump Springs road intersection. From this trail you may access the Willow Hill Trail, Grouse Creek Trail, Mushroom Rock Trail, and the Stump Springs Trail. The trails provide many scenic views of Huntington Lake, Bear Butte, China Peak and surrounding country.
Willow Hill Trail - (easiest) 3.0 miles
The trail intersects the Huntington Lake Trail west of the Upper Line Creek cabin tract. The trail stays to the north of the Huntington Lake Road for approximately two miles, passing through Cold Storage Meadow, intersecting the Huntington Lake Road at Billy Creek Campground. This route provides access to the West end of the lake during the spring and an alternate route from the main trail.
Mushroom Rock Trail - (easiest) 7.0 miles
The trail intersects the Huntington Lake Trail approximately 1/2 mile below Dam 3 on the Huntington Lake Trail. It proceeds for about 4 miles to the Mushroom Rock Vista area. The vista provides views of the San Joaquin River and the San Joaquin Valley. On clear days you can see the Coastal Range. A nice spot for a picnic.
Grouse Creek Trail - (more difficult) 18 miles
The trail intersects the Huntington Lake Trail below Dam 3 on Huntington Lake. The trail follows the road on the South Shore of the lake passing the Lakeview Cabin Tract. It proceeds to Dam 2 where it follows a logging road below the dam and continues across the Big Creek Bridge, up to Highway 168 crossing. It proceeds from the crossing to the intersection of the Coyote Lake Trail and follows a logging road to the Tamarack Creek Bridge.
The trail then proceeds to the intersection of the Tamarack Trail and on to the South Fork of Tamarack Creek Bridge then onto the Tamarack Ridge Snowmobile trailhead. This trail and the Huntington Lake Trail provide access to the Tamarack Ridge, Huntington Lake and Kaiser Pass Areas. Along the route is a vista point where views of Kaiser Ridge, Kaiser Peak (elevation 10,4000') and the Kaiser Wilderness can be enjoyed.
Kaiser Pass Trail - (more difficult) 16 miles
The trail proceeds from the Kaiser Pass Trailhead to Kaiser Pass. From Kaiser Pass the trail proceeds to the High Sierra Ranger Station and ends at the junction of Florence Lake and Edison Lake Trails. Along the route are several vistas of Huntington Lake and the Silver Divide Range. This trail provides access to the Rancheria Trail, White Bark Vista Trail and the Stump Springs Trail.
Rancheria Trail - (more difficult) 8.0 miles
The trail intersects the Kaiser Pass Trail approximately 1/2 miles from Kaiser Pass Trailhead and proceeds across Rancheria Creek Bridge around the Kokanee work center. Past the work center the trail follows a road past Bear Butte, where it continues along a ridge until it loses elevation, crossing Rancheria Creek at Badger Flat Campground. The trail proceeds through the campground to the intersection of the Kaiser Pass Trail.
China Peak Trail - (more difficult) 3.0 miles
The trail intersects the Rancheria Trail approximately 1/8 mile past the Kokanee work center; it crosses Highway 168 and proceeds to the Huntington Heliport. From here you have an excellent view of Huntington Lake. The trail proceeds to the lower Sierra Summit parking lot adjacent to Big Creek and Camp Gold Arrow.
Edison Lake - (more difficult) 7.0 miles
The trail starts at the junction of the Kaiser Pass Trail and the Florence Lake Trail. The trail follows the road past Mono Hot Springs Campground to Vermillion Campground. There are hot springs located in the general area.
Florence Lake Trail - (more difficult) 7.0 miles
The trail starts at the junction of the Kaiser Pass Trail and the Edison Lake Trail. The trail follows the road to Florence Lake. On the way you will pass Ward Lake and see the magnificence of the John Muir Wilderness.
White Bark Trail - (more difficult) 2.0 miles
The trail intersects the Kaiser Pass Trail at Kaiser Pass. The trail proceeds to White Bark Vista. White Bark Vista has a breath-taking view of the backcountry. A sight worth seeing.
From White Bark Vista the trail proceeds to the junction of the Deer Lake Trail. The vista provides a panoramic view of the Silver Divide.
Deer Creek Trail - (most difficult) 5.0 miles
The trail starts at the end of the White Bark Vista Trail and proceeds around Deer Lake to the Kaiser Pass Trail.
Stump Springs Trail - (more difficult) 30 miles
The trail intersects the Kaiser Pass Trail to the north of Kaiser Pass. It follows the Stump Springs Trail past the Sample Meadow Campground, West Kaiser Campground and ends at the junction of the Huntington Lake Trail. Along the route are views of the San Joaquin River Drainage and the Kaiser Wilderness.
Mount Tom Trail - (most difficult) 5.0 miles
The trail intersects the Stump Springs Trail past the Sample Meadow Campground. The trail proceeds to the top of Mt. Tom, which is used as a fire lookout in the summer. A 360-degree view of the surrounding country provides spectacular views of Kaiser Ridge and the Silver Divide Range.
Coyote Lake Trail - (most difficult) 12 miles
The trail starts off of Highway 168 at the Coyote Lake Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) parking area. The trail follows the OHV route to Coyote Lake. Coyote Lake is a breath-taking lake, especially after a dusting of snow. Along the route are views of Red Mountain and Chinese Peak. The trail crosses West Creek and passes by Red Lake.
Red Mountain Trail - (most difficult) 5.0 miles
The trail intersects the Coyote Lake Trail and provides an alternate route to Red and Coyote Lakes.
Strawberry Lake Trail - (most difficult) 3.0 miles
The trail intersects the Coyote Lake Trail before West Creek and follows the OHV route to Strawberry Lake. Strawberry Lake is a picturesque lake, well worth a day trip.
Tamarack Trail - (more difficult) 10 miles
The trail begins at the Tamarack Ridge Snowmobile Trailhead and follows a road to the junction of the Grouse Creek Trail, passing Tamarack and Boneyard Meadows.
Chipmunk Trail - (easiest) 3.0 miles
The trail intersects the Tamarack Trail and follows the road to the Grouse Creek Trail intersection then proceeds to Highway 168 adjacent to the Coyote Nordic Trailhead. This is a great beginning snowmobile trail.
Sunset Trail - (easiest) 1.0 mile
The trail intersects the Chipmunk Trail approximately one mile from the Tamarack Ridge Trailhead then proceeds across a bridge on the South Fork of Tamarack Creek and continues to the junction of the Red Fir trail. Look for animal tracks in this area.
Meadow Trail - (easiest) 4.0 miles
The trail intersects the Tamarack Trail approximately 1/2 mile from the Tamarack Ridge Trailhead then proceeds through Tamarack Meadow to the junction of the Red Fir Trail.
Red Fir Trail - (easiest) 4.0 miles
The trail intersects the Tamarack Trail approximately four miles from the Tamarack Ridge Trailhead, crossing a bridge on the South Fork of Tamarack Creek in Tamarack Meadow. The trail proceeds to another junction on the Tamarack Trail.
Snowslide Trail - (more difficult) 4.0 miles
The trail intersects the Red Fir Trail and proceeds across the South Fork of Tamarack Creek (No Bridge) to the Tamarack Trail.
Bald Mountain Trail - (more difficult) 18 miles
The trail intersects the Tamarack Trail and proceeds to Bald Mountain. The vistas at Bald Mountain provide views of Shaver Lake and the Kaiser Ridge area. The trail then proceeds to the Rock Creek Road and back to the Tamarack Trail near Tamarack Meadow.
Overall, Kaiser Pass Trailhead is the 24th most popular snowmobile trail of all 31 snowmobiling rides in California. Several of the better snowmobile trails are nearby Kaiser Pass Trailhead including Jonesville Snowmobile Area, Hume Lake, Hot Springs Area, Bucks Lake , Greenhorn Summit and Tule River / Hot Springs Area.
Local Contacts: SNF (559) 855-5360; California Tourism (916) 444-4429; CA SNO-PARK Info (916) 324 -1222.
Reference Source: click here http://www.fs.usda.gov/sierra/
Date Published: 1/2/2016
Date Updated: 8/13/2016
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