- Distance: 79.1 Miles (127.3 km)
- Rating: 5-B, The eastern slope is extremely technical, the western slope mellows the closer you get to Sonora. Ratings Explained »
- Travel: East to West for best results
- Start: Junction between CA-395 and CA-108
- End: Sonora, California
- Fuel: Not many options on the eastern side, but lots of fillin' stations in Sonora.
- Along the Way: Don't miss the overlook of Donnell Lake located about 35 miles into the ride (45 miles from Sonora).
- Highlights: This road makes it to the top of our favorite road list because of the highly technical riding on the eastern slope; it is seasoned riders dream. Complex corners that simply cannot be ridden fast - we love it. The western half is fairly tame.
- Advisories: Narrow and technical corners almost always have gravel strewn into the riding area, large vehicles will crowd into your lane, marine snipers could be anywhere.
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This is the road by which all others should be judged. The route was originally used by wagon trains to traverse the Sierra-Nevada mountain range in search of Gold, and then became the stomping grounds of the real-live Grizzly Adams.
History aside, the road is highly technical and will challenge riders with poor throttle control, poor brake management and those who struggle with looking very far ahead. In other words, this road is best enjoyed by the seasoned or veteran rider - or at the very least, the rider who knows how to ride within their limits.
Super tight corners and steep grades will have you dancing on the shifter, sharp turns and multitudes of blind apexes, some that turn unexpectedly to circumnavigate large trees, will reward the attentive and smooth rider. Because of the steep nature and the contour of the Sierra-Nevada mountains we believe the road is best experienced when ridden from east to west; mostly because the most technical corners are up-hill when ridden this direction. When ridden west to east, the most technical corners become even more challenging because of the steep downhill grades.
We love this road and make it a point to ride it on every trip we make to California. On the eastern slope be on the lookout for marine snipers as this area is used as a training site. Also watch out for any large vehicle that has ignored the ominous yellow sign that warns against trailers. Near the end of the ride, you can also opt to turn south and take Tuolumne Road through Tuolumne, California before finishing up in Sonora.
The first part of our rating describes how technical we feel that road is. Numbers one through five with five being the most technical and one being a more mellow road with few challenging corners. The second half of the rating is a letter grade. A rating of "A" would be a road that is in great condition and a grade-F would be a crumbly, slippery or degraded surface.