Your Scenic Guide to the Great Outdoors
TrailPhoto Guides and TrailPhoto Scenes - Off Highway 4 Area
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View from the trail to the east over Upper Kinney Lake
California State Highway 4 seems like just another route over the Sierra, until you reach the upper ranges, arriving from the west. Above Alpine Lake, a blue gem just above the meadows of Bear Valley, the high country of lakes and trails unfolds. In its uppermost reaches, Highway 4 becomes a wide one lane road for several miles, not suitable for hauling trailers or large vehicles. Here, traffic seems lighter and less encumbered. But the scenery and vistas are invigorating along the crest, and across the eastern side of the pass the terrain opens further, with fewer trees and many high rocky peaks.
TrailPhoto Guides and TrailPhoto Scenes in this section straddle the ridges of the Pacific Crest Trail, on the Trail itself and to the east and west. Here are lake-dotted forests, steep canyon walls and peaks, and green meadows lush with wildflowers and creeks. Farther to the east, the High Trail reveals the character of the semi-arid mountain lands, with its sagebrush, boulder strewn hillsides, and ponderosa pines.
In the Highway 4 area, the TrailPhotos cover terrain in the Stanislaus and Toiyabe National Forests, and reach into the Carson-Iceberg and Mokelumne Wilderness Areas. The Pacific Crest Trail routes going both north and south from Highway 4 in these TrailPhoto Guides and TrailPhoto Scenes include among the more varied and dramatic of the trails, running along the crest of the western Sierra. While the other trails in this area are not dominated by the PCT ridge crest, they do offer an interesting variety among the forests and lakes that typify this region.
The trails along Highway 4 are generally right off the highway, except for a few that are reached over gravel roads on turnoff roads from Highway 4. The only one of these requiring more than a short detour from the main road is the High Trail, which requires a several mile access from the eastern reaches of Highway 4 down into Wolf Meadow. The maps below give an overview of these trails' general location.
Off Highway 4 TrailPhotos Area California Location of Terrain Map
The yellow arrow on the Terrain Map above shows the approximate location and viewing direction of the photograph displayed near the top of this web page. The olive colored rectangle on the terrain map outlines the general coverage area for the Off Highway 4 TrailPhotos.
Off Highway 4 TrailPhoto Guides and TrailPhoto Scenes locations (Red arrow shows approximate location and viewing direction of the photo shown on the top of this page).
TrailPhoto Guides and TrailPhoto Scenes Descriptions
The TrailPhotos.com website has a thumbnail photo index and descriptions of seven Off Highway 4 Area trails. Descriptions of these TrailPhoto Guides and TrailPhoto Scenes are available along with purchase information at this Photos: All Highway 88 to N. Yosemite TrailPhoto Guide Trails link for the trails listed below.
The approximate location of these trails is shown on the detailed area map above, matched to the corresponding numbers displayed below.
Off Highway 4 Area
11) Alpine Lake / Elephant Rock Lake 15) PCT North to Raymond Valley
12) Woodchuck Country 16) PCT South to Nobel Canyon
13) Mosquito Lake to Bull Run Lake 17) High Trail
14) Pacific Valley to Bull Run Peak
The National Forest Service maintains websites with extensive information and park maps. These provide an official and useful complement to the detailed TrailPhoto Guides and maps on this website. The applicable National Forests and Wilderness Areas for the Off Highway 4 Area are (these links will open in a new browser window):
Stanislaus National Forest - Located on the west side of Highway 4 area.
Toiyabe National Forest - Located on the east side of the Highway 4 area.
Carson-Iceberg Wilderness - Located south of the Highway 4 area.
Mokelumne Wilderness - Located north of Highway 4 / south of Highway 88.
Other sources of Highway 4 area information (Opens in new browser window):
State of California Visitors' Information - Includes general information for the Highway 4 area.
TrailPhotos Index Site Map for all TrailPhotos areas and maps.
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