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Sonora Pass, Dardanelle

#167 of 391 in Trails in California
Sonora Pass is the second-highest highway pass in the Sierra Nevada, lower by 321 ft. than Tioga Pass to the south. State Route 108 traverses the pass.
The pass connects the communities of Sonora to the west and Bridgeport to the east. Like most high Sierra Nevada passes, the highway is closed in winter, generally between November and May, due to snow accumulation.
The highway over the pass is extremely steep (exceeding 8% for most of the traverse, and up to 26% grades in some locations), narrow and winding between Kennedy Meadows on the west side and Leavitt Meadows on the east. The route is not recommended for vehicles or vehicle combinations that are unusually wide, heavy or long.
The Pacific Crest Trail, a 2,650 mile (4,240 km) long National Scenic Trail, crosses Highway 108 at Sonora Pass.
Adjacent to the Pass is a picnic/parking area, which serves as a day-use rest stop or a trailhead for hikes to nearby Sonora Peak, Wolf Creek Lake, and other spots north or south along the Pacific Crest Trail.
The first documented immigrant traverse of Sonora Pass appears to have been in the late summer of 1852 by a wagon train known as the Clark-Skidmore Company. Subsequently, merchant interests in the communities of Sonora and Columbia promoted the route to California-bound immigrants, not always with happy results when immigrants discovered how difficult it was. There are some references indicating the earliest immigrant crossing was in 1841 by the Bartleson-Bidwell Party, but the U.S. Forest Service indicates they crossed north of Sonora Pass in the Carson-Iceberg area.
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Sonora Pass Reviews
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25 reviews
  • We had planned to drive through Yosemite (not a destination this trip, but on the route), and that pass was still closed for snow in mid June, so we were advised to take Sonora Pass. It was an absolut...  more »
  • I drove this pass from east to west on a beautiful June day. The views were stunning, but the road itself was very twisty, steep in parts, and I actually found myself wishing for some kind of barrier ...  more »
  • Breathtakingly beautiful. One of the world's most picturesque mountain passes.
  • Beautiful area. Great camping developed and

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