Alpine County Highpoint Trip Report

Sonora Peak (11,459 ft)

Date: August 2, 2006
Author: John Garner

This is a very nice day hike, one I used as a warm-up and acclimation for a (failed) attempt on Boundary Peak NV. It's not crowded and has beautiful views. The trailhead is directly on a main, paved highway. Despite other trip reports, there is actually a trail all the way to the summit, though the last section is very steep and loose.

To reach the trailhead, take SR-108 to Sonora Pass, about 15 miles west of the junction between SR-108 and US 395 (or about 67 miles east from the town of Sonora). The trailhead is NOT at the pass itself, nor connected to the PCT. To reach this trailhead, drive 0.9 mile west of the pass and look for a small sign on the north side of the highway that says "St. Mary's Trailhead". There is a small parking area right off the highway. Park here. The summit is visible from parts of the road.

The hike: Take the main trail north past a sign marking the Carson-Iceberg Wilderness. Stay on this good trail for 1.2 miles, through an open forest and meadows to Saint Mary's Pass, a saddle at timberline. Turn right on an unmarked trail and go up and over a small ridge. The trail peters out in a wide-open bowl here. Rather than try to look for it, it's easier just to go straight across the bowl toward an obvious low point on the ridge of the peak, where a trail can be seen going uphill. Reach the base of this main ridge about half a mile from the pass.

From the ridge, there is a fairly well-defined but very steep and loose use trail to the top. It's a hard pull, gaining about 750 feet in less than half a mile. At the top there are two windbreaks and a register.

Distance: 2.5 miles
Trailhead elevation: 9400 feet
Summit: 11,459 feet
Gain: approximately 2059 feet.