Dodge Ridge Resort adds chairlifts for accessible mountain biking
Highway 108 – long a biking, hiking, camping and fishing gem in the High Sierra – just got bigger with the addition of lift-served mountain biking and hillside disc golf. slopes at the venerable Dodge Ridge Resort a few miles above Pinecrest Lake.
As a 27 year National Ski Patroller in Dodge Ridge (now a former) I have long traveled Highway 108, all the way to the Pinecrest and Sonora Pass area. In 1852, 75 pioneers in wagons pulled by 13 mules set out from Ohio and Indiana, headed west for California gold and the promise of a better life, paving the way rugged Sonora Pass.
Today it is one of the highest passes in the state, and the area just west of the pass is a summer and fall mecca for fishermen, hikers, bikers, and admirers of the High Sierra.
Dodge Ridge Mountain Resort opened the mountain to chairlift-accessible mountain biking on August 13, making it one of two mountain biking resorts served by lifts in the Central Sierra (along with Bear Valley) between China Peak near Fresno and Northstar on Lake Tahoe.
Dodge Ridge riders descend from the top of the Motherlode 3 chairlift at an elevation of 7,400 feet and traverse the mountain with nearly five miles of rollers and beginner/lower-intermediate freeride banks; track crews are also working on additional technical and intermediate freeride tracks that will open shortly, with around nine miles planned for this season (DodgeRidge.com/Mountain for updates).
Hayden Price and Douglas Lowe of Tracy were both near the lead at 9 a.m.
“We are longtime skiers and pass holders here, but now look forward to using the area throughout the summer and fall for mountain biking and disc golf.” The price said. I watched as they loaded mountain bikes onto one of the chair’s bike racks for the six-minute ride at 7400 feet.
The bike park will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday through the end of October (weather permitting), said Jeff Hauff, a spokesman for the station. The November bike will be evaluated based on conditions at that time.
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Single-day lift tickets are $49 for ages 13 and up, $39 for children 12 and under. Mountain bike season passes cost $199 and $139 respectively, with mountain bike season pass discounts available to 2022-23 Dodge Ridge winter season pass holders. Rental packages are also available with full-suspension bikes, as well as helmets, knee pads, and elbow pads.
Mountain biking adds to the summer fun at Dodge Ridge, including chairlift accessible disc golf, picnics and hiking, plus yoga classes and bouncy houses for the kids. The resort’s new Base Camp Bar & Grill menu matches free live music every Saturday and Sunday, including a full slate of free summer games like cornhole, ping pong, foosball, shuffleboard, horseshoes, giant Jenga and more.
Pinecrest is a self-contained resort, on the shores of Lake Pinecrest, with Dodge Ridge Resort just three miles above the lake. At nearly 6,000 feet, the lake features a cool mountain climate and attracts tourists, campers, and cabin owners all summer and fall. The area offers a fine, family-run restaurant, Steam Donkey, and lodging options at Pinecrest Lake Resort and Pinecrest Chalet. Two large campgrounds can fill up quickly during the summer, so book early for the best selection.
Additional hiking and biking trails run through the area; stop at the Stanislaus Ranger Station at the corner of Hwy 108 and Pinecrest Rd for directions (or use the AllTrails phone app). A favorite is a rail trail that follows the old Sugar Pine and S. Fork Railroad, the Tuolumne River, from Strawberry five miles west to Lake Lyons (no lift service, you’ll have to rely on leg power).
Heading higher into the Sierra, you’ll find nearly a dozen campgrounds along the middle fork of the Stanislaus River. Our favorite is reached via the Clark’s Fork Road exit; Clark’s Fork Campground on the Clark’s Fork River offers 80 campsites on two loops, with the river flowing alongside and cool nights at nearly 7,000 feet. Clark’s Fork Road ends a few miles north in the Carson-Iceberg Wilderness, offering a variety of hiking trails and nearby fishing options.
For more information: Dodge Ridge Resort, dodgeridge.com; for restaurants, Steam Donkey Restaurant, 209.965.3117, Strawberry Inn (restaurant and lodging), 209.965.3662. For accommodation : Pinecrest Lake Resort, 209.965.3411, Pinecrest Chalet, 209.965.3276; Kennedy Meadows Resort, 209.965.3900; campsite, Stanislaus National Forest, fs.usda.gov/stanislaus/(209) 965.3434.
Contact Tim Viall at [email protected] Bon voyage in the Sierra.