This Easy Northern California Rail Trail Takes You Through A Woodland Paradise

The great thing about living in Northern California is the fact that you don’t have to be an expert outdoorsman in order to explore our state’s greatest landscapes.

Beauty can literally be found everywhere you look. Not only that, but our state is full of incredible trails that are perfect for just about everyone who has an interest in exploring these landscapes.

The easy rail trail featured below used to be an old railway. Today, it’s an excellent trail that will lead you straight into a woodland paradise.

This is definitely one you’ll want to add to your bucket list so check it out! Back in the day, the railroad industry played a huge part in the life of the Central Sierra.

The historic Sugar Pine Railway ferried people, equipment, and raw materials up and down the slopes of the Stanislaus National Forest.

Today, it makes for an excellent hiking excursion that every nature lover should accomplish.

The trail runs along a specific stretch of the railroad grade in Tuolumne County, right along the South Fork of the Stanislaus River from Fraser Flat Road to Old Strawberry Road. It runs about three miles one way, and is lined with interpretive signs noting the area’s distinct history.

Boasting very little elevation gain, the trail makes for an easy hike or bike ride through the woodland landscape. If you’re looking for a quick escape from civilization and into the tranquil forest landscape, this is it!

The trail is open year-round, but you should expect snow and ice along the trail during the winter season.

If anything, the area becomes even more magical when covered with snow, proving that there’s really no bad time to explore this unique region.


There’s really nothing better than a hike that boasts both plenty of natural beauty and tons of local history. The days of the Madera Sugar Pine Lumber Company and its logging operation may be long gone, but they are certainly not forgotten.

To reach the trailhead on Fraser Flat Road, you’ll head up Highway 108 and turn left onto the Spring Gap turnoff. You’ll drive approximately three miles to a bridge where you can park your vehicle.

Experience a unique bit of regional history and take in the great outdoors while you’re at it. Click here to be taken to the Forest Service trail map.

What do you think? Will you be hiking this awesome little rail trail anytime soon? For more simple hikes that almost everyone can do, check out our list of 11 Amazing Northern California Hikes Under 2 Miles That You’ll Absolutely Love.

DAWG SAYS: I am very familiar with this area and it is absolutely beautiful and I highly recommend this day activity……

watcha gotta say?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.