Buck Meadows, Lumsden Bridge and the Toulumne River

Consensus:    (details)
  4.5 from 2 votes
black  Difficult from 1 vote
Rank: #2 in the Buck Meadows area
#115 in CA, #1,041 Overall
Views: 2,573. Last 30 days: 67
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Featured Ride in the area near Tuolumne City,
“An epic long distance loop ride dropping into the Tuolumne Canyon with great views of the river.”
Tom Wilson on May 6, 2013
Getting There     GPX File     Print
17.528.2 milesKilometers 2,810’856 m Ascent 3,399’1,036 m High 6% Avg Grade (3°)
20% Singletrack -2,811’-857 m Descent 1,425’434 m Low 22% Max Grade (12°)
Closed to motor vehicles during winter.
This ride will bring you along the Tuolumne Canyon Ridge, which will give you great views into Yosemite. Then it will drop you into the Tuolumne Canyon right next to the Tuolumne River. There's a great downhill section behind Buck Meadows with a relatively low grade 5 mile uphill climb out. You'll get amazing views into an awesome area that many people don't get to see.
Need To Know
Watch out for cars on Lumsden road during the summer. Poison oak is in the area but trails are wide enough for you to avoid it easily. The uphill can be strenuous at the top. Bring lots of water.
Start at the Stanislaus US Forest Service parking lot. You can either go down Lumsden road and back up, or you can make it into a loop. Ride by the Pines campground sign and then take your first left onto dirt forest service roads off of Highway 120. This forest service dirt road will bring you along the ridge of the Tuolumne canyon which will give you great views into Yosemite!

Continue on the forest service road until you get to the back of the Buck Meadows Restaurant (stop for a beer and lunch if you're hungry :)) From here, you'll start heading down into the canyon on semi-rocky doubletrack trails. The downhill lasts for 3-4 miles and will put you at the bottom of the canyon next to the river and the Lumsden campground.

You can ride another 3 miles to get to the Lumsden bridge and see a great view of the waterfall (shown on this gpx track) or you can head up the 5 mile Lumsden road to get back to the Lumsden trailhead. From here, get back on Feretti road for 20 feet and take the forest service dirt road that will bring you back to the US Forest Service Office. You'll be required to ride on Highway 120 for a quarter mile.
History & Background
Lumsden road is a forest service road that is heavily used by rafting guide companies around the Groveland, CA area. It provides access to put into the Tuolumne river. There is camping down at the bottom of the canyon that is right next to the river.
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PHOTOS of Buck Meadows, Lumsden Bridge and the Toulumne River
  3.3 from 3 votes
View of Tuolumne River from Lumsden Road (Tuolumne City, CA)
  3.0 from 3 votes
Ben starting up again on the downhill descent from the top of Buck Meado... (Tuolumne City, CA)
  3.0 from 3 votes
View back at the Tuolumne river and lumsden road on the right side of th... (Tuolumne City, CA)
  3.0 from 3 votes
Toulumne River at the bottom of the ride (Tuolumne City, CA)
  3.0 from 3 votes
Lumsden Trailhead (Tuolumne City, CA)
  3.0 from 3 votes
View of rafters taking off at the bottom of Lumsden road. (Tuolumne City, CA)
  3.0 from 3 votes
View of Tuolumne Canyon from the Ridge of the Tuolumne Canyon at the way... (Tuolumne City, CA)
  3.0 from 3 votes
Panorama from lumsden road riding up. Here the grade up the canyon is v... (Tuolumne City, CA)
  2.7 from 3 votes
View of Lumsden Road half way down. (Tuolumne City, CA)
  2.7 from 3 votes
Lumsden Bridge with bike. Amazing rapids. (Tuolumne City, CA)
  2.3 from 3 votes
View of doubletrack trail going down into the canyon from buck meadows (Tuolumne City, CA)