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Ride to the top of Pilots Peak to get a 360-degree view of Yosemite and Stanislaus National Forest.


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Map Key

15.5

Miles

24.9

KM

0%

Singletrack

6,004' 1,830 m

High

4,152' 1,265 m

Low

2,209' 673 m

Up

2,216' 675 m

Down

5%

Avg Grade (3°)

18%

Max Grade (10°)

Dogs Unknown

E-Bikes Allowed

(11/25/21) The western side of the loop, Forest Road 2s25, and the 2s64, is washed out in two places and has dozens of huge tree trunks blocking the road. It's not maintained and no longer accessible. I'd recommend returning along FS 1S12. Pilots Peak is still beautiful.

Overview

Ride along forest service roads where you'll gain 2,200 feet in elevation to get to the top of Pilots Peak. Once you gain the ridge, you'll be able to get great views of the surrounding area. Pilots Peak is the largest peak outside of Yosemite on the Highway 120 corridor.

Description

Head up Hwy 120 and take a right on Hardin Flat Road. Keep going straight past Yosemite Lakes campground. Once you get into a dirt road, follow FS 1S12 for a few miles. You can park your car along this road and get off whenever you like.

Start ascending up forest service roads. There are multiple ways to get to the top, but we found that 1S12 is the easiest ascent and you can take multiple different trails downhill which are steeper and have much sharper turns. 1S12 will take you to the top of the ridge, from here take a right on FS 2S01 which turns into a dirt road that will bring you to the peak.

At the peak, there is a lookout tower that you can go to the top of if there is a worker there. We met a nice lady who let us sign the guest book and pointed out all the different mountain ranges surrounding us. Here you'll get a 360-degree view of Yosemite, Highway 108, Highway 120 and Highway 140 areas all the way back to Groveland, CA.

There is a vast network of forest service roads that you can choose to go down from. We decided to go down FS 2S25 to FS 2S64 which brought us back to FS 1S12 and our car. All the road intersections are nicely marked. Use the MTB Project mobile app!

Stop at Rainbow Pools on your way back down the hill for a refreshing swim!

History & Background

Groveland Ranger District, 6,004' elevation. Forest maps show a lookout on Pilot Peak as early as 1909. The current tower was erected in 1963, replacing earlier versions. Pilot Peak is staffed every fire season, as it commands a view across most of the Groveland District, into Yosemite National Park and the Sierra National Forest.
Pilot Peak Fire Lookout

Contacts

Shared By:

Tom Wilson with improvements by Kevin Buckby and 1 other

Trail Ratings

  3.7 from 7 votes

#2871

Overall
  3.7 from 7 votes
5 Star
43%
4 Star
14%
3 Star
29%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
14%
Recommended Route Rankings

#362

in Nevada

#2,871

Overall
3 Views Last Month
6,859 Since Jun 2, 2013
Intermediate Intermediate

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Photos

On the way up to Pilot Peak, great views into Yosemite.
Jul 21, 2013 near Midpines, CA
View on the ride up to Pilots Peak.  Nice gradual forest service dirt and gravel roads.
Jul 21, 2013 near Midpines, CA
View of Yosemite Mountains from Pilot Peak look out tower
Jun 2, 2013 near Midpines, CA
Panoramic view from the Pilot's Peak look out tower
Jun 2, 2013 near Midpines, CA
View of the ride on the way up to Pilots Peak on forest service dirt roads.
Jul 21, 2013 near Midpines, CA
View of 2S01 dirt road that we rode up on our way to the top of pilots peak.
Jun 2, 2013 near Midpines, CA
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Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Unknown
Add Your Check-In

Check-Ins

Nov 19, 2018
Thomas Berton
15.2mi
Nov 19, 2018
Baptiste Vincent
14.3mi
Oct 2, 2018
Jason England
Jun 4, 2017
True X
Apr 1, 2015
Dan Oakland
Had to start just off of Hardin Flat. There is still a lot of visible damage to the area from the June 2013 fires, but the forest is recovering. 17.5mi — 1h 55m
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