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Miramonte trailhead

About the Trail

Westside Trail sign

The Westside Trail is part of the Westside Railroad grade that went from Tuolumne City to Cherry Lake. This section, which has been converted to a trail for pedestrians, bicycles, and horseback riding, goes five miles from the rim of the canyon to the North Fork of the Tuolumne River. It is a lovely hike in the morning or evening in hot weather or mid-day in the winter, with many changes over the seasons.

The Miramonte entrance is particularly good for social groups. There are two picnic tables and two benches in the first two miles, and the trail is fairly wide. The trail slopes gently down for most of the way. There are two washouts on the trail at Torment Gulch and the next main tributary. The rerouted trail is narrower and steeper as it goes back to a stream crossing and then out to the railroad grade again. Just before the trail reaches private land, a switchback trail leads down to Cottonwood Road (1N04) and the Hacienda Trailhead.

This trail was developed and is maintained by combined efforts of Tuolumne County Parks and Recreation, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Stanislaus National Forest.


Access to the trail

Most people start the trail at the Miramonte Trailhead. There is parking off of Buchanan Road and in an area of bare ground along Miramonte Road between Buchanan Road and the first driveway. Please do not block the gate! If those areas are full, consider coming back at a different time or joining the trail at a different location.

The Hacienda Trailhead is at the other end. It is the best access for those staying at River Ranch Campground. It is a fairly short walk (¼ mile) up to the trail with only about 100’ of elevation gain. The trail at that end is narrow and goes along rocky slopes where there has been rockfall for nearly three-quarters of a mile.

There is another access point with more parking at Forest Road 2N09. It is at the four-way intersection where Buchanan Road is close to the river. Turn left and park to the side. Do not block the gate!

It is a fairly steep, 0.8 mile walk up a gravel road to the main trail, with 780’ of elevation gain. There is a washout in the gravel road caused by the same stream that washed out the trail at Torment Gulch. The gravel road accesses the trail about 1.5 miles from the Miramonte Trailhead. There is more room for parking here and additional parking at the Riverside Day Use area. That area has a restroom that is open during the summer.

For maps and additional information on the trail, see the links below.

To reach the Miramonte Trailhead:

From Highway 108 heading east or Sonora

Take the Mono Way exit and turn right on Mono Way or drive out of Sonora on Mono Way. At the first light after Highway 108, turn right on Tuolumne Road. Follow it about seven miles until it makes a T intersection at Carter Street.Turn left and go 0.3 mile to Buchanan Road, just before an historical marker.Turn right and follow it 0.5 mile to Miramonte Road,just before Buchanan Road descends into the Tuolumne Canyon. There is parking on Miramonte Road and along Buchanan Road. Stairs lead down to the trail off Buchanan Road.

From Highway 108 near Twain Harte or heading west

Turn left on North Tuolumne Road opposite the upper entrance to Twain Harte. Drive 6.3 miles. Turn left onto Carter Street across from the entrance to the Black Oak Casino. Go 0.3 mile around a bend to the right and past the historical marker. Then turn left onto Buchanan Road and follow the directions above.

For more information on the trail

Tuolumne County Transit has the most detailed downloadable map.

The map can be downloaded from the “guide” link near the bottom, or at this location:

Stanislaus National Forest Recreation has a more detailed map. It is the only one to show the switchback trail down to the Hacienda trailhead. The first section is mapped on LIDAR, a technique that captures many details of the topography. You can see all the driveways and sites leveled for homes.

For information about the interpretive panels please see:

For more information on the history of the trail see:

Please let me know if any of these links stop working (plantedconnection[at] Thanks!

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