5 Passes, Sierra Nevada Mountains Saturday, September 21, 2019 10:00 AM

Inland Empire Free Riders

Most are familiar with beautiful Tioga Pass in Yosemite National Park, but there are actually lesser known passes just north of Tioga that make a fantastic motorcycle excursion.


This is a breathtaking ride though the spectacular Sierra Nevada Mountains range. We will cover a vast amount of territory as we crisscross the home of the most iconic national parks in California
These five passes are all well above 8,000 feet sea level, paved, and offer exciting riding with spectacular scenery.

1) Monitor Pass

Monitor Pass on Highway 89 at 8, 314 feet, might just be our favorite. It is twisty, dramatic, nearly empty most of the time, and only about 45 minutes away from Carson Valley. Montitor Pass is short, but connects to Carson Pass.

2) Carson Pass

Carson Pass lies on the route of the Mormon Emigrant Trail, the route most commonly used by wagon trains headed for California after the gold discovery in 1848 and before the Transcontinental Railroad opened in 1869. Today, Highway 88 follows the historic trail very closely and crosses the Sierra at 8,573 elevation. Of these five passes, Carson Pass is the only all-weather pass but is not immune from occasional avalanches.

3) Ebbetts Pass

Ebbetts Pass is on Highway 4 at 8,736 feet elevation, in Alpine County. This is one of the least-traveled of all the Sierra passes, one of the best motorcycle roads anywhere, and very beautiful. The road is narrow in some places and may not have a center line. We will ride carefully.

4) Sonora Pass

Sonora Pass is the second highest Sierra pass at 9,624 feet elevation on Highway 108 between Sonora and Bridgeport, California. It is arguably one of the best trans-Sierra roads for motorcyclists with mile after mile of twisty pavement and spectacular views. The slope exceeds eight percent for most of the route and up to 26 percent in some places.

5) Tioga Pass

Tioga Pass is the eastern gateway to Yosemite National Park. It’s on California State Route 120, at 9,943 feet elevation, and is the highest pass in the Sierra Nevada and in California. Yosemite’s Tioga Pass entrance station consists of two historical stone buildings. There is a $10 fee for motorcycles entering the park.


Day one Saturday. We cruise up Highway 395 (408 miles) until we get to Topaz Lake, and check into the Topaz Lodge. Get some rest because the next day will be a long one, with much to see.

Day two Sunday. We ride Monitor Pass, up to Lake Tahoe for a quick visit. Then we double back and catch Carson Pass west. We will then ride Ebbetts Pass on the way back east to Topaz Lodge.

Day three Monday. We will ride Sonora Pass west and catch Tioga Pass through Yosemite back to the Lee Vining side. From there, we go south to Bishop, and check into the Motel 6

Day four Tuesday. We head for home, with only 274 mile to get to Perris CA. Not too bad.

For days one and two, we wll stay at the Topaz Lodge, 1979 US-395, Gardnerville, NV 89410. Tel: (800)[masked]. (Book September 21st, 22nd, Saturday and Sunday nights)
As a back up motel, be aware that there is another motel close by: Best Western, 3410 Sandy Bowers Ave, Gardnerville, NV 89410 (Second choice)

For day three, we will stay at Motel 6, Bishop CA, 1005 North Main Street, Bishop, CA 93514, Tel: (760)[masked]. (Book September 23rd, Monday night)

Food: There are lots of restaurants at Lake Topaz and Bishop. Along the Passes, we'll have to find the local restaurants as we travel. It might be a good idea to pack some food and water on the bike for this trip, just in case.

This will be a truly epic ride. Clean off those simm cards. Tons of photo/video opportunities await!

Attending: 19

George's Burgers 1320 E Washington St ColtonCA  92324