Niagara Rim     
Stanislaus National Forest  (View this site)
Difficulty Rating:  
* Trail Length:  
** Elevation Range:  
Operating Season:  
Difficult
9 Miles - point to point
6705' - 8107'
Closed When Snow is Present

With the exception of the optional obstacles Niagara Rim is a moderate trail. For this reason it has great appeal for vehicles of all levels. Slightly modified vehicles will enjoy the challenges along the main route and will have just as much fun watching the more heavily modified vehicles try there luck at the Rock Pile.

Trailhead - The official trailhead is back on the access road quite a ways back. There isn't anywhere to park a tow rig here, your best bet is to leave it at the entrance to Niagara OHV Campground if need be. The trailhead is very well marked as is the rest of the trail.

No Way Out Hill - This is a moderate hill climb with a few rocks scattered around the trail. The trail is narrow here forcing you to reverse if you feel you are in over your head.

P.H. Rock - This is the most nerve racking section of the trail, excluding the optional sections. The first part of the obstacle is made of several large roots that can catch both wheels climbing depending on your wheelbase. Just after you get over the roots there is a short off camber section that feels worse than it is. Go slow and use caution through this section. This is a great place to enjoy the view and take a few deep breaths.

Hard Break Hill - Immediately after completing P.H. Rock you will take a sharp right to begin your decent down Hard Break Hill. Use caution before descending and make sure to begin your descent pointed straight down the hill. This descent is very steep, make sure everything is tied down tight and avoid making any sudden or hard breaking.

Sidewall Suicide - This obstacle can be bypassed and can potentially cut your tires. It is made up of lava rock that sticks out just enough to catch your tire if you take the wrong line. It also features a steep drop off on you exit.

Lion's Butt - This area is fun to play at. It is made up of large granite slabs that give a "mini Moab" feel. The rocks surface are very course and offer a ton of traction.

Rock Pile - This is by far the most difficult section of the trail, and it's entirely optional. Rock Pile is more like a scaled down Little Sluice Box, Rubicon Trail, than a pile of rocks. Use extreme caution if you choose to navigate this section, body damage and breakage are very likely.

Double Dome Rock - This is a great vista to stop and enjoy the view of the valley looking back toward Highway 108. Double Dome Rock stands at 7877 feet to the North West.

Trails End - The trail lets out at the access road right next to the cattle guard you had to go over on you way in. Take a left to go back to Niagara OHV Campground or turn right to head back to Highway 108.

Trail Maps      

GPS Waypoints   (GPX)
Stanislaus National Forest   (US Forest Service)
Dardanelle   (USGS Topo)
Donnell Lake   (USGS Topo)

Books      

Charles Wells: Guide to Northern California Backroads &...
Charles Wells & Matt Peterson: Guide To California Backroads & 4-Wheel-...

Directions      

From Highway 99 - Sacramento (155 Miles)
- Head South on Highway 99 toward Manteca (56 Miles)
- Take exit 242 onto Highway 120 toward Sonora (20 Miles)
- Turn left onto Highway 108 in Oakdale (37 Miles)
- Turn right onto Peaceful Oak Rd. (0.2 Miles)
- Take the next left to continue on Hwy 108 (38.8 Miles)
- Turn right onto Forest Route 6N24 (0.3 Miles)
- Take the 1st right onto Forest Route 5N04 (0.6 Miles)
- Take a slight left onto Forest Route 5N01 (2.0 Miles)
- You are now at Niagara OHV Campground
- Continue on Forest Route 5N01 (4.3 Miles)
- Turn right onto Forest Route 5N09 (0.6 Miles)
- The trail head is well marked

Waypoint Coordinates      

  Trailhead38° 17' 46.1" N- 119° 51' 02.6" W
  No Way Out Hill38° 17' 54.9" N- 119° 51' 05.4" W
  P.H. Rock38° 18' 07.5" N- 119° 51' 04.2" W
  Hard Break Hill38° 18' 08.3" N- 119° 51' 03.8" W
  Sidewall Suicide38° 18' 57.6" N- 119° 51' 15.8" W
  Lion's Butt38° 19' 21.4" N- 119° 51' 09.5" W
  Rock Pile38° 19' 43.1" N- 119° 51' 24.5" W
  Double Dome Rock38° 20' 28.6" N- 119° 52' 11.1" W
  Trails End38° 19' 21.0" N- 119° 54' 44.2" W