Ebbetts Pass Photos – A Quaint Sierra Crossing

California’s Highway 4 runs east to west, and the stretch over the Sierra has some particularly scenic attractions along the way. While I was not able to cover all of them in this article, here are some of my favorite Ebbetts Pass photos.

Closeup of Lookout Peak from Pacific Grade Summit - Ebbetts Pass.
Lookout Peak, from the Pacific Grade Summit on Ebbetts Pass

As you begin your ascent into California’s Stanislaus National Forest, you’ll pass the scenic mountain town of Arnold. Soon after, you’ll see the entrance to Calaveras Big Trees on your right. However, I don’t have any photos of these giant sequoia trees yet.

Union Reservoir

However, I do have photos of one of this area’s best kept secrets. OK, to be fair…it may not be so much of a secret anymore, but Union Reservoir is probably my top choice for a camping weekend up here. Both designated and wilderness sites are available.

Union Reservoir Sunset From The Shore
Union Reservoir Sunset From The Shore

I enjoyed this reservoir because of all the granite features…it’s something that tends to be more prevalent in locations further south.

Lake Alpine – Ebbetts Pass Photos

Docked Fishing and Paddle Boats at Lake Alpine - Ebbetts Pass Photos
Docked Fishing and Paddle Boats

This heavily-trafficked lake is undoubtedly one of Highway 4’s most famous attractions. It’s also a quintessential Sierra summer camp, complete with fishing, boating, and lake cabins.

Cape Horn

Wildflowers in Cape Horn Meadow
Wildflowers in Cape Horn Meadow

In my humble opinion, this is where Ebbetts Pass starts to really shine. Just after the lake, you’ll notice the road narrows and becomes more scenic. The alpine wildflowers and vistas looking out over Cape Horn are unforgettable.

Roadside Camping

Tent campsite overlooking Sierra view off HWY 4 - Stanislaus National Forest
Tentsite With a View

Although I’m not sure these were designated camping spots, I did see people with tents set up right along the roadside! From what I remember, they said it was perfectly legal to camp there. I have to say – I certainly wouldn’t mind waking up in a tent with a view like this…

Mosquito lakes – Ebbetts Pass Photos

Cabin on rocky shore at Mosquito Lakes - Ebbetts Pass Photos
Quaint lakeside cabin

Speaking of views, for me, nothing tops the scenery around Mosquito Lakes. You literally can’t miss it – the highway passes right by.

Pacific Grade Summit – Ebbetts Pass Photos

Pacific Grade Summit mountain views.
Mountain vistas

Just after the lake, you’ll reach the Pacific Grade Summit. I believe the image at the top of the page was also taken from this viewpoint. Ebbetts Pass may not have the jaw dropping landscapes some of its more famous cousins do, but due to the lack of tourists and quaint thoroughfare, it still nears the top of my list nonetheless.


Raymond Creek Falls - a waterfall on Highway 4 - Ebbetts Pass Photos
Raymond Creek Falls

Generally, this route is not known for waterfalls. Considering this, I was quite pleased to come across this beautiful roadside cascade. I had to climb a tiny bit to reach the scene above.

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– Nathan Allen

About Me

Photographer Nathan Allen

I’m Nathan Allen, photographer / creator of YosemiteParkPhotos.com (Yosemite Photos) and international travel site I Dreamed Of This. In truth, I lived in San Francisco, New York, & Singapore…but nothing compares to life in the mountains. I share my experiences HERE.