Sonora Pass Photos – Sierra Nevada Scenery

Wedged between Highway 4 to the north and Highway 120 to the south, my Sonora Pass photos (HWY 108) show why you should definitely give this high Sierra crossing some consideration. As a matter of fact, it just might be my favorite Sierra pass…

Long exposure Creek Scene in June - Sonora Pass photos
Sonora Pass Creek Scene in June

As you enter the Sierra forest, you’ll pass a few landmarks pretty quickly. While I don’t have photos of Pinecrest Lake yet, it is quite scenic and accessible. A bit further up the road is the quaint mountain town of Strawberry. However, I don’t have pictures from this location, either. Soon…I promise!

Donnell Reservoir

Donnell Lake walking path Through The Trees
Donnell Lake Through The Trees

About 15 miles up the highway, you’ll find Donnell Reservoir vista on your left. Don’t miss this – it’s an incredibly worthwhile roadside stop!

Dardanelles Cone

Dardanelles Cone View From Donnell Reservoir
The Dardanelles

From this area you can also view one of this region’s prominent landmarks – the Dardanelles Cone. I believe you can climb this series of buttes, though I haven’t yet.

Scenic boulder view along the road
Scenic boulder view along the road

Further yet up the road, you’ll notice a turnout near the pass itself. There’s some nice rocky terrain here that’s fun and easy to climb. I’m sure there must be some beautiful views at the end of this super brief climb, too.

Snowy HWY 108 peaks and green valleys below
“The Hills Are Alive…”

I visited this area in mid June I believe, and not surprisingly, there was some snow left on some of these high mountain peaks. Sonora Pass is one of my favorites because of rugged peaks and green valleys – a bit reminiscent of the lush images I’ve seen of the Swiss Alps.

Middle Fork Stanislaus River – Sonora Pass Photos

This is an awesome stretch of the Stanislaus river – located directly on highway 108. I think I visited this area for the first time almost 20 years ago, and I never forgot it.

Rock crevice with Middle Fork Stanislaus River rapids - Sonora Pass photos
Rock crevice with raging rapids

The water shoots through a narrow rock canyon, creating a beautiful, solid stone river channel. You’ll notice this on your right as you’re driving east…near the formations known as the “Columns of the Giants”.

Middle Fork Stanislaus River Rock Channel - Long Exposure
Rushing water carved these pools over time

I found some really picturesque aspen tree groves over the top of the pass.

Alpine aspen grove along HWY 108 - Sonora Pass photos
Striking white Aspen trunks against blue skies

Additionally, I loved the sweeping views of the eastern Sierra. The picture below looks all the way out to the Sweetwater Mountains, where I believe the highest peak is 11,673ft.

Mt Patterson view, in the Sweetwater Mountains
Mt Patterson, in the Sweetwater Mountain Range

Observant travelers may also notice some ancient bristlecone pine trees on their right, as they follow the river down into the valley.

Bristlecone Pine Tree Bark Detail - Sonora Pass photos
Bristlecone Pine Tree Bark Detail

I found the particularly scenic, grassy pond below near the junction of 108 and 395. Looking at this picture really helps you appreciate how much the landscape changes as you descend in elevation. However, don’t let this scenery deceive you – you’re still up at around 6,000ft in elevation here!

Grassy grazing pond for cattle, near Sonora junction at 395.
Grazing pond for cattle

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About My Photos

The images on this website are available for licensing and/or sale as framed prints. If you’d like to purchase them for a blog, news article, or gift, feel free to contact me with the specifics. This way you’re supporting photographers such as me directly (as opposed to buying from a faceless stock photo corporation).

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– Nathan Allen

About Me

Photographer Nathan Allen

I’m Nathan Allen, photographer / creator of (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.