Sky Harbor to Squaws Leap

The first trail to be recorded is in the foothills just out of Fresno, CA. This ride starts the Sky Harbor (N37 02.2605 W119 38.9487) area of Millerton Lake and finishes at Squaws Leap (N37 04.3734 W119 33.5364), near Auberry. It can be ridden either way and I can't say that either is easier because both end with quite the little hill. Open the "Trail Profile" and you will see why we decided to start at Sky Harbor even though we road it upriver. Over all it is approximately 14.5 miles. This trail is at low altitude and would be a very hot ride in the summer so if you are thinking you want to do it then start at daybreak and bring lots of water. It took us six hours but we stopped a lot to take pictures as it was spring time and it was covered with wildflowers.

To get to Sky Harbor from Fresno drive out Friant Road past the entrance to the lake and just before Table Mountain Casino turn left onto Sky Harbor Road. Go all the way to the end of the road and park. Ride thru the lakes day use parking area (it's been closed lately) and at the restrooms you will notice a trail going straight up the hill. It starts not more then 10 feet from the curb of the parking area. In a 100 yards or so you pass thru a metal gate and then up and up. If you ride from just outside the parking area (end of Sky Harbor Road) it will be 1.04 miles to the top of the hill (N37 02.1008 W119 38.3242).

The top of the hill is a four way trail and you will take the only one that leads downhill that you didn't just come up. You will now enjoy a long downhill (for the most part) into the river/lake gorge. Down a ways you will see a small trail leading off to the right and up, keep going down thinking how much fun it would or will be to ride back up this. It's really not that bad as I've done just that many times as I normally ride in about 5-7 miles and then back out. Here is a picture of the trail ahead that takes you back down near lake level. This is just downhill from the small trail leading off to the right and up.

3.07 miles (N37 01.0683 W119 38.0841) in you should come to another metal gate. At this point trail will go up and down for quite awhile, nothing drastic at all. At 5.70 miles (N37 02.2322 W119 36.5955) you will come to the first barbwire gate (make sure to close all gates behind you). A short ride later, 5.78 miles, you will come to another barbwire gate (N37 02.3055 W119 36.5337). Right after this you will ride through a small creek if it's spring time.

If it's spring you will pass through this meadow, this shot is taken looking back up the lake. The other side of the meadow had three bulls lounging about.

Note that trail markers up until now and for some distance more are green poles with white arrows. 7.64 miles in there will be a abandoned mining cave on your left (N37 03.4147 W119 36.2791). (Picture of the mine here) After this there will be two climbs over the next couple of miles. You will have been and will continue to ride under the Table Top Mountains on your right.

At 9.88 miles you come to yet another barbwire gate (N37 03.8762 W119 35.4912). You will be headed down to Temperance Flat, which is about 1.5 miles away. When you drop into the Temperance Flat recreation area you will (hopefully) notice the new trail sign just before you start riding on the dirt road. The new signs will be 4x4 wooden posts with RT (River Trail) on them. At approximately 11.5 miles, after riding up the road and passing a private home on your left you will see another RT trail marker on your left. You will leave the road at this point and be back on single track/overgrown jeep road. Follow the signs! They are few and far between but trust your instinct or a map like we should have.

If you followed the right road/trail (it really isn't that hard to do) at mile 12 or just before the trail will split with the larger one going slightly up (on the right) and another going slightly down (on the left). Take the one to the left although either one will end up nearly in the same place. Large creek drainage here and the trail is washed out so pick up the bike and scramble across the boulder/poison oak area to the other side of the creek. You will be able to see the trail on the other side. Shortly after, you will come to another creek that flows beneath you and the ground. In the spring you can here it, sounds very large, but not see it unless you climb up the rocks on the right. Worth the climb as there are several caves up there.

At 12.4 miles and just after the subterranean creek (N37 03.8006 W119 33.8673) you will come to another metal gate. You have just started the climb out and I do mean climb. At 12.5 miles is the last metal gate, you can go thru it and turn to your immediate left then follow that trail down for a bit and then back up to the powerhouse road. Do this if you parked at the end of Smalley Road in the dirt parking area adjacent to the powerhouse. If you camped or parked at the Squaws Leap camp area then continue up hill and finish your ride by following the trail above and behind the large green storage tank. Either way is a climb but the powerhouse will be slightly easier.

To get to Squaws Leap stay on Friant Road (at this point it is actually called Millerton Road) past Sky Harbor Road (and casino) and make a left onto Auberry Road at the T intersection. Follow this up to the town of Prather and you will come to another T, turn left. This is Hwy 168, head up it for a couple of miles then make a left back onto Auberry Road. As soon as you pass through the town of Auberry the road forks, take the left fork onto Powerhouse Road. After a few miles you will come to Smalley Road on your left and take it either to the end or a quarter mile from the end is a parking/camping area on your right. This parking lot leads to other trails in the area and there is a large map there.

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