3 Intermediate with extension to Peak 7168
|Length||6.0 miles round trip to Gin Flat and 7.0 miles round trip to Peak 7168|
|+800, -800 round trip to Gin Flat and +1100, -1100 round trip to Peak 7168|
|Navigation||Road and marked trail to Gin Flat; and road, marked trail and map to Peak 7168|
|Time||Several hours to full day depending on total distance|
|Season||December through early April|
|Snowmobiles Use||Not permitted [Please report illegal use of snowmobiles in this area.]|
|USGS Topo||7.5' series, Ackerson Mountain|
|Start||Crane Flat winter parking area on Highway 120 (Tioga Pass Road), 0.6 mile north of Big Oak Flat Road. Trailhead is 0.2 mile northeast where Tioga Pass Road is closed.|
The tour on easy to follow unplowed Tioga Pass Road is a gradual but continuous climb to Gin Flat. The road is tree-lined with occasional breaks that allow for glimpses of distant ridges. The meadow at Gin Flat is a significant change in the terrain and a great place to enjoy a leisurely lunch. The return run from Gin Flat is a pleasant downhill glide when the snow is soft.
You can continue past Gin Flat as the road rolls for quite a distance; ski as far east as you desire. In theory you can ski 39 miles to Tuolumne Meadows on the road but it is certainly not the shortest route to reach the meadows and there are avalanche dangers in the areas filled with domes and glacial moraine.
A short extension beyond Gin Flat, 1.0 mile and +150, -150 feet round trip, takes you to Peak 7168 and details are included in the mileage log. The summit is a flat, open area surrounded by light timber. As you approach the summit and from the summit you should look east to sneak views of the Clark Range. From left to right, beginning with the huge granite face on the left, are Mount Clark, Gray Peak, Red Peak and Merced Peak. The extension to Peak 7168 is of intermediate difficulty.
Once you have arrived at Gin Flat you can also extend your trip by skiing the Tamarack Campground Road tour.
While the tour described here takes you up and back along the same route, the Gin Flat Loop tour combines the Tioga Pass Road tour with Old Big Oak Flat Road to form a loop.
Waypoint 1 to 2
Miles: 0.0 - 0.3
Elevation change: +100 feet
From the trailhead (1) follow snow-covered Tioga Pass Road for 0.3 mile until you reach Old Big Oak Flat Road (2) on the north (left) side. Both Tioga Pass Road and Old Big Oak Flat Road are marked with the numeral 4.
Waypoint 2 to 3
Miles: 0.3 - 3.0
Elevation change: +700 feet
Continue of Tioga pass road for 2.7 miles until your reach the southwest end of Gin Flat (3), which is the first level area you will encounter after leaving the trailhead. Continue on the road for as far as you desire and then turn around.
Extension to Peak 7168
Waypoint 3 to 4
Miles: 3.0 - 3.3
Elevation change: Nil
From the southwest end of Gin Flat (this is where the Gin Flat trail and the Tamarack Campground Road intersect Tioga Pass Road) continue northeast on Tioga Pass Road for 0.3 mile until you reach the southwest end of the ridge that leads to the summit of Peak 7168 (4).
Waypoint 4 to 5
Miles: 3.3 - 3.5
Elevation change: +150 feet
Ascend the ridge to the northeast for 0.2 mile until you reach the summit of Peak 7168 (5).
Return to trailhead
Miles: 3.0 - 6.0 or 3.5 - 7.0
Elevation change: -800 feet or -950 feet
Retrace the route for 3.0 or 3.5 miles back to the trailhead (1).