If you’ve been dreaming of exploring historic wagon routes and scenic mountain passes, then this is the dual sport adventure ride you’ve been dreaming of. The Fab Four Passes explores the fabulous four scenic mountain passes in the Sierra Nevada and combines the perfect combination of historic dirt wagon routes, rugged twisty mountains passes and historic mining sites in the High Sierra.
The Fab Four Passes dual sport adventure ride is the ultimate alpine adventure perfect for medium (650cc) to large (1200cc) dual sport adventure motorcycles.
Your adventure begins in the Gold Country on the western side of the Sierra Nevada and takes you on an adventure through deeply wooded forest to the high alpine scenery on the four most rugged and scenic passes known as Carson Pass, Ebbetts Pass, Sonora Pass and Tioga Pass. You will also have the opportunity to explore historic gold mines, pioneer grave sites, ghost towns and the forgotten wagon routes traveled by the emigrants during the California Gold Rush.
Carson Pass (8,574 ft) is a scenic mountain pass on the crest of the Sierra Nevada that is traversed by State Route 88. It lies in Alpine County on the Great Basin Divide, with the West Fork Carson River on the east and the South Fork American River on the west. The historic pass was a point on the Carson Trail during the California Gold Rush and was used for American Civil War shipping to California until the completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad.
Carson Pass was named after the mountain man Kit Carson who was an American frontiersman and Indian fighter. Carson left home in rural present-day Missouri at age 16 and became a mountain man and trapper in the Wild West. Carson explored the west to California, and north through the Rocky Mountains and lived among and married into the Arapaho and Cheyenne tribes during his legendary explorations. In the summer of 1843 John C Freemont hired Kit Carson to guide the Fremont Expedition to explore the West. January 1844, Kit Carson led the Fremont Expedition west into the Sierra Nevada during winter conditions towards Sutter's Fort in California for supplies. Local Washoe Indians told them of a route through the mountains, but warned them not to proceed through the snow. Fremont duly ignored the advice and directed the group westward. The Washoe were right in that they would not be able to find food or game, and they ended up resorting to eating dog, horse, and mule just to survive. On February 14, Fremont and his cartographer Charles Preuss made it up Red Lake Peak and became the first recorded white men to see Lake Tahoe in the distance. On February 21, the expedition made it through the now-named Carson pass west of Red Lake and arrived at Sutter's Fort on March 6th with no fatalities
Ebbetts Pass (8,730 ft) named after John Ebbetts, is the eastern of two passes in the area traversed by State Route 4. The western pass is the Pacific Grade Summit (8,050 ft). Ebbetts Pass is one of the most intimate and untamed mountain passes in the Sierra Nevada and listed as a National Scenic Byway.
In 1827 Legendary mountain man Jedediah Smith became the first non-native to cross the Sierra Nevada near the present day Ebbetts Pass. Jedediah Smith explored more extensively in unknown territory than any other single mountain man in his life time. Jedediah Smith explored the central Rockies, then down to Arizona, across the Mojave Desert and into California making him the first American to travel overland to California through the southwest. In a most amazing journey, the heat became so unbearable Smith and his men had to bury themselves in sand to keep cool. Smith also was the first American to travel up the California coast through the Giant Redwood forest to reach the Oregon Country. Not only was he the first to do this, but he and Robert Stuart discovered the South Pass. This pass became the main route used by pioneers to travel to the Oregon Country. Surviving three massacres and one bear mauling, Jedediah Smith's explorations and documented discoveries were highly significant in opening the American West.
Sonora Pass (9,624 ft.) is the second-highest and oldest trans-Sierra emigrant trail to California. Today’s Sonora Pass is much the same route as the Old Sonora-Mono Toll Road. Completed in 1864, it was finally constructed to increase the flow of supplies from Tuolumne County to Bodie and other new gold camps on the east side of the Sierra Nevada.
The Bartleson-Bidwell Party, with mules, horses and oxen, made the first crossing on October 18, 1841. This route was not attempted by wagons until 1852 due to its steep and rugged terrain. “Grizzly” Adams took the trail over Sonora Pass in April, 1854, and reported “on all sides lay old axle trees and wheels....melancholy evidence of the last season’s disasters.” The rugged and scenic Sonora pass is extremely steep (exceeding 8% for most of the traverse, and up to 16% grades in some locations), narrow and winding between Kennedy Meadows on the west side and Leavitt Meadows on the east and closed in winter, generally between November and May, due to snow accumulation. It was said to take three weeks for a six-horse team to make the round trip between Sonora and Bridgeport.
Tioga Pass (9,943 ft.) is the highest and most scenic mountain pass in the Sierra Nevada and one of the most scenic mountains passes in the United States. "Tioga" is named for a Mohawk term meaning "where it forks". That name applied to the pass geography, since the snow-pack and springs supply water to the Tuolumne River's Lyell Fork, which flows west and forms Tuolumne Canyon, and the Dana Fork which flows east toward Mono Lake.
Tioga Pass was originally an Indian footpath used by the Miwok Indians in the summer seasons to trade goods with the Mono Indians on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada. In the 1870’s silver was discovered on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada near the present day Tioga Pass summit. After the discovery of silver the Tioga Mining district was organized and the Great Sierra Consolidated Silver Company was formed and the mining settlement of Bennettville was established. Getting the mining equipment and supplies to the camp was no easy task, so the Great Sierra Consolidated Silver Company decided to build a wagon road to the Bennettville. In 1882 work began to construct a 56 mile wagon road from the west from Crocker's Station (near modern day Big Oak Flat) to Bennettville and the road was called the Great Sierra Wagon Road. Meanwhile, a tunnel was being built into solid rock to intersect the Sheepherder and Great Sierra lodes. The tunnel was to be 1,784 feet long by 1884 when a financial disaster hit and the camp suddenly closed down. Over $300,000 had been spent, $64,000 on the Great Sierra Wagon Road with no returns ever being made from the mines. The Great Sierra Wagon Road “Tioga Pass” has been nicknamed "the road to broken dreams"...and perhaps it was true in the 1800’s but one thing is certain...over the years its many miles of unexcelled scenic grandeur have fulfilled a different type of dream to those who seek adventure.
This dual sport adventure ride is perfect for medium to large dual sport adventure bikes.
Off-road terrain is rated "mild to moderate" with lots of gold rush history & adventure.
Ride distance 600+ miles round trip (200+ miles dirt roads)
Gas stops (150 mile range required)
Breakfast Lunch & Dinner at restaurants (meals NOT included)
*more details listed under "Book this Ride"