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Location: In the Brightman Recreation Area of the Stanislaus National Forest, just off SR 108, 54 miles east of Sonora, CA.
From Sonora, take SR 108 east 30 miles toward Pinecrest. Continue 24 miles past the Pinecrest turnoff and 2 miles past Dardanelle Resort. The large sign on the right side of the highway reads: “Stanislaus National Forest Geologic Site Columns of the Giants.” Turn right into the parking area which is also located adjacent to Pigeon Flat Campground.
This self-guided half-mile paved trail reveals a brief chapter in the dynamic history of the Sierra Nevada. Volcanic activity occurred five to ten million years ago and changed the landscape forever. Lava flowing down the ancient Stanislaus riverbed pooled behind a natural dam. As it slowly cooled, it split into multi-sided vertical columns. Later, a glacier flowed down the valley, carving through the volcanic layers and exposing the columns. Unique to this site is a remnant glacier beneath the talus slope.
There are vault toilets available near the parking area. Trails lead to a bridge which crosses over the Middle Fork of the Stanislaus River on the way to view the geologic formation. Interpretive panels along the way illustrate the story of the Columns of the Giants.
Width: 36 inches.
Primary Surface: Asphalt
Secondary Surface: Asphalt
Average Grade: 5%
Maximum Grade: 5%
Elevation Low Point: 6,000
Elevation High Point: 6,000
Elevation Gain (cumulative): Not Available
Year Designated: 1979
Supporting Webpages and DocumentsWebsite: USFS Trail Details
For more information and current conditions, contact the trail manager (listed below). For questions, suggestions, and corrections to information listed on the website, contact American Trails.
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