Looking for a nice long mountain bike ride, or an easy off-road ADV or ATV adventure with spectacular summit views? Check out this ride to the top of Devil’s Peak, also known as Signal Peak near Fish Camp in southern Mariposa County.
If you’re up for the full ride, you can leave straight from Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite. It’s a 24.4 mile out and back with more than 3,000 feet of climbing. After riding uphill for just over 2 miles you’ll hit a 2-mile downhill and then climb steadily to the summit. If you want to avoid that 2-mile climb on the way back and have a high enough clearance vehicle to brave the dirt road, you can park in a few different points along the way. That shortens the ride while still allowing you to appreciate the summit views.
There is a lot to see from up there. First off, the summit is home to one of the last remaining active fire lookout towers. The first tower was built in 1900 as a compass lookout. It’s been rebuilt several times in the intervening century, and the current incarnation was finished in 1951. If you happen to meet one of the volunteer team of fire lookouts, be sure to say thank you.
Beyond the tower itself is the amazing landscape that extends in all directions. Among the many mountain summits, see if you can locate Mt. Clark, Raymond Mountain, and Mt. Conness from here.
These names represent three of the people who played an important role in the formation of Yosemite National Park. Galen Clark was the first guardian of Yosemite. Israel Raymond drafted and sent a letter to Senator John Conness along with photographic plates of the area’s beauty. Raymond’s words were used to draft the bill that was presented by Conness to the U.S. Senate. After it passed both houses of Congress, Abraham Lincoln signed the act protecting the Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Big Tree Grove in 1864.
The Devil’s Peak ride is entirely within the Sierra National Forest. Dispersed camping is allowed in Sierra National Forest (except for a few specific locations). So, if you’re interested in spending the night, check into that option as well.