Type: Nature Trail
Length: 0.50 miles
Loop Trail? No
Allowed Uses: Bicycling (on pavement), Bicycling (off pavement), Pedestrian - Walking/Hiking/Running, Roller/Inline Skating, Snow - Cross-country Skiing
Entry Fee? No
Parking Fee? No
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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.
Latitude: 38.33988 Longitude: -119.8056
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.
The Columns of the Giants is an interpretive site that highlights a unique geological formation of columnar basalt, very similar to the Devils Postpile National Monument. 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%
Elevation Low Point: 6,000
Elevation High Point: 6,000
Year Designated: 1979
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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