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Chapter 4: Sugar Pine Trail

Sugar Pine Trail

One of the most accessible and comfortable bike trails that connect the cities of Fresno and Clovis is the Sugar Pine Trail. The Sugar Pine Railroad was one of the historic railroads that brought lumber from the Sierra Nevada to the Fresno and Clovis area in California for processing. There were lumber processing in the community of Pinedale and in Clovis. Over time, these lumber railroads were shut down and remained dormant until communities began converting through the rail to trail process.

Pinedale California has a very rich, and proud history that is not widely known.  Established as a company town for the Sugar Pine Lumber Company of Fresno March 24, 1923.  The Sugar Pine Lumber Mill of Pinedale was the largest and most modern mill of its time.

At around the same time, a group of Michigan lumbermen began acquiring thousands of acres of timber in the Sierra Nevada about 75 miles northeast of Fresno. They built a dam across Stevenson Creek to create a lake to allow them to move freshly cut timber to a mill beside the lake, and they constructed a 42-mile long flume that started at the foot of the dam. The lumber was first processed at the mill and then brought via the flume to a mill in east Clovis, where it was further processed and finished. There was a network of rails that moved lumber in and around the various milling facilities in Clovis. These remnants of the network of lumber yard rails were the foundation of our current Sugar Pine Trail and Old Clovis Town Trail.

To reach the northern trailhead in Fresno, from State Route 41, take the Friant Road/Blackstone Avenue exit. Go south on Friant/Blackstone 0.5 mile and turn left on Nees Avenue. The trailhead is on the left under the freeway overpass. There is no parking at the trailhead, but you will be able to park at the River Park shopping complex, on your right.

The Sugar Pine Trail trailhead is on Nees Avenue under Yosemite Freeway (State Route 41), near River Park. The trailhead is under the overpass and is equipped with benches, a drinking fountain, and a bike repair station. There is ample parking and a wide choice of restaurants and other eateries at the mall across the street.

As you leave the trailhead of the Sugar Pine Trail, you will continue to travel eastward along the trail as it parallels Cole Avenue and the parallels Shepherd Avenue through residential parts of north Fresno on a wide corridor that is bordered by maturing trees. When you reach the intersection of Cole Avenue and Shepherd Avenue, you can turn left and make your way to Woodward Park, or you can turn right and travel eastward on the trail towards Clovis along Shepherd Avenue.

Some underpasses along the trail offer safe passage across busy intersections. Various restaurants and stores are within walking distance of the trail along Shepherd Avenue.

At Willow Avenue, the trail turns south, eventually meeting the Clovis Old Town Trail between Teague Avenue and Nees Avenue. Take that trail and continue southeast into Clovis. There's also a segment of the trail that travels north along Willow Avenue, passing Clovis Community College and Clovis High School before ending at Copper Avenue. Eventually the trail will connect to the Copper Avenue Trail, and Copper Avenue Trail connects back to Woodward Park and the Eaton Trail.

We hope you enjoyed this chapter from Juan Flores' Bicycling in Fresno.

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Fresno County Bicycle Coalition

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