About Us

Located near Dodge Ridge Ski Area and the popular resort of Pinecrest, historic Aspen Meadow is the gateway to one of California’s most breathtaking wilderness areas. Towering granite peaks, long alpine meadows, stunning lakes and abundant wildlife are yours to explore – from the back of a horse! Aspen Meadow Pack Station is open seven days a week, and operates June through September depending on snowfall.

Aspen Meadow offers horses and pack mules, ideally suited to carry you and your gear over any terrain. The horses at Aspen Meadow are raised in the mountains and are trained and ridden by the Aspen Meadow staff for many years before they are able to carry a customer. This ensures sure-footedness and a comfortable ride to your destination. The riding stock is matched to your ability, whether you are a novice or a seasoned rider. Each pack mule can carry up to 150 pounds of gear – so you don’t have to!

Activities in Emigrant Wilderness include hiking, swimming, fishing and hunting. Rainbow and Brook trout are found in almost all lakes and streams in the area. In addition, three major deer herds – Jawbone, Yosemite and Stanislaus herds – live in Emigrant Basin.

Get away from it all - for a day, a week, or longer – without the hassle of a heavy backpack or the crowd of car camping.

Trail Rides

Aspen Meadow offers guided hour rides, two-hour rides, half-day rides and all-day rides. We have riding horses suited to all ages and ranges of riding experience. Rides are taken between the hours of 8:00 am and 4:00 pm daily. Please reserve your horseback ride by calling (209) 965-3402.

A two mile loop leaving through Aspen Meadow with views of Bell Meadows, the Emigrant Wilderness, and Yosemite National Park.

A four mile ride leaving through Aspen Meadow following some of the one hour loop trail overlooking Bell Meadows, and then continuing to Dodge Ridge, before looping back to Aspen Meadow.

3.5 - 4 hours of breathtaking scenery as you ride to Bell Meadows and circle home again. Bring along a lunch or snack to enjoy when you stop for a break.

Day rides allow a person to enjoy 5 to 6 hours of riding with 1 to 2 hours of relaxation at one of three beautiful lakes, Camp, Bear, or Grouse lake.


One Hour

Two Hour

Half Day

All Day

Our History

Aspen Meadow Pack Station has been guiding riders, hunters and anglers to the Emigrant Wilderness area for more than 80 years. Originally called Strawberry Stables in 1929, the pack station was located in the meadow across from the Tuolumne River on Old Strawberry Road.

In the early 50’s, long time Tuolumne County resident Reno Sardella purchased the pack station and moved it to the location that now houses the Pinecrest ranger station on Highway 108. Reno, an avid hunter and fisherman, and a real lover of the Emigrant Wilderness, grew the pack station to include more than 200 head of stock. Reno and his family considered themselves stewards of the wilderness area and worked with the forest service and other agencies to ensure preservation of the land and wildlife in the Emigrant Wilderness.

In the late 50’s and early 60’s, the pack station had several locations and names, and finally found its home at Aspen Meadow. Reno and then his daughter, Laverne Litteral, operated Sardella’s pack station for many years until it was sold and renamed, Aspen Meadow Pack Station.

Born and raised in the Sonora area, Josh Bloom and his wife Amanda purchased the pack station when Reno Sardella’s daughter, Laverne retired in 1999. Josh would spend the next 16 years building the herd size and the business into what it is today.

The pack station was recently purchased by two packers, Seth Diemel and Doug Morgan, who have worked for Aspen Meadow for a combined 24 years. Having spent most of their lives working for Josh Bloom they look forward to continuing the Aspen Meadow legacy.

The horses and pack mules work very hard during the summer months at Aspen Meadow. But in the fall, they are transported to an 800-acre ranch in the Sonora area, where they are turned out to relax, play and frolic for the winter months.

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