The Resurrection of Summit City

The 2024 Sierra Trek - A Pilgrimage Born from the Mining Towns of Yore

Back in 1966, a group of Jeepers gathered in the northern Sierra Nevada along the banks of Fordyce Creek. They were in search of a long-forgotten wagon route that led to an 1860s mining camp known as Summit City. Perched on grassy alpine shores above Meadow Lake, in its heyday Summit City boasted 4,000 residents, 80 saloons, a dozen brick hotels and banks, and steamer paddle boat for Saturday evening excursions. Typical of boom-and-bust towns of the era, the mines played out and in a few short years all that remained were scattered vestiges of abandoned dreams.

If the Jeep posse was successful in re-establishing the route, they planned to start a new trail ride and fundraiser for the California Four-wheel Drive Association (Cal4wheel). The work would take two summers, and in October of 1967 they introduced a small event called Sierra Trek. It was a simple affair, a one-day trail ride with 50 vehicles culminating with a bonfire and chuckwagon-style barbeque at Meadow Lake.

Through the decades Sierra Trek grew in popularity, and eventually expanded to five days with multiple trail options ranging from historic tours of the Gold Country, overnight trips around the Tahoe Basin, and the challenging terrain of the Fordyce Trail. Local clubs volunteer to staff an impressive raffle, in-camp games, and prepare ranch-style meals throughout the weekend. Many participants arrive a week early, and The Meadow has become an annual pilgrimage for adventure-seeking families.

Summit City Rises Again

This August, Summit City will be resurrected once again. Keeping with tradition, organizers have added new venues such the High Sierra Whiskey Tasting contest (held in the Summit City Saloon), where local distilleries will compete for patron votes. Back by popular demand will be the RC 4x4 course for kids big and small, vehicle show, cornhole tournament, and when the sun goes down Trekkers will be cutting-a-rug on the 50-foot dance floor to the live tunes by Diva Rox.

The 2024 Sierra Trek takes place August 8-11 near Truckee, California, and is expected to be a sellout crowd. For more information or to reserve your spot go to