Every year, during the second weekend of August, California Four Wheel Drive Association holds their annual Sierra Trek event, in the beautiful Sierra Nevada mountains northwest of Truckee, CA. The event features four days of awesome four wheeing, entertainment, rustic camping, live music, a saloon... AND... the Sierra Trek Restaurant!
As with all of reviews that I publish, I have no affiliation with the restaurant reviewed, and there is no monetary gain on my part, as I am simply a person who likes to eat, and I love to write-up, and publish my dining experiences.
Photo: Sunday morning breakfast, August 14, 2021, was mostly leftovers from the previous couple of meals, and made for perfect breakfast burritos! Such a grand way to conclude the amazing Sierra Trek, 2021!
When you attend Sierra Trek, there are several option, depending upon what you're interested in. One option was "Meals, Camping and Entertainment Only," which was the option that I chose, since I was riding with my friend, Robert in his Jeep, and working Winch Hill #4 with several members of the Santa Cruz 4 Wheel Drive Club. When you choose that option, you get six meals from the restaurant, from Thursday dinner until Sunday breakfast... you're on your own for lunch. You don't have to cook or pack along food, and you get to enjoy the wonderful mountain cuisine that Sierra Trek Restaurant has to offer!
Photo: It's a little past 06:30 on Sunday morning, August 15, 2021, and breakfast will start at 07:00 and will be served to the many hungry four wheelers until 09:30 on this last day of Sierra Trek 2021.
Photo: The crew at Sierra Trek Restaurant are frying scrambled eggs, along with diced bacon and sausage for today's breakfast. Note the WW2 vintage M-1937 gas-fired field ranges in the background - heating up leftover biscuits - and the large pots, resting on the burners. The large pots were used last night to cook corn on the cob for dinner.
Photo: Five WW2 vintage M-1937 gas ranges are lit and heating up biscuits, while large pots rest on the unlit burners.
Photo: This chef is frying diced bacon and sausage on the griddle, for today's breakfast burritos. The chef in the red is frying scrambled eggs in a large frying pan.
Photo: At Sierra Trek, coffee is both plentiful and desired at every meal, as with every meal served, there was always plenty of coffee. Hot chocolate is in the orange contain. Your author help Chef Donna prepare the hot chocolate on the previous Wednesday.
Photo; The serving line-up starts by the diner picking up utensils and a napkin, but the staff grabs your paper plate and dishes up your food. Along with "distancing" and dishing up your plate for you, the serving staff wore masks and gloves, as a nod to the linger effects of COVID-19, which haunts even four wheel drive events such as Sierra Trek.
Photo: I receive my breakfast from the friendly server, with a masked smile.
Photo: It's a little after 07:30 in the morning, and the outdoor "dining room" is packed with hungry dinner. The committee set up many tables and chairs to accommodate all of the hungry diner, and practically everyone could dine at one sitting. I heard the committee sold 597 meal tickets for this year's event.
Photo: I pose as I get ready to enjoy my breakfast on this Sunday morning in late August. Sierra Trek is held annually at Meadow Lake, in the Tahoe National Forest, about an hour northwest of Truckee. Base camp is at the 7200-foot level, in the beautiful Sierra Nevada mountains.
Photo: The "headliner" for Sunday morning breakfast was breakfast burritos, which you assembled yourself. Breakfast was mostly leftovers, from the last couple of meals, but the skilful staff stored the food well, and it was fresh and tasty this Sunday morning.
My breakfast was two large toasted flour tortillas, a biscuit, scrambled eggs, fried diced bacon and sausage, cheese, sour cream, along with a fruit cup. Had I chose, yogurt, muffins and cereal were available but this fine breakfast filled me up.
As I had done the previous two morning, I enjoyed many cups of the delicious coffee, which was in plentiful supply.
Photo: Unlike many events, Sierra Trek features a full service bar, located on "Main Street," named Old Goats Saloon. The saloon offers many varieties of beer in bottle or can, mixed drinks, long with wine. The prices are less than what you'd pay for in a restaurant located in town, and considering that Sierra Trek is a fundraiser for Cal4wheel, the prices are beyond reasonable.
Old Goats Saloon opened their doors at noon on Thursday, and kept serving up fine beer and liquor until midnight Saturday night. Due to the fact that I was at Winch Hill #4 until late Thursday evening, I didn't get to hit the bar until Friday afternoon, but I made up for lost time, as I kept the bar in business all day Friday and Saturday.
My drink of choice was a Pacifico beer along with a shot of Johnny Walker whiskey, for the price of only $5.00 a round.
Becky holds my bottle of Pacifico beer, as Shiela pours a shot of Johnny Walker whiskey for me to enjoy. I published a complete article on the saloon, so CLICK ON THE PHOTO OR THIS LINK to read about this unique bar. Not many four wheel drive events have a full-service bar, complete with beyond reasonable prices and friendly service.
Photo; It's getting to be late afternoon on Saturday, August 14, 2021, and Sierra Trek Restaurant has tonight's dinner menu posted, and is getting ready to open for dinner, at 5 in the afternoon.
Photo: I left my nearby camp around 4:00 in the afternoon - dinner was to be served between 5:00 and 7:00 tonight - to watch the staff at work, grilling amazing tri tip for the showcase of tonight's dinner. Traditionally at CA4WDC events, when dinner is served, the last night is the "BIG EVENT" when it comes to dinner; presentations, raffle and entertainment always follow dinner.
The "restaurant" is contained on a large flatbed trailer, and features several griddles, many burners, along with a sink. The giant propane grill is mounted on a trailer. Everything, including cold and frozen food has to be brought in from Truckee, Reno or Sacramento which makes the logistics quite tricky, considering that Meadow Lake and base camp are located an hour from the pavement, on a rough, dirt Forest Service road.
The large pots are filled with corn-on-the-cob, which are slowly simmering to stay warm for dinner.
Photo: The "Potato Lady" adds sour cream to a GIGANTIC pot of mashed potatoes, as head chef, Donna, looks on.
Photo: Tonight's dinner was prepared by various Sierra Trek committee members, who did an outstanding job. Three chefs were working the propane-fired grill, cooking tri tip roasts for the highlight of tonight's dinner. The chefs opened the pit about every 10 minutes or so to check, and baste the meat.
Photo: One of the chefs is checking the temperature of a tri tip with a thermometer, as the other chef turns the meat. We could smell the delicious aroma of the cooking meat at our camp, which was about 100 yards downwind from the restaurant.
Photo: Ms. "Potato Lady" stirs and mashes her giant pot of mashed potatoes with a friendly smile. After creating this giant pot of mashed potatoes, this lady must have the muscles of a NFL linebacker.
Photo: I checked out the tri tip, as the pitmasters opened the pit to turn the roasts over, to ensure even cooking.
Photo: "Loaded" mashed potatoes were on tonight's menu, and this chef is sauteing diced bacon for tonight's dinner.
Photo: It's 5 o'clock on this Saturday afternoon, and the line-up for dinner has begun. Dinner began early tonight, as the awards presentation was scheduled for 7:00, followed by the raffle, and the Sacramento-area band, Diva Rox was scheduled to begin at 8:00, following the raffle.
Note the strategically placed tables and the "social distancing" in effect by the staff, as the meal is being served. The "social distancing" was only in effect when meals were being served.
Photo: When you register for Sierra Trek, if you purchase the meal package - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED - you receive a little orange paper, marked with the six meals your package includes. Just before you hit the chow line, a committee member will mark off the meal on your ticket. It's a good system, and the chow line moves at a good pace. We never waited in line more than 10 or 15 minutes for our meals.
Photo: As with all meals served at Sierra Trek Restaurant, as you approach the serving station, a staff member will "plate" your dinner for you. Ribs are to the left, sliced tri tip is in the middle, and the tray on the right has "loaded" mashed potatoes. You can choose between simply tri tip or ribs, or you can have both. You'll never starve at Sierra Trek, as the servings are generous.
Photo: After placing a stack of three ribs on my plate, the "Rib Guy," hands my plate to the "Tri Tip Guy." Yes, I chose both tri tip and ribs for tonight's dinner.
Photo: After being served tri tip and ribs, it was time for the "Potato Guy" to dish up my plate, with a generous helping of "loaded" mashed potatoes. These potatoes ere "real" potatoes, and didn't come from a can or a box. After the potatoes, another staff member put a half corn-on-the-cob, along with a dinner roll on my plate, to complete my meal.
Photo: My dinner is handed to me with a masked smile. After picking up my main plate, I grabbed a plate of salad - which was pre-made - along with a pack of salad dressing, horseradish, and a couple cups of sour cream, and made my way to the table where my buddies were sitting.
Note the gal at the table behind the server, who is making plates of salad for tonight's dinner. Completed plates of salad were placed on a table at the end of the serving line, and you simply grabbed a plate of salad to take back to your table. Several types of pre-packaged salad dressing, along with salt and pepper, were offered to enhance your salad.
Photo: The outdoor "dining room" was a busy place on this late Saturday afternoon. We ended up finishing dinner at 05:30 in the afternoon, in plenty of time for the awards presentation and the raffle.
Photo: I'm a happy "four wheeler," as I'm ready to enjoy my amazing Saturday night dinner at Sierra Trek 2021.
Photo: At the Cal4Wheel events that feature dinner, Saturday night dinner is always exceptional, and tonight's dinner, at Sierra Trek 2021 was no exception to the "exceptional" dinner that happens during the last night of many events.
Tonight's amazing dinner featured grilled tri-tip, AND pork ribs! Does it get any better than that? Sides included "loaded" mashed potatoes, which were loaded with cheese, diced bacon and sour cream, to make an exceptional side. You also got a half corn on the cob and a diner roll with your main dish. Such fine Sierra Nevada cuisine! We didn't go hungry!
Along with the main dish, a side salad of romaine lettuce, cucumber slices, cherry tomatoes, croutons, along with optional onion and sliced cheese was included with dinner.
The cups in the photo contain sour cream, and horseradish, which works on tri tip. Tonight, I chose "Thousand Island" dressing, as I enjoyed "Ranch" dressing last night.
I'm not much for desert, but had I chose desert, an amazing vanilla white cake was for desert, complete with pineapple/vanilla frosting.
Saturday night dinner at Sierra Trek Restaurant was spectacular, any way you look at it!
Photo: Close-up of my dinner plate, showing all of the goodness of tonight's dinner. Note the diced bacon and shredded cheese on the "loaded" mashed potatoes. My ribs are under the slabs of tri tip.
As always, the outstanding dinner crew managed serve the hot selctions "hot," and the salad "chilled" for your dining pleasure. Great job!
Photo: Sierra Trek 2021 Chairman, Jeff Dax, presents the "kitchen" award to Donna, at the Saturday night "Presentations," who put the whole restaurant together, and made Sierra Trek Restaurant happen for the event, flawlessly. Well done, Donna!
Photo: On both Friday and Saturday nights, after dinner, the event featured live music courtesy of Sacramento area band, Diva Rox. If you love "old school" rock 'n roll, like I do, you'll love Diva Rox. Click on the photo or THIS LINK to see more of the band, and our adventures working Winch Hill #4 with members of the Santa Cruz 4 Wheel Drive Club.
Photo: This morning, breakfast was served between the hours of 07:00 and 09:00. Jeff is getting his ticket marked, as Robert waits for his to be marked.
Photo: The serving staff are ready to serve breakfast to hungry four wheelers on this early Saturday mooring. The serving staff worked under a large open tent, to protect them, along with the food, from the elements, especially the afternoon thundershowers that pop up periodically at these higher elevations.
Photo: Scrambled eggs and sausage are cooking on the griddle at the kitchen trailer.
Photo; One of the highlights of today's breakfast was biscuits and gravy, and a staff member stirs the sausage gravy, as head Chef Donna looks on.
Photo: I love breakfast gravy, and I requested extra gravy with my breakfast, and a friendly staff member was happy to ladle out an extra serving. I had gravy!!!
Photo: After receiving my biscuit, sausage and gravy, it was time for scrambled eggs. The staff asked if I wanted cheese on my eggs, and received an enthusiastic "Yes!" on my part.
It's interesting to note as my sausage was being served, I was asked how many links I wanted. I answered "five" and I received five links. The food was both plentiful and delicious at Sierra Trek 21!
Photo: At the end of the line, I was presented my breakfast plate by a staff member, with a masked smile..
Photo: It's around 8:00 in the morning, Saturday, August 14, 2021, and I'm sitting at the table, ready to enjoy a delicious breakfast, in the mountains. I've picked up a cup of steaming hot coffee, and a pre-made "fruit cup" to complete my Saturday morning breakfast.
Photo: My buddies Robert and Jeff prepare their meals, and chat about today's plans. My meal is on the table, in the foreground, ready for me to enjoy.
Photo: Saturday's breakfast was simply delicious! Breakfast was biscuit(s) and gravy, scrambled eggs, link sausages, fruit cup, and beverages. In case you wanted something else, there was a table where you could choose between several varieties of cold cereal, yogurt and muffins. Drinks included coffee, hot chocolate, milk, chocolate milk and several varieties of fruit juice.
My biscuit was cut in half, and placed cut side up on the plate, and covered with gravy; you can't see the biscuit thanks to the gravy! I requested extra gravy... I assume you'd see the biscuit with just a "regular" serving of gravy. Upon my request, the large helping of scrambled eggs were covered with melted cheese, and I received 5 links of sausage. If I would have asked, the staff would have gladly served me an extra biscuit, along with more sausage links, but I know how much I can eat, and I don't want to waste any of this delicious food.
I enjoyed several cups of delicious coffee with my breakfast, along with a pre-made "fruit cup," which included slices of three different melons, along with green grape. Such an amazing Saturday morning breakfast!
It's interesting to note that today's breakfast, along with ALL meals I enjoyed at Sierra Trek 2021 were served hot and fresh. The "hot" items were served "hot," and the "cold" choices were served "cold," just like in a fine restaurant. The chefs and the serving staff have talent!
Photo: It's Friday, August 13, 2021, and Friday night's dinner menu, posted just outside the restaurant tent, posts tonight's dinner, which is highlighted by "Chicken Skewers" and "Pork Ribs." Dinner just doesn't get any better...
Saturday breakfast was also listed, as the "format" used at Sierra Trek lists the dinner, and the breakfast that will be served the next morning.
Photo: An hour prior to dinner being served, the cooking team had a meeting, to coordinate their efforts. Tonight's amazing dinner was prepared by the Sierra Treasure Hungers, a Sacramento area four wheeling club, and the team truly served "Sierra Treasure" for dinner tonight.
Photo: About an hour before dinner was ready, I hung around and watched the pitmasters open the pit and turn over and baste the ribs. You should have smelled these ribs cooking, and the delicious aroma!
Tonight's dinner was prepared by the talented staff of Sierra Treasure Hunters, a long-standing four wheel drive club out of nearby Sacramento.
Photo: The pit is open, and I have the opportunity to watch the talented staff in action. The gentleman in the gray shirt is taking ribs out of the packages and placing them on the grill, as the pitmasters turn and baste the ribs.
Photo: One of the talented chefs was in the kitchen trailer, cooking "Chicken Skewers" on one of the several griddles.
Photo: Late Friday afternoon at Sierra Trek Restaurant, with the pittmasters working the gas-fired pit, and the chefs preparing tonight's dinner in the kitchen trailer.
Photo: Just around the corner from the kitchen trailer, the pastry chefs were preparing tonight's dessert, a vanilla cake with lemon frosting... such a great combination!
Photo: Cutting up a freshly-baked cake into individual slices for tonight's dessert.
Photo: Like the U.S. Navy, coffee is always a must-have staple at Sierra Trek for every meal, as like the navy, this event runs on coffee. This gentleman is making coffee, 5 gallons at a time. Although the coffee was mass produced, it was simply delicious and complimented every meal.
Photo: When the ribs were finished cooking in the pit, they were placed in a large tray and brought to a table, near the kitchen trailer, where two staff members were busy cutting them into individual servings of three ribs, and adding extra barbecue sauce.
Photo: Three full racks of pork ribs, ready to be removed from the pit. Delicious!
Photo: It's a little after 6 this Friday evening, and we're in line for our dinner. Although the line looks quite long, the wait-in-line time was typically 10 minutes or less.
Photo: After getting my "ticket punched," and picking up my utensil package, it was time to hit the serving line.
Photo: This lady's job was to dish out individual servings of ribs. Each serving was three ribs, which was a generous serving, as the ribs were very "meaty" and simply delicious.
Photo: The lady to the left was dishing out "Chicken Skewers" - you could enjoy ribs, skewers... or both - and the gentleman in the middle was serving beans, as the other gentleman was serving sliced watermelon to round out this amazing dinner, and to add a healthy, sweet touch.
Photo: Tonight's serving station of beans and sliced watermelon. The food is simply delicious at Sierra Trek Restaurant!
Photo: After placing a slice of watermelon on my plate, the gentleman handed it to the lady, who will be placing a dinner roll on my plate, to make my dinner complete.
Photo: My amazing dinner was handed to me with a masked smile. Due to the lingering effects of COVID-19, all staff wore masks and gloves while serving meals.
Photo: On this early Friday evening, the open air dining room was packed with hungry diners. In the background, you can see some of the tents that made up "Main Street," for Sierra Trek 2021, including the CA4WDC canopy, where you could renew your membership, sign up for new memborship, or purchase swag and merchandise.
Photo: My friends and fellow four wheelers, Robert and Jeff, enjoy their dinners.
Photo: I was truly hungry, and I was definitely in the mood to enjoy my delicious Friday night dinner. The red band on my left wrist told the trail crew that I was eligible to participate in the event's 4wd runs, and the yellow band indicated that I'm over 21, so I was eligible to enjoy the fine beverages served at Old Goats Saloon, located on "Main Street," at Sierra Trek 2021 Base Camp.
Photo: Tonight's dinner was simply amazing... most likely only surpassed by Saturday night's dinner. The main plate included a slab of three, perfectly grilled/smoked pork ribs, covered with tangy barbecue sauce, three "Chicken Skewers," a helping of beans, a slice of watermelon, and a dinner roll.
The salad plates were pre-made, and sitting on a table at the end of the serving line, so you simply grabbed a plated, picked out a package of salad dressing of your choice - Ranch, Thousand Island or Italian - and sat down at your table to enjoy. Salad was Romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, carrot and cucumber slices, cherry tomatoes, shredded cheese along with croutons. I added a package of "Ranch" dressing to mine, which made for an outstanding salad.
Photo Close up photo of my "main plate," showing all of the goodness dinner at Sierra Trek Restaurant has to offer.
Photo: The salad was amazing, as lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes and carrot slices were fresh, and the croutons were crispy. This was a delicious salad!
Photo: Thursday, my friend Robert and I spent all of the day and most of the evening at Winch Hill #4, assisting several members of the Santa Cruz 4 Wheel Drive Club in helping vehicles up this challenging obstacle on the Fordyce Creek Trail. This trail isn't for the feint of heart or for stock vehicles! This gnarly trail is 12 miles of pure vehicle and driver challenge...
You can check out my write-up of Sierra Trek 2021, along with what we experienced, by clicking on THIS LINK, or the Jeep in the photo.
Photo: Friday was the first day of all-day trail events, so breakfast was served starting at 6 in the morning, and lasted three hours. Pancakes, ham, eggs and more sounded great for breakfast on this early Friday morning.
Photo: Pancakes - lots of them - were being cooked on one of the griddles in the kitchen trailer.
Photo: Outside the kitchen trailer, thick slices of ham were waiting to be baked in one of the M-1937 gas field ranges, owned by Cal4wheel. Ham was covered with plastic to protect it from the elements and insects. No worries about the ham being placed outside, as the temperature was in the low-50's.
Photo: Scrambled eggs were cooked in a large frying pan, a few at a time, to keep things hot and fresh.
Photo: Like other meals, you picked up your utensil package, and the serving staff dished up your plate for you. The gentleman to the left asked how many pancakes I wanted, and I requested "three." I probably could have had more... Nobody goes hungry on this event! Scrambled eggs, as with every breakfast, were served in great quantities, and diced cheese was added to your eggs upon request.
The breakfast was served hot and delicious. The serving staff had talent, to be able to keep the eggs and pancakes warm, outside, in the low 50-degree weather at Meadow Lake, at the 7200-foot level, in the Sierra Nevada mountains.
Photo: Last but not least, a thick slice of baked ham was placed on your plate. Note "fruit cups" which are pre-made, and the server to the right placed a cup of fruit on your plate to complete your breakfast.
Photo: My breakfast is ready, and it's handed to me cheerfully, behind a masked smile by s member of the friendly serving staff. One of the local Placer County four wheel drive clubs, the Foresthill 4 Wheelers, were responsible for serving this amazing Friday morning breakfast.
Photo: I'm all smiles, as I'm ready to enjoy my hot breakfast, on this lovely Friday morning.
Photo: Friday morning breakfast was, for me... three pancakes, a large scoop of scrambled eggs, topped with shredded cheese, a thick, baked ham slice, along with a fruit cup, and many cups of coffee. Such a great way to start the day!
Photo: It was nearly 11:00 o'clock in the evening when we arrived in base camp, after a long day of winching, and helping fellow 4 wheelers navigate the always-gnarly Winch hill #4. We arrived in camp many hours after the dinner line was closed, but many of the serving staff were waiting for us, and the lights were still on. Thanks to friendly staff and committee members of Sierra Trek 2921!
Photo: It was nearly 11:00 in the evening, and after a long day of winching, were HUNGRY, so it was amazing to enjoy a hot dinner at base camp.
Tonight's dinner was a pulled pork sandwich, macaroni salad, Mac and cheese, potato salad, coleslaw, along with a bag of kettle-style potato chips. Such a delicious dinner, if not a late one, after a hard day on the Fordyce Creek Trail!
The food was delicious, the staff were amazingly helpful and friendly, the price was right, and you didn't have to prepare your meal, or clean up, so that left you more time for four wheeling, camping and lots of time to enjoy the whole event.
When you're attending the "primo" four wheel drive event of the year in Northern California, Sierra Trek Restaurant is a must-do for anybody who attends CA4WDC's annual Sierra Trek!
Sierra Trek Restaurant
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