The term High Sierra applies to the alpine region above the main forest (8,000 ft +). Backpacking the High Sierra Trail. The Mineral King area of Sequoia National Park provides access to some of the most spectacular high country in the southern Sierra. The drive from San Diego to Sequoia is long. Before reaching the Kern River Canyon, however, hikers will travel past Big Arroyo and onto the Chagoopa Plateau. The trail from Crescent Meadow quickly emerges from the Giant forest and then follows a steep canyon alongside the middle fork of the Kaweah River. It’s these moments in the outdoors that help re-energize your soul for the following week. Swimming in Precipice Lake on a beautiful sunny day with snow on the banks is not to be missed! Whitney, but getting to Whitney Portal makes the total hike length 72.2 miles. Solo female travel isn't a new trend—in fact, it's been happening for as long as humans have been traveling. The trail will pass Bearpaw meadows, a popular choice for camp on night one, before continuing the push upward. In the high country (above 10,000 feet), black bears are less of a problem in the early season. The High Sierra Trail (HST) starts in Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park (SEKI), travels east and eventually meets up with the John Muir Trail (JMT). A rugged hike, similar to the other two off-trail routes we hiked in the summer of 2019. Whitney summit, attempt. Two days into a hike of the High Sierra Trail, my eyes are only just beginning to adjust to the scale: First, the giant trees of Sequoia National Park’s Giant grove, and now, this precipice that juts into the sky. The linear nature of the trail, which leads hikers 72 miles from where they began upon completing the hike, does require extra transportation planning (see below). In fact, there is not a single road within the entire national park boundary where this feat is accomplished. This saves me ~10-15 minutes in the morning and at night, too. Going into our hike, I had some concerns about mosquitoes, snow, and water sources. The High Sierra Trail can be completed by linking together numerous, established, backcountry campsites. Notable landmarks along the way include the Crabtree ranger station, Guitar Lake, and the Trail Crest intersection, where hikers make the final push along the 2.4-mile Mt. Overview. On Sept 3 - 8, I hiked solo from Crescent Meadow in Sequoia National Park to Whitney Portal on the east side of the Sierra Nevada. Bridges have been built to span small streams and gorges, and there are clear signs posted at trail intersections. Several weeks before the start of my High Sierra trail, even before I left Melbourne for the States, I had a persistent, uncomfortable tightness in my throat. Each camp is a day’s hike from at least two other camps. The weather was perfect, the wildflowers were incredible, the scenery was amazing, and … Whitney summit. Most people complete their High Sierra Trail itinerary in 6-8 days. Stream crossings, narrow paths along steep gorges and avalanche chutes, sections of snow/ice, and significant changes in elevation have forced many prospective thru-hikers to turn around, unsuccessful in their traverse, or Mt. Spring conditions on the trail can leave hikers with long, exposed sections of snow and dangerous stream crossings, a greater hazard with colder water, and higher flows, common during that time of year. The High Sierra Trail features almost 30 miles of hiking above 10,000 feet, and the summit of Mt. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. The High Sierra Trail In July 2016, I took 6 days to thru-hike the 76-mile High Sierra Trail (HST) from Crescent Meadow to the summit of Mt Whitney with a dear friend. This entry will serve as a summary of our trip. But what this means when you are planing a hike, and what it means when you are looking at a wall of rock are as different as a walk in the park is from a climb up Mt. Jeff Hester. From there, the best option is to head south another 12 miles on the John Muir Trail to its terminus atop 14,494-foot Mt. Posts. Loading ... Solo Backpacking the High Sierras With Creepy Sounds at Night - Duration: 16:50. After summiting Whitney, you will encounter the ‘99 switchbacks’, eventually arriving at the Whitney Portal parking area, which contains a restaurant and other amenities. And a first aid kit. Roadie 1,119,719 views. Whitney, Toothbrush, toothpaste, biodegradable soap. Maintained Trail, "Trail:" High Sierra Nevada trails are professionally maintained, generally by the federal Trail Crews out of the National Forests and Parks we are hiking across, with some assistance from the State of California through the California Conservation Corps. Like hiking boots. They are searching in the wrong place because I simply refuse to believe that the obvious route — up THERE and over THAT — is the route we will actually have to climb. The JMT can be followed to the summit of Mt. The High Sierra Trail features almost 30 miles of hiking above 10,000 feet, and the summit of Mt. Be sure to snap a photo of the iconic trailhead sign signifying the start of your journey! Reviewing the maps, planning your itinerary, plotting your campsites and filling out your gear helps build the anticipation. Whitney over the coming days. Solo Hiking Advice and Tips OK, so there's good reasons to go solo, things that might make it not so fun, and some trouble you can get into. Proper use of the ‘bear boxes’, located at the listed campsites above, has greatly reduced these encounters. On Sept 3 - 8, I hiked solo from Crescent Meadow in Sequoia National Park to Whitney Portal on the east side of the Sierra Nevada. Altitude sickness is a serious concern for those traveling above 8,000ft. Over the course of the trail and the 3,819 feet of elevation gain you'll cross open meadows, countless alpine lakes and red fir forests while taking in unbelievable view after unbelievable view. Always carry an approved bear-proof container for all food, and use any food storage lockers available at campsites. Starting from the western side of the High Sierra, the range gently tilts upward, reaching its highest points at the very eastern edge. There’s a also  a small commercial “tent camp” (really cabin camp) here, which provides bedding and food; reservations required. If you do the entire hike, you’ll have to walk farther than the official length of 49 miles, because the trail ends precisely in the middle of nowhere, when it intersects the John Muir Trail. You know California’s High Sierra mountain range, of course: John Muir called it the “Range of Light;” Ansel Adams captured it in iconic photographs. Join Chris as he drives his friend John to insanity over 6 days in the Sierra Nevada. Whitney, which is one of my favorite places and the highest summit in the contiguous United States. You know that it has some of the biggest mountains, deepest gorges, grandest wilderness, and most remote terrain in the contiguous United States. The Tahoe Rim Trail (165 miles) does not intrigue me for some reason. Whitney summit trail. It’s a steep, albeit short, ascent from the lake to reach the first of two notable crests on the trail, Kaweah Gap. As a result, the trail receives considerable maintenance, making it easy to follow throughout most of the hike. Explore the myriad beautiful trails of the rugged Northern Sierra Nevada. This is where you officially cross the Great Western Divide. Starting from the western side of the High Sierra, the range gently tilts upward, reaching its highest points at the very eastern edge. The High Sierra Trail connects the western expanses of Sequoia National Park, home to the world’s largest trees, to Mount Whitney’s impressive summit, found within the eastern Sierra. Great Deals on 114 styles of Hiking Boots at Sierra. ​Fly, take a train or rent a car to get yourself to Visalia, CA. If that doesn’t sound like a worthwhile endeavor, your adventurous spirit may need a serious reboot. Fleece pullover – integrated baklava and ventilation zip preferred, Optional: down-insulated jacket for cold nights, Light or midweight baselayer to sleep in – don’t hike in this or you’ll soak it with sweat, Optional: hat – sun protection can be important at high elevations, Lightweight trail runners or hiking shoes – Check out our, Optional: camp shoes – usually not necessary if you avoid hiking all day in heavy boots, ultralight guide for the benefits of minimalist shoes, Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 is our favorite, Hits the highest point within contiguous U.S. – 14,508 ft. atop Mt. This exciting documentary bounces back and forth between the modern experience of hiking the High Sierra Trail, and the early 1900’s when the trail was created. The High Sierra Trail leads from Crescent Meadow up the canyon of the Middle Fork of the Kaweah River, crossing the Great Western Divide by the 10,700' (3261 meters) pass known as Kaweah Gap. Viewing 2 posts - 1 through 2 (of 2 total) Author. Most hikers travel eastward, over the course of 6-9 days, beginning at Crescent Meadows and finishing at the famed, Whitney Portal. The High Sierra is the high heart of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, which runs south-to-north through much of the length of central and northern California. You can then follo… Last day from Guitar Lake to Mt Whitney Portal, Sequoia National Park. My eyes are searching in the wrong place for a trail. Travel outside of those dates will still require a permit, however, they are self-assigned at kiosks near the trailhead and at visitor centers. Starting West, in Sequoia National Park and traversing east, over the Sierra’s, the HST terminates upon the highest peak in the lower 48 states, Mt Whitney. Whitney is over 14,500ft. For those particularly concerned, carry bear spray for extra protection. Whitney in the East and finally ending at Whitney Portal just outside of Lone Pine, CA. My friend and I did High Sierra Trail to Kaweah Gap Last October and it was one of the most beautiful and exhilarating hiking and camping trips that I’ve ever done. Hiking the High Sierra Trail in California, Mahout for a Day: Learning to Care for and Ride Elephants in Thailand, Hiking the Abel Tasman Coast Track on New Zealand’s South Island. Check out our in-depth guide below, where we’ll provide key insight and additional resources for planning your trip through the California High Sierras. High Sierra Trail hike. From Giant Forest to Whitney Portal it took me 4.5 days. The Sierra High Route is one of the most spectacular and challenging treks in North America. Best backpacking trails in Sierra National Forest, California 396 Reviews Explore the most popular backpacking trails in Sierra National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you. Our plan was to leave one car at Whitney Portal, and take a one-way rental to Visalia to catch the Sequoia Shuttle into the park. This hike offers a cross section of what makes the high Sierra so spectacular, from the giant sequoias on the western slope to the highest peaks in the 48 contiguous states. Due to the vast wilderness, present throughout much of the Sierra-Nevada Mountain Range, hiking the High Sierra Trail is one of the only ways to experience a crossing of the Western Divide. After running up the bottom of the Kern Canyon, it turns east, climbing parallel to Wallace Creek up to the junction with the John Muir Trail, 49 miles (79 km) from the starting point. Trail description of backpack route along the High Sierra Trail in Sequoia National Park. Merino-wool base layer top – chest zip for ventilation a big plus! Best online, digital, and paper High Sierra backpacking topo trail maps. The High Sierra is the high heart of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, which runs south-to-north through much of the length of central and northern California. You’re in the right place! Nostalgia and emotion welled up through all of me. I followed the High Sierra Trail part of the way, but at Kaweah Gap, where the trail crosses the Great Western Divide, I left the trail and hiked cross-country northeast across Pants Pass. Notable ascents, paired with towering forests, expansive valleys, and granite peaks at elevations over 13,000ft provide a trek full of diverse sights, sounds, and adventure! The High Sierra Trail starts amid the Giant Forest in Sequoia National Park, and crosses the range in an east-west direction, crossing the great Western Divide at Kaweah Pass, elevation 10,700 feet — the pass that had me staring unbelieving at the sky. Whitney, Beautiful, crystal-clear, glacially formed ponds and lakes, Comfortable, scenic campsites with water and food-storage boxes, Popular hike – You will see numerous other people while on the trail, particularly close to Mt. Whitney, High elevations present altitude sickness concerns – many have had to turn back, 2 notable mountain ‘passes’ will require steep ascents of several thousand feet of elevation gain, checkCanister or liquid-feed stove – canister will be lighter, but liquid fuel works better at elevation & it will be easier to calculate and carry the exact amount of fuel, Sleeping bag rated to 30* F, or lower – nights can be cold, even in summer, Trowel & toilet paper – wag bags are required once on Mt. Whitney. This 72 mile trail is stunning, and is an excellent alternative to those who can't get 3 weeks off to do the JMT. Whitney ascents. Although there are a few other options for accessing the HST via additional trail networks, they are seldom used by those wishing to experience the classic traverse of the Sierras. Seasonal challenges for hikers depend on month and elevation. Whitney in the East and finally ending at Whitney Portal just outside of Lone Pine, CA. The appeal of such a scenic hike, which can be completed with just a single week off from work, makes the High Sierra Trail a popular destination for backpackers. Soon thereafter, you will need to make a decision on your preferred route. So even in the lower country, where trails may be clear of snow by May or June, the rivers will run high and fast. As mentioned above, the Sierra Nevada has a trail system second to none, and opportunities for Hiking and Backpacking abound. The elevation gain/loss is +15,531/-13,866 feet according to Paul Richins, Jr., author of Mount Whitney (2 nd Ed., The Mountaineers Books). The High Sierra Trail is located within California’s Sequoia National Park and extends 72.2 scenic miles, providing the only connection between the eastern and western sections of the park. The only way is over. 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