November 20, 2015 8:16 PM MST - Subscription purchasing, account maintenance, forum profile maintenance, new account registration, and forum posting have been disabled
as we prepare our databases for the final migration to our new server next week. Stay tuned here for more details.
Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Eastern Sierra loop recommendations
Display Avatars Sort By:
James Block
(jsblock11) - F

Locale: Southern California
Eastern Sierra loop recommendations on 01/26/2013 13:42:46 MST Print View

I'm looking for a couple of ~4-6 day, ~50-80 mile loops to tackle this summer in the Eastern Sierra. I've recently done a few of the classics: Rae Lakes Loop, North Lake to South Lake loop through Evolution (my all time favorite by far), Big Pine North Fork lakes loop, and a Yosemite loop from Tuolumne to the valley via Glen Aulin. I tend to average 15-20 miles per day for multi-day on trail Sierra hikes.

I have basic navigations skills, but haven't tackled any off trail Sierra hiking yet. I often go solo, and I'm cautious when doing so, so obviously anything off trail or Sierra High Route sections that are on my "to do" list need to be with a partner.

Any suggestions, or anyone want to join in a trip like this with me this summer??? Thanks!

Elizabeth Tracy
(mariposa) - M

Locale: Outside
suggestions on 01/26/2013 14:11:05 MST Print View

1. Dana Meadows (near Tioga Pass) up Parker Creek, to Alger Lakes, Gem Lake. River Trail to Shadow Lake to Ediza Lake. From Ediza, retrace steps one mile, back then hang a left onto the northbound JMT all the way to Tuolumne Meadows. Very short shuttle back to Dana Meadows. ~56 miles

2. Did your Northern Yosemite trip take you to Benson Lake? If not: Twin Lakes to Peeler Lake to Benson Lake. Side trip to Rodgers Lake. PCT to Smedberg Lake. Leave PCT to go up Matterhorn Canyon, then over Burro Pass & Mule Pass back to Twin Lakes. ~48 miles

3. Onion Valley over Kearsarge Pass to Kearsarge Lakes. Southbound on the PCT. Exit over Mt. Whitney to Whitney Portal. Not sure of mileage, estimate 50 mi.

In the eastside terrain, it is really hard to organize a true "loop." The really good trips are going to be point-to-point. I find that shuttles are really easy to do, with a little advance planning. Usually I leave my car at the exit point, and then hitchhike or take a paid shuttle service or take a public bus to my starting point, so that I am traveling clean instead of worn-out and dirty.

- Elizabeth

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
another suggestion on 01/26/2013 19:27:07 MST Print View

Get a wilderness permit in Bishop. Start at North Lake. Go over Piute Pass and into the Humphries Basin. Go down Piute Creek until the big bridge where you turn left and head into Kings Canyon National Park. You start up the bottom of the canyon, then turn on the JMT that takes you up through the Evolution Basin, over Muir Pass, and down to LeConte Canyon. There you turn left and go through Dusy Basin, over Bishop Pass, and down to South Lake to finish. Hopefully hitchhike back to North Lake.

When I did this a year ago, most of the people that were doing this in the opposite direction took seven days. In my direction, it was four days. Go figure.


jeffrey armbruster
(book) - M

Locale: Northern California
"Eastern Sierra loop recommendations" on 01/26/2013 20:20:01 MST Print View

Elizabeth's recommendations are all good; so is Bob's but it sounds like you've done that loop before. If you're willing to go out of Tuolumne, here's a possibility: Vogelsang, over Vogelsang Pass and on to the "high route" to Triple Divide; on past (well past!) Merced Lake and up to Sunrise or environs; out. Especially early in the season this route is not as well traveled as the highlights suggest. For example, at least in early season when I've done this few people take the Sunrise trail out of Echo Valley. More: there are all kinds of possibilities on the route to Triple Divide, including the backside of Lyell and all of the country/passes adjacent to Triple Divide. Just avoid Merced Lake and Sunrise if you're allergic to people, although sunrise is truly spectacular.

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Eastern Sierra loop recommendations on 01/26/2013 23:04:33 MST Print View

Kearsarge Pass, Vidette Meadow, Forester Pass or the one out of Center Basin, Tyndall Creek, Colby Pass, (watch out for the Kern River) Avalanche Pass, Bubbs Creek, Charlotte Lake/Kearsarge Lakes. 80 miles, doable in 6-7 nights, on trail. I was 57.

James Block
(jsblock11) - F

Locale: Southern California
Thanks on 01/28/2013 14:22:57 MST Print View

Thanks for the solid suggestions. I like the idea of exploring a little further north in Yosemite and the big 80 mile loop out of Onion Valley suggested by Duane Hall looks especially appealing. I'll keep tabs on updates about how the Kern River looks this year and try for a late summer loop.

I'm trying to plan out a semi-loop in the Reds Meadow/Mammoth area as well, I haven't explored anything further north than Convict Lake on the east side.

I was also considering doing the Tahoe Rim Trail this summer. I understand it may not be as majestic as further south in the Sierra, but it seems like a good "intro" thru-hike with easy resupplies, etc. to give me a taste of longer distance hiking before doing my larger goal, the JMT.

Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
Re: Eastern Sierra loop recommendations on 01/28/2013 15:25:39 MST Print View

Since you have been north already, I would head out Cottonwood Pass to Kahwea Gap make a loop and head back into New Army.

You could hit Whaleback and some of the really cool passes out there with that distance. Maybe even bag Brewer.

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Eastern Sierra loop recommendations on 01/28/2013 17:48:08 MST Print View

Forgot to mention, even though I was in parts of very popular country, I did not see that many folks until my last easy day on the east side of Kearsarge. I could easily cut one day off, but chose to stay out an extra day. After I left a nice older group like myself after leap frogging with them after leaving Tyndall Creek RS, I saw no one from before I crossed the Kern and down the north side of Colby. Not many use the faint at times trail for a ways after crossing the Kern heading up to Colby. Bring a fishing pole for the creek coming down there and on the other side of Colby. I don't have my map and I have a poor memory for places I've been. I lost my balance in the Kern, got my camera wet I discovered after getting across and lost a Croc. Only got pics for the first 2.5 days. From Roaring River RS, there are not many places to camp. I found a spot before the trail pulled away from the water, maybe 2 miles from the RS, but maybe two miles before Avalanche Pass. Lots of mosquitoes in the canyon to the east of Avalanche Pass, you drop down into a nice area, but buggy.