Welcome to the forum for local and long-distance backpackers along the Sierra Crest between Lake Tahoe and Mount Whitney. Forums cover Sierra trails and
backpacking topics. Your trail or topic contributions will be interlinked to, and enrich the related trail guide.
for Beginners: To get you off the couch, gear you up, get you into Sierra Shape and on the trail. Ask questions. Find killer short routes up and down the High Sierra Crest to get you started.
for Intermediates: To get you in deeper, longer, and higher. Find your next-step trip here. Post your stories, pictures, and videos of your favorite trips to widen the perspective and enrich the trail guide.
for Experts: All the information you need to come from anywhere in the US or the world and backpack from Tahoe to Whitney.
Here's the Best Weather Information available for anyone traveling to, backpacking through, hiking, skiing, or driving across the High Sierra Nevada Mountains, California, or the Western United States. All weather reports and forecasts can be expanded to cover California and National weather conditions.
Very Important Weather Information
The Current "Hot" Topic
The massive drought of 2011 through 2015 is drawing backpacker's attention to the High Sierra Trails earlier and earlier in Spring every year.
The question of when the trails will open for Summertime backpacking from Echo Summit to Ebbetts Pass is broached by Ty in the permits section.
Check out Ty's inquiry and my response beneth.
Vermilion Valley to Muir Ranch Backpacker Forum
This is the comments, questions, and supplemental information catch-all page for the Vermilion Valley to Muir Ranch Backpacker Forum.
Post up your information or your need for information.
Here's some information:
This is the supplemental information, references, and comments page for the Muir Ranch to Whitney Portal section of the Tahoe to Whitney Trails.
In this same forum we will explore the loops and alternative routes along this section of the trail, such as the North-South and Rae Lakes Loops.
This forum and the South end of the guide below Tuolumne Meadows are under construction. The trails above are in draft form.
Miles and Elevations
I have hit the Whitney Portal four times at the end of John Muir Trail hikes at 2;30 pm, had a Portal Burger at Doug's, then caught a ride down to Lone Pine with Doug three of the four times.
I am going to eat some more in Lone Pine, then either hitch-hike up to the Hot Springs just South of Bishop if I can't get a ride up to spend a night in the Tuolumne Meadows backpacker's camp.
Next time through the Whitney Portal I'm going to spend a night at Doug's Hostel specialized for long-distance backpackers down in Lone Pine.
Muir Ranch is one of my favorite resupply spots. This is in large part due to the low-key hospitality of Pat Gray.
Pat runs the backpacker resupply service. In the last ten years Muir Ranch has built a new shed to store the resupply packages, and completely turned around their previously backpacker-unfriendly attitude.
Pat was not unfriendly prior to this time, but the attitude at Muir was clear:
In past years their policy was, "get your resupply and get the hell out."
This would be the "other" trail out of Happy Isles and the profound popularity of the John Muir Trail, let alone its day and overnight use by thousands of Half Dome Hikers.
Our route to the JMT in Lyell Canyon will bend off the regular route of the JMT from Little Yosemite Valley, Instead of the JMT we will follow the Merced River to Merced Lake to cross the mountains to our East dividing us from the JMT route in Lyell Canyon.
We'll pass Nevada Falls, Little Yosemite, and the High Sierra and Backpackers Camp at Merced Lake.
We will find there are more ways to hike the JMT than skin a cat. South of Reds Meadow we can follow the standard JMT to the VVR ferry at Lake Thomas Edison, or we can hike an alternative route down Fish Valley to the great beauties of Iva Bell Hot Springs.
Iva Bell Hot Springs are the Hilton Hotels of High Sierra Hot Springs. Its set up campsites climbing up the end of the Fish Valley to accompany the series of hot springs climbing the mountain are splendid.
South into the Ansel Adams Wilderness
This is the forum for supplemental information for the JMT and PCT from Tuolumne Meadows to Reds Meadow, where we will pick up our next resupply.
My first, and possibly most important suggestion is to time out this section of trail down to Yosemite Valley from Tuolumne Meadows during the week and not near any mid-Summer holiday weekends.
Otherwise the traffic climbing the JMT, not to mention the vast crowds around Happy Isles Trailhead in the Valley will be thick. Try to time your descent into the Valley during low-traffic times.