Trans-Sierra Trail to Mt. Whitney - Guided Backpacking Trips
Backpacking

Trans-Sierra Trail to Mt. Whitney

Activity Level
Strenuous
Trip Length
10 Days
Group Size
up to 13 guests
Backpacking

Trans-Sierra Trail to Mt. Whitney

$2750

Itinerary
Select Dates
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Haley Woods
Haley Woods

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(800) 231-4575
Summit Mt. Whitney, highest point in the contiguous US
Cross the Great Western Divide via Colby Pass (11,960')
Experience the heart of Sequoia-Kings Canyon backcountry

This trip is an ultimate crossing of Sequoia National Park through some of the most remote areas of the high Sierra, culminating in an ascent of the highest point in the contiguous US; Mt Whitney (14,500’). It’s rugged and remote and those who are up to the 83-mile challenge will be rewarded with a backpacking adventure like few others. Highlights include crossing the Great Western divide via Colby Pass (12,000’), the massive Kern River Canyon, Foxtail Pine forests, and of course panoramic views from atop Mt Whitney.

2020 Trip Dates

August 20 - 29, 2020
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2021 Trip Dates

August 19 - 28, 2021
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Pricing

$2,750 per person
Price based on shared hotel occupancy


Single Room Supplement: 
Requested $260, Forced $130

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Trip Itinerary

Trans-Sierra Trail to Mt. Whitney Itinerary - Day 1 - Meet Your Guide in Fresno, CA

Your trip begins in Fresno, CA at the Wyndham Garden Hotel across from the Fresno airport. You can check in at the hotel anytime after 4pm. At 6pm you will meet your guides and group for a trip orientation, where you'll do a final gear check and discuss the details of the trip. Dinner tonight is on your own at the hotel.

Trans-Sierra Trail to Mt. Whitney Itinerary - Day 2 - Camp along Ferguson Creek

Following breakfast on your own, we will drive to the trailhead at Horse Corral Meadow (8200’). After a final gear check we will begin our hike over gentle Marvin Pass (8900’) and the Kanawyer Gap, before we head downhill to our campsite along Ferguson Creek (7200’).

12 miles, Elevation: +2644'/ -3081'

Trans-Sierra Trail to Mt. Whitney Itinerary - Day 3 - Traverse toward Cloud Canyon and Whaleback

From Ferguson Creek we’ll continue past the ranger station at Roaring River and head into Cloud Canyon. We’ll make camp in the vicinity of the looming Whaleback, a giant granite ridge that dominates the landscape.

9 miles, Elevation: +2559’/ -666'

Trans-Sierra Trail to Mt. Whitney Itinerary - Day 4 - Ascend to Colby Pass and Camp at Gallats Lake

Today, we’ll follow the trail along Colby Creek up to the crest of the Great Western Divide. The dramatic Colby Pass (12,000’) leads us to the eastern side of the ridge and is often considered the most remote spot in the Sierra. After enjoying the views, we’ll descend to Gallats Lake (10,200’) where we’ll make camp for the night.

7 miles, Elevation: +3268'/ -2264'

We begin our day following the Kern-Kaweah River valley down into Kern Canyon. We’ll pass through the Jeffrey Pine forests at Junction Meadow and climb up to our campsite on Wallace Creek at 10,400. It is here that we meet the John Muir and Pacific Crest Trails.

11 miles, Elevation: +2710'/ -2375'

Trans-Sierra Trail to Mt. Whitney Itinerary - Day 6 - Hike to Basecamp at Guitar Lake

Today’s hiking will get us within striking distance of Mt Whitney. We’ll travel over moderate trail through foxtail Pine Forests, unique to Sequoia National Park. We’ll then set up a basecamp at Guitar Lake under the Whitney massif at 11,500’. We’ll hit the sack early in preparation for our attempt of Mt Whitney in the morning.

7 miles, Elevation: +​ 2034'/ -951'

Trans-Sierra Trail to Mt. Whitney Itinerary - Day 7 - Summit Mt. Whitney

An early “alpine” start, we’ll leave our basecamp and extra gear behind for our summit attempt of Mt Whitney (14,495’). The trail is very well-graded and we’ll quickly gain final summit ridge. Bathed in early morning light, stunning views await of the Sierra high country and the eastern deserts far below. We’ll then return to Guitar Lake, where we’ll have lunch and pack up camp. A few more miles of hiking take us below tree line to Crabtree Meadows (10,400’). From Guitar lake to Whitney and back is 9.5 miles round trip without packs and then downhill another 5 miles to camp.

14 miles, Elevation: +3360'/ -4511'

Trans-Sierra Trail to Mt. Whitney Itinerary - Day 8 - Hike to Rock Creek Lake

From Lower Crabtree Meadows we’ll hike a relatively flat section of the Pacific Crest Trail before a short climb in the afternoon to Rock Creek lake at 10,400’. This campsite is perfect for our last because it is truly one of the most beautiful of the trip.

10.5 miles, Elevation: +1985'/ -1886'

Trans-Sierra Trail to Mt. Whitney Itinerary - Day 9 - Exit Cottonwood Pass

This is our last day on the trail and we’ll complete our grand trans-sierra crossing by hiking eastward over Cottonwood Pass (11,200). At the trailhead, we will be met by our private shuttle and cold drinks. Our shuttle takes us to our hotel in the quirky western town of Lone Pine. After a well-deserved shower, we’ll meet in the lobby and take dinner together in town.

10 miles, Elevation: +​ 1690'/ -2175'

Continental breakfast is served at the hotel and we’ll depart for Fresno in the early morning. We’ll arrive around 1pm and can drop at either the Fresno Airport or Wyndham Garden Hotel. We suggest not planning flights before 3pm.

What's Included

Accommodations

  • 1st night's lodging at Wyndham Garden Hotel in Fresno
  • 9 nights of wilderness tent camping (permits included)
  • Last night's lodging at Best Western Frontier Hotel Lone Pine

Gear

  • All group gear including stoves, cookware, water filters, group first aid kit, etc.
  • Personal backpacking gear provided by request: backpacks, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, trekking poles, and tents

Transportation

  • Day 2 private shuttle from Fresno to starting trailhead
  • Day 8-9 private shuttle from ending trailhead to hotel and back to Fresno

Food

  • Starting with breakfast on Day 2 and ending with lunch on Day 9
  • Backcountry gourmet meals including trail snacks
  • Hot tea or coffee served each morning

A Few More Notes

Travel & Logistics

This trip begins and ends at the Wyndham Garden Hotel in Fresno, CA conveniently located across the street from the Fresno Yosemite International Airport. The hotel provides a complimentary shuttle service from the airport if needed. Plan to arrive at the hotel before 6pm so you can meet your guides and group for your trip orientation. If you are driving to Fresno, you are welcome to leave your vehicle parked at the hotel during your trip for no additional fee. Any additional luggage you have will be stored at our secure facility and returned to you for your final night in Lone Pine. We'll provide your transportation back to Fresno on the last day of the trip, we recommend booking flights no earlier than 3pm on this day.

Training & Preparation

This is one of our more strenuous trips and is one that we do not recommend for those who are new to backpacking. Plan to carry a fully weighted backpack for 9 trail days without a resupply. It is essential to come prepared! To ensure the most enjoyable and successful experience out on the trail, we recommend a rigorous training plan leading up to your trip, focusing on:

  • Endurance, cardio, and aerobic activities
  • Core and leg strength (don't forget those abs and quads)!
  • Day hikes or short overnight trips with a weighted pack (30-35lbs) to train for both the physical and mental aspects of backpacking
  • Cycling, running, step-master or stairs are great cross-training
  • Include hilly terrain and steep climbs whenever possible

Looking for more tips? Check out our blog!

Prior Experience

We strongly encourage having recent backpacking experience or practice before embarking on this section of JMT. The most successful people on these trips have completed several backcountry trips carrying a fully weighted pack (35-40lbs) for 3-5 days. If you do not have this experience, we recommend joining us on a "shake-out" trip prior to joining the Trans-Sierra Trail.

What's Not Included
  • Personal clothing & footwear
  • Dinner on the first night in Fresno and last night in Lone Pine
  • Recommended 10%-20% gratuity for guides
  • Trip Insurance (strongly recommended)
  • Airfare
  • Voluntary or involuntary evacuations

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