High Sierra Trail – Explanation and Preparation

My brother and I are both avid backpackers and we routinely hike with our children. This summer, we joined forces and took our two families along with my nephew (of our sister) and we did the High Sierra Trail (Also known as the Trans-Sierra). Starting from Wolverton trail head in Sequoia National Park we hiked 66 miles in 8 days to Whitney Portal. At the Trail Crest in Whitney wilderness, we dropped our gear and bagged Mt Whitney to boot. This is the first article in a series of articles detailing our trip.

Quick Details

  • 64 Trail Miles
  • 17,170′ Total Elevation Gain
  • 16,141′ Total Elevation Loss
  • 90 Total Miles (includes cumulative elevation gain)

Wilderness Permit

Since this trip starts in the Sequoia National Park, you need to visit their website to get any updated information.  The wilderness permit application we used required a $15 fee for the entire group for the entire trip. When entering the park, there is a entrance fee of $20. Additionally, you’ll need bear canisters for a couple nights of the hike. Bearpaw meadows, and Hamilton Lakes have bear boxes on site. We started from the Wolverton Parking lot, using the Alta trail head and following the Lakes Trail out to Panther Gap.

Splitting up the trip into sections

We decided to do this hike in 8 days (Saturday in, Saturday out), and we also decided to just meet at the trail head Saturday morning after I picked up the wilderness permit. This required me leaving my home in San Jose at 4am Saturday morning to be able to start hiking at 9am. The following was our itinerary:

  1. Bearpaw Meadows
  2. Hamilton Lakes
  3. Big Arroyo Junction
  4. Kern Hotsprings
  5. Junction Meadows
  6. Guitar Lake
  7. Outpost Camp
  8. Whitney Portal Trail Head

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