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Sierras - Wilderness Trips

Detailed Itineraries

Sample Itinerary: Mono Creek Trail from Rock Creek - subject to changes

Day 1: Rock Creek to Mono Creek
Leaving the Pack Station (10,000 ft.), our route follows the Mono Pass Trail which ascends Mt. Starr to Mono Pass (12,000 ft.). During the first part of this section one has a panoramic view of Little Lakes Valley, an area with more than twenty lakes framed by towering mountains including Mt. Morgan (13,748 ft), Bear Creek Spire (13,705 ft), Mt. Dade and Mt. Abbott. During this climb to Mono Pass, the trail goes through meadows with scattered limber pine and wild flowers, crosses a few small creeks and then climbs above timberline. At all times there is an unrestricted view of the overwhelming landscape.
After crossing the pass, the route starts an easy descent going by Summit Lake; immediately afterwards, Pioneer Basin, Hopkins Basin and the northern Sierra range comes into view. The trail proceeds down past Trail Lake to Gold Creek where we enter the heavier timber and headwaters of Mono Creek alongside which we travel through a long valley with green meadows, wild flowers, stretches of lodge-pole pine, continually broken by small feeder creeks coming from tributary watersheds. Imposing Mono Rock towers over the valley as we head down Mono Creek.
We make camp near the confluence of one of the many streams cascading into Mono Creek. Majestic Mono Rock towers over the canyon to the south. There are a series of meadows and camping areas from Fourth Recess to Hopkins Meadow. This area was once the center of the Native American summer trading camps.
Riding approx. 5.5 hours ( about 10 miles)
Meals included: Lunch & Dinner
Camp at Mono Creek

Day 2: Layover Day
Great areas to explore from a central camp alongside of Mono Creek. Side trips available to Third Recess Lake, Fourth Recess Lake, Hopkins Basin and Pioneer Basin.
Exploring Hopkins Basin to Lower Hopkins Creek, which is a climb, is a 1 hour ride from the confluence of Mono Creek and Third Recess Creek. Once at the meadow, there is a trail that climbs straight up to Lower Hopkins Lake (about a 20-minute ride). Lower Hopkins Lake is the most beautiful lake in the Sierra – if sets on a high shelf, you would never know it’s there unless you have been there before. To make a circle route, continue up the inlet stream and drop over a small hill to Hopkins Creek. The green meadows, winding crystal blue creek winding through the meadow and the red talus slopes of Red Slate Mountain make Hopkins Pass one of the most colorful vista points of the trip. The views looking south over the Recesses are awesome. Carpets of shooting stars, buttercups and yellow flowers alternate with the lush meadows dotted by gushing springs.
Third Recess Lake is a forty-minute hike or ride. This canyon opens up south of camp and provides a remote basin to explore.
Fourth Recess Lake is a thirty-minute trek up Mono Creek and Fourth Recess Creek. This is an easy hike for those not wanting to spend much time on the trail.
Pioneer Basin is a one hour ride to Mud Lake (Pioneer Lake #1). This wide-open basin has six lakes with Golden, Rainbow and Brook trout. An ideal day trip is to follow the streams and meadows to Lake #4, cross country over to Lake #5 and circle the basin following the shores of Lake #3, #2A and Lake #2. This sub-alpine region represents the finest in high mountain meadows, flowers and panoramic views of the Sierra.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Camp at Mono Creek

Day 3: Hopkins & Mono to First Recess
Traveling west to the John Muir Trail, ride through several life zones with groves of lodge pole pine giving way to the Jeffrey and Juniper Pine Forest. The trail parallels Mono Creek cascading to the side of the route. There are a wide variety of flowers, shrubs and trees as we descend to the large White Fir forest and tall aspens of First Recess. We head down for lunch at a secluded camp overlooking a lake beneath the smooth polish granite cliffs of this narrow valley of lower Mono Creek canyon. We commonly see bears, eagles and deer in the meadow visible from the ridge where we camp. Outstanding fishing for golden trout in Mono Creek near First Recess.
Riding approx. 3 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Camp at First recess

Day 4: First Recess to Camp near Third Recess and Mono Creek
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Camp at Third recess

Day 5: Layover
Beautiful meadows and a quiet pond invite a leisurely hike. Alternatively, you can ride to one of the few remaining log cabins in the wilderness. A day ride to Second Recess and fishing in Mills Creek are options, as well. Outstanding golden trout are waiting for you in Mills Creek and in Mono Creek, near camp.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Camp at Third recess

Day 6: Mono Creek to Rock Creek Pack Station
The ride up Gold Creek and back to Mono Pass seems easier on the way home. Lunch at Trail Lake. The views of Abbott, Dade, Mills and Bear Creek Spire frame the view as we crest Mono Pass and turn the corner to view the countless lakes in Upper Rock Creek. The views of Wheeler Ridge, Rock Creek Lake and Boundry Peak are in view as the trail winds its way alongside the westside of the canyon. 
Riding approx. 5 hours
Meals included: Breakfast & Lunch


Sample Itinerary: Northern Yosemite -
subject to changes

Day 1: Tuolumne Meadows to Glen Aulen
We ride north on the Pacific Crest Trail from the largest meadows in Yosemite. The trail follows the Lyell Fork of the Tuolumne River. The cascades and water falls as we head to Glen Aulin make this one of the most scenic rides in the Sierra.
Riding approx. 4 hours
Meals included: Lunch & Dinner
Camp at Glen Aulen

Day 2: Cold Canyon to Matterhorn Canyon
The morning ride goes through meadows and alternating forest before we switchback through the Hemlock Forest to reach Virginia Canyon. We travel through wildflowers, meadows and small lakes before reaching the deep Matterhorn Canyon. The deep granite canyon has beautiful campsites.
Riding approx. 4 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Camp at Matterhorn Canyon

Day 3: Matterhorn Canyon to Smedberg Lake or Neal Meadow
This remote part of Yosemite has beautiful vistas of glacial polished mountains, lush meadows and wildflowers. We climb to the top of Benson Pass and meander down to Smedberg Lake. Volunteer Peak frames the panoramic view to the west. Rodgers and Neal Lake are only a short ride from the lake. The group will camp to be able to enjoy the excellent fishing and many ponds, lakes and streams to enjoy for the two nights.
Riding approx. 3 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Camp at Smedberg Lake or Neal Meadow

Day 4: Layover Day
Great fishing for large rainbows. There are many secluded meadows and places to explore from camp.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Camp at Smedberg Lake or Neal Meadow

Day 5: Smedberg Lake to Lower Kerrick Meadow
We descend to Benson Lake and climb up through the manzanita to Seavy Pass. This is an enchanting area of small ponds, streams and trees. At Kerrick Creek the trail heads east to a camp in Kerrick Canyon. Small granite domes rise out of the canyon and it seems like a miniature Yosemite Valley.
Riding approx. 5 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Camp at Lower Kerrick Meadow

Day 6: Lower Kerrick Canyon to camp near Upper Kerrick
The trail winds up through a series of meadows to a camp near the crest of the Sierra. Once at camp spend the afternoon at Pealer Lake or exploring the Buckeye Pass area.
Riding approx. 2 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Camp at Lower Kerrick Meadow

Day 7: Upper Kerrick Canyon to Twin Lakes
We exit Yosemite National Park and wind our way down to Twin Lakes.
Meals included: Breakfast & Lunch
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High Sierras Wilderness Pack Trips
Tour Code: RTCA10
7 days / 6 nights ~$0.00
Dates: Aug-Sept

Trip Rating :
Difficulty : Riding Level (Click for legend) Lodging: Basic
Day to Day Itinerary
Rates | Dates
Detailed Itineraries
Tack: Western
Horses: Mostly quarterhorse mix
Pace: between 2 to 6 hours per day - mostly ...
Airport: Mammoth Yosemite Airport (MMH)
Location on Google Map
Image Gallery
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Customer Trip Rating
What To Bring

Riding Level Explained
A Beginner
Beginner A rider who has limited experience, is unable to post the trot and does not canter.
B Novice
Novice A rider who is capable of mounting and dismounting unassisted, capable of applying basic aids, comfortable and in control at the walk, moderate length posting trots, and short canters.
C Intermediate
Intermediate A rider who has a firm seat, is confident and in control at all paces (including posting trots, two point canters and gallops), but does not ride regularly.
D Strong Intermediate
Strong Intermediate An intermediate rider who is currently riding regularly and is comfortable in the saddle for at least 6 hours per day.
E Advanced
All of the above, plus an independent seat, soft hands, and capable of handling a spirited horse in open country.
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