Sierras - Wilderness Trips

California USA: (RTCA10)

California USA
Take a week, pack up, and really get away from it all. Join us on a week-long pack trip into the Eastern High Sierras of California. On horseback we will explore regions of the Sierras like the John Muir Wilderness, the Ansel Adams Wilderness or Mount Whitney. Explore, relax, fish a bit, talk about nothing or everything around the campfire - just be you for a while.

Our riding excursions will explore the vast areas of the John Muir Wilderness throughout the summer. This is a land of snow-capped mountains with hundreds of lakes and streams and beautiful meadows. Elevations range from 4,000 to 14,496 ft. Lower elevations slopes are covered with stands of Jeffrey Pine, incense cedar, white and red fir and lodgepole pine. The higher elevations are barren granite with many glacially carved lakes.

Other rides will be in the Mount Whitney area. Mt. Whitney is the highest peak in the lower 48 states. The peak lies within the John Muir Wilderness and the Sequoia National Park Wilderness. These areas were set aside by Congress and the President to provide opportunities for solitude and unconfined, primitive types of recreation. Wilderness areas are places where the earth and its communities of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.

Or chose to explore the Ansel Adams Wilderness. Ansel Adams is characterized by spectacular alpine scenery with barren granite peaks, steep-walled gorges and rock outcroppings. Elevations range from 3,500 feet to 13,157 feet and there are several small glaciers on the north and northeast facing slopes of the highest peaks. The Ansel Adams Wilderness contains the headwaters of the North and Middle Forks of the San Joaquin River.


These are pack trips and all nights are spent camping (camp locations vary depending on the program chosen).

We have a wide variety of tents available (single, double, or family), so please let us know what type you prefer. There is a solar shower and privy with toilet seat and tent at the campsites. There is no generator on our trips -- no electrical source is available.
We do not provide ground mats or sleeping bags, so you must bring your own! 

All meals are included from breakfast on Day 1 to lunch on the last day.

Food is typically sourced from local establishments. We strive to provide a deluxe dining experience and tailor our menus to reflect the tastes of our guests. We prepare breakfast and dinner.

A hot breakfast is prepared fresh each morning. Fresh fruits, vegetables, and salads are available at lunch and dinner each day.
Lunch is a build-your-own affair, typically completed before breakfast is served. Sandwich makings, fruits, and snacks are available for you to create your own take-along meal.
Each dinner has a different entrée (beef, chicken, pork, etc).

Alcohol is not included in this trip, but guests are free to bring their own.

Dietary Restrictions
We can cater to vegetarians with prior notice.

This trip includes and can accommodate special dietary requests.


Riding experience is considered when fitting you for a mount. There are plenty of horses and mules to choose from to fit your expertise. All trips go at a walk. Our crew will help you get comfortable before we leave the pack station. We ride as few as 2 hours or as many as 6 hours in a day.

Approximately 130 horses and mules are the backbone of the operation. Pack mules carry the provisions for trail riders, hikers, and those wishing to have their gear packed to a wilderness campsite. Mules typically carry 150-240 pounds of equipment, food and dunnage and work from June through September. During the off season, livestock graze fields in the Owens Valley.
Horses and mules come to the pack station as four to five year old green broke. After a couple of years of training they spend up to another twenty to twenty-five years working in the Sierra.

You are encouraged to bring your own saddle if you have one. However, if your tack doesn't fit our stock, or we deem is unsafe, you will not be able to use it.

Each year young men and women bring youth and enthusiasm to a crew of senior packers and cooks. Most of the crew come from ranch backgrounds and once they start packing with us, they have a hard time ever leaving. Every member of the crew carries on the traditions of the talented men and women who started the business in the 1940s. New employees learn the trails, traditions, and develop skills to serve another generation of guests. Only the most able, hard working and those with exceptional people skills succeed as staff.


Each of the different departure dates will have their own specific itinerary, but all of them will follow the below guidelines:
- Your arrival and meeting at the Pack Station will be for 7:00am of Day 1 and most rides start at 7:30am. On the last day of the trip, a van then meets us to take us back to the pack station where we started from - generally we arrive back at the pack station around for 4:30pm to 6:00pm.
- On the longer itinerary their are layover days where you can ride and explore the area from camp since we are not moving camp locations. Most of our camps also have opportunities for fishing during the day.
- Because the trip starts in the early morning, we highly recommend you make arrangements for an extra overnight in a local hotel the night before to experience minimum stress when finding the pack station and arriving on time.

10 day trip, AP Evolution Valley Trail Ride
(includes the accommodations the night before and night after trip).
Ride the John Muir Pacific Crest Trail on this ten-day loop going south to King's Canyon National Park, over Mono Pass, Selden Pass, Evolution Valley, Muir Pass to LeConte Canyon and out via Bishop Pass. Many feel this is the most complete representation of all zones of the High Sierra. This trip is designed for those who enjoy a lot of riding. Layover days at Bear Creek, Evolution Valley and LeConte Canyon provide access to some of the finest Golden Trout fishing in the High Sierra.

7 day trip, AP Lake of the Lone Indian from Rock Creek (not offered in 2020) - Click here for full itinerary
This seven-day trail ride goes through the most remote areas of Fish Creek and Mono Creek backcountry. Trip itinerary includes Mono Pass, Silver Pass and Jackson Meadow. Several layover days allow riders to further explore the surrounding lakes and meadows, Peter Pande, Wilbur May, Grassy, and Olive lakes.

6 day trip, AP Mono Creek Trail- Click here for full itinerary
Start and end at Rock Creek. The fantastic fishing and beauty of Indian Summer make this time a favorite for the oldtimers. We'll set up a camp near the confluence of Hopkins Creek and explore Pioneer Basin, Hopkins Basin and the Recesses.

7 day trip, AP Northern Yosemite- Click here for full itinerary
Ride north on the Pacific Crest Trail to visit the treasures of the Yosemite Wilderness. McCabe Lakes, Matterhorn Canyon, Smedberg Lake, Benson Lake and Kerrick Canyon are highlights of this journey.

5 day trip, AP Tuolumne Meadows Trail (not offered in 2020) - Click here for full itinerary
Experience a section of Yosemite National Park that few visitors see. Virginia Lakes to Tuolumne Meadows.

Rates and Dates for Sierras - Wilderness Trips

Rates include:

Tent accommodations, meals, guided pack trip, saddle bag

Packages and Options

Tax 1: 3 % Tax 2: 8 %

Rates Note:

3% charge for USFS fee 8% charge for regulatory taxes

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy
Tax: 3 %   additional Tax: 8 %

Rates Note:

3% charge for USFS fee 8% charge for regulatory taxes

Transfer and Other Charges:

2019 Meet on Day 1 according to itinerary

Dates Note:

Rates do not include:

Sleeping bag, sleeping mat, alcoholic drinks, fishing equipment & license, gratuities

Other Info
Meeting: Pack Station/ Bridgeport
Airport: Mammoth Yosemite Airport (MMH)
Transfer: --

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Source: NOAA

Weather in the mountains can change rapidly during all seasons of the year. You should be prepared for ALL types of weather year round! And keep in mind that it can get quite cold at night, even when hot in the day time! Even in May and into the beginning of June, it can get down to 45-50° F at night, while in the daytime it can reach 70-80° F and be very beautiful and sunny!

The elevation plays a major role in temperature and precipitation. Sierra summers are typically warm and dry. However, clouds can build up during the summer to produce spectacular thunderstorm activity!  July and August are normally the warmest months.

What To Bring:
Information on What to Pack
Dunnage limit is 30 lbs. per person (this includes sleeping bags,liquor, etc.). There will be a surcharge of $3 to $10 per pound on dunnage in excess of the 30 lbs. Bring personal belongings in stout canvas or nylon duffels, ideal size approximately 14" x 32". It is a good idea to use a large plastic bag INSIDE of the duffle to protect contents from external moisture. Sleeping bags can be in separate duffels. Attach name to dunnage, camera, canteen, etc. Tent provided, however, you may bring your own private tent if under 10 pounds, which is not included in 40lbs weight limit. 

You provide your own alcoholic beverages (if desired). When possible, it is a good idea to transfer alcoholic beverages to sturdy plastic bottles with well fitting caps - it will save weight and protect against breakage. Place all cosmetics, soaps, medications, etc into small plastic containers with close-fitting caps, THEN into sturdy resealable plastic storage bags. If anything breaks or bursts from altitude changes, the plastic bag will contain the spill. 

You will be given a small saddle bag that goes on your saddle horn to carry your lunch and a few personal items. (Weight limit 3 lbs - including lunch). Please do not bring your own saddlebag unless it is pocket size. We have helmets to borrow. Please let us know at time of booking.

Remember - try to minimize the weight of your dunnage by packaging only the amount of any item you will need (like soaps, lotions, and medications).

Recommended Items
- Sleeping bag with a comfort range of 20 to 60 degrees and a moisture proof ground cloth.
- Air mattress or small 1/4"-1/2" foam hip pad recommended - your night's rest will affect your next days enjoyment. Bring the best sleeping pad you can manage.
- Broad-brimmed hat is essential for protection from sun at high altitude. It must have strings to keep from blowing off.
- Sunglasses (RX glasses) - high altitude sun is BRIGHT!
- Coffee mug (plastic for camp)
- Pint water bottle for your horn bag
- Pocket knife or small multi-tool
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Camera and film (sturdy strap)-- if using digital - don't forget an extra battery and card
- Rain jackets and pants or slicker (rolled up you can tie them to the back of your saddle)
- Hat protector (to keep your hat dry)
- Light jacket (windbreaker)
- Wool or fleece pullover/sweater (layers will keep you comfortable)
- Heavy jacket
- Bandana
- Woolen cap (evenings can be cold)
- Gloves (recommend gloves for riding, you may want warm gloves for evenings)
- Socks
- Riding boots
- Shoes for camp (moccasins, athletic shoes, etc)
- Shirts and pants (long sleeved shirts offer sun, bug and branch protection)
- Underwear
- Bathing suit
- Bath towel/wash cloth/soap (try a multi-use bar or liquid for use on hair, body and laundry. Biodegradable choices are available.)
- Insect repellent such as Cutters
- Toothbrush/toothpaste
- Comb/brush clips/pins/ponytail holders
- Shaving kit (a small mirror is helpful)
- Sun Screen (lotion, cream or stick)- use liberally for sunburn and chapping prevention.
- Chapstick with sun protection SPF 15 or better
- Moisturizer (cream or lotion - altitude and sun can be dry and chap skin)
- Prescription medicine (if required - if you have any allergies, remember to bring appropriate medication)
- Band-aids, aspirin, ibuprofen, eye drops, moleskin for any blisters
- Baby powder/Talcum powder (helps to relieve any raw or irritated areas from boots, clothes or saddles)
- Kleenex
- Jogging suit (sweats are comfortable for after-swim and campfire lounging)

Optional Items
- Small notepad and pencil
- Collapsible plastic wash basin
- Liquor (be sure to check in with the packers to see that your liquor is packed safely) 
-Fishing equipment (optional)  ◦CALIFORNIA FISHING LICENSE. Please note that fishing licenses are NOT available at or near the pack station. Be sure to get one BEFORE you arrive for your adventure. You can find information on California fishing licenses and online purchase at You can purchase them at a Bishop sporting goods store, as well.
◦ Rod/reel/line (a rod that breaks down into 3 or more pieces is recommended)
◦ Compact metal rod case to carry on saddle
◦ Canvas creel (no tackle boxes)
◦ Leader material (1-3 lb.)
◦ Flies: black gnat, mosquito, grey hackle, brown hackle, & royal coachman (No. 12-14 hooks)
◦ Bait: worms & Pautzke red eggs
◦ Egg hooks, worm hooks (No. 10-14)
◦ Split shot
◦ Lures (personal choice)
◦ Pliers