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
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.
This short section between Tuolumne Meadows and Reds Meadow along the combined routes of the JMT and PCT is packed full of interesting terrain both on, along, and off our trail route.
We have an amazing series of scrambles and peaks filling the distance from Tuolumne Meadows to Reds Meadow.
The Trail Guide Index
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.
This is the comments and basic information page for our Golden Triangle alternative route off the main crestline route of our Tahoe to Whitney backpacking trip.
The Golden Triangle has two legs, the first following the JMT "backwards" down to Yosemite Valley from Tuolumne Meadows, then the return leg beginning on the JMT through Happy Isles Trailhead, but continuing up the Merced River to Merced Lake.
From Merced Lake we cross Voglesang Pass to reaccquire the Southbound JMT in Lyell Canyon a 5.6 miles South of Tuolumne Meadows.
Research reveals that the current PCT route around Wilmer Lake was not built until sometime after 1931 and before 1939, as indicated by the Yosemite Park Maps of 1931 and 1939.
The 1931 map shows the current route of the TYT around Tilden Lake as being the main route across the North Yosemite Backcountry with no route around Wilmer Lake.
Independent of the amazing drought of 2011-?, the slow and steady changes in the seasons over the Sierra Nevada have already doomed their forests to a rapid transition between species by fire.
I discuss this in context of the changing times we get changing temps and weather in the Sierra. This information is almost as important for backpackers as the forests and animals within them.
Notes on backpacking weather, changing (changed) seasons and the fate of High Sierra trees: