Welcome to the High Sierra Backpacker's Magazine, including forums for local and long-distance hikers sharing info about hiking the Sierra between Tahoe and Whitney.

This Magazine covers everything Sierra. Its
Forums cover TYT, PCT, & JMT and alt-route hiker input from the Guide. The Tahoe to Whitney Trail Guide explores the trails  & the necessary skills, fitness, and gear required to hike from Tahoe to Whitney. This evolving Magazine covers Current Conditions, News, the Arts, Sciences, Physicality, Spirituality, Gear, Environment, History, and Cultures of hiking Tahoe to Whitney. 

Purposes: Expand Knowledge, Explore Potential

for Beginners: To get you off the couch, gear you up, get you into Sierra Shape, and onto the High Sierra Trails. Find info. Ask questions, get feedback, generate self-understanding and terrain awareness. Find killer short routes up and down the High Sierra Crest.

for Backpackers: Get you in deeper, longer, and higher. Train for the long trails. Find your next-steps trips. Hit the Long Trails. Hike the TYT and JMT. Find and explore side trails, alternative, and cross-country routes until you hike your skills into Winter compentency. Explore your potential.

for Experts: The information to come from anywhere in the US or world and backpack from Tahoe to Whitney. The Sierra Nevada is the ultimate wonderland for expert backpackers in top shape. But don't get cocky! The Sierra is bigger, stronger, and has been, and will be here much longer than any of us.  

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Butterfly, Satyr Anglewing, High Sierra, Clarks Fork Stanislaus River

Finding my way North down from the top of the Clarks Fork Headwaters Bowl to the beginning of the Clarks Fork of the Stanislaus River brought me through some rough terrain.

After finding my way down through a channel between the steep cliffs protecting the headwaters I approached the burbling creek that begins the Clarks Fork's voyage down-mountain when this beautiful butterfly flew by.

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Sixteen Things at Once

Hiking is sixteen things at once.

Breathing, heart rate, food and water consumption are our important standard internal metrics for our mobil observation unit, our bodies. until something else goes wrong.

Is a storm forming, is your stomach churning, is the river ford surging?

Is your ankle turning, is your skin burning, are your allergies emerging?
Aftermath of fording accident.

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Sonora Pass Car Camping notes

Driving Highway 108 up and over Sonora Pass is a gas. It generally is leading me to a nice High Sierra backpacking trip. I may spend a night car camping (if I have a car), or depending on how and when I get there. I have ended many long, late hitch-hiking trips at these sweet campsites 

Nonetheless, there are many delightful campsites for overnight car camping in National Forest lands that are perfectly legal for folks to drive up into, set up a nice campsite, and spend the night, or a few nights.


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Boulder Creek to Saint Marys Pass

The Boulder Lake Trail junction to Saint Marys Pass is our last  section of the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail across the Carson Iceberg Wilderness.

At Saint Marys Pass the Tahoe to Yosemite backpacker is faced with 9 miles of tight and twisting Highway 108 down to Kennedy Meadows, where both our resupply package and the Southbound Tahoe to Yosemite Trail awaits.

Post up your comments about this last section of the TYT across the Carson Iceberg through the comments link below.

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Round Lake Check Dam

Most of the lakes you enjoy in the High Sierra Nevada Mountains are the product of check dams constructed during the grazing era. 

Many of these check dams are now located in Wilderness Areas, and provide beautiful little lakes for High Sierra backpackers rather than water for stock.

I like the check dams and the lakes they create. Many have been there for over a hundred years.


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General Approach to High Sierra Miles and Elevations

Over the years I have been amused, confused, and even exhausted by the constantly changing distances of various trails as cited by various sources.
Confused by the variety of miles figures I can find, amused by the same, and exhausted when a source radically underestimates a key mileage figure.

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Beetle, Royal Blue, Dicks Pass, Desolation Wilderness

September 18 2009

Desolation Wilderness on the South side of Dicks Pass at about 8600 feet.

Royal Blue Beetle below Dicks Pass, Desolation Wilderness.


Trail Guide Page: South Side of Dicks Pass

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Ebbetts Pass and Highland Lakes: Car Camping Highway 4

Highland Lakes has a nice car campground, and across from it is a smaller set of sites between the Lakes to the Southwest.

Tahoe to Whitney Trail Guide

Highland Lakes Campground

Stanislaus National Forest

Highland Lakes

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Heat Safety in the High Sierra

A lot of people may think it strange to speak of heat safety in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. But it is not. This harsh environment of extremes often serves up high temperatures.

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Highland Lakes

Highland Lakes is a nice place where I take a break or spend a night as I hike by linking up my Southbound Tahoe to Yosemite trail with the Pacific Crest Trail via Highland Lakes.

Highland Lakes is also an excellent place to begin or end hiking trips, as it's well maintained dirt road brings us to the Highland Lakes and Gardner Meadow Trailheads.

Map embed: 
Alex Wierbinski's picture

Juniper, Highland Creek

The largest junipers I've ever encountered.

Trunk of massive juniper growing alongside Highland Creek.

Juniperus grandis

Trail Guide Information

Jenkins Canyon to Highland Lake

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Jenkins Canyon to Highland Lakes: Highland Creek TYT to PCT

Hiking off the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail up Highland Creek to the Pacific Crest Trail brings us through two fairly remote trailheads at Highland Creek and Gardner Meadow.

These trailheads have fairly remote access through a dirt road.

We have hiked 18 miles from Lake Alpine South on the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail to get here. We continued up Highland Creek rather than climb Jenkins Canyon to Arnot Creek just above where it empties into the Clarks Fork of the Stanislaus River.

Backpacking to the top of Highland Creek we have come to Highland Lakes and its dirt road.

Map embed: 
Alex Wierbinski's picture

Boulder Lake Trail: PCT to TYT

The main forum entry for comments and information about connecting the PCT and TYT through the Boulder Lake trail in the Carson Iceberg is on the page below:  

Boulder Lake Trail: TYT to PCT

Here's the trail guide information


Trail Guide Pages

PCT Guide Page: Boulder Lake to East Carson River

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Boulder Lake Trail: TYT to PCT

The Boulder Lake Trail is a 2.74 mile trail linking the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail  along the Clarks Fork of the Stanislaus to the Pacific Crest Trail above the East Fork of the Carson River. 

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Becky, Kent, Carly & Radar: Sonora to Ebbetts Pass

Hiking with Dogs in the High Sierra Nevada Mountains

Carson-Iceberg section of the Pacific Crest Trail with dogs.

Becky, Kent, Carly and Radar hiking the Pacific Crest Trail from Sonora Pass to Ebbetts Pass on a weekend 29.44 mile backpacking trip.

Trail Guide

Boulder Lake junction to E Carson River

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Deer in the High Sierra

Mostly there's lots of Deer in the High Sierra. The Fall of 2011 seemed like the deer were missing. The Summer of 2011 was very short. Maybe that had something to do with it.

This is a temp page...


Carson Pass Management Are

Deer at Round Lake

Deer at Fourth of July Lake

Carson Iceberg Wilderness

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Driving the Trans-Sierra Nevada Highways: Sonora Pass


Driving the Trans Sierra Highways

Driving East up the Western Sierra Foothills
Highway 108
to the
Clarks Fork Road and Sonora Pass.

Driving East up Highway 108 we could get the impression that Highway 108 is an almost endless road.

Map embed: 
Alex Wierbinski's picture

The Great Al Roundup, or "I'm not a cow."

This article is posted in the Sierra Dogs forum, so click on over and take a look at it. 

Trail Guide

Murray Canyon to Bear Lake Junction

Topo Map


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Murray Canyon Horsewomen to the Pacific Crest Trail

Horse Story

Sharing the trail with our four-legged friends

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Jenkins Canyon to Boulder Creek

The 14.21 miles of the Tahoe to Yosemite to Yosemite Trail between the Jenkins Canyon trail junction along Highland Creek to the Boulder Lake trail junction along the Clarks Fork of the Stanislaus River South of the Clarks Fork Trailhead.

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