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California High Sierra Odyssey Trek

Peaks & Lakes of the John Muir Wilderness

 

Lace up your boots for an epic high-altitude adventure, traversing 50 miles in the stunning John Muir Wilderness - just south of Yosemite National Park. Follow rugged trails, with pristine lakes and epic mountain scenery at every turn, and navigate two high passes: Silver Pass (10,745') and Goodale Pass (11.001'). Marvel at views of the Silver Divide, a granite and slate spur rising majestically from the tree line, and enjoy a thermal backcountry soak at Iva Bell Hot Springs. At night, experience camp comforts at tranquil spots surrounded by spectacular vistas. This loop-style itinerary includes remote alpine terrain that thru-hikers wish they had more time to explore!

  • Navigate spectacular mountain and lakeside trails through California's John Muir Wilderness-including parts of the John Muir Trail

  • Tackle two incredible high passes with expansive views of the stunning Silver Divide

  • Unwind at Iva Bell Hot Springs and enjoy high-altitude comforts at remote camps

Contact an Expert

Arrive:

Fresno, California

Depart:

Fresno, California

Price: from $5,095

Duration:

8 Days

Departures:

See Dates

Group Size:

5-11 Guests

Min Age:

16 yrs

Activity:

Level 3

Moderate to difficult pack-assisted hiking on high-altitude mountain terrain over 10,000 feet, 6-7 hours/6-8 miles per day. There is a mix of undulating terrain with some steep, rocky sections.
Learn more here.

Download Detailed Itinerary

Click here to download the Detailed Itinerary.

  • Arrive in Fresno, California

    Day 1

    Arrive in Fresno, California, where you'll meet your guide and group. Learn more about the days ahead at a trip orientation and enjoy a welcome dinner at the hotel.

    Accommodation: DoubleTree by Hilton

    Conveniently located in near a variety of entertainment and dining options, this DoubleTree is clean, modern, and offers all the amenities necessary to rest and recharge on an MT Sobek adventure. With several national parks within driving distance, the hotel boasts a fitness center, heated pool, atrium, in-house restaurant, bar, and café. Each room features a flat screen HDTV, comfortable bedding, electronics dock, and room service from 6am-10pm.

    Meals: Dinner

  • Journey to Sierra National Forest & Hike to Mono Creek

    Day 2

    Rise for a private shuttle transfer to Thomas A Edison Lake (7,843') in the beautiful John Muir Wilderness, also part of the Sierra National Forest. Marvel at epic mountain and lake scenery before setting off on a rugged trail up to Mono Creek (7,500') and our camp at Pocket Meadow. Enjoy your first night here, under the stars.

    Accommodation: MT Sobek – John Muir Wilderness Camp

    Spend six nights under the stars in the remote and peaceful John Muir Wilderness, also part of California's Sierra National Forest. Camp well in roomy tents and enjoy hearty camp fare cooked up by your guides - experts at providing high-altitude comforts.

    Activity: 6 hours/6 miles hiking with 1,527' elevation gain and 246' loss

    Transportation: 3-hour private van transfer

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Cross Silver Pass to the Silver Divide

    Day 3

    Experience the first of two high passes as you follow a spectacular trail over Silver Pass (10,745'). Marvel at the expansive crest of the Silver Divide, a stunning granite and slate spur that rises above the tree line. Continue hiking north to your alpine camp.

    Accommodation: MT Sobek – John Muir Wilderness Camp

    Spend six nights under the stars in the remote and peaceful John Muir Wilderness, also part of California's Sierra National Forest. Camp well in roomy tents and enjoy hearty camp fare cooked up by your guides - experts at providing high-altitude comforts.

    Activity: 7-8 hours/7 miles hiking with 2,400' elevation gain and 1,941' loss

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Hike in Cascade Valley

    Day 4

    Descend on rugged trails through the beautiful and glaciated Cascade Valley. Its steep, wooded sides make it particularly picturesque. Tonight, we'll camp in Cascade Valley at the confluence of Duck and Fish Creek.

    Accommodation: MT Sobek – John Muir Wilderness Camp

    Spend six nights under the stars in the remote and peaceful John Muir Wilderness, also part of California's Sierra National Forest. Camp well in roomy tents and enjoy hearty camp fare cooked up by your guides - experts at providing high-altitude comforts.

    Activity: 6-8 hours/7.5 miles hiking with 248' elevation gain and 1,478' loss

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Unwind at Iva Bell Hot Springs

    Day 5

    Soak up the views as you soak yourself in the thermal waters of Iva Bell Hot Springs. With your expert guide leading the way, you'll enjoy the best of this remote backcountry delight. Enjoy camp along picturesque Fish Creek.

    Accommodation: MT Sobek – John Muir Wilderness Camp

    Spend six nights under the stars in the remote and peaceful John Muir Wilderness, also part of California's Sierra National Forest. Camp well in roomy tents and enjoy hearty camp fare cooked up by your guides - experts at providing high-altitude comforts.

    Activity: 2-4 hours/ 4 miles hiking with 730' elevation gain and 1416' loss

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Hike to Wilbur May Lake

    Day 6

    Climb to higher elevations today and spend the evening at Wilbur May Lake (9,783'), tucked in a cirque just below the Silver Divide.

    Accommodation: MT Sobek – John Muir Wilderness Camp

    Spend six nights under the stars in the remote and peaceful John Muir Wilderness, also part of California's Sierra National Forest. Camp well in roomy tents and enjoy hearty camp fare cooked up by your guides - experts at providing high-altitude comforts.

    Activity: 7-8 hours/8.7 miles hiking with 3176' elevation gain and 781' loss

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Traverse Goodale Pass & Hike to Graveyard Lakes

    Day 7

    Reach the highest point on your adventure as you traverse Goodale Pass at 11,000 feet. Cross back over the Silver Divide and hike down Cold Creek before reaching the basin of Graveyard Lakes. Explore the upper lake basin this afternoon and enjoy opportunities for swimming and/or fishing.

    Accommodation: MT Sobek – John Muir Wilderness Camp

    Spend six nights under the stars in the remote and peaceful John Muir Wilderness, also part of California's Sierra National Forest. Camp well in roomy tents and enjoy hearty camp fare cooked up by your guides - experts at providing high-altitude comforts.

    Activity: 6-7 hours/7 miles hiking with 2228' elevation gain and 2053' loss

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Hike Cold Creek & Return to Fresno

    Day 8

    Make a final descent along Cold Creek and through Graveyard Meadows, where you'll get a first-hand lesson on fire ecology as you observe the aftermath of the 2020 Creek Fire. Enjoy a hearty trailhead lunch before transferring back to Fresno. Arrive back to Fresno for a late connecting flight (no earlier than 8pm) or an early connection the following morning.

    Activity: 6-7 hours/7.7 miles hiking with 300' elevation gain and 2581' loss

    Transportation: 3-hour private van transfer

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

California High Sierra Odyssey Trek

Download Detailed Itinerary

Click here to download the Detailed Itinerary.

What to Expect

 

Why take this trip with us?

Reason #01

We have 30 years of experience guiding adventures on the John Muir Trail and in the High Sierras.

Reason #02

This adventure is fully supported by guides and pack mules, so you'll have the luxury of exploring without carrying a heavy pack.

Reason #03

Experienced professional guides will take you on spectacular and remote trails in the heart of the John Muir Wilderness.

Meet your guides

Fred Ackerman

Fred Ackerman

Fred enjoyed his first backpacking trip in college, walking 20+ miles in inappropriate footwear and spent a few cold nights in front of the fire without a sleeping bag, and caught the bug from there. Soon, he was spending most of his free time and some not-so-free time plotting and executing adventures to the endless wild places of California. Fred is now an EMT with a certification in wilderness medicine. He's hiked and climbed thousands of miles around the Sierra including a solo 200+ mile hike of the Sierra High Route. Fred's familiarity of the High Sierra and deep passion for the backcountry consistently endears him to MT Sobek hikers.

Sierra Zacks

Sierra Zacks

Sierra was born and raised on the entrance road to Joshua Tree National Park and spent her early years hiking, rock climbing, and horseback riding in the park and the nearby high Sierra. She went on to graduate from UC Santa Cruz with a degree in Ecology and Plant Biology. During this period, she worked UC Santa Cruz's Adventure Outings Department where she led climbing, backpacking, and river trips. She now spends her summers in the High Sierra leading trips and exploring the beautiful landscape. In her free time you can find her rock climbing, botanizing, or birdwatching in the mountains.

Alex Kendrall

Alex Kendrall

Alex grew up in Concord, New Hampshire exploring the mountains of New England. It was here that his spirit and passion for adventure began. Alex's passion for shared wilderness experiences has culminated in a degree in Outdoor Education and certifications from the American Mountain Guiding Association (AMGA). Moving to California was the culmination of a dream come true, where he is able to combine his passion for climbing with a career in guiding. He has a tremendous amount of experience in the backcountry and great leadership qualities which endear him to MT Sobek travelers.

Activities

Rewarding hikes through California's High Sierra, relaxing in hot springs and swimming in lakes, camping under the stars.

Lodging

A full-service hotel in Fresno to kick off the adventure and camps in pristine wilderness settings along the way.

Climate

Temperatures range from 65-75°F in the day with evenings dropping to 35-45°F. Showers and thunderstorms are a possibility.

FAQ

What kind of food can we expect?

Your guides take pride in preparing delicious meals that keep your energy level high even in remote surroundings. Meals are packed with nutrition, are hearty, and will keep you satisfied.

Are there mosquitos?

The presence of mosquitos can fluctuate dramatically from year to year depending on the amount of snowfall during the winter. It's recommended to arrive prepared to encounter some mosquitos during your trip.

Is there any cell phone connectivity up there?

Cell phone connectivity will be non-existent for the majority of our trip. Connectivity will be possible before and after our time in the wilderness. Guides carry emergency satellite communication devices.

What do I have to carry on this trip?

You only carry a daypack the entire way. Mules & guides will carry 15 pounds of each client's gear and you are responsible for carrying any weight over this.

How is water treatment handled on this trip?

We supply water filters on this trip. Although the water in the Sierra is renowned for its cleanliness, we still take precautions. You are responsible for filtering your own daily water.

Go Private

Go Private

Gather your favorite travel companions to share an MT Sobek adventure on an easy-to-book Private Trip.

Choose from the selection of dates below for your group or if your preferred date is not available, we'll create a departure just for you.

Call or email us to get the ball rolling.

Call for Private Trip Pricing

1.888.831.7526

Make Your Own Dates in These Months

Price Includes

  • Expertise and services of our experienced adventure guides
  • All accommodations as noted in the itinerary
  • All breakfasts, almost all lunches and dinners as noted in the itinerary
  • Snacks and water between meals
  • Additional regional guides and experts on many trips
  • Comprehensive Trip Planner with detailed pre-trip information
  • Private guided tours at historic sites, museums, wineries and other select attractions as noted in the itinerary
  • Special events and other select attractions as mentioned in the itinerary
  • All gratuities at hotels and restaurants
  • Equipment and experienced guides for activities as described in the itinerary
  • Park and other entry fees (unless otherwise noted)
  • Fares for trains, ferries and other modes of travel as listed in the itinerary
  • Select transfers as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Baggage transfers and porterage

Price Does Not Include

  • International airfare, airport taxes, and excess baggage fees
  • Alcoholic beverages (MT Sobek provides wine at select events)
  • Gratuities for MT Sobek guides and guide-drivers
  • Travel Protection Program
  • Personal expenses

Contact An Expert

800-974-0300

Need help picking your next adventure? Call us to answer your questions.

Go Custom

Create Your Very Own Adventure

Dreaming of an adventure designed exclusively for you? With insider access and decades of experience, our travel experts create custom tailored adventures that are perfect for families, couples, and large groups. MT Sobek's custom adventures are designed to our exacting standards and led by our award-winning adventure guides.