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California High Sierra Odyssey Trek

Rugged Trails & Rae Lakes Loop in Kings Canyon

 

Journey across California's spellbinding High Sierra, known as one of the world's greatest treks. Meander along mountain routes to the Road's End trailhead, lace up your boots and hit Bubbs Creek Trail. Cross some of John Muir Trail's famed high passes - Glen Pass, at 11,978 feet, and Rae Lake Basin, the namesake of the high-country route. Reach the famed "Golden Gate of the Sierra" bridge and continue on to Paradise Valley. Camp surrounded by spectacular scenery and rise early for the final stretch - with cascading falls bidding you farewell.

  • Navigate the stunning Rae Lakes Loop through the wilderness of King's Canyon National Park

  • Tackle the famous Glen Pass at 11,978 feet and camp at Rae Lakes at 10,500 feet

  • Reach the "Golden Gate of the Sierra," a suspension bridge spanning across Woods Creek

Arrive:

Fresno, California

Depart:

Fresno, California

Duration:

8 Days

Activity Level:

3

Departures:

See Dates

Price: from $5,095

  • Arrive in Fresno, California

    Day 1

    Arrive in Fresno, California, to check in at the DoubleTree by Hilton near the Fresno air terminal any time after 4pm. At 6pm, meet the guides and the group for a welcome dinner and orientation talk; do the final gear check and discuss the details of the trip.

    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

  • Explore Trails in Kings Canyon National Park

    Day 2

    After breakfast, meet the private shuttle for the drive on mostly winding mountain roads to the Road's End trailhead (5,500') in Kings Canyon National Park. Adjacent to Sequoia National Park, it is known for its huge sequoia trees and towering granite canyon walls. Lace up your boots and hit the Bubbs Creek Trail, showcasing great hiking through an elevated valley with streams, swimming holes, forests, and dazzling vistas. This evening, camp at the confluence of Charlotte Creek (7,300').

    Activity: 4-5 hours/7 miles with 2,415\' elevation gain & 134\' loss

    Transportation: 2.5-hour private van transfer

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Follow Bubbs Creek Upstream to the John Muir Trail

    Day 3

    This morning after breakfast, continue following Bubbs Creek upstream all the way to where it meets the legendary John Muir Trail in Vidette Meadow. At the meeting point with this classic trail, one of the world's most famous, turn northward and uphill for a memorable climb beneath the Kearsarge Pinnacles. Arrive to camp at Charlotte Lake (10,390') by mid-afternoon and enjoy free time for swimming and relaxing by the lake.

    Activity: 5-6 hours/8 miles hiking with 3,515\' elevation gain & 453\' loss

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Hike to Glen Pass & Descend Into Rae Lake Basin

    Day 4

    Wake early today for a challenging but remarkable day that's certain to remain engraved in your memory. The highlight of the day is crossing one of John Muir Trail's famous high passes - Glen Pass, at 11,978'. The views from the top are the most spectacular reward for the workout. Absorb the dazzling scenery before descending into the wildly scenic Rae Lake Basin, the namesake of the famous high-country route. This evening, make camp at Rae Lakes (10,500').

    Activity: 5-6 hours/6 miles hiking with 1,761\' elevation gain & 1,606\' loss

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Hike to the Remote Sixty Lake Basin

    Day 5

    Today enjoy a side hike from Rae Lakes to the remote Sixty Lake Basin, a gorgeous wonderland of alpine lakes and creeks strewn among low granite ridges. Take in the majestic views of the surrounding peaks and then return to the Rae Lakes campsite to enjoy another free afternoon to unwind and enjoy nature.

    Activity: 5-6 hours/6-10 miles hiking with 975\' elevation gain & 935\' loss

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Reach the Golden Gate of the Sierra & Return to Paradise Valley

    Day 6

    Rise early this morning to see the sunrise - a marvelous sight in these parts. After another hearty breakfast and packing up camp, continue through the lakes basin, eventually joining with Woods Creek at the "Golden Gate of the Sierra," a suspension bridge that spans the creek. Bid farewell to the John Muir Trail here, turning towards Paradise Valley (8,460'). Make camp this evening at one of the camps along the creek.

    Activity: 4-5 hours/7.5 miles hiking with 266\' elevation gain & 2,363\' loss

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Traverse Paradise Valley

    Day 7

    This morning, we'll pack up and make our way down the Woods Creek drainage. On our way, we'll pass Castle Domes and Castle Domes Meadow as we follow Woods Creek to one of the largest drainages of the Sierra, the mighty South Fork of the Kings River. Enjoy the last night of camping, taking in the vibrant sounds of nature in Paradise Valley.

    Activity: 4 hours/7 miles hiking with 394\' elevation gain & 2,197\' loss

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Final Stretch to Kings Canyon

    Day 8

    Today pack your daypack one final time, setting sights on the cold drink that awaits back in Kings Canyon. This final stretch of the hike continues to astound: the river intensifies as you pass cascading falls before exiting the trailhead to meet the shuttle sometime in the early afternoon. Enjoy a packed lunch before heading back to Fresno, your final destination.

    Activity: 4 hours/7.5 miles hiking with 350\' elevation gain & 1,964\' loss

    Transportation: 2.5-hour private van transfer

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

California High Sierra Odyssey Trek

Detailed Itinerary

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What to Expect

 

Why take this trip with us?

Reason #01

On this MT Sobek adventure, hikers will have the luxury of seeing this remote wilderness without the burden of carrying a heavy pack.

Reason #02

Experienced, professional guides crafted this adventure exclusively for MT Sobek. It is fully supported with pack stock to do the heavy lifting.

Reason #03

We first guided the John Muir Trail in 1991 and have been leading adventures in the High Sierra for 50 years.

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

Moderately challenging hikes through California's High Sierra, dining and camping outdoors, swimming in lakes, and time to unwind and take it all in.

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 days with evenings getting down to 35-45°F. Thundershowers are a possibility however heavy storms are unlikely.

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.

What is the total mileage of the trip?

The total mileage of the Rae Lakes Loop is approximately 50 miles in length.

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.

  • 2021
  • Go Private
  • Go Custom

2021

Scheduled Dates

Additional costs

  • $300 Single Supplement

Price Includes

  • Expert leadership from experienced adventure guides
  • Accommodations as noted in the itinerary
  • Meals as noted in the daily itinerary
  • Potable water and snacks throughout
  • All tips and gratuities for support staff with the exception of your lead adventure guide(s)
  • All necessary camping gear
  • All group entrance fees, activities, and ground transportation

Price does not include

  • International airfare, any airport taxes, or excess baggage charges
  • Alcoholic drinks at meals
  • Optional tips to your lead adventure guides
  • Personal expenses such as medical immunizations, phone calls, laundry, or souvenirs
  • Airport transfers
  • Optional travel protection

Contact An Expert

1.888.831.7526

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

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

Additional costs

  • $300 Single Supplement

Price Includes

  • Expert leadership from experienced adventure guides
  • Accommodations as noted in the itinerary
  • Meals as noted in the daily itinerary
  • Potable water and snacks throughout
  • All tips and gratuities for support staff with the exception of your lead adventure guide(s)
  • All necessary camping gear
  • All group entrance fees, activities, and ground transportation

Price does not include

  • International airfare, any airport taxes, or excess baggage charges
  • Alcoholic drinks at meals
  • Optional tips to your lead adventure guides
  • Personal expenses such as medical immunizations, phone calls, laundry, or souvenirs
  • Airport transfers
  • Optional travel protection

Contact An Expert

1.888.831.7526

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.