HST round trip
- Assume your re-supply issue is solved by a cache at Horseshoe Meadow
or you get a ride down/back to Lone Pine. Getting a ride is easy and
can even be arranged for a fee.
1) Park at Crescent Meadow and take the HST over to Crabtree Meadow
and do Whitney in a day hike, up and back. Then south on the PCT to
the signed junction at Cottonwood Pass. Drop down to Horseshoe
Meadow and meet your ride, pick up your cache, or get a ride to Lone
Pine. Back up at Cottonwood pass, drop over the pass and hike down
into Big Whitney Meadow. At the junction of the Golden Trout Trail
continue southwest following the trail of use to Little Whitney
Meadow where you pick up the main trail. Continue downhill to the
Kern River and cross at the bridge to the Kern Canyon Trail. Go
north five miles, cross Rattlesnake Creek and take the trail sharply
uphill and out of the canyon.
After a mile the trail meets a junction, turn right; again steeply
uphill to the NW. Signs will be for Big Arroyo, Little/Big Five
Lakes, Sawtooth Pass. This trail leads up the Big Arroyo to another
signed junction leading to Sawtooth Pass; stiffly uphill again.
After a mile you'll meet the Big/Little Five lakes trail and meander
NW around two timberline ridges; first to Big Five Lakes then to
Little Five Lakes and the seasonal ranger station. To your right is
the expanse of the Big Arroyo. Continue over Black Rock Pass at
11,000 feet and start your eight-mile downhill to Redwood Meadow.
Cross the Kaweah River and head back to Bearpaw Meadow; then retrace
the last eight miles back to Crescent Meadow. The map shows a trail
leading straight uphill along Buck Creek that connects the Middle
Fork trail with the HST but I think that's been out of use for some
2) A second round-trip option on the HST involves a resupply in Lone
Pine via Whitney Portal. I can tell you I sure wouldn't want to
schlep a heavy pack up the portal trail after hiking for a week. In
order not to repeat much of the HST on the way back you could retrace
your PCT/JMT steps to Wallace Creek, then continue north past Tyndall
Creek to the Lake South America trail, but continue west on the trail
instead of heading north to that lake. The trail crosses spectacular
high country to the source of the Kern River; then south on the Kern
Canyon Trail to Junction Meadow. Cross the Kern and climb steeply in
several stages to Colby Pass. Once over the pass the trail descends
NW down Cloud Canyon. At the bottom of the canyon at the Scaffold
Meadow ranger station, you'll turn south and head back up Deadman
Canyon to Elizabeth Pass. Take the over-the-mountain trail to
Bearpaw Meadow and return to Crescent Meadow.
3) There was a summer bus service within Kings Canyon that connected
Lodgepole with the Bubbs Creek trails end, but I don't know if it was
operational this past year or not. That would allow you to do the
HST, re-supply, then take the JMT/PCT to Vidette Meadow and down
- I did a round trip of the HST this last august. Somewhat similar, here is my route:
1. start at crescent meadows, hike until HST meets Kern River.
2. go south 9 miles to Kern River Canyon Ranger Station.
3. Cross suspension walk bridge there into Inyo National Forest.
4. Hike Eastward 18 miles to Horseshoe Meadows -- get the map for Golden Trout Wilderness from Tom Harrison to supplmenet the Mt Whitney High Country map they sell.
5. The above took us 7 days. We stayed overnight in Lone Pine (easy to get a ride out of Horseshoe Meadows). Next morning we went back to Horseshoe Meadows and hiked out a different path leaving there to get us on the PCT and we headed North to Crabtree Meadows -- there you can go up to Whitney if you want and return back on the HST the normal HST route all the way to Crescent Meadows -- we skipped Whitney as we'd done that before and just went from Crabtree Meadows onto the HST all the way back to Crescent Meadows, taking us 8 days.
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