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WELCOME TO ROCK CREEK PACK STATION

(760)872-8331
Yosemite Trail Ride- Rock Creek to Yosemite National Park
Ten Days

Brief overview:
Explore over 100 miles of the John Muir-Pacific Crest Trail through wildflower-blanketed valleys, alpine lakes and forested campsites. Opportunity for Golden, Rainbow and Brook trout fishing. The wildlife, glaciers and majestic peaks over 13,000 feet made this John Muir’s favorite backcountry – his “range of light”. We will ride over Mono Pass and join the John Muir Trail before crossing Silver Pass. Continuing on past countless lakes, we skirt the mammoth Divide, permitting stirring views of Cascade Valley and Fish Creek, to descend to the base of the Minarets. Journey past Mt. Ritter and Mt. Banner before climbing to Donohue Pass, the entrance to Yosemite National Park. Our last camp is in the Lyell Canyon. We explore what some call the most majestic meadows in the Sierra in our last day’s ride.

Day 1: Rock Creek to Third Recess and Mono Creek.
Leaving Rock Creek Pack Station (10,000ft.), the route follows the Mono Pass Trail, which ascends Mt. Starr to Mono Pass (12,000ft). Enjoy the views of Little Lakes Valley framed by Mt. Morgan (13,748), Bear Creek Spire (13,601), Mt. Dade (13,601), Mt. Mills (13,468) and Mt. Abbott (13,715). After crossing the pass, enjoy unrestricted views of Pioneer and Hopkins Basins. Riders descend past Trail Lake before coming to Gold Creek. Riders ride alongside of Gold Creek and Mono Creek to reach camp down canyon near the confluence of Third Recess and Mono Creek. Estimated riding time: 5 hours.

Day 2: Mono Creek to Silver Pass Meadow.
Riding down canyon, riders pass through several life zones with groves of fir, Jeffrey, Juniper and Lodgepole Pines, interrupted by meadows and ridges of flowers. After several hours, turn north on the John Muir Trail (Pacific Crest Trail) to climb towards Silver Pass. The trail skirts the edge of Pocket Meadow before heading up beneath the waterfall of the North Fork of Mono Creek. Camp is in a secluded meadow with spectacular views of the mountain ranges to the south. Estimated riding time 4 ½ hours.

Day 3: Silver Pass Meadow to Horse Heaven.
Continue north on the Muir Trail past Silver Pass Lake to reach Silver Pass. (10,900). To the south, view Seven Gables Mt. (13,075) – a grand peak overlooking Bear Creek. To the northwest, see Mt. Ritter and Banner Peak and the edge of Yosemite. Descend to the head of Cascade Valley after passing the five lakes in the basin of the Lone Indian. Riders cross the Fish Creek Bridge before following the Muir Trail a short ways to Tully Hole and Horse Heaven. Estimated riding time: 4 ½ hours.

Day 4: Layover
A good day to rest and fish. Or take a day ride up the McGee Pass Trail. Explore the lakes and streams of Upper Fish Creek beneath Red Slate Mt. (13,163) and Red and White Mountain (12,850).

Day 5: Tully Hole to Deer Creek
The riders skirt the peaks of the Mammoth divide while riding north alongside the rim of Fish Creek Canyon. Lake Virginia (10,300) and Purple Lake (9,900) are two beautiful lakes next to the trail. After meeting the trail to Duck Lake, continue several hours more to reach a heavily forested camp on Deer Creek (9,200). Estimate riding time: 6 hours.

Day 6: Deer Creek to Gladys Lake
Riders make good time descending into Red’s Meadow (7,500). Ride through Devil’s Postpile National Monument. These cliffs of crystallized columns of basalt are right next to the middle fork of the San Joaquin River. After crossing the river, the trail ascends alongside Minaret Creek to Johnston Lake (8,150). We ride another hour and a half through forests, ponds and meadowy country to Gladys lake (9,600) Estimated riding time: 5 hours.

Day 7: Gladys Lake to Thousand Island Lake.
Riders pass Rosalie Lake, Shadow and Garnet Lake on this ride beneath the Minarets. This is the most spectacular part of the Ansel Adams beneath Ritter, Banner and The Minarets. We make camp on the northwest side of Thousand Island Lake (9,850). Estimated riding time: 4 hrs

Day 8: Thousand Island Lake to Lyell Fork Canyon.
Riders head north over Island Pass to the Rush Creek drainage and exit the eastern side of the Sierra with a climb to Donohue Pass (11,152). This marks the entrance to Yosemite National Park. The views of Mt. Lyell and its glacier are in view as we descend to expansive meadows in Lyell Fork Canyon. Estimated riding time: 5 hrs.

Day 9: Layover in Lyell Fork Canyon.
The day ride will go up to explore the Vogelsang area of Yosemite. Lake Ireland, Evelyn Lake and the Vogelsang High Sierra Camp are amongst the choices riders have in exploring this alpine area. Or, wander through the meadows and enjoy a day of leisure before heading home.

Day 10: Lyell Fork Canyon to Tuolomne Meadows.
We ride north through large meadows to end the trip at one of the most spectacular large meadows in the Sierra. Estimated riding time: 3 ½ hours

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Rock Creek Pack Station, Inc operates under permit on the Inyo National Forest.
All Trail Rides and Packing Schools are subject to an 8% regulatory reservation fee, plus 2% USFS fee.
Horse Drives and Mustang Trips are are subject to an 8% regulatory reservation fee, plus 3% USFS fee.


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Last Updated: May 16, 2017
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