High Sierra BackpackingNorthern California's crown jewel

5+ Days
5+ Days
19.7 miles

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About the trip

The Mountains are Calling

Spend a week in the heart of the range that inspired John Muir and countless others before him. You'll hike into the remote wilderness to see flowing waterfalls, shimmering lakes, rugged peaks, and vibrant wildflowers. Few places in the country are as diverse and dramatic as this region but you'll have plenty of time to immerse yourself in its beauty over the course of your awe-inspiring expedition.

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Level 7/10
5+ Days

Here’s what you need


Essential Gear
  • Backpack, sized 55-75 L
  • Backpacking Tent (available to rent for an additional fee)
  • Sleeping Bag, rated 0 degrees or lower (available to rent for an additional fee)
  • Sleeping Pad (available to rent for an additional fee)
  • Water bottles or Camelbak, 3L total minimum capacity
  • Headlamp
  • Mug, bowl, and utensil
  • Small towel or facecloth
  • Toiletries
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
Recommended Gear

Trekking Poles
Sleeping bag liner


Essential Clothing
  • Hiking boots, waterproof with sturdy soles
  • Wool hiking socks, multiple pairs
  • Long sleeve base layers (synthetic and moisture wicking)
  • Long pant base layer (synthetic and moisture wicking)
  • Light synthetic shirt or tank for warmer days
  • Hiking pants or shorts (at least one pair should be long pants)
  • Insulating mid layers (fleece jacket or vest, down jacket)
  • Waterproof, windproof shell
  • Light gloves
  • Heavy gloves or mittens
  • Warm hat
  • Balaclava or buff
  • Casual clothes for camp

Trip Package

  • Round Trip Transportation from San Francisco
  • Licensed and medically trained guide team
  • Accommodations
  • Meals as outlined in itinerary
  • Group equipment
  • Park permits and fees
Not included
  • Airfare to San Francisco
  • Personal gear and equipment
  • Meals not outlined in itinerary
  • Gratuity for guides


For those traveling from outside Northern California, you'll fly through San Francisco International Airport. Please plan to arrive by 12PM or earlier on day one of the itinerary to allow time for the drive to Mammoth. Departing flights should be scheduled for 1PM or later on day six of the itinerary to allow time to drive from your lodge. If you wish to extend your stay in either direction, your DO guide can arrange transportation from or to your hotel in the San Francisco metro area.


Each night, with the exception of the first night in Mammoth and the final night outside Yosemite, will be spent at a backcountry campsite. If you do not have your own backpacking tent, you can opt to rent one. On trail, all gear, food, and equipment will be carried by the group. Campsites along the route are established sites with access to water.

Lodge accommodations in Mammoth and Yosemite will be double occupancy with full amenities.


The high mountain areas have extremely variable weather. The evenings can turn cold and the days can warm up substantially, even in the alpine environment. Strong winds, rain, hail, even the occasional snow shower may be encountered. Daytime time temperatures typically range between 50-70 degrees. Overnight lows typically range from 35-45 degrees but often fall below freezing. For that reason, an adequately rated sleeping bag and warm clothing is essential.


This trip does not require technical climbing skills or experience. It does, however, require a high level of physical fitness. We strongly encourage our hikers to experience hiking on rugged trails, particularly up and down steep hills, while carrying weight. The difference in difficulty while carrying the weight of a fully loaded backpack can sometimes come as a surprise to hikers, so you are encouraged to try challenging day hikes with a weighted backpack. Those who are in good shape are more likely to enjoy the experience and the views along the trail.

Give yourself adequate time to prepare, particularly if this form and intensity of exercise is new. For three days a week, focus on an hour or more of aerobic exercise such as running, cycling, swimming, etc. Gym equipment such as stairmasters and rowing machines can supplement cardiovascular training. Day hikes or other longer endeavors will help you prepare for the endurance required for a backpacking trip. Carrying a 20 to 30 pound pack uphill on trails or stadium steps will simulate the real climb better than anything. Lifting moderate weights to increase core body, leg, and arm strength is also a good idea. Focus on quads and hamstrings—legs need strength and endurance. Being generally fit and having some solid stamina for long days is the overall goal.

Upon registration, a member of the DO team will consult on your experience and fitness and recommend a regimen for training.