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Mammoth Crest Backpack

Highlights

  • The stunning Mammoth Crest
  • Dramatic views of Mammoth Lakes Basin
  • Breathtaking views of the Minaret Range & Silver Divide
  • Summit Duck pass at 10,800 ft
  • Segment of the famous John Muir Trail
  • Incredible beauty of Ram Lake
  • Peaceful lakeside camps
  • Classic Sierra high country wilderness


Description

Explore the grandeur and solitary reaches of the Eastern Sierra on this 5-day backpacking trip. Escape the crowds, climb into an amazing alpine world, and explore the soaring granite peaks that loom over the endless desert basins to the east of the Sierras. This trek begins and ends at the beautiful Lake Mary, which is a worthy destination in and of itself. We climb up and over Duck Pass to reach Duck Lake which will be our camp for our first and last nights in the backcountry. When we reach the end of the official trail, we follow the less obvious trails of local animals (game trails) to the lesser known and absolutely stunning Ram Lake. At 10,000 feet the air is thin, but it is the view that makes our minds spin. These views are truly amazing. Descending back to whence we came, we follow the famous John Muir Trail as it traverses the scenic Mammoth Crest, the namesake of this trip, which offers more world-class views and unforgettable hiking.
Give us a call at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) to learn more about this trip or to book your spot today!
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Trip Dates

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You can also click here to request new dates or book through customer service.
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800-715-HIKE (4453)

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

Day 1 begins with a rendezvous at the iconic Mobil Gas station at the corner of Highway 395 and Highway 120, just before the small village of Lee Vining. We will meet at 6pm, conduct an orientation meeting and have dinner together at the famous “Whoa Nelli Deli” located within the Mobil. After a surprisingly delicious meal at what may very well be the most gourmet gas station cuisine on earth, we hop into the company vehicle and cruise up the hill to our ready-made camp site. Finally settled, we enjoy our first alpine sunset amidst the excited chatter of a group embarking on an amazing adventure in the High Sierra.
Day 2
  • Hiking Mileage: 5.1 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1677 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 495 feet
After a hearty breakfast with plenty of tea and/or coffee, we hop into the company vehicle and make our way along the eastern flank of the Sierra to the Lake Mary trailhead. The high peaks of the Sierra beckon us as we drive, and the anticipation of our hike builds quickly. At our trailhead, with our packs fully loaded, we will begin our ascent toward Duck Pass. The hike is arduous but replete with beautiful mountain vistas, lakes and towering granite monoliths. Finally pushing over Duck Pass, we descend to Duck Lake and make camp at its outlet stream. This camp is one of the most beautiful you will ever see. We settle in and and the guide will begin preparing dinner. Our first feast in the backcountry is welcome and made sweeter by the unbelievable setting we are in - truly God's country!
Day 3
  • Hiking Mileage: 6.9 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1215 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 867 feet
An early rise and a quick breakfast make for a peaceful morning hike downhill to the aptly named Purple lake. From here, we follow an unmaintained trail that takes us 720 feet higher into alpine country where the views explode around us. These are the views that make it onto postcards! We pass Glen Lake before reaching our camp near the deep blue waters of Ram lake. We will have some time to relax, wet a line if you like to fish, or meander around the lake, soaking up the scenery. Your guide will prepare another fantastic backcountry meal to cap off the day.
Day 4 (6-day Itinerary Only)
  • Mileage/Elevation: varies
Today, after a tasty breakfast, we will pack up from Ram Lake and reverse what we did the day before, descending from the alpine back to the junction of the John Muir Trail. From here we hike back uphill toward Duck Pass where we then descend to camp at Pika Lake. This detour makes the trip a wonderful loop hike, which provides new scenery every day.
Second to Last Day
  • Hiking Mileage: 6.9 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 867 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 1215 feet
Today, after a tasty breakfast, we will pack up from Ram Lake and reverse what we did the day before, descending from the alpine back to the junction of the John Muir Trail. From here we hike back uphill toward Duck Pass then descend to camp at Duck Lake. This detour makes the trip a wonderful loop hike, which provides new scenery every day.
Final Day
  • Hiking Mileage: 8.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 695 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 1495 feet
Today we traverse the namesake of this trip (the Mammoth Crest), and is one of the highlights that blow our guests away. After breakfast we pack up our camp and hike toward Duck Pass one final time. From the pass we hike west toward Deer Lakes and the Mammoth Crest. Along the way we pass Blue Crag and Crystal Crag- giant granite monoliths. Once we reach the crest at roughly 10,500 ft we will enjoy 360 degree views of Mammoth Mountain, Mammoth Lakes, and the Minaret Range. We'll take our time up here, snap photos, enjoy this final treat, and eventually finish the hike to the trailhead. Safe and sound at the Lake Mary trailhead, we enjoy lunch and reflect on our amazing 5-day trek into the eastern Sierra Nevada high country.



Please Note: We always do everything in our power to follow the set itinerary, however it can change occasionally based on temporary park restrictions, campsite availability, weather, road closures, guest ability/injury, and natural events like fires and flooding.

Trip Details

What's Included

  • Top-of-the-line tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, and technical backpack
  • Use of trekking poles
  • All meals are included from dinner on Day 1 through lunch on the last day
  • A professional, knowledgeable, certified Yosemite hiking guide
  • Transportation originating and ending in Lee Vining, CA
  • National park backcountry camping permits
  • Bear cannisters for food storage
  • Emergency equipment including a company-issued first-aid kit and satellite phone
  • You will receive a Lifetime Hiking Membership entitling you, your spouse and kids to a lifetime discount of 10% off any Wildland Trekking hiking trip after your first one!

What's Not Included

  • Clothes, raingear and footwear
  • Sunscreen, toiletries and personal items
  • Water bottles and a headlamp or flashlight
  • Guide gratuity (industry recommendation is 10-20% of trip cost)
See the Packing Lists page for more information.


Meals: What To Expect

All of our hiking and backpacking tours include a diversity of tasty meals packed full of critical carbohydrates, proteins and fats. We carry foods that travel well in the backcountry – rice, pastas, lentils, beans, couscous, packaged meats, nuts, breads, oatmeal, granola, and more.

For optimal taste and energy, we supplement all our meals with spices, herbs, oils, cheeses, butter, sugar, and fruits and vegetables (fresh and dried). In addition, we provide you with with an assortment of trail mix, snacks, and dried fruits to eat at your own discretion.

We regularly accommodate vegan, vegetarian, kosher and non-gluten diets and will make adjustments for food allergies. These and other special dietary requests may require an additional fee.


Gear We Provide

We provide all group gear which includes the following:
  • Deuter or Osprey backpacks
  • Sierra Designs, Kelty or Big Agnes tents
  • Sierra Designs, Kelty, Big Agnes and Mountain Hardware sleeping bags
  • Thermarest or Big Agnes sleeping pads
  • Leki or Black Diamond trekking poles
  • Cooking stoves and cookware
  • Bear cannisters
  • Company-issued first-aid kit
  • Satellite phone


What Gear To Bring

We ask that you supply a couple of gear items on your hiking tour. These items are two 1-liter water bottles per person, leather gloves, and either a headlamp or flashlight per person. Basic items like sunscreen, bug repellent (where and when applicable), lip balm, and toiletries are also important. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.


What Clothes to Bring

Please refer to the trip packet for a recommended clothing list (we email you a detailed trip packet when you inquire and when you register). All trips require a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots (reliable brands include Montrail, Lowa, Merrell, Vasque, and Salomon), rain gear, and non-cotton and cotton clothing layers. A minimum of three pairs of wool or synthetic hiking socks are also required. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.

NOTE: See the Packing Lists page for more detailed information on what clothes and gear to bring on your hiking tour. The trip packet you receive when you contact us will have the most accurate clothing and gear list for the tour you're interested in.

Trip Logistics

How do I Register?

Ready to hike? In the Dates section of this trip page, the green dates are bookable online by simply clicking on the date, and blue dates must be booked through our customer service team for a variety of possible reasons. To email our customer service team, you can click here to get the ball rolling. Our adventure consultants will confirm availability, and if you're ready to register we'll email you a link to a registration profile. You'll have 72 hours to complete your profile (and that of any dependents) and pay the deposit ($500).

Feel free to call us for more info - we're here 7 days a week!


Where Do We Meet?

This trip meets at the iconic Mobile Station in Lee Vining at 6PM on Day 1. The Mobile (also known as the Tioga Gas Mart or the Whoa Nellie Deli; 22 Vista Point Drive, Lee Vining, CA 93541) is on the corner of highway 395 and 120 just past the eastern entrance of Yosemite. Upon arrival, you will easily spot your guide waiting for you in a Wildland Trekking hat and shirt at the picnic tables by the main entrance. This trip includes dinner at the Deli and camping at a campground just minutes away. Personal vehicles can remain parked at the upper level parking lot at the Mobile during trips.

Check out our Travel Resources page for information on flights, shuttles, lodging and more.


Start/End Times

Your guide will inform you of the first day's rendezvous time at the orientation meeting. Generally, you can expect it to be between 5 and 8 am, although the exact time will depend on current weather and road conditions. We will be out of the backcountry normally before 5 PM (this time is not guaranteed, as a variety of circumstances can influence our exact return time) on the final day.


Safety Considerations

Your safety is our top priority. Our hiking tours are led by professional hiking guides, all of whom are wilderness-certified first responders or EMT's, each with years of guiding and wilderness experience. We've developed comprehensive risk management protocols that our guides adhere to in case of an emergency, and most tours carry a satellite phone. If you have any further questions about safety, please contact us at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) for more information.


Guides

Your tour will be led by a trained, experienced professional with a solid guiding background, years of personal wilderness and hiking experience, medical certifications, and a passion for leading people into breathtaking landscapes. Check out our Meet Our Team page for staff bios.


Guide Shifts

Eastern Sierra guides work daily shifts from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. During off hours (9 p.m. to 5 a.m.) the guides' time is their own, and they are free to sleep, rest, take personal time, postpone guest requests until the next morning, and any other legal, reasonable activity people engage in when not working. We ask all guests to respect the guides' off-duty hours by not waking or asking anything of them unless there is a true emergency. Also, state law requires that employees receive an uninterrupted 10 minute break every four working hours, so guides are required to take four 10 minute breaks between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m.


Group Size and Age Restrictions

The standard group size on backpacking trips is 6 guests and 1 guide, with a maximum of 10 guests and 2 guides. If you have more questions about group size, please give us a call at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) and we'll answer all your questions.

Age restrictions are as follows:
  • 12 and older to join scheduled tours (mixed groups)
  • 10 and older to join private tours, with final approval on a case by case basis
  • specific logistical requirements (such as porter or stock assist) determined on a case by case basis


Weather in the Sierras

Being a high mountain environment, the Sierra Nevada Mountains are prone to sudden temperature and weather shifts. This is an exciting aspect of being in the mountains. On trips in June, snow is a possibility, and the rest of the summer rain is always a possibility on your trip. To be fully prepared, please follow the recommended clothing list closely (this list comes as part of your trip packet when you register). See below for average summer temperatures:
 
Average Temperatures (Fahrenheit)
     
 
Month
Valleys
Alpine
 
 
hi
low
hi
low
 
 
January
49°
26°
45°
25°
 
 
February
55°
28°
46°
26°
 
 
March
59°
31°
48°
27°
 
 
April
65°
35°
54°
30°
 
 
May
73°
42°
62°
37°
 
 
June
81°
51°
71°
46°
 
 
July
89°
57°
77°
50°
 
 
August
89°
56°
81°
53°
 
 
September
82°
51°
71°
46°
 
 
October
74°
39°
62°
37°
 
 
November
58°
31°
51°
29°
 
 
December
48°
26°
46°
25°