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Eastern Sierras Hikes
Sierra Nevada Hiking Tour
Eastern Sierras Guided Treks
Sierra Nevada Tour
Eastern Sierras Hiking Guides
Sierra Nevada Treks

Mammoth Lakes Basin


  •   Crown jewel of the Mammoth Lakes Basin
  •   A 10,377 foot granite monolith
  •   Amazing high alpine passes
  •   Phenomenal mountain views
  •   Pristine alpine lakes
  •   Section of the famous John Muir Trail
  •   Day hike without packs


Please Note: This trip has been discontinued. Apologies for the inconvenience. A wonderful alternative is our Thousand Island Lakes Backpacking Trip.

Explore the eastern Sierra and the John Muir Trail on this 4-day backpacking trip. It offers a wonderful opportunity to escape the crowds, absorb some of the best views of the Mammoth Lakes basin, sleep under the stars, and enjoy excellent views of the surrounding granite peaks. This trek begins and ends at the beautiful Lake Mary, the center of the Mammoth Lakes basin. We'll explore Duck pass and Duck lake, and hike past 5 lakes along the way. Throughout our trip, we will catch excellent views of the mountain range. We will also hike and set up camp along the famous John Muir Trail.

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Backpacking Trip
Lee Vining
5 days
24mi / 39km
$1145 Per Person

Travel to Lee Vining

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Trip Dates & Booking

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This trip has been discontinued. Apologies for the inconvenience. A wonderful alternative is our Thousand Island Lakes Backpacking Trip.

Don't see your dates? Call us!
We may be able to add new trip dates.
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 and only 15 minutes from the eastern entrance of Yosemite. We will meet at 6pm, conduct an orientation meeting and have dinner together at the famous “Whoa Nelli Deli” located within the Mobil. We will then head to a local campground just minutes away where we will set up for the evening and prepare for our backpacking trip.

Day 2
  • Hiking Mileage: 5.1 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1677 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 495 feet

After a hearty breakfast and coffee at the campground, our guide will drive us to the trail head near beautiful Lake Mary. With our packs fully loaded, we will begin our hike ascending towards Duck pass. We will enjoy stunning views of five lakes on our way up! Once we reach Duck pass we will descend toward the Duck lake outlet and make our way toward Pika lake where we set up camp for the night. We'll relax around a wonderful backcountry meal and enjoy a great night's sleep in God's Country to cap off our first 24 hours in the backcountry.

Day 3
  • Hiking Mileage: 5.3 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 164 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 732 feet

Today we will wake up and eat breakfast in our lakefront camp. Our hike will descend from Duck pass toward the junction of the John Muir Trail. From here we will head south east toward spectacular Purple lake at 9,928 feet. Here, we will set up camp, enjoy lunch, and the phenomenal high country views surrounding us.

Day 4
  • Hiking Mileage: 7.8 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 220 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 1060 feet

Today we will enjoy a quick, but delicious breakfast before breaking down camp. From Purple lake we'll climb 220ft to the junction of the John Muir Trail and continue West. This section of the JMT descends through pine forest and meadows toward Deer Creek where we will set up our camp for the night. Deer Creek is a pristine, beautiful drainage coming from the high peaks of the Ansel Adams Wilderness.

Day 5
  • Hiking Mileage: 6.2 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 520 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 544 feet

Today we will pack up camp at Deer creek and continue on the JMT back toward Lake Mary. Along the way we will pass a large granite peak called “The Thumb” to our right. After a 2 mile decent on the JMT we will reach a trail junction at crater meadow where we will leave the JMT behind. We will have views of red cinder cones as we start a climb toward mammoth pass at 9320 ft. From here we will enjoy views of 4 lakes, and Mammoth Mountain. We will descend roughly 500 feet past Mclead lake and reach Horseshoe Lake where we will catch up with the road leading back to Lake Mary. Together we will have a last lunch and reflect on our amazing 4-day backpacking trip.

Please Note: We always do everything in our power to follow the set itinerary, however it can change occasionally based on temporary access restrictions, weather, lodging/campground availability, guest ability/injury, natural events like fires and flooding, and other potential causes.

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
  • Emergency communication device(s)

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, 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.


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)

Camping on Backpacking Trips

backpacking tent

Backcountry Sleeping

Tent Camping

Sleeping on backpacking trips is in premier 1-person, 2-person or 4-person backcountry tents. Solo travelers, and anyone else who requests it, are issued single tents. Top-of-the-line self-inflating sleeping pads and sleeping bags (professionally laundered after every trip) are also provided.

backpacking meals

Backcountry Cuisine

Fresh & Delicious

Meals from breakfast Day 1 through lunch the last day are fully included and prepared by your guide. We never use dehydrated backpacking meals, instead serving freshly prepared, delicious backcountry cuisine made with a variety of common and specialty ingredients that travel well in the wilderness.

backpacking campsites

Amazing Campsites

In the Action

Of course campsites vary tremendously by destination, trip and even by the individual day of a trip. However, you can expect to camp in beautiful areas that put you right in the action to make the most of your backpacking adventure. We carefully design our itineraries with campsites in mind.

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