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Sierra Nevada Hiking Vacation

Alta Meadows - Pear Lake


  •   Fantastic, moderate difficulty trip
  •   Alpine peaks, lakes & rushing streams
  •   Off trail traverse of Tableland
  •   Majestic camp near Pear Lake
  •   All new scenery on loop route
  •   Amazing natural & cultural history


Please Note: This trip has been discontinued. We heartily recommend looking at a Yosemite Backpacking trip or Eastern Sierra Backpacking trip as outstanding alternatives.

Explore the heart of Sequoia National Park’s spectacular high country with this outstanding loop through some of the most beautiful areas in the Sierra Nevada. The hike begins at Wolverton Meadows, adjacent to Giant Forest, home of the most massive trees on Earth, and accesses the spectacular Tableland of the Western Sierra. You and your guide will camp alongside a flower-filled meadow before ascending to a vast alpine plateau with views of the jagged peaks of the spectacular Great Western Divide. Lonesome high alpine lakes, abundant wildlife, and an enjoyable cross-country trek through open alpine tundra with "top- of-the-world" views, are all highlights of this inspiring adventure.

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Backpacking Trip
Lodgepole Visitor Ctr
4 days
23mi / 37km
$1280 Per Person

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Trip Dates & Booking

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800-715-HIKE (4453)

Trip Itinerary

Day 1
  • Hiking Mileage: 4 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1700 feet

Beginning at the trailhead at the historic Wolverton Ski Area, our route ascends moderately through a thick old-growth red fir forest along the bubbling waters of Wolverton Creek. Being prime deer and bear habitat, we keep our eyes peeled as we make our way to Panther Gap and our first views of the awesome alpine scenery of the Great Western Divide. We’re taking it easy today to acclimate to the high elevation and first day with packs on our backs. We'll take advantage of the first available camping spot beside Merhton Creek just above a small meadow of the same name. Here, you can relax around the campfire as your guide prepares a delicious, well-earned backcountry dinner.

Day 2
  • Hiking Mileage: 5.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 2000/500 feet

Today we’ll travel cross-country through the high, open, alpine landscape above tree line to oddly named Moose Lake. But, first we have a hearty breakfast and continue through the montane forest to Alta Meadows. Here we leave most of the tree cover behind as we gain elevation steadily to our destination on the vast plateau of the Tableland. A low mileage day will allow us a leisurely afternoon to explore, bag a nearby peak or just read a book around camp before we enjoy another gourmet meal as the brilliant crimson alpenglow lights up the serrated peaks to the east.

Day 3
  • Hiking Mileage: 7 miles
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 1000/2000 feet

This morning we will continue our cross-country travels through the Tableland, passing numerous tarns, pocket meadows and vast glaciated expanses of granite punctuated with bright bunches of wildflowers. Our lunch spot, on the northern edge of the plateau and the southern boundary of Kings Canyon National Park, will offer us unparalleled views into one of the wildest and most beautiful regions of the Sierra. Continuing on, we’ll meet up with the trail at the Pear Lake Ski Hut, a rustic shelter built in the late 1930s. A mile further we reach deservedly popular Pear Lake where we will set up camp and enjoy our last night’s meal around a blazing campfire.

Day 4
  • Hiking Mileage: 6.1 miles
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 300/2100 feet

It’s almost all downhill from here after we break camp and enjoy one last look at the high country over hot coffee and a steaming backcountry breakfast. Once on the trail, we’ll pass a string of pretty sub-alpine lakes nestled in granite cirques and the famous Watch Tower before descending into heavy forest. After a few miles of pleasant walking we return to our trailhead and congratulate each other on remarkable adventure through the Tableland!

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 breakfast the first day through lunch on the last day
  • A professional, knowledgeable, certified Sierra Nevada hiking guide
  • 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 (Oboz hiking shoes and boots recommended)
  • 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 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?

You'll meet your hiking guide and group at the Lodgepole Visitor Center in Sequoia National Park for an orientation meeting at 5:00 PM the evening before the trip begins. Your guide will be in contact approximately 2 weeks beforehand to coordinate this meeting. The next morning we'll meet and utilize park shuttles to reach our trailhead.

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 6 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) 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

Yosemite and Sequioa-Kings Canyon 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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