How to Find Solitude Along the High Sierra Trail, by Jason Huckeba

How to Find Solitude Along the High Sierra Trail, by Jason Huckeba

The High Sierra Trail is a beautiful trek across the Sierra starting at Crescent Meadow in Sequoia National Park and ending at Whitney Portal on the eastern side of the Sierra.  This trail is a great backpacking trek for anyone wanting to get their feet wet in the world of thru-hiking.  Views along the trail are spectacular, showcasing why this trail was built in 1928.

As with any trail with amazing scenery, it comes with a price. For the High Sierra trail that price can be solitude.  Bearpaw meadows is a popular choice for a first nights camp. Backpackers are excited to see and stay at Kern Hot Springs for a soak after a few days on the trail.  Guitar Lake and Junction Meadow are popular places to rest before that final push to Mt. Whitney. But the good news is that on the High Sierra Trail, there are a few camps which are often overlooked,  where you can find a little solitude.

The first trail camp that can provide solitude along the High Sierra Trail is  at 9 mile creek.  Most backpackers on the first day pass right by 9 mile camp and try to make extra miles right away by going to Bear Paw Resort. 9 Mile Creek has bear boxes, a creek to filter water from, and many flat spots on which you can pitch your tent.

Another site that gets little attention is Upper Funston Meadow.  Upper Funston meadow may have been my favorite camp along the trail.  The meadow is next to huge rock walls climbing thousands of feet above the Kern River.  Upper Funston meadow has bear boxes, flowing water right alongside the camp, and if you are lucky enough some deer running through camp in the early morning.

The third and final camp to find solitude is at Tyndall Junction.  Tyndall Junction camp is a mile past Junction Meadow.  Most backpackers do not stay here as they have stopped at Junction meadow or continue on to Wallace Creek to stay the night.  Tyndall Junction camp has everything you need for a relaxing night, water, flat spots, and a nice fire ring where you can enjoy a peaceful night.  Another treat at Tyndall Junction is the remnants of an old cabin, possibly built by fur trapper Short Lovelace.

At Wallace Creek, the High Sierra trail meets up with the John Muir Trail, and as a result, you will see more people. From here on solitude will be hard to find.  There are many camps along the High Sierra Trail and all of them have something unique to offer. Have fun on your hike and enjoy the scenery!

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