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The High Sierra Trail: Segment 6 of 7

Upper Kern Canyon to Guitar Lake

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Difficulty: Strenuous
Length: 10.2 miles
Duration: Full day

Overview:  This is the sixth of a series of Guides to the High Sierra Trail, an approximately 70 mile trail that runs from Crescent Meadow on the... more »

Tips:  Campsites
Wallace Creek and Crabtree Meadow are common camp areas. There is no camping between Crabtree and Guitar Lake. Guitar Lake... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Junction to Wallace Creek

Don't miss the turn in the trail towards Wallace Creek! There are excellent views down the Kern Canyon on this stretch of trail.

2. John Muir Trail Junction

From this point on, the John Muir Trail and the High Sierra Trail are one and the same. Traffic will increase, but you are nearing Mount Whitney and so does the excitement.

Fill up your water here - the next reliable source is at Crabtree Meadow. There are also campsites near this junction.

3. Junction (does not match USGS topo maps)

The track from the actual trail does not exactly match the USGS maps, so I marked this junction with a POI. The junctions are clearly signed, however, so it is not confusing - just unexpected if you are glued to the map.

It's now only 8.6 miles to the summit of Mount Whitney!

4. Crabtree Ranger Station

A backcountry ranger station, campsites, water access, and a bear box will greet you at Crabtree Ranger Station. It's the closest sign of 'civilization' since you left the Bearpaw Meadow High Sierra Camp several days ago.

At the junction, make sure to pick up your Wag Bag. From this point until the end of the trail, you are required to carry out ... More

5. Timberline Lake - No Camping

Due to overuse Timberline Lake is under restoration and doesn't allow camping. It's a nice spot to stop and rest, however. The trail is now passing the 11,000 foot mark, and even having been on the trail for a while, you'll likely feel it.

Directly to the east you'll be staring at the back side of Mount Whitney. It won't be long until you're... More

6. Guitar Lake

The destination of this stretch: Guitar Lake. Most hikers stay here and prepare for an early morning start on Mount Whitney the next day. At 11,400 feet Guitar Lake is a high camp far above treeline with little protection from the wind and cold.

However, the beauty of this place makes it worthwhile. Named the Best Place to watch a Sunset by... More