Hiking the High Sierra and the Pacific Crest Trail, Mokulemne Wilderness, California

Sierra Club Outings Trip # 14244A, Lodge


  • Enjoy breathtaking views of mountains and lakes
  • See beautiful flowers in bloom
  • Hike on the Pacific Crest Trail


  • Comfortable accommodations
  • All meals during your stay at the lodge
  • Day hikes in the Stanislaus National Forest and surrounding areas 


DatesJul 27–Aug 2, 2014
StaffAndrew Moss

Trip Overview

The Trip

Indulge yourself with invigorating day hikes to sweeping vistas, knowing that the amenities of a lodge await you at the end of the day. Most of our hikes will be near Bear Valley within the Stanislaus National Forest, which is located on the west slope of the Sierra Nevada between Lake Tahoe and Yosemite National Park. We will enjoy high-altitude hiking amid towering pine trees, sparkling lakes, volcanic outcroppings, and occasional waterfalls. At elevations of 7,000 feet or more, you will be amazed by the views of the surrounding mountains.

The Sierra Nevada are also home to the largest trees in the world—the giant Sequoias at Calaveras Big Trees State Park. It is only a 35-minute drive from our lodge to the park.

Generally, wildflowers are abundant at this time of year, with outstanding variety and colors, depending on weather and precipitation. Bring a flower guidebook if you like, and let us hope that 2014 brings another spectacular wildflower season!

Evenings will be spent relaxing or socializing in our comfortable and spacious lodge. Our breakfasts and dinners will be prepared by staff chefs. We will eat our self-prepared sack lunches out on the trails. Our talks and social gatherings will be held either outdoors on one of the lodge decks or in a room reserved exclusively for us.

As an additional bonus, our trip occurs at the same time as the Bear Valley Music Festival. Performances may include classical, broadway, jazz, contemporary, and western music by nationally recognized artists. You may find an evening performance that appeals to you and choose to attend on your own. (This is not included in your trip price.)


Day 1: On Sunday, July 27th, we'll meet at 5 p.m. at Bear Valley Lodge for a meet-and-greet. Orientation will follow the 6 p.m. dinner. We'll discuss trip expectations, conservation issues (Leave No Trace), trail etiquette, group hiking protocols, meeting times, equipment, blisters, and the general trip itinerary. An up-to-date itinerary will be established once area weather forecasts and snowmelt conditions have been determined.

Days 2-3: Typically, we'll start by eating breakfast and packing our sack lunches. We will then gather to carpool to our trailhead. During the day, we may hike the spectacular Pacific Crest Trail or make our way up to Bull Run Lake in the Carson Iceberg Wilderness. There's also the amazing views from Wheeler Ridge in the Mokelumne Wilderness, gorgeous Lake Alpine, and the rocky trail up Inspiration Point. Another hike that leads to a fabulous waterfall is on the Hermit Run Trail. Late-afternoons will bring us back to the lodge, where we can relax with a swim in the pool at the lodge, clean up, catch a nap, or get together for social hour. Following dinner, you may just relax, or choose to join the group to discuss conservation issues, share the day's adventures, play parlor games, or watch a DVD.

Day 4: Today is an optional day, where you may rent a mountain bike, canoe, or kayak. You can fish (a California fishing license is required), go wine tasting, or sightsee in the historic gold-rush towns. (The trip price does not include the costs of these extra excursions.) A short hike may be offered that morning to Calaveras Big Trees State Park to see the giant Sequoias, or you may visit the park on your own. If relaxation is on your menu, you might just lounge by the lodge's heated pool or bask in the sun at Lake Alpine and swim.

Days 5-6: We'll continue hiking to great locations and views following day two's schedule. On our last day, Saturday, August, 2, we'll enjoy our last breakfast together and say our good-byes.

The itinerary is subject to change based on the current weather, trail, and local conditions.



Getting There

Please note that there are no buses, vans, or shuttles to the lodge, as this is a rural area. All transportation to the inn, trailheads, or other activities is the responsibility of each trip member. For those wishing to carpool, a roster of other trip members will be provided before the trip. The nearest airports include Sacramento, San Francisco, and Reno, Nevada. If you plan to drive to the lodge from Reno or the east, please first check road conditions over Ebbetts Pass, as there may be late-season snow or ice.

Applicants will be sent application forms, and should promptly fill these out and send them to the trip leader. The leader will review the forms and contact you by phone to discuss the trip with you. Please wait for approval from the leader before making any transportation reservations.

Accommodations and Food

The rooms are spacious and well appointed. To accommodate everyone, room sharing will be required (two people per room). Rooms will have two queen beds or one queen bed for couples. Private rooms or room upgrades may be available at an additional cost. Participants desiring such an arrangement should contact the lodge directly after they have been accepted as a participant on this trip, and directly pay the lodge for any additional costs. 

All meals are included. Participants will pack their own sack lunches from lodge-provided food. Lunches will be eaten on the trail. Breakfast and dinner will be prepared by lodge chefs.

Trip Difficulty

This trip is for the experienced hiker who can hike at high altitude for several days in a row. Hikes will be at or above 7,000 feet elevation, and six to ten miles in length. We will move along at a moderate pace over gravel and rocky terrain -- sometimes over boulders, across streams, and possibly even over snowfields. The leaders try to keep the group fairly close together; therefore it is important for all participants to be in good physical condition. Well-behaved minors (at least 15 years old) are welcome when accompanied by a parent and when capable of keeping up with the hiking group. Parents will be fully responsible for their children. Photographers are welcome, understanding that the focus of this trip is hiking; photographers are expected to keep up with the group and not lag behind. This is a group hiking experience.

Equipment and Clothing

At this time of year, the days are generally warm and pleasant (low 60s to low to mid 80s) and the nights are cool (mid 30s to high 40s). However, global warming is having its effect, so it is possible we may have high temperatures into the 90s. Alternatively, mountain weather can be unpredictable; rain and even snow may occur. This is part of the outdoor adventure! Bring clothing for all conditions, and prepare to dress in layers. Be sure to bring a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, lip protection, sunscreen, well-broken-in hiking boots, water bottle, and a day pack. The leader will send a detailed equipment list to all registered participants.



USGS 7.5-minute quadrangles:

  • Tamarack
  • Pacific Valley
  • Spicer Meadow
  • Ebbetts Pass


  • Storer and Usinger, Natural History of the Sierra Nevada.
  • Hill, Mary, Geology of the Sierra Nevada.
  • Tescher, Skip, Rock Upon Rock, Snow Upon Snow, The Story of Lake Alpine.


Your volunteer trip leaders are dedicated to the Sierra Club, conservation, and enjoyment of the outdoors. Our wish is that you will become strong believers in the need to protect our wild areas. We'll be practicing Leave No Trace wilderness principles throughout the trip in order to minimize our impact on the environment.

 The Lake Alpine area is very popular for retirees and for winter and summer recreational users. As more and more people move to and recreate there, they contribute to a growing environmental problem. Logging practices have also threatened the ecosystem over many acres of the Sierra. While on the trip, please don't hesitate to ask your leaders about any conservation concerns that you may have. We also look forward to hearing about your hometown conservation challenges and successes.

Since any traveling leaves a carbon footprint, check out the information that the Sierra Club offers about carbon offsets at: http://www.sierraclub.org/outings/national/offsets/#neutral

In 2014 America celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. The Sierra Club, various other organizations with a wilderness focus, and the four federal wilderness management agencies are vigorously planning this celebration. The goal of the effort is to assure that a broader public knows about the concept and benefits of wilderness. Sierra Club Outings is a vital part of the celebrations for wilderness.
While the Act was far in the future when our outings program started, we were already promoting the principle behind it: to forever set aside from human developments certain special places, by civic agreement. This is the basic principle on which the Sierra Club was founded. The wilderness anniversary gives us an opportunity to highlight our organization’s leading role—in publicizing this principle, in passing the 1964 Act, and in achieving more designated wilderness since then.

Sierra Club National Outings is an equal-opportunity provider and will operate under permits from the Stanislaus and Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forests.



Andy Moss is the Outings Chair of New York's Mid-Hudson Group of the Sierra Club. A former rock climber, he now leads hikes throughout the Catskill Mountains and Mid-Hudson region of New York. He has hiked all 35 of the Catskill High Peaks over 3,500 feet and particularly enjoys winter hiking. In addition to the Catskills he has hiked the White Mountains of New Hampshire, the Green Mountains of Vermont, and the Sierra Nevadas, and backpacked in Wyoming. Having explored the Catskill Mountains for most of his life, he feels there is something magical about a mountain wilderness and loves to share this sense of wonder with his hiking companions. Andy is a self-employed graphic designer and an accomplished pianist/singer and bandleader currently residing in the Catskills with his wife and their organic garden in Ruby, New York.

Assistant Leader:

Anita Giacone has been a local Sierra Club leader in California since 1990. A Philadelphia resident since 1998 she became a national leader and returns to the CA and west coast to continue her love of hiking and exploring the desert and mountain wilderness. She has assisted in lodge trips to Claire Tappaan, children’s backpacking in the Adirondacks, car camping trips to Cape Cod and Utah as well as a car camp and spa retreat trip to Santa Fe. Her professional experience as an event planner, teacher, and cultural exchange program coordinator helped her develop the skills to plan rich and educational programs. Her creativity, curiosity, and passion for cultural and spiritual growth result in these components being largely incorporated in her trips. Anita competes in ballroom dance, teaches music and lives with her dog, Cocoa, in Philadelphia.

Contact the Staff

Refresh Type the characters you see in this picture.
Type the characters you see in the picture; if you can't read them, submit the form and a new image will be generated. Not case sensitive.  Switch to audio verification.

Try Another Trip

By Date