Hiking the Sierra Nevada and other California peaks

Notes by piero scaruffi | California hikes | Photos of these hikes | Favorites
The links below take you pages that provide information on how to hike all the major mountains in California's Sierra Nevada. I also included Mt Shasta and White Mountain Peak, which are not in the Sierra Nevada but rank in the top 10.

Highest mountains in California
  1. Mt Whitney (4,421m)
  2. Mt Williamson (4,380m)
  3. White Mountain (4,342m)
  4. North Palisade (4,341m)
  5. Mt Shasta (4,322m)
  6. Mount Sill (4,316m)
  7. Mt Russell (4,294m)
  8. Split Mountain (4,285m)
  9. Mt Langley (4,275m)
  10. Mt Tyndall (4,273m)
  11. Middle Palisade (4,271m)
  12. Thunderbolt Peak (4,268m)
Note: Polemonium Peak (4,328 m) and Starlight Peak (4,328 m) are sub-peaks of North Palisade. Lightning Rod is a sub-peak of Thunderbolt Peak (which in turn is really a subpeak of North Palisade). Apex Peak is a sub-peak of Mt Sill. Mt Muir, located right next to Whitney, is widely mentioned as its own mountain although to me (and to anyone with common sense) it is not (its prominence is merely 90 meters). Shasta is not located in the Sierra Nevada. White Mountain is not located in the Sierra Nevada. All the others are.
The toughest passes:
  1. Shepherd (1920m to 3660m in 18 kms)
  2. Baxter (1820m to 3740m in 13 kms)
  3. Sawmill (1398m to 3458m in 16 kms)
  4. Taboose (1640m to 3460m in 10 kms)
Where they are:


Topomap:

By elevation gain
(a better way to measure hikes)
  1. Cactus to the Clouds (3448m)
  2. Telescope Peak from Shorty's Well (3444m)
  3. Mt Stanford from Roads End (2725m)
  4. White Mountain from Jeffery Mine (2650m)
  5. Midway Mt (2631m)
  6. Milestone Mt (2623m)
  7. Mt Brewer (2604m)
  8. North Guard (2528m)
  9. Mt Williamson via Shepherd Pass (2462m)
  10. Mt Keith via Symmes Creek (2340m)
  11. Mt Tyndall (2353m)
  12. Junction Peak (2313m)
  13. Caltech Peak (2287m)
  14. Split Mt (2284)
  15. Mt Barnard (2150m)
  16. Mt Trojan (2137m)
  17. Mt Shasta (2122m)
  18. Mt Sill from Big Pine (1940m)
  19. Mt Kaweah (1923m)
  20. Middle Palisade (1895m)
  21. Mt Whitney (1871m)
  22. Mt LeConte (1846m)
  23. Mt Winchell (1823m)
  24. Mt Mallory (1821m)
  25. Mt Russell (1744m)
  26. Half Dome (1600m)
  27. Mt Humphreys (1465m)
  28. Mt Darwin (1418m)
  29. North Palisade (1351m)
  30. Mt Sill from South Lake (1326m)
  31. Mt Langley (1280m)


Most popular peaks in the Sierra Nevada

PeakElevation (m)LocationTrailheadRoundtrip (kms)Elevation Gain (m)
Mt Whitney 4421 Sequoia Whitney Portal, Lone Pine (2550m) 35 1871
Mt Williamson 4382 Inyo Symmes Creek, Independence (1920m) 50 2462
North Palisade 4341 Kings Canyon South Lake (2990m) 34 1351
Mt Sill 4316 Kings Canyon South Lake (2990m) or Big Pine (2376m) 48 or 34 1326 or 1940
Mt Russell 4294 Sequoia Whitney Portal, Lone Pine (2550m) 40 1744
Split Mt 4285 Kings Canyon Red Lake trailhead, Big Pine (2002) 24 2284
Middle Palisade 4271 Kings Canyon Big Pine (2376m) ? 1895
Mt Langley 4280 Sequoia Cottonwood campground, Lone Pine (3060m) 33 1280
Mt Tyndall 4273 Inyo Symmes Creek trailhead, Independence (1920m) 42 2910
Mt Muir 4272 Sequoia Whitney Portal, Lone Pine (2550m) 33 1722
Thunderbolt Peak 4268 Kings Canyon South Lake (2990m) 36 1278
Mt Humphreys 4265 John Muir Wilderness North Lake (2800m) 27 1465
Mt Barnard 4264 Sequoia George Creek (2114m) 56 2150
Mt Keith 4260 Inyo Symmes, Independence (1920m) 38 2340
Mt Stanford 4259 Inyo Onion Valley (2920m) or Roads End (1534m) ? 1339 or 2725
Barrett peak 4255 Kings Canyon South Lake (2990m) 44 1365
Mt Trojan 4251 Sequoia George Creek (2114m) 51 2137
Mt LeConte 4246 Sequoia Meysan Lakes trailhead (2400m) 30 1846
Mt Morgenson 4245 Inyo Whitney Portal, Lone Pine (2550m) 42 1695
Mt Agassiz 4235 Palisades South Lake (2990) 32 1245
Junction Peak 4233 Inyo Symmes, Independence (1920m) 60 2313
Mt Darwin 4218 Evolution North Lake (2800) 32 1418
Mt Mallory 4221 Inyo Meysan Lakes trailhead (2400m) 30 1821
Mt Kaweah 4209 Sequoia Mineral King (2286m) 54 1923
Caltech Peak 4207 Inyo Symmes, Independence (1920m) 56 2287
Mt Winchell 4199 Palisades Big Pine (2376m) 16 1823
Mt Morgan 4190 John Muir Wilderness Rock Creek Lake 16 1235
Mt Abbot 4179 John Muir Wilderness Mosquito Flat 16 1056
Midway Mt 4165 Kings Canyon Roads End (1534m) 39 2631
Mt Tom 4161 John Muir Wilderness Pine Creek Road 17 2346
Milestone Mt 4157 Kings Canyon Roads End (1534m) 39 2623
Mt Brewer 4138 Kings Canyon Roads End (1534m) 42 2604
Mt Goddard 4138 Kings Canyon Lake Sabrina(2780) 51 1358
Tunnabora Peak 4135 Sequoia Whitney Portal, Lone Pine (2550m) 32 1585
Cloudripper 4122 Palisades South Lake (2990) 20 1222
Mt Ericsson 4120 Kings Canyon Roads End (1534m) 42 2920
Mt Carillon 4120 Kings Canyon Roads End (1534m) 42 2920
Mt Gayley 4118 Kings Canyon Big Pine 29 2259
Mt Lamarck 4090 Evolution North Lake (2800m) 30 1290
Mt Haeckel 4090 Evolution Lake Sabrina (2780m) 38 1310
Mt Wallace 4077 Evolution Lake Sabrina (2780m) 38 1297
Mt Ritter
North Guard 4062 Kings Canyon Roads End (1534m) 50 2528
Mt Ritter 4008 Ansel Adams Wilderness Agnew Meadow 29 1611
Mt Lyell 3997 Yosemite Tuolumne Meadows 43 1346
Mt Dana 3979 Yosemite Tioga Pass 10 946
Banner Peak 3946 Ansel Adams Wilderness Agnew Meadow 40 1549
Mt Clarence King 3936 Kings Canyon Onion Valley 53 2796
Matterhorn Peak 3760 Yosemite Twin Lakes 18 1582
Olancha Peak 3697 John Muir Wilderness Sage Flat 34 1927
Half Dome 2695 Yosemite Yosemite Valley 23 1463
El Capitan 2347 Yosemite Yosemite Valley 25 1110


Easiest of the high Sierra:

Toughest of the California mountains (that can be hiked without climbing gear), as measured in the number of hours it takes me from the nearest parking lot:

By comparison:
Other mountains over 4000-meter high in the Sierra Nevada
(but some of these are simply subpeaks of higher mountains)
  1. Disappointment Peak 4242
  2. Norman Clyde Peak 4223
  3. Mt McAdie 4206
  4. Mt Irvine 4197
  5. Discovery Pinnacle 4192
  6. Broken Finger Peak 4190
  7. Mt Gabb 4188
  8. Red Kaweah 4182
  9. Mt Corcoran 4180
  10. Mt Mendel 4179
  11. Black Kaweah 4170
  12. Table Mountain 4155
  13. Birch Mountain 4146
  14. Mt Dade 4145
  15. University Peak 4142
  16. Mt Goddard 4136
  17. Mt Ericsson 4120
  18. Thunder Mountain 4120
  19. Mt Fiske 4116
  20. Mt Thompson 4113
  21. Mt Pinchot 4113
  22. Mt Hale 4113
  23. Mt Bolton Brown 4112
  24. Mt Pickering 4107
  25. Mt Mills 4100
  26. Mt Versteeg 4100
  27. Mt Newcomb 4091
  28. Cardinal Mountain 4083
  29. Mt Jepson 4081
  30. Kaweah Queen 4079
  31. Mt Hilgard 4072
  32. Mt Powell 4072
  33. The Thumb 4071
  34. Black Giant 4063
  35. North Guard 4062
  36. Joe Devel Peak 4062
  37. Mt Genevra 4060
  38. Black Mountain 4051
  39. Mt McDuffie 4048
  40. Deerhorn Mt 4048
  41. Royce Peak 4048
  42. Bear Creek Spire 4045
  43. Mt Goethe 4043
  44. Mt Bradley 4043
  45. Gendarme Peak 4039
  46. South Guard 4033
  47. Centennial Peak 4032
  48. Mt Warlow 4025
  49. Mt Emerson 4025
  50. Mt Julius Caesar 4023
  51. Mt Hitchcock 4019
  52. Acrodectes Peak 4018
  53. Basin Mountain 4018
  54. Striped Mountain 4017
  55. Mt Wynne 4017
  56. Mt Young 4016
  57. Mt Chamberlin 4014
  58. Mt Prater 4006
  59. Mt Baxter 4004
  60. Diamond Peak 4001
  61. Red Slate Mountain 4000
  62. Mt Kafka 3.748m


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