Hiking Kaiser Peak

Notes by piero scaruffi | See Travel resources | See Other California hikes

Kaiser Peak (3146m) is the highest peak in the Kaiser Wilderness, located north of Huntington Lake, part of the Sierra National Forest between Yosemite (to the north) and Kings Canyon (to the south).

Trails form a convenient loop. The eastern trail of the loop starts from the "D&F Pack Station". When you arrive at Huntington Lake, turn left into Huntington Rd at the sign that would otherwise send you to Kaiser Pass, Lake Edison and Lake Florence. When you reach the lodge/restarant, slow down: the first road you can turn into is Upper Deer Creek Ln (NOT Deer Creek Rd as marked on your favorite dumbphone). There is a gate which may be closed off season, in which case you need to go to the lodge and ask how to open it. (It is national forest, not private property). Make sure it's not open before you assume it's really locked. At the end of the road there is a horsepack station. The trailhead parking for hikers is well marked and has room for 10-12 cars. The trailhead itself is at the pack station (50 meters away). This eastern trail is about 9 kms long, with an elevation gain of about 800 meters (definitely not as strenuous as the rangers advertise, but certainly uphill). Kaiser Peak is physically north of the trailhead, so the general direction should be north, otherwise you took the wrong turn. There is water in the Deer Creek except at the peak of the summer heat.

One at the top it is obvious how to continue on the western trail. This trail is not terribly easy: it goes up and down for a few kms. It also moves to the north side of the ridge, which means that there could be still snow in the spring, obliterating the trail. Don't miss the fork: you need to turn left in order to remain on the loop trail.

The western trail goes through the Mary's Meadow area. Bear left at all major junctions. The trail ends at the Billy Creek campground at the western end of Huntington Lake. If you don't have a car picking up up at Billy Creek campground, you have two options to go back to the same trailhead: 1. Turn left on the Mary's Meadow trail, or, just before the Billy Creek campground, turn left on the Loop trail.

  • D&F Pack Station (2200m)
  • College Rock: 4 kms
  • Pass (first view of Kaiser Peak): 2.5 hours
  • Kaiser Peak (3146m): 8.5 kms / 3.5hrs
  • Junction with northern trail (don't take it):
  • Junction with Nellie Lake trail (don't take it):
  • Left on Mary's Meadow trail: / 6hrs
  • Left on Loop trail:
  • D&F Pack Station (2200m) / 10hrs