Backpacking I: Weekend Introduction to Backpacking

The Great Outdoors is beckoning, you have read all the gear reviews online, and the credit card is maxed from all the REI spending. It has all starting to get confusing since all you wanted to do was go hiking.

We will get you there and have you learning the skills you need. This trip is low key, low distance but heavy on the skills you need to feel comfortable and confident in this new activity. We will spend time working through gear and equipment before we even set foot on the trail to make sure you have what is needed and then head out into the beautiful Sierra Nevada.

While you will have a guide along on the trip, we also want you to learn the necessary skills to get out yourself. We will guide you through all of the gear and tasks that you need to figure out. We will do the chores of cooking and setting up camp but you are invited to help out as much as you wish and learn new skills. We will talk about Leave No Trace practices and how to work those into what we do so as to take care of the mountains that we all value and cherish.

The mileage on this trip is very short so this is the ideal for kids or someone who wants less distance and more time relaxing in the mountains.

Return to Sierra Backpacking & Hiking

Day 1
We meet in Bishop and do a complete equipment check to make sure you have everything you need for the adventure – and also to make sure that you are not taking too much and carrying too much weight. You will also have the opportunity to pick up anything you are missing in Bishop before we leave.
We carpool to Toms Place and set up our car shuttle before driving to the Hilton Lakes Trailhead above Rock Creek Lake. From here we climb gradually over to Hilton Lakes where we find a campsite by one of the lakes and enjoy the rest of the day while working on camp skills.

Day 2
We welcome the day, prepare breakfast, and then head down the other side with expansive views out over Crowley Lake past the Glass Mountains into Nevada. The trail here descends a lot to the trailhead but it is sandy and easy on the knees and finally we arrive at our vehicles and drive to retrieve the ones we left at Rock Creek. This is approximately a 30 minute shuttle.

Distances and elevations
Day 1: Trailhead to Hilton Lakes, 4.5 miles, 850 feet of gain, 850 feet of down
Day 2: Hilton Lakes to trailhead, 6.0 miles, 120 feet of gain, 2700 feet of down


Program Prerequisites:

No prior experience is required though you should be in fair to good physical condition.

Program Inclusions:

Price includes guiding, permits, group climbing gear, tents, kitchen gear, breakfasts, lunches and dinners (you bring hot/cold drinks and snack items). Scheduled dates include USFS trail fees. Private programs do not.

Local accommodation is not included.

Please Read before you go

We feel the following information is essential... (links open as PDF in new window)

  1. Details, Itinerary, and Equipment List
  2. SMC Cancellation Policy
  3. Suggestions on preparation - get the most out of your trip!
  4. Tips on physical training for your trip
  5. LNT - Let's work together to protect our precious mountain environment.

PDF Maps:

Backpacking I Weekend Map

Rental Equipment:

Need to rent equipment for your trip? We can help.