Alta Peak Trail

HARD 79 reviews
#8 of 93 trails in

Alta Peak Trail is a 12.6 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Red Fir, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until September.

DISTANCE
12.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3914 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

birding

cross country skiing

hiking

nature trips

snowshoeing

trail running

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

snow

no dogs

10 days ago

One of my favorite hikes ... complete it once every year. It has a couple places which make you work. The last face definitely makes you work for the end game ... an absolutely gorgeous view of the Sequoias. If you are adventurous, you can go off trail and scramble down to Pear Lake down below. In the summer, make sure you start out as early a possible because mid afternoon thunderstorms are common in the area. I was stranded in a lightning storm for a couple hours one year. Bring plenty of water when hot as water holes aren't always available.

hiking
18 days ago

Hi. I am looking for trails in Sequoia. Group of 4 girls who are physically fit, We are looking for a 4-6 mile hike with good views. Would this be the right trail to take? Thanks in advance!

1 month ago

I did this trail in August 2017. What a great hike. Wooded lowlands till you get above the tree line. Sun was brutal at that point. Camped out at panther gap, then hiked over to pear like the next day and camped there. 80degree days and 60 degree nights

2 months ago

Completed this trail on Labor Day, September 4th, 2017. No doubt! It certainly was one of our favorite trails in California. We love difficult trails so when researching we just had to test this one out. SO glad we did and loved it! Go Alta Peak #respectfornature.

hiking
5 months ago

Just did on 16th. Weather was great. Definitely need layers and would very much recommend gloves. Was unable to get to peak as last 1/2 mile was iced over. Told by other hikers that even those with ice spikes were having issues. A lot of ice in lower areas especially on way out. Well worth the effort

hiking
5 months ago

The last 2.1 miles, from the fork between Alta Meadows and Alta Peak are completely snow-covered. I hiked it the Friday after Thanksgiving, and had to trail blaze using the GPS. It's possible some of it has thawed, but be prepared to hike over snow/ice/slush to reach the summit. Since the sun sets around 4:40pm, I would recommend bringing a headlamp and coming down from the summit around 2pm at the latest if you don't want to hike in the dark. The views from 2.8 miles onward are breathtaking.

hiking
6 months ago

The trail conditions are free of snow or ice. It's a strenuous hike and took us 8 hours out and back. Try to summit by noon since the days are shorter now.

hiking
6 months ago

Um waaaaay longer than 12.8 miles. Awesome views and very challenging. Like I'll be in pain for 3 days, kind of strenuous. The Hike is a lot longer than what it says. Our Apple Watch recorded the out and back hike to be about 19-20 miles round trip. Just be prepared and go early if you're planning a day hike Especially since the days are shorter now. Also there's only a couple of tiny streams but I suggest to bring plenty of water and a flashlight.

hiking
7 months ago

awesome views ...very few hikers in October

7 months ago

Awesome hike. Very challenging for a day hike. Views were a little shrouded by some smoke in the area but still awesome.

hiking
8 months ago

Easy to locate but along the way the signs were not clear so we ended up off the trail. Definitely a hard hike from what we did experience if you are looking for a challenge!

hiking
9 months ago

Gorgeous hike, beautiful views up top. We started the hike around 10:30 am Sat Aug 19th. We made it out just as it started lightly raining, although there was a lot of thunder well before that. There was a good amount of people on the trail, not too many - you could still hike for an hour without seeing anyone. It is well labeled, and has a nice combination of tree shade and exposure (which was hot in the sun). Definitely recommend it for someone who wants a nice challenge.

hiking
9 months ago

!!!!HELP PLEASE!!!!!! my friend recently passed away on Alta Peak and I would really like if someone could take a snapshot of the signature book at the top in the metal box. We would like a photo of his signature "Jeff and Margo (Margo)" , or "Jeff Brown and Margo Zuzow" Signature would be from 8/19/17 3PM. pleasee someone get this message out! Thank you! email photo to allyse.chong@gmail.com and shomargarita@hotmail.com

backpacking
10 months ago

Lovely hike with lots of wildflowers, tons of greenery, and lots of creeks to refill your water. One member of our group saw a few bears. Hike gets hot after Panther Gap because there's not a lot of shade. The path to Alta Peak is mostly cross-country after the split with the trail to Alta Meadow. The last 1/4 mile or so has patches of snow. It was firm in the morning but will probably be slushy in the afternoon. No winter gear required. The register was full so we added another page in. This was a two day backpack for us, but would probably be an easier day hike carrying minimal gear.

hiking
10 months ago

My wife and I hiked it on Wednesday, July 12th. It was a very nice trail with great views and opportunities to see wildlife (we saw two bears and a Sooty Grouse). Snow does cover the last several hundred yards and we took our time picking our way through the snow/rock patches in order to reach the peak, but was little problem with a decent pair of hiking boots and a shared pair of hiking poles. We went at a moderate pace and left Wolverton trail head at 9:30 am and back before 5 pm.

hiking
10 months ago

Alta Peak was a tough hike but great training! I picked it to see how I'd handle altitude, and it definitely makes it difficult. I also missed turning left for Alta Peak on the last split and ended up toward Alta Meadow. When I realized it, I actually just cut directly North, rock climbing a couple hundred feet until I intersected. That really took it out of me! Great navigation lessons and exercise though.
I actually think this would be the perfect time to go (mid July) if it weren't for the wildfires burning in the south. The snow is beautiful, the run off makes awesome (and also a bit dangerous in the afternoon) water fall/streams to cross, and the snow covers only a part of the trail where you can climb straight up the rocks anywhere and not get lost.
Honestly though, the smoke from the fires ruined the higher views for me. I thought the best view was actually East over the meadow or facing South before the massive uphill climb. There you're below the smoke line altitude and can enjoy the chill of shade and snow and the details of the valley and snow capped mountains are clear. Otherwise, it was the perfect length, elevation and altitude climb for the beginning of my Mt Whitney training!

hiking
10 months ago

This is a beautiful trail. I started at Wolverton at 6:15 am on 7/12/17. Do start the hike early because you get mostly shade up until the last 2 miles to the peak. The snow level was at 10500 ft, when the trail became completely covered. At that point you need to be creative and find the best way to the top. I had not snow gear and my shoes could only take me to 11000 ft - about a few hundred feet from the top. I got there at 9:00 am (less than 3 hours). The snow is melting fast, so the trail is very wet at times. The conditions will be certainly more favorable in a few weeks. I did past the tree line and the views were amazing. The last Foxtail pines were incredible.

hiking
10 months ago

Completed trail 7/9/17 (yesterday) in 10 hours.

For the first five miles from Wolverton the trail is fairly straightforward asides from a few stream crossings. After the last switchback, it gets complicated. At first you'll see a section of the trail has turned into a river for the snow melt, and eventually disappears during its "upward" turn under the snowfield.

At this point you must get creative and find the safest route to the peak, and depending on which false summits you chase or how curvy your route is (based on sun/temperature/snow conditions), this last .7 mi could double in length with a lot of ice picking, slipping in slush and crawling. I was aiming for the ridgeline so I could get some views and orient myself but veered further west than intended so I probably extended it into one hour doing a full mile.

Top is gorgeous. Stunning views, and can't wait to get back. Didn't get to enjoy it as much as there was a thunderstorm rolling close, and an aggressive marmot that lives there & likes trekking poles :)

Most people are not going to make it without shoe traction and/or trekking poles. It might be possible on a cold day if you start early. I felt bad for many people who made it 6 miles and turned back, because unless you hit that ridgeline for the last .7 miles, there's honestly not much to see on this 12 mile trail that you couldn't from Moro Rock. I'm also an Ansel Adams wannabe and I would have been pretty livid if I didn't to get to the summit or ridgeline.

Use bug spray. Thought crossing into snow would happen much earlier and result in fewer bugs - was wrong!!

Bringing a pump water filter might be better than carrying a ton of water up. As others pointed out, there are four or five streams you can filter water from in the second half of the trail.

backpacking
10 months ago

We did it on July 2, 2017. The Great Western Divide was beautiful. The trail was well maintained and relatively dry. There're several water sources on the trail. The last mile was covered with slushy snow. A pair of spikes and poles would help. My GPS says it's 14.5 miles r/t.

10 months ago

such a beautiful trail. Did some running

backpacking
11 months ago

We only made it to Mehrten Meadow, but this trail is gorgeous! The Giant Forest was very peaceful with water running everywhere until you reach Panther Gap. There were patches of snow, but nothing too difficult to manage. The views from Panther Gap and beyond are breath taking. Mehrten Meadow was a great place to make camp to avoid the sweltering heat. It appears you'll still need snow gear to reach anything past Mehrten Meadow. I look forward to completing this trail later this year.

backpacking
11 months ago

Our group of 3 backpacked this June 9-11. Got to Mehrten Meadow and camped there two nights. Right after Mehrten it is all snow with a lot of snow bridges and will need the correct gear to get to the peak, or even to Alta Meadow. Got down to about 20 deg at night but a fire at Mehrten really helped out. Snow will melt off in a about a month I wouldn't guess, maybe 2-3 weeks. Overall great trip, lots of snow even getting to Mehrten. Panther Gap is all clear!

11 months ago

so calm and peaceful I would recommend hiking this trail system on a week day so to be almost alone.

hiking
11 months ago

I hiked this trail over memorial day weekend. There was tons of snow and it was hard to stay on the actual trail since not many people made it to the top this year (bring a GPS) but I made it all the way. Last half mile are pretty steep and I had to crawl up on the snow. It is all worth it once you can enjoy the great view from 11200 feet.

hiking
Monday, May 22, 2017

Hiked late May. Couldn't make it but more than 3 miles in before the snow got impossible. But there is a great view about 2.5 miles in that's spectacular! As long as you're willing to hike thru some snow! Wear either waterproof shoes or just be ready for wet socks.

hiking
Monday, May 08, 2017

This is yet another great hike in SEKI. I did this back in early Oct 2015 and it was a good time of the year for it. Most of the trail is shaded except for the last mile or so. It's a decent walk through the forest and some meadows for the first few miles. After about 2.5 miles you reach panther gap and it's here where the views really impress. The next 3 miles are just amazing. I will say that having hiked a lot at 9k, going up to 11.5k was surprisingly difficult - not ridiculously strenuous for someone in shape and used to hiking, but back then this was the highest I had ever hiked up and I had expected all that hiking at 9k to lend itself more to hiking at 10k-11k. That last 0.5 mile or so was a struggle. Once on the top you can see the lakes down to the north, redwood meadow to the south and a few peaks (e.g., Lippincott, Mt Eisen) to the southeast, which still had some snow on them when we went. And although we got quite hot hiking the last mile in the sun, the top was windy and in the high 50s so we didn't stay too long.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

amazing hike! altitude did get to my wife and myself a Lil but not too bad. Bring water! we started at 7 and we were back at the car around 4.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Beautiful views all the way! This trail will definitely get you winded if you haven't acclimated to the altitude. Careful!
Outback Jack

hiking
Friday, October 28, 2016

Not for the Sherman Tree trail walkers!
Wonderful views of the Great Western Divide.
The last 2 miles were definitely the crux. Winds picked up on the last slog up the side and made for a brisk and brief time on top but the view is epic. No need to do the Pear Lake trail, you can see it down below. ;)
Since it was late October I only ran into two other people. Very quiet and serene the entire day out. I clocked around 6 hours total.

hiking
Sunday, October 23, 2016

Couldn't have asked for better weather and the scenery is beautiful. That being said, maybe it's the time of year, but it seems to be the drought has wreaked havoc on our forests here in California. This was my first time climbing something over 10k and I feel great about it! Definitely not for the first time hiker if you aren't in the best of shape. It did take me the full 8 hrs to get to the peak and back. Maybe my Fitbit was off, but it registered 17 miles start to finish.

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