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Day 3 of 3 Golden Trout Wilderness - Mulkey Meadow

October 16, 2018




Trail: Mulkey Meadow-Templeton Meadow Trail

GPS statistics:

Mileage: 12 miles one way

Ascent: 2411ft

Descent: 1119ft

Min elevation: 8615ft

Max elevation: 10427ft


Directions to trailhead: From Lone Pine, CA turn west toward the Sierra Mountains on Whitney Portal Rd. Turn left onto Horseshoe Meadow Rd, and follow the road to the end.


Parking: Signs will guide you to parking and trailhead.


Permit: A backpackers permit is required for overnight stays. This can be obtained from the Lone Pine Visitor's Center. Day hikers do not require a permit. 


Map: We used the Whitney Portal, it cuts off a corner of the loop. Golden Trout Wilderness map is also available.


Our Adventure:

We planned a 3 day backpack July 20-22. Storms moved through the area daily requiring afternoon rain gear. On day 3 we wake up to fog covering the valley. Today we hike out of the valley, so we have more elevation to ascend than the previous 2 days.


We hike a loop that my GPS says is 32.2 miles. The first day we hike Trail Pass Trail to Tunnel Meadow. The second day we hike the Ramshaw Meadow Trail. The 3rd day we hike the Mulkey Meadow-Templeton Trail back out to Trail Pass Trail. 



Last night we were astounded at the brilliant variety of colors in the sunset. We had a 360 degree view of God's gorgeous canvas! 


In the morning we woke up to a dense layer of fog over the valley. We drank coffee and ate a hearty breakfast watching as the sun burned off the fog.  


All the fog is gone and we hit the trail by 9am. We'll stay on the Mulkey Meadow - Templeton Meadow Trail most of the day. 

 The trail parallels the Ramshaw Meadow Trail and we look across the same meadows we observed yesterday, only now we can see the distant mountains.




 Although we have not seen any other person or livestock we do find ourselves passing along fence lines. Little reminders that we are not truly in the middle of no-where.


 We cross one last part of the Ramshaw Meadow and the trail starts climbing up a hill. 


 There is quite a variety of terrain as we keep climbing up from meadow. Initially the trail is closed in with trees and tall brush.


Though as we hike higher the trail opens up 

 More boulders appear and the view is more a more chaotic chorus of brush, boulders and trees.


We reach a false summit at 3.71 miles. We're at 9300 feet. The summit is just 300 feet higher, though we cannot see it from here.

 Just before we reach the summit of this hill we get a grand view of where we hiked from

 At the top we stop for a snack and a rest. We're just over 4 miles in from where we camped. This hill was a 750 ft elevation and we're at 9546ft. 


We meet Ranger Matt who is doing some trail maintenance.

We are greeted with more amazing meadows as we emerge from the trees 


 Mulkey Meadow and Mulkey Creek

 Marmot on watch!

 The mountain was nice to look at. We won't be hiking over it. We'll hike parallel to it.

 These small strawberries were smaller than an Advil pill- but they were nummy!


 Familiar landscape. To the left is where we came off the pass into Mulkey Meadow on the first day. We headed right toward Tunnel Meadow.

 Gorgeous landscape in Mulkey Meadows

 We could take the trail to Mulkey Pass and hook back up at the Trail Pass summit, but we decided not to add the extra miles. 


We hook back up to Trail Pass Trail and start the ascent to the Trail Pass summit. 

 Ranger Matt was here earlier and placed rocks and logs in the trail that needs recovery and made the real trail more evident.

 We get a little rain but not enough for us to stop and put on rain gear.


 I took a photo of this area on day 1.  Today is much more cloudy and to dark. 

 We make it to Trail Pass Summit and stop for a bite to eat and rest this time.  On Day 1 we hiked through this area without stopping. We are the only ones at this cross-roads right now. 

 Rain starts to come down more heavily, but we take a moment take a shot of the signs at the summit. 

 As we head down toward Horseshoe Meadow we see glimpses of the mountains as the clouds cover then reveal them. 

 Horseshoe Meadow

 As we come off the mountain back to the meadows we have good views of the distant mountains.


 This raven was hunting in the Horseshoe Meadow

 We're almost back to the car just under a half mile to go!


 Back at the parking lot we find fewer cars.... but we're only looking for one...Ours!


Thanks for coming along on our 3 day backpack. Hope you come back and visit us again!




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Copyright Neil Bennett Photography 2016