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Sierra Nevada Adventure: Exploring John Muir’s Range of Light on Horseback

Program Number: 10322RJ
Start and End Dates:
8/24/2014 - 8/28/2014; 8/21/2016 - 8/25/2016; 9/25/2016 - 9/29/2016;
Duration: 4 nights
Location: Bishop, California
Price starting at: $999.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Outdoor Adventures, Misc.; Natural History Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 12; 4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Deep in the heart of the backcountry, accompanied by just your horse and a small band of intrepid adventurers, marvel at the lakes, forests and flower-filled meadows of the Sierra Nevada range. Ride the rugged trails of this unblemished natural treasure on horseback as you imbue your own spirit with the peace and tranquility of the John Muir Wilderness. Learn about the Eastern Sierra’s human history as you experience the rugged mountain range like explorers of centuries past.


• Experience the rugged grandeur of the strikingly beautiful and remote John Muir Wilderness during horseback riding pack trips, led by high Sierra wranglers.
• Enjoy insider perspectives of the history, culture and fascinating tales of this intriguing mountain wilderness shared by expert leaders.
• In the serene mountain setting under a canopy of stars, enjoy an evening of live, toe-tapping music around the campfire with your fellow riders.

Activity Particulars

Horseback riding 3-5 miles a day, some experience preferred. Some easy hiking. Elevations of 11,000 feet.

Date Specific Information


Please note that this date begins in Bridgeport, CA and the horse packing trip will depart from the Virginia Lakes Pack Station. The riding experience will be similar, but take advantage of the beautiful fall foliage of the Aspen tree groves that line the Eastern Sierras.

Itinerary Summary

Arrival Bishop, 1 night; van to Sierra Nevada backcountry, 3 nights; departure.

Coordinated by Road Scholar.


Bishop, located at an elevation of 4,200’ in the Eastern Sierra, is adjacent to striking 14,000’ peaks. Fish teem in the Owens River flowing through the valley, and the nearby Inyo National Forest is home to ancient Bristlecone Pines.

Sierra Nevada Backcountry

The Sierra Nevada is a 400-mile-long mountain range in California and Nevada. The great naturalist John Muir, who wandered these mountains and lobbied for their conservation, called them “The Range of Light.” In addition to the incredible natural beauty of its peaks, valleys, lakes and woodlands, the Sierra Nevada boasts intriguing human history.

Bishop: Comfortable hotel. Sierra Nevada: Tent camping; pit toilets.
Meals and Lodgings
   Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites
  Bishop, California 1 night
   Sierra Nevada Campsite
  Rock Creek Meadow 3 nights
 Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Contact info: 636 N Main St
Bishop, CA 93514 USA
phone: 760-872-2423
  Room amenities: Hairdryers, coffee makers, voice mail, iron and ironing board.
  Facility amenities: Indoor pool, sauna, whirlpool, fitness room and coin laundry.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights prior: Contact hotel Hotel is often busy on weekends. Rooms may not be available. The Road Scholar rate is not guaranteed.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM

 Sierra Nevada Campsite
Type: Tents
  Contact info: Rock Creek Meadow
Sierra Nevada, CA 0000 USA
phone: NA0-0 0-0-0/ x0-
  Smoking allowed: No
  Bathroom: Shared facilities.

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
3:00 PM hotel check in time. 4:00-5:00 PM meet in hotel lobby for Road Scholar registration. You will be staying at Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends approximately 1:00 PM after ride back to pack station and lunch. Depart from pack station by van back to Bishop (if pre-arranged at pack station) or own vehicle. You will be staying at Sierra Nevada Campsite the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. Rock Creek Pack Station requires that participants complete a four page rider information form. This is required by their insurance carriers to obtain signed liability release waivers from all participants due to the activities on this program. Please mail the completed form to the Road Scholar office located at 14819 SE 82nd Dr, Clackamas, OR 97015 in advance of the program. We will turn our forms in as a group.
  Parking availability:
Pack Station is 33 miles from Bishop. Many prefer to drive car to pack station and leave car there free of charge for the week. They can leave directly from pack station after program. Or, can leave car at hotel free of charge and take free shuttle.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Bishop, California
  Nearest city or town:  Reno, Nevada
  Nearest highway: US Hwy 395
  Nearest airport:  Reno International Airport
  From End of Program
  Location:  Rock Creek Meadow
  Nearest city or town:  Bishop
  Nearest highway: US 395
  Nearest airport:  Mammoth Lakes
Travel Details

Reno, NV (to Bishop, CA)


From Airport




Public Transportation
Eastern Sierra Transit
phone: 760-872-1901
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


$53 (one way, per person)
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


5 hours 




200 miles


This bus service does not operate on Saturday or Sunday. Buses leave the Reno Airport at 1:50 PM MTThF, arriving in Bishop at 6:30 PM. The bus stop is 0.6 mile from the hotel. Buses depart Bishop at 7:30 AM MTThF, arriving at the Reno Airport at 12:00 PM. Visit for additional information. This is the Highway 395 Route.


Reno, NV (to Bishop, CA)


From Airport




Car Rentals
phone: 800-261-7331
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


Call Enterprise for current rate
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


3.5 hours 




203 miles


Rent a car through Enterprise at Reno airport and drop off car at Enterprise location in Bishop. Walk 10 minutes (0.5 miles) to hotel or call High Sierra Shuttle at (760) 258-6060 for current rates to drive you to hotel.

Driving Directions
  Los Angeles, CA Take US 101 north to CA 170. Continue on 170 to I-5 north.Take State Hwy.14 north to Lancaster exit.Merge onto CA 14 N. Turn right on CA 14 to US 395, slight left on US 395 and continue to Bishop. Hotel will be on right.
  Reno, NV Take US Hwy 395 south for 192 miles to Bishop. The hotel is located on the Main Street of Bishop which is also Hwy. 395.
  San Francisco, CA Take I-80 east to Oakland. Take exit onto I-580 toward state Hwy. 24.Continue on I205 east.Take the exit onto I-5 north. Take state Hwy. 120 exit toward Manteca. Merge onto CA 120-E. Take State Hwy. 120N/Hwy.99exit toward Sonora/Sacramento.Merge onto CA 120ECA99N. Turn right at CA120E/Yosemite Avenue,Continue to follow CA 120.Turn left at CA 108 /CA120 E. Slight right at CA 120.Continue on CA120 to US 395. Turn right on US 395 and continue to Bishop.
Elevation Note: Program begins at 4000'. Three nights in Sierra Nevada at 10,000'.

The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Check In/ Wine & Cider Social/ Orientation with Outfitter
(Sunday, August 24)
 Afternoon: Check in and registration in hotel lobby.

 Dinner: Enjoy a delicious dinner at a nearby restaurant.

 Evening: Meet your fellow riding companions, and some of our wranglers from Rock Creek Pack Station. Get ready for a fascinating week as our wranglers talk with you about your upcoming horseback riding adventure.
Accommodations: Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Scenic Ride in to Base Camp at Rock Creek Meadow/ Campfire Program
(Monday, August 25)
 Breakfast: Grab a cup of coffee at the hotel before we take off for the Pack Station. Van transportation can be arranged to Rock Creek Pack Station or you can take your individual cars.

Enjoy a generous breakfast while the mules are being packed with our gear.

 Morning: Our first ride is the trek up to Rock Creek Meadow. Head out from the Pack Station on a trail that crosses Rock Creek then heads up the switchbacks toward the high country and the John Muir Wilderness. Arrive at Rock Creek Meadow where our base camp has been set up by our guides.

All of our activities take place in the John Muir Wilderness which extends along the crest of the Sierra Nevada for 90 miles in the Inyo and Sierra National Forests. Established in 1964 by the Wilderness Act and named for naturalist John Muir, it contains 581,000 acres. The wilderness stretches along the eastern escarpment of the Sierra from near Mammoth Lakes in the north, to Cottonwood Pass in the south.

 Lunch: Picnic lunch on trail.

 Afternoon: You’re deep in the heart of the backcountry…Rock Creek Meadow and the surrounding mountains are a photographer's paradise. The afternoon is free for you to in nearby Rock Creek, rest or explore the area.

 Dinner: Dinner cooked on the open fire, is served buffet-style as we sit in comfortable lawn chairs around our campfire.

 Evening: Our evening campfire programs vary but typical presentations include the natural history of the area, the Donner Party, and exploration of the area. Topics may range from Baroque sheepherders to mountain lions depending on the staff and group.

Accommodations: Sierra Nevada Campsite
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: High Country Treasures of the Sierras - Trail Ride to Dorothy Lake/ Swim/ Fiddle Music Around the Campfire
(Tuesday, August 26)
 Breakfast: A delicious hot breakfast served around the campfire gets us ready for a day riding the trail.

 Morning: Today's ride takes us to beautiful Dorothy Lake. We travel through large aspens, timber pine and Mountain Mahogany and cross verdant mountain meadows. At the lake you might choose to try a swim in the snow -melt waters or try for a rainbow or eastern brook trout.

 Lunch: Picnic lunch at the lake.

 Afternoon: Return to camp after time on the trail in this scenic wonderland with a bit of time to relax and visit with new friends.

 Dinner: Our cooks surprise us with another excellent meal cooked on the open fire.

 Evening: In the superb silence of the high Sierras, what could be better than the toe-tapping strains of music drifting through the air? Enjoy this evening's special treat as our fiddler arrives! Sing, clap, jump, dance or just relax and enjoy....under the star-filled sky!

Accommodations: Sierra Nevada Campsite
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Deep in the Back Country / Trail Ride to Francis Lake / Evening Campfire Program
(Wednesday, August 27)
 Breakfast: Delicious hot breakfast served around the campfire.

 Morning: Another could be better than another beautiful ride in the John Muir Wilderness to Francis Lake.... a sparkling mountain cirque!

 Lunch: Picnic lunch at the lake.

 Afternoon: A little more time on the trail and we return to camp.

Optional hike to nearby trees with Basque carvings or another opportunity to fish and relax.

Enjoy a lesson by our guides on how to properly load a mule.

 Dinner: Food never tastes as good as a hearty dinner cooked outdoors over the open fire.

 Evening: What will this evening's fare be? Another fun opportunity around the campfire with your new friends to learn about the area's fascinating natural and human history.

Accommodations: Sierra Nevada Campsite
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Spectacular Views/ Trail Ride Back to Rock Creek Pack Station/ Farewells
(Thursday, August 28)
 Breakfast: Our final hot breakfast and visit around the campfire. Time to recall our favorite memories of our time on the trail in John Muir's Range of Light.

 Morning: Depart our camp and head back along the scenic ridge route with spectacular views of the High Sierra and Rock Creek Lake!

 Lunch: The cookhouse at Rock Creek Pack Station has been awaiting our arrival, busily preparing us a bountiful farewell lunch. Share contact information during our program wrap-up.

Then back to civilization with indelible memories of incredible landscapes, wonderful riding experiences and starry nights to carry you over until your next trip.

 Afternoon: Program ends after lunch.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Free Time Opportunities
  Bishop, California General Overview
Bishop has many interesting shops, a museum and Paiute-Shoshone Indian Cultural Center.
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

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