Off the Map: Horseback Riding in the High Sierra Nevada Wilderness

Immerse yourself in the Sierra Nevada’s rugged beauty, surveying the secluded landscapes on horseback to learn about the region’s history, culture and legends from local adventurers.
Rating (5)
Program No. 10322RJ
5 days
Starts at
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5 days
4 nights
12 meals
4 B 4 L 4 D
Check In, Registration, Welcome Dinner, Orientation
Lone Pine, CA
Dow Hotel & Dow Villa Motel

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m. Please note that smoke and forest fires can cause road closures in California during the summer months. For up to date road conditions and closures please contact the California Department of Transportation hotline at 1-800-427-7623 or at http://quickmap.dot.ca.gov/

Afternoon: Program Registration: After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar table in the hotel lobby to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes, and other important information. If your arrival is delayed, please ask for your packet when you check in.

Dinner: We’ll walk to a nearby restaurant for a family style dinner with soda, coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: As we linger over dinner, continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholar riding companions and some of our wranglers/staff from the pack station who will talk about our learning adventure on horseback. Orientation: After dinner the Group Leader will greet everyone with a warm welcome and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. All of our rides will take place in a national wilderness area. The Wilderness Act of 1964 created the legal definition of wilderness in the United States and at that time, protected 9.1 million acres of federal land. We typically ride 4-9 miles a day or approximately 5-6 hours with an hour break for lunch. Topics for evening campfire talks will vary by season, location, and staff expertise. There may be opportunities for limited fishing (California license required) and swimming so pack accordingly. Free time is reserved for your personal independent exploration. Please be aware that program activities, schedules, and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. After orientation we'll walk back to the hotel to get a good night's rest for the day ahead.

Arrive Base Camp, South Fork of Golden Trout Creek, Lecture
Horseshoe Meadow, CA
Sierra Nevada Campsite

Activity note: We will depart early from the hotel and drive to the pack station before breakfast; high elevation, horseback riding

Breakfast: Upon arrival at the pack station, we’ll have a hearty breakfast prepared by the chef with hot and cold items plus coffee, tea, water.

Morning: We will mount up for our initial ride up to South Fork of Golden Trout Creek.

Lunch: In a beautiful meadow

Afternoon: Our adventure at Golden Trout Creek continues. Fishing is available with a California fishing license. Later in the afternoon, we return to camp and get settles.

Dinner: Dinner around the campfire

Evening: Evening campfire talks will vary by season and staff expertise, addressing a range of topics such as natural or local history.

Cottonwood Pass, Chicken Spring Lake, Lecture
Horseshoe Meadow, CA
Sierra Nevada Campsite

Breakfast: Around the campfire, enjoy a delicious hot breakfast prepared by the chef with choices that vary daily; coffee, tea, water included.

Morning: Our ride this morning is to Cottonwood Pass which is at 11,200 feet.

Lunch: Picnic lunch at Chicken Spring Lake

Afternoon: Returning to camp through this scenic wonderland, we’ll have some time to freshen up and relax before dinner. There will also be a demonstration from the pack station staff on how to load a mule.

Dinner: Our cooks will delight us with another tasty meal around the campfire.

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.

Cottonwood Lakes Basin, Entertainment
Horseshoe Meadow, CA
Sierra Nevada Campsite

Breakfast: Around the campfire.

Morning: Today we ride to Cottonwood Lakes Basin which has excellent fishing and beautiful subalpine lakes.

Lunch: Picnic lunch of sandwiches on the trail.

Afternoon: After returning to camp along the trail, the remainder of the afternoon is free. There will be a demonstration from the pack station staff on how to load a mule.

Dinner: Our final dinner around the campfire.

Evening: In the superb silence of the High Sierra, what could be better than the toe-tapping strains of music drifting through the air? Enjoy a special treat as we’re joined by a guest musician. Sing, clap, dance, or just sit back and enjoy under the star-filled sky.

Ride to Trail Pass, Program Concludes
Horseshoe Meadow, CA

Breakfast: We will have our final hot breakfast around the campfire.

Morning: Today we will ride south for four to five miles. the route will take us via a gently rolling high country trail to Trail Pass with less than 500 feet elevation gain. Enjoy nice views of Circue Peak. Soak in the beauty of the high county as you reflect back on our week together in one small section of John Muir's Range of Light.

Lunch: The cookhouse at Cottonwood Pack Station has been preparing for our return with a bountiful farewell lunch. We’ll return to civilization with rich memories of incredible landscapes, wonderful riding experiences, and starry nights. This concludes our program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!

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