HST from Wolverton/Alta TH

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HST from Wolverton/Alta TH

Post by MikeBBayer » Tue Jul 21, 2020 2:14 pm

I am doing the HST but starting at Wolverton/Alta TH and joining up with the HST. Has anyone done this and can you please recommend campsites in that area between Wolverton and the HST junction?


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Re: HST from Wolverton/Alta TH

Post by torpified » Tue Jul 21, 2020 6:14 pm

I've accessed the HST from the Alta TH twice, once in 2016 and once a few weeks ago.

There are two ways to reach the HST from the Alta TH.

(a) travel S along Long Meadow into the Giant Forest, then take the Wolverton Cutoff to the HST. This way you'll see Sequoias! You join the HST after ~5.5 miles, and reach the first legal (but uninspiring) camping at Panther Creek a mile or so later. (You have to clamber up a bank on the left after you cross the creek to find the flat spaces. NB my distances are very rough.) I think the first *nice* place to camp is Mehrten Creek, about 3 miles after you join the HST.
(b) Follow the Alta Trail for about 4 miles, then hang a right and drop down to the HST. You meet it about 6 miles from the TH; taking it a few hundred meters back toward Crescent Meadow will bring you to the Mehrten Creek sites. Other options are to ignore the turnoff to the HST and (i) carry on down the Alta Trail for a few hundred meters to Mehrten Meadow, pretty wooded sites about 4.5 miles from the TH; and (ii) take Alta trail all the way to wonderful Alta Meadow, a detour for sure, but well worth it (6 miles from the TH, about 2 miles of backtracking to reach the spur to the HST). There are OK campsites in the woods just to the right of where the trail meets enters the meadow, and pretty spectacular sites if you keep the faith and wander through those woods until they deliver you to a knoll overlooking the meadow. You'll have great views of places the HST will take you later, like Valhalla and the bowl holding Precipice Lake.

If your schedule permits it, Alta Peak is a very fun side trip. You can reach it via a ~4m, 2000 ft of bonus elevation, on-trail RT that leaves the Alta Trail shortly after Mehrten Meadow. Two nights at Alta Meadow (or a night at Mehrten Meadow and a night at Alta Meadow), with an Alta Peak ascent in between, would be a great way to acclimate to elevation before tackling the climb to Kaweah Gap.

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