COTTONWOOD PACK STATION
(559)478-2258
  1. HOME
  2. HIKE/RIDE
  3. DUNNAGE/CACHE
  4. CUSTOM TRIPS
  5. PHOTOS
  6. GUEST INFO
  7. ABOUT THE AREA
  8. MAPS
  9. CONTACT US
HOME
Cottonwood Pack Station is located near Lone Pine, California and operates under permit by the Inyo National Forest and Sequoia Kings Canyon National Park.

We offer supported hiking trips as well as traditional horse packing trips. Whether you want to climb Mt Whitney from the west side, or traverse the entire John Muir Trail, we offer fully outfitted pack trips for both hikers and riders. Our trips originate trips primarily from Horseshoe Meadows.

Our mules will transport your personal gear, camping equipment and supplies.You carry only aday pack for water and essentials. Our crew will set up a camp at each stop, cook breakfast and dinner, and lay out a selection of items for your lunch. Each morning, you pack a lunch and get on your way, after a hearty breakfast. When you arrrive at the campsite, that afternoon, you are greeted by the crew AND some tasty snacks. Later that evening, you will enjoy a hot meal, prepared by the cook. You hike and enjoy the trip, we will take care of the rest!

We also offer dunnage/cache drops and spot trips.

A dunnage or cache drop, means that we transport your personal camping gear to a point you specify, while you hike in, carrying just your day pack.

On a spot trip we transport you AND your gear by horse/mule to a campsite. On a specified date, we will return to transport you and your gear back to the pack station.

PHOTOS
Chickenspring Lake.
Chickenspring Lake
Overlooking Siberian outpost.
Overlooking Siberian outpost going from horseshoe meadow to Rock Creek
campfire with chairs
campfire with chairs
catching golden trout
catching a golden
Crabtree Lake
Crabtree Lake
Golden Trout Creek
Golden Trout Creek at Little Whitney Meadow
Whitney hiking trip.
Whitney Hiking Trip
Whitneyhiking trip
Whitney hiking trip
Layover day.
Layover Day
Setting up Kitchen
Setting up Kitchen
Crabtree Sunset
Crabtree Sunset
Guitar Lake.
Guitar Lake
Day 6 Chance for wildlife viewing at Soldier Lake...
Chance for wildlife viewing at Soldier Lake...
Past Trail Crest
Just past Trail Crest
Beautiful!
Looking Southwest from Mt. Whitney.
Looking Southwest from Mt. Whitney..
hikers
Hikers

Chickenspring Lake
Wallace Lake
Wallace Lake
Packer at Kearsarge
Packer and string at Kearsarge
Bullfrog Pond
Bullfrog Pond
Upper Meadow
Upper Meadow
GUEST INFORMATION
What you need to know…for hikers on pack stock supported trips

Dunnage limit is 30 lbs. per person (this includes sleeping bags, fishing equipment, liquor, etc.)

You may bring your own tent up to 10 pounds that is in addition. The PCT 28 day trip allows 35 pounds of duffel.

PERSONAL CHECK LIST

Bring belongings in stout canvas or nylon duffels; side zipper recommended, ideal size approximately 14" x 32". It is a good idea to use a large plastic bag INSIDE of the duffle to protect contents from external moisture.

Sleeping bags can be in separate duffels --again, line the inside of the duffle against rain. Place all cosmetics, soaps, medications, etc into small plastic containers with close-fitting caps, THEN into sturdy resealable plastic storage bags. If anything breaks or bursts from altitude changes, the plastic bag contains the spill. When possible, it is a good idea to transfer alcoholic beverages to sturdy plastic bottles with well fitting caps - it will save weight and protect against breakage.

ESSENTIALS


CLOTHING


ETC.


FOOD

We provide the all meals on scheduled trips. You can bring your favorite "on-the-trail" snacks.


OPTIONAL ITEMS

DUNNAGE PACKS and CACHE DROPS

The load is packed to a specified location and you hike to meet it. "Some hike and others ride" falls into this category. One packer/wrangler is required to manage each 5 head of livestock.
We can pack no more than 150 lbs per mule. The bulk, volume and dimensions allow may require additional mules.
COSTS:
$375 per packer per day
$250 per animal per day (riding or pack stock, same price)

PACK TRIPS 2018

Rock Creek Pack Station, operating as Mt. Whitney Pack Trains, offers riding and hiking trips originating at Cottonwood Pack Station. These trips allow guests the opportunity to climb Mt. Whitney from the west side and explore the Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Parks and the Golden Trout Wilderness. For information on the rules and regulations related to fishing in California, directions and links to maps, click here.

We originate trips primarily from Horseshoe Meadows but serve guests from the Sage Flat, Sawmill, Taboose and Shepherd trail heads. The Mt. Whitney Pack Trains portion of the Rock Creek Pack Station operates under permit by the Inyo National Forest and Sequoia Kings Canyon National Park.

Our "Hiking With Pack Stock" trips are listed on the Rock Creek Pack Station website. You can join one of our Hiking With Pack Stock trips, that allow you to enjoy the Mt. Whitney area carrying only a day pack. Our mules will transport your gear; our cooks and wranglers will meet you at the campsites. Your meals are prepared for you and camp is ready upon your arrival. You hike and enjoy the trip, we will take care of the rest!

Our scheduled Pack Trips for riders are also listed on the Rock Creek Pack Station website HERE.

MAPS

You can purchase quality topo maps at TOM HARRISON MAPS.

Also, take a look at Halfmile's PCT Maps. This site offers a free map of the John Muir Trail. Look for the "California Section H" map. It covers Cottonwood to Tuolumne.

About The Area

The slides shown, above, offer a glimpse of the Golden Trout Wilderness. This area is great for moving trips in July when passes in the Bishop, Mammoth and Yosemite area are impassable. The Golden Trout Wilderness is quite beautiful, with many meadows, streams and forested areas.

Rock Creek Pack Station, operating as Mt. Whitney Pack Trains, offers fully outfitted pack trips for hikers and riders who want to travel into the remote Golden Trout and Sequoia National Park Wildernesses. We originate trips primarily from Horseshoe Meadows but serve guests from the Sage Flat, Sawmill, Taboose and Shepherd trail heads.

The Mt. Whitney Pack Trains portion of the Rock Creek Pack Station operates under permit by the Inyo National Forest and Sequoia Kings Canyon National Park.

Trips departing from Horseshoe Meadows, originate at Cottonwood Pack Station. We park cars at the Cottonwood Pack Station parking lot. We ask that our guests utilize the public restrooms at the adjoining Equestrian campground area. Those wanting to spend the night prior to their trip at Horseshoe Meadows need to stay at the Forest Service campgrounds.

General Information

Horseshoe Meadow is a vast 10,000 ft high meadow, surrounded by pine forests.

Getting to Horseshoe Meadow is an adventure in itself. The road to Horseshoe Meadow climbs over 6,000 feet, as it winds its way up from Lone Pine. 3 campgrounds are located in the Horseshoe Meadow Area. trails from Horseshoe Meadow provide access to the John Muir and Golden Trout Wilderness Areas, and to Sequoia National Park.

Directions: Located at the end of Horseshoe Meadow Road, 24 miles southwest of the town of Lone Pine, California. From center of Lone Pine, turn west at the stoplight and follow Whitney Portal Road for 3 miles. Then turn south onto Horseshoe Meadow Road.The road to Horseshoe Meadow climbs over 6,000 feet, as it winds its way up from Lone Pine. It is about 18 miles from Lone Pine to Horseshoe Meadows, about a 45 minute drive.

Campgrounds: The Horseshoe Meadows Campground is the easiest and most accessible campsite for those departing on a pack trip.
Part of the Horseshoe Meadow Recreation Area, it is located 24 miles from the town of Lone Pine, California. The campground has 18 walk-in sites with tent pads, shared tables, fire grates, piped water, and toilet facilities. One night stay limit.

Fees: $6/Night for single unit
Usage: Medium
Restrictions: One night stay limit at campgrounds. Wood gathering is prohibited; bring own supply of firewood. High bear activity; bear boxes are provided and must be used (box dimensions typically 18x18x50inches)
Closest Towns: Lone Pine, CA
Water: Potable Water
Restroom: Vault Toilet (1)
Operated By: Forest Service

All cars need to be free of food items or scented products that could attract bears. Please give your packer those items to be stored in our bear proof containers while you are on a pack trip.

There are NO PHONES at Horseshoe Meadows. Cell service is available on the road overlooking the Owens Valley just before you enter the Cottonwood/Horseshoe Meadow area.

Fishing Season and Regulations: Within the Golden Trout Wilderness, the season is open between the last Saturday in April and November 15 using only artificial lures with barbless hooks. The daily bag and possession limit is 5 fish. Special California Fish and Game restrictions apply when fishing in the Golden Trout Wilderness. Only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used for all species. Open season is from the last Saturday in April each year until November 15. In the Little Kern River Drainage there is a five-trout limit. On the main stem of the Kern River, from the point where trail 33E30 turns east, to Tyndell Creek, there is a two-trout limit and no rainbow trout over ten inches in total length can be taken.>

More details on fishing regulations for the Golden Trout Wilderness can be found at the California Department of Fish and Game website. Be sure to read them carefully and have a valid fishing license in your possession, if you intend to do any fishing.

Some maps of the areas served:
Lone Pine to Horseshoe Meadows
Sage Flat Area
Taboose to Shepherd's Pass
Sequoia National Park
Kern Peak Area

General Mt. Whitney Area

You can purchase quality topo maps at TOM HARRISON MAPS.

Also, take a look at Halfmile's PCT Maps. This site offers a free map of the John Muir Trail. Look for the "California Section H" map. It covers Cottonwood to Tuolumne. For some beautiful photography of the Mt. Whitney area, look at Greg Cope's Nature Focused Photography

CUSTOM HIKING TRIPS
ALL INCLUSIVE SERVICE

We have several private groups willing to add hikers to their private trips that cover the John Muir Trail in Kings Canyon National Park. This is mountain travel for the hiker who wants to enjoy the wilderness for longer than his or her back can carry the needed supplies! We prepare your food and packers break camp and move the gear to a pre-arranged spot each day. Guests may bring 30 lbs of personal gear (includes sleeping bag) and we provide the tents, toilet, camp chairs, tables, meals and staff for your travel in the wilderness. Join other hikers on open hiking trips or form your own group for an all-inclusive private custom trip. We provide sample menus and itineraries for your approval.

We can help you create a personal route, custom menu and ideal wilderness adventure. Call or email us to discuss your schedule and preferred itinerary.

Let us put together an custom hiking trip that fits your schedule and interests, and allows you to meet and hike with others. If you have a particular section of the John Muir Trail that you want to hike…please let us know. We offer private trips from the Onion Valley and Bishop Pass trailheads.

If you don't have the time or desire to hike the entire JMT in one trip can provide all inclusive custom trips that cover segments. Cottonwood to Onion Valley, Onion Valley to Bishop Pass, Bishop Pass to Red’s Meadow or Red’s Meadow to Yosemite are segments available to you. The Halfmile's PCT Maps offer a free map of the John Muir Trail. Look at the "California Section H" map. It covers Cottonwood to Tuolumne.



Pricing for all-inclusive private custom trip is shown in the table, below.
Per person per day
Please note, the following fees are per person:
$15.00 monitoring fee, $5 wilderness permit reservation fee,
3% outfitters fee, and 8% regulatory fee.
9 to 12 persons $265
5 to 8 persons $285
HOW TO CONTACT US
You can call us at : 559-478-2258. We will be happy to answer any questions.
Or you can email us.