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Duration: 8 days

Group size: 4-12 participants

Trip Rating: Moderate/Difficult

Price: $1950 per person

Date: August 4-11, 2019

  5. MAPS
Trip Overview:

This is an opportunity for singles, couples and small groups to join others on an open trip that allows you to visit the treasures of the Yosemite Wilderness. McCabe Lakes, Matterhorn Canyon, Smedberg Lake, Benson Lake and Kerrick Canyon are highlights of this journey.

Hike only with a day pack…we provide the camp, food, equipment and all you need to bring is your sleeping bag, pad and personal items. When possible, we enjoy the camaraderie of sitting by the fire and sharing the stories of a great day in the wilderness.The packer will furnish delicious meals with a cook to handle all the kitchen chores, including cleanup. Chairs are furnished to relax in camp. In case of rain, the wranglers will put up a large tarp to sit under. A sit-down toilet will be provided at each camp with a privacy tent. Mules will carry all equipment and food except what we require during the day and carry in our day packs.

This trip is for those that don’t need a hiking guide on the trail. The packers and cook help orient you to where you will need to hike. And, if you do need assistance…they will certainly help. Guests hike on their own during the day and meet up with the packers at the designated camp in the afternoon.

We meet for Breakfast in Bridgeport in front of the Hay Street Café. We recommend that guests stay at the Walker River Lodge (760-932-7021) which is across the street. The Rock Creek staff will meet guests and collect duffel at 6:30AM. After breakfast, we’ll park the cars on a street in Bridgeport and transport guests to Tuolomne Meadows to begin the hike.

The trip can be considered moderate, with several moderately strenuous days. Refer to the Itinerary for a more detailed day-to-day description of the trip.

Meeting Place: Guests meet for Breakfast in front of the Hay Street Café. We recommend that guests stay at the Walker River Lodge (760-932-7021) which is across the street. The Rock Creek staff will meet guests and collect duffel at 6:30AM. After breakfast, we’ll park the cars on a street in Bridgeport and transport guests to Tuolomne Meadows to begin the hike.

ITINERARY: The following itinerary is the suggested plan for the trip. However, there may be changes based on grazing, campsite condition and the prerogative of the Rock Creek crew. There are many wonderful options and we reserve the right to make changes. Often, we camp at Miller Lake area, Benson Lake and try and choose campsites with privacy and wilderness seclusion. Mileages are estimated from Topo and are approximate.

Day 1: Tuolomne Meadows to Cold Canyon (Glen Aulin) We hike north on the Pacific Crest Trail from the largest meadows in Yosemite. The trail follows the Lyell Fork of the Tuolomne River. The cascades and waterfalls as we head to Glen Aulin make this one of the most scenic routes in the Sierra. The trail climbs up Cold Canyon and we make camp in the meadows below Elbow Hill. Approximately 7 miles hike). On occasion, we stay in Glen Aulin if the water is not running in Cold Cyn)

Day 2: Cold Canyon to McCabe Creek
The morning hike goes through meadows and alternating forest before we switchback through the Hemlock Forest to reach camp on McCabe Creek.. The McCabe Lakes are above camp and those arriving early may want to spend the afternoon exploring the beautiful canyon. (Less than 7 miles)

Day 3: McCabe Creek to Matterhorn Canyon We descend to Return Creek in Virginia Canyon and then climb steeply to travel through the beautiful plateau with several ponds and Miller Lake. Matterhorn is a spectacular glaciated canyons. Vast meadows and lots of flowers make this a favorite of visitors.

Day 4: Matterhorn Canyon to Smedberg Lake or Rodgers Lake
This remote part of Yosemite has beautiful vistas of glacial polished mountains, lush meadows and wildflowers. We climb to the top of Benson Pass and meander down to Smedberg Lake. Volunteer Peak frames the panoramic view to the west. Rodgers and Neal Lake are only a short hike from the lake. The group will camp to be able to enjoy great fishing or exploring the ponds and lakes of the area.

Day 5: Layover in Smedberg Lake area-
Great fishing in Rodgers and Neal Lakes. There are many ponds and lakes only a short distance from Smedberg and there are many off trail options to explore.

Day 6: Smedberg Lake to Lower Kerrick Meadow Layover
We descend to Benson Lake and climb up through the manzanita to Seavy Pass. This is an enchanting area of ponds, streams and hemlocks.. At Kerrick Creek the trail heads east to a camp in Kerrick Canyon. Small granite domes rise out of the canyon and it seems like a miniature Yosemite Valley. Approximately 8 mile hike.

Day 7: Lower Kerrick Canyon to camp near Pealer Lake.
The trail winds up through a series of meadows to a camp near the crest of the Sierra. Once at camp spend the afternoon at Peeler Lake or exploring the Buckeye Pass area. About 5 miles hiking.

Day 8: Upper Kerrick Canyon to Twin Lakes.
We exit Yosemite National Park and wind our way down to Twin Lakes. Estimated 8 miles hiking. The shuttle will bring us back to our cars in Bridgeport. Expect to be back in town by 4 PM.

Upper Kerrick Canyon

Upper Kerrick Canyon
Above Matterhorn Canyon

Above Matterhorn Canyon
Miller Lake

Miller Lake
Lower Kerrick Canyon

Lower Kerrick Canyon
Pack Animals Near Smedberg

Pack animals near Smedberg Lake
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.


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.


  • Footwear. For this trips a medium-weight pair of hiking boots. We do not recommend lightweight hikers or tennies since they give little ankle support and the soles are often thin.
  • Camp Shoes. A lightweight pair of tennies or Tevas to wear in camp. This will reduce vegetation damage at our campsites.
  • A day pack. It should be large enough to take water, extra clothing, rainwear, camera, etc during the days.
  • Sleeping Bag. Most summer trips are warm and a bag rated to about 25°F will be plenty warm enough. We much prefer down bags, and good quality ones at that. Your bag should weigh in around 3 pounds.
  • Sleeping pad. A 3/4 or full length closed cell foam or Thermarest. If you bring a Thermarest also bring a repair kit to fix pesky holes!
  • Coffee mug (plastic for camp)


  • 2 pair synthetic liner socks.
  • 2 pair heavier synthetic or wool blend socks.
  • Long underwear top. Capilene, some other synthetic or the new pure Merino wool types.
  • Long underwear bottom.
  • Warm pants. Tights or Expedition Weight Capilene.
  • Warm shirt. Synchilla or R2 weight works well.
  • Another fuzzy sweater top or pile jacket of some sort
  • GoreTex Jacket and Pants. A lightweight set is sufficient and heavy bulky clothing is unnecessary. Side zips on the pants should be long enough to slide over boots. Jacket must have a hood. Do not skimp on your rain gear. Nylon ponchos are not acceptable.
  • Shorts for on the trail
  • Tee shirt for on the trail
  • Lightweight capilene or similar gloves.
  • Warm hat. Synthetic or wool.
  • Sunhat


  • Sun glasses.
  • Water Bottles. Two quart (1 liter) wide mouth bottles and/or a hydration system holding up to 50oz. (2 liters). Don’t bring bike bottles or any bottle that doesn’t have a wide opening.
  • Headlamp. --and a spare set of batteries!
  • Pocket knife. Swiss army style.
  • Personal toiletries. It is not necessary to smell like a rose each day so do not over do it.
  • Ear plugs are great to have in a noisy tent.
  • Personal Medical Kit. The guide will carry a large kit so yours will predominately consist of foot repair items, mild pain killer such as Advil and bandaids.
  • Sunscreen and lip screen. SPF 30+. A 1oz. bottle will be enough. Make sure the lip stuff actually contains a sunscreen.
  • Bug repellent.
  • Camera. A spare battery and card are good backups
  • Ski/trekking poles. These are not essential, but can be handy on the trail. It is your choice, but they do save wear on the knees.
  • Plastic trash bag. Handy for keeping gear in outside the tent should it rain.
  • Optional reading material, etc.


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


  • Small notepad and pencil
  • Collapsible plastic wash basin (optional)
  • Solar shower (optional)
  • Water filtering pump (optional)
  • Liquor (be sure to check in with the packers to see that your liquor is packed safely)
  • Fishing equipment (optional)
  • Rod/reel/line (a rod that breaks down into 3 or more pieces is recommended)
  • Compact metal rod case to carry on saddle
  • Canvas creel (no tackle boxes)
  • Leader material (1-3 lb.)
  • Flies: black gnat, mosquito, grey hackle, brown hackle, & royal coachman (No. 12-14 hooks)
  • Bait: worms & Pautzke red eggs
  • Egg hooks, worm hooks (No. 10-14)
  • Split shot
  • Lures (personal choice)
  • Pliers

Click on the map to open a larger version

You can purchase quality topo maps at TOM HARRISON MAPS.