Backpacks to fill the gaps in the Semb Books

The two volumes of Day Hikes on the Pacific Crest Trail by George & Patricia Semb have been the key references for persons wanting to hike the PCNST with short hikes. They cover all the trail that is feasible for most non-through hikers using conventional passenger cars. However there are some parts of the PCNST that they consider inaccessible to day hikers. So what should people do that could backpack the "inaccessible" parts if they had to, but would prefer to dayhike when possible?

So here is a list of "inaccessible" parts and suggestions for backpacking them. It's based on the Semb books, and includes their dayhikes of 21 or more miles. I try to avoid dayhikes of more than 20 miles, backpack days of more than 15 miles, and High Sierra Pass days of more than 10 miles.

Most of these suggestions are trips I've done, but not all. I have hiked all the PCT itself in the period 2001-2013, but sometimes divided differently from what I list here.

"H unchecked" indicates an outing in section H for which I haven't hiked the non-PCT trail and road access. In contrast, "J 2003" indicates an outing in section J, where in 2003 I hiked the listed non-PCT access, if any. "30/2" means a thirty mile backpack over two days, so one overnight camp. Place names usually are from the Data Book. Campsite designations are from the Halfmile maps.
A 2001 24/2 Hwy 78 to Barrel Spring
  • 14 WRCS077 Hwy 77 Scissors to CS00091
  • 10 CS00091 to WRCS101 Barrel Spring
    note: no natural water in this segment.
    There might be a cache at WR091.
    If not counting on the cache, CS0088 is closer to the middle of the segment.
    If you can do a 24 mile dayhike, this is a good place for it.
C 2011 21/2 Whitewater Preserve to Mission Cr Camp
  • 11 WRCS0219 Whitewater Preserve to WRCS0230
  • 10 WRCS0230 to WRCS0240 Mission Cr Camp
    note: Not a bad downhill dayhike.
E 2017 23/2 Cottonwood Cr Br to Tehachapi-Willow Sprs Rd
  • 7 WR535 Cottonwood Cr Br to camp WRCS542 Tylerhorse Canyon
    note: This is the only water in this segment.
    A dayhike is easier.
  • 16 WRCS542 to RD0558 Tehachapi-Willow Sprs Rd
F 2017 38/3 Hwy 58 to Mace Mdw
  • 17 566 Hwy 58 to camp WR583 Golden Oak Springs
  • 19 WR583 to camp WRCS602 Robin Bird Spring
    note: dry camps possible perhaps at 577 or RD0579 and CS0593
  • 2
    1 WRCS602 to 603
    1 603 to Jawbone Canyon Rd
    note: one could park at a junction of a side road with Jawbone Canyon Rd,
    about 1.5 mi after Robin Bird Spring.
    It's 0.5 mi uphill from point 603.
    It might be possible to drive closer to Robin Bird Spring depending on
    Jawbone Canyon Rd condition.
  • note: checked southbound in 2017
    6 dayhiked RD0608 Landers Mdw to RD0602 Jawbone Canyon Rd
    12 backpack RD0602 to GT0590 dry camp
    13 backpack GT0590 to 0577 dry OHV campground
    11 backpack 0577 to Hwy 58
G 2016 29/2 Walker Pass to Chimney Cr CG
  • 12 652 Walker Pass to camp WR664 Joshua Tree Spring
    note: also possible to carry water to 667 saddle
  • 17 WR664 to RD0681 Chimney Cr CG
G 2016 43/3 Kennedy Mdws to Horseshoe Mdw
  • 12 RD0704B Kennedy Mdws CG to camp WACS0716 S Fk Kern River
  • 15 WACS0716 to camp WACS0731 Death Canyon
    note: make sure the spring is running.
    Alternates include WA0728 and WACS0742.
  • 16
    14 WACS0731 to TR0745B Trail Pass
    2 to Horseshoe Mdw TH
GH 2015 50/4 Horseshoe Mdw to Kearsarge Pass to Onion Valley
  • 13
    3 Horseshoe Mdw to 750 Cottonwood Pass 11160
    10 750 Cottonwood Pass to camp WACSBB0760 Rock Cr
  • 15
    6 WACSBB0760 Rock Cr to WACSBB0766 Crabtree Mdw
    9 WACSBB0766 to camp 775 Tyndall Cr
  • 12 775 to Forester Pass 13180 to camp 787 Vidette Mdw
  • 10
    3 787 to 790 Bullfrog Lk Tr
    7 790 to Kearsarge Pass 11845 to Onion Valley
H 2016 60/6 Onion Valley to Kearsarge Pass to Bishop Pass to South Lake
  • 7 Onion Valley to Kearsarge Pass 11845 to camp 790 Bullfrog Lk Tr Jct
  • 11 790 to Glen Pass 11978 to camp 801 Woods Cr
  • 9 801 to Pinchot Pass 12130 to camp 810 Lk Marjorie
  • 10 810 to Mather Pass 12100 to camp 820 Upper Palisade Lk
  • 12
    11 820 to WACS0831B Bishop Pass Tr Jct
    1 WACS0831B to camp on bench
  • 11 camp to Bishop Pass 11972 to South Lake
H 2013 55/5 South Lake to Bishop Pass to Paiute Pass to North Lake
  • 12 South Lake to Bishop Pass 11972 to camp WACS0831B Bishop Pass Tr Jct
  • 10 WACS0831B Bishop Pass Trail Jct to Muir Pass 11955 to camp WACS0841 Wanda Lk
  • 10 WACS0841 to camp WACS0851 Evolution Cr
  • 11
    5 WACS0851 to WA0856D Piute Pass Tr Jct
    6 WA0856D to camp Hutchinson Mdw
  • 12 Hutchinson Mdw to Piute Pass 11400 to North Lake
  • note: checked southbound in 2013
H unchecked 42/4 Florence Lake to Muir Trail Ranch to Vermillion Valley
  • 9 Florence Lk on Blayney Mdws Tr to camp Muir Trail Ranch
  • 11
    1 Muir Trail Ranch to 860
    4 860 to WA0856D
    6 WA0856D to camp Muir Trail Ranch
  • 12
    1 Muir Trail Ranch to 860
    11 860 to Selden Pass 10870 to camp WACS0871 Bear Cr
  • 10
    8 WACS0871 to WACS0879
    2 WACS0879 to VVR ferry
    0 VVR ferry to Vermillion Valley
H unchecked 41/4 Mono Pass TH to Mono Pass to Reds Mdw
  • 8 Mono Pass TH to Mono Pass 12000 to camp Second Recess
  • 13
    4 Second Recess to WACS0880 Mono Pass Tr Jct
  • WACS0880 to WACS0879
    8 WACS0879 to Silver Pass 10900 to camp CS0887
  • 9 CS0887 to camp WACS0896 Duck Lk Tr
  • 11 WACS0896 to TR0907 Reds Mdw
H 2015 28/2 Agnew Mdw to Tuolumne Mdws
  • 12 915 Agnew Mdws to camp WACS9027 Marie Lakes Tr Jct
  • 16 WACS9027 to 943 Tuolumne Mdws
I 2017 71/6 Tuolumne Mdws to Sonora Pass
  • 13 943 Tuolumne Mdws to camp WA0956 Return Cr
  • 12 WA0956 to camp WACS0968 Smedberg Lk
  • 12 WACS0968 to camp WACS0980 Kerrick Canyon Cr
  • 12 WACS0980 to camp 992 Jack Main Canyon
  • 12 992 to camp CS1004 Kennedy Canyon
  • 10
    5 CS1004 to TR1009 Leavitt Lk Tr
    5 TR1009 to Sonora Pass Hwy
  • note: checked northbound in 2017
    12 GT0943 to dry camp 0954
    11 0954 to WACS0965
    10 WACS0965 to WA0975
    7 WA0975 to WACS0982 - delayed by thunderstorm
    13 WACS0982 to dry camp 0995
    14 0995 to TR1009 plus
    4 to car parked on Leavitt Lake Rd - very long day
K unchecked 22/2 Bayview TH to Barker Pass
  • 7
    4 Bayview TH to TR1107 Dicks Lk
    3 TR1107 to camp 1110 Middle Velma Lk
  • 15 1110 to RD1125 Barker Pass
Q unchecked 31/3 Etna Summit to Paradise TH
  • 11 RD1597 Etna Summit to camp CS1608 Shelly Mdws
  • 10 CS1608 to camp WA1618 Cold Spring
  • 10
    8 WA1618 to TR1626 Paradise Tr
    2 TR1626 to Paradise Tr TH
    note: The Sembs propose several inefficient dayhikes for this area.
    A three day backpack is more efficient.
    Or do Etna to Grider, 50 miles, in four days.
Q unchecked 23/2 Paradise TH to Grider Cr CG
  • 12
    2 Paradise Tr TH to TR1626
    10 TR1626 to camp CS1636
  • 11 CS1636 to WACS1647 Grider Cr CG
E unchecked 23/2 Irish Lk to Elk Lk
  • 12 RD1928 Irish Lake to camp WACS1940 Mac Lake
  • 11
    10 WACS1940 to TR1950 Elk Lk Tr
    1 TR1950 to Elk Lk TH
E 2016 28/2 Devils Lk TH to McKenzie Pass TH
  • 15
    4 Devils Lk TH to 1958 Wickiup Plain
    11 1958 to camp 1969 Obsidian Boundary
  • 13 1969 to 1982 McKenzie Pass TH
    note: 1969-1971 Obsidian Falls access and camping are complicated by special permits.
    Entering on the PCT, you don't need them.
    Campsites are just south of the restricted area.
    Don't get too ambitious here and in Mt Washington Wilderness to the north:
    volcanic trails are very rocky, uneven, exposed, and dry.
H unchecked 30/2 Walupt Lk to White Pass
  • 17
    5 Walupt Lk CG to Nannie Ridge Tr 98 to TR2267
    12 TR2267 to camp WACS2280 Lutz Lake
    note: Dangerous in bad weather.
    "bleak alpine" campsites available sooner than Lutz Lake.
    Yogi for details.
  • 13 WACS2280 to TH2292 White Pass
I 2012 30/2 White Pass to Chinook Pass
  • 14 White Pass TH2292 to camp WACS2305 at Bumping River
  • 16 WACS2305 Bumping River to TH2321 Chinook Pass
    note: breaking this into dayhikes is more trouble than it's worth
J 2003 28/2 Snoqualmie Pass to Pete Lake TH
  • 15 Snoqualmie Pass RD2391B to camp CS2405 near Park Lakes Tr Jct
  • 13
    6 CS2405 to TR2411 Pete Lake Trail 1323 Jct
    7 Pete Lake Tr to TH
J 2012 39/3 Pete Lake TH loop over Escondido Ridge and Waptus Pass
  • 15
    7 Pete Lake Trail 1323 to TR2411 PCT
    8 TR2411 to camp 2418 on Escondido Ridge
    note: only a few small designated campsites on Escondido Ridge
  • 13
    11 2418 to TR2429 Spinola Cr Tr 1310.1
    2 TR2429 on Spinola Cr Tr to camp after Waptus River crossing
    note: Waptus River is an easy ford in September
  • 11 Waptus Pass Tr 1329 back to Pete Lake TH
K unchecked 26/2 Top Lk Tr to Little Wenatchee Tr
  • 12
    5 Top Lk Tr 1506 to TR2470 at Pear Lk
    7 TR2470 to camp WACS 2487 at Pass Cr
  • 14
    7 WACS 2487 to TR2494 Little Wenatchee Tr at Kodak Peak
    7 TR2494 on Little Wenatchee Tr 1525 to TH
K unchecked 59/5 Little Wenatchee Tr to Suiattle River Tr
  • 9
    7 Little Wenatchee Tr 1525 to TR2494 at Kodak Peak
    2 TR2494 to camp CS 2496 at Indian Pass
    note: dry camp at Indian Pass
  • 13 CS 2496 to camp CS 2509 at Sitkum Cr
  • 11 CS 2509 to camp WACS 2519 below Mica Lk
  • 14 WACS 2519 to camp WACS 2533 at Vista Cr
  • 12
    5 WACS 2533 to TR2538 Suiattle River Tr 784
    7 Suiattle River Tr 784 to road FR 26
    The PCT is poorly maintained due to remoteness; allow extra time, especially early in the season.
    This is the longest backpack north of Sonora Pass
    In 2002 I went from High Bridge to Stevens Pass in one long 98 mile trip.
    13 months later many miles of PCT, access trails, bridges, and roads washed away, and many have not been rebuilt.
    N Fk Sauk River Tr 649 is an intermediate option if road 49 open, meeting PCT at TR2500, 8.4 mi from Rd 49
K unchecked 38/3 Suiattle River Tr to High Bridge
  • 10
    7 road FR 26 to TR2538 on Suiattle River Tr 784
    3 TR2538 to camp CS 2541
  • 14
    9 CS 2541 to TR2550
    5 TR2550 to camp CS2555
  • 14 CS2555 to High Br
    take shuttle next day to ferry to Chelan.
    The PCT is poorly maintained due to remoteness; allow extra time, especially early in the season.
L 2001 28/2 Rainy Pass to Meadows CG
  • 15 Rainy Pass to camp WACS2604 on West Fork Methow River
  • 13 WACS2604 to Meadows CG
L 2001 39/3 Harts Pass to Manning
  • 16 2619 Harts Pass to camp CS2635
    note: long day with no water
    note: could dry camp at Holman Pass
  • 8 CS2635 to camp 2644 at Hopkins Lake
  • 15 2644 Hopkins Lk to RD2658Manning Park
    note: have to cross border northbound