Hike Sierra Nevada – “That’s over there that we call the rattlesnake hotel,” said our grinning cowgirl guide, Sarah, from atop her dusty brown quarter horse, Scout. Sarah adjusted her fedora and pointed to the venomous snake’s hideout. There was a large, half-concave tree trunk full of holes. It’s bigger than a rabbit hole. It is located about 8,500 feet above sea level on a steep trail at California’s Giant Sequoia National Monument in the Sierra Nevadas. And suddenly we were delighted that we were five feet above the ground on the back of our own horse. This is truly an unforgettable experience.
Sarah is the foremost. There were six of us all. Excluding the guide and when he looked back at our group his smile turned into a cheerful smile. “No rattlesnakes today,” he said. “Too cold for them.” With that, he pressed us further down the path, through what he called a “horse wash” between two large cypress trees that made us smell of fresh pine. We emerged to stands of giant trees amidst the partially submerged rocks. Moments later, a number of orange and red butterflies gushed down the path from the nearby bushes, momentarily distracted by the rustle of our horses.
This is the most accessible High Sierra. Big Meadows Horse Corral organizes horseback riding trips like this one in the Sierra Nevada range. Complete with a horse to suit your temperament and experience level. Guides like Sarah will show you how and provide local variations. And of course, there are the best mountain views this side of the Great Western Divide. Guided trips only cost 25 USD per person.
Planning your trip
On Hike Sierra Nevada mountain, the first step to take is to plan your trip. Big Meadows Horse Corral, operated by Charley and Judy Mills, is open for guided and packed trips from mid-June through Labor Day. The Mills family owned about 75 horses. Most spend the season in the foothills above Three Rivers, California. They took a summer trip to the packing station inside the Giant Sequoia National Monument in early June. From the station, Mills offers two types of guided day trips:
- 25 USD per person for one hour ride on mostly flat terrain
- 50 USD per person for a half-day (three hours) trip up the high mountain passes of the Sierra Nevada range
Charley Mills recommends making arrangements at least a few days in advance. He employs three steady right hands. Like Sarah, acts as a guide for the guests and helps around the farm. Children should be at least seven years old to ride. Dan Mills requires anyone aged 16 and under to wear a riding helmet. On trips where children are present, Mills supplies a second guide at no additional cost.
For those who can spare more than one day, Mills also offers spot package trips, extended travel packages, and all-cost trips. Call 559-565-3404 (summer) or 559-565-6429 (winter) for prices that vary by destination.
How to Get There
When you want to Hike Sierra Nevada, How to get there? The Big Meadows Horse Corral is about 90 minutes east of Fresno. If you’re coming from out of state, you may find better airfares by flying to Los Angeles or San Francisco. Because these 2 locations have more direct flights and are served by more airlines than Fresno. The Giant Sequoia National Monument is about four to five hours from the two cities.
Accommodation on Hike Sierra Nevada
At more than 7,500 feet above sea level, Montecito-Sequoia Lodge (800-227-9900) isn’t just close to the Big Meadows Horse Corral. This place is also a worthy destination by itself. Rates range from 79 USD to 125 USD per person based on double occupancy. Also includes buffet-style meals and access to lodge hiking trails, private lake, canoe, archery range, outdoor pool and hot tub, tennis courts, volleyball net, campfire activities, and (believe it or not) Wi-Fi Internet access. . Advance booking is very important. Especially during the summer months when the much-respected Montecito-Sequoia family vacation camp is running in full force.
This cottage is a throwback to another era, a place where families and couples sit around a crackling fireplace on cool summer evenings in the mountains while sinking deep into leather chairs and sofas arranged around a stone fireplace. The chair itself creaks a bit, and the rooms and cabins are a bit reminiscent of the 1950s rather than the 21st century. But it doesn’t really matter. The atmosphere has made up for it. The lodge is open year-round and has also won numerous awards for its winter sports and activities. Includes cross-country skiing and private trails.
Those on a more limited budget should consider Big Meadows campground, which is one of about 50 campgrounds in the Sequoia National Forest and close to the stables. Wilderness permits for the entire area are available at the Sequoia National Park visitor center at Lodgepole.
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Impression on Hike Sierra Nevada
However, it’s hard to beat Montecito-Sequoia, both for its central location and quaint atmosphere. In writing this, I am reminded of our last night at the lodge. There we roasted our toes by the fire to warm them and drowned in a thick book. Meanwhile, in front of me was a little girl who was reading a big book about bonfire ghost stories. His eyes widened with delight. There is a kind of unspoken family connection here, a simple connection between generations, even between strangers. In many ways, that is the purpose of this inn.
That was our experience while riding horses in the Hike Sierra Nevada, California. If you want to ride in an amazing natural setting, try visiting this location to fill your next vacation.