Resupply Packages Ready for Mailing Lake Tahoe to Mount Whitney: Your Backpacking Guide to the High Sierras Bulk foods ready to be divided.
Lake Alpine Lodge Highway 4 Tahoe to Yosemite Trail.
Ready for Shipment
The Lake Alpine Lodge: Deck dining, splendid resources, and delightful folks all overlooking Lake Alpine
Bulk Supplies

 

The Trails

Guide
Maps
Miles/Ele
Permits
Resupply
Forum

 

Current Weather Conditions

Weather Notes
Northern High Sierras
Central High Sierras
Southern High Sierras

 

Gear

Gear List
Gettin Started
Layering
Discussion
 
Testing yourself and your gear
 
Gear Reviews

 

top of page

Long Distance Backpacker Resupply
hiking the
Tahoe to Yosemite Trail:
The Lake Alpine Lodge
and
Bear Valley

 

Languages

Languages

 

Trail Arts

The art of walking
 
Physical Preperation

 

Trail Skills

The trail
Off the trail
Scrambling
Maps
Navigation
Camp skills
 

Food

Resupply
Food

 

Other

Photo Catagories
 
Trail Stories
 
Trail Culture
 
News and Science
 
Links
 
Groups
 
Books

 

top of page

Resupply Index Resupply Tips About Food Daily Menu Video About Planning and Packing food for Resupply
5 day food supply video
Backpacker's Planning Forum MILES AND ELEVATIONS GUIDE PAGES MAPS All forest-wilderness Permits

Resupply North
Echo Chalet
Resupply South
Kennedy Meadows

Highway 4
Backpacker Resupply
covering
The Lake Alpine Lodge
Bear Valley, and Arnold Lake Alpine Lodge Deck Dining overlooking Lake Alpine
Above: Fine dining on the deck overlooking Lake Alpine. Rustic dining room with great fire sits inside.

The Lake Alpine Lodge

Your Hosts
Steve and Gigi

Lake Alpine Lodge Website

Lake Alpine Backpacker Information
Highway 4 corridor
Road Map
Wilderness
Backpacking Permits
Backpacker
Resupply Information
Lake Alpine Lodge
Contact Information

Lake Alpine Backpacker Services
Showers, Laundry, Great Food, and Accommodations

Lake Alpine Region Maps
North
of
Lake Alpine
Mokelumne Wilderness
Lake Alpine
Backpacking Map
South
of
Lake Alpine
Carson Iceberg Wilderness

Lake Alpine Region Weather
Lake Alpine Region
Weather Resources
All High Sierra
Weather Resources

 

REPORT
APRIL 18 2015
GETTING READY FOR OPENING
From Kim,
Lake Alpine's Manager:

Hey Alex, the weather has been crazy!!
The last storm the weather guys said a foot of snow, well we got about 1/4 inch but the 2 storms before the weather guys said 3 to 6 inches and 4 to 8 inches and both times we got 20 plus inches!!

It's raining now and got a dusting of snow last night at 42 degrees.

The Resort will open this weekend then the restaurant will be open weekends only until around Fathers Day then 7 days a week same with the bar.

The store will be open 7 days a week starting this weekend as well as cabins. We're putting boats in the water tomorrow weather permitting.

Don't have tent cabins up yet due to weather. Hopefully in the next week or two. The lake is full and fish are biting.
Kim.

note
Highway 4 above Lake Alpine was closed on May 19 anticipating storm conditions.

Ebbetts Pass Backpacker Weather

Highway 4 Current Conditions

 

Notes
Lake Alpine Lodge and the surrounding National Forests are very Dog Friendly!
Nature Dogs

The Lake Alpine Lodge is one of my favorite resupply spots between Lake Tahoe and Mount Whitney.

Lake Alpine Lodge
Backpacker Resupply Resources
Index

Lake Alpine Lodge
Contact Information

 

Highway 4 corridor
Road Map

 

Camping
at
Lake Alpine

 

Lake Alpine in Context of the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail

Lake Alpine in Context of the Pacific Crest Trail

Lake Alpine
Resupply Services

Backpacker Lodging Services
Tent Cabins

Hot Food

Store

Laundry and Showers

Bar

 

Lake Alpine's
Super-cool staff

On the Water
Canadian Geese & Mergansers

More
Highway 4
Resources

 

Bear Valley
3 miles West of Lake Alpine

Resources

Services

 

Arnold
About 40 miles West of Lake Alpine

Full Regional Services

Suzie's Diner

BACKPACKER'S INTRODUCTION
Where It's At
The Lake Alpine Lodge
sits on Highway 4 about .75 of a mile West of my pirate campsite along the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail. I camp up on the East shore of Lake Alpine where the Tahoe to Yosemite comes down the paved road between the Bee Gulch Trailhead to the Silver Trailhead, up behind the backpacker's camp.

Don't make fires up there, even if you have a fire permit. It is just too dry.

Big Picture
In a broader context the Lake Alpine Lodge is located between our last resupply point 43 miles North at Echo Lake near Highway 50 (North of Echo Summit), and the Kennedy Meadows Pack Station, located 34 miles to our South just off Highway 108, seven miles West of the Saint Marys Pass Trailhead.

The Lake Alpine Lodge offers backpacker resupply package services through UPS to break this 77 mile distance into more managable segments. The service is free if you ship through UPS. More on this below. Lake Alpine Lodge also offer excellent food, a small store, and a classic bar.

Lake Alpine Lodge
Located on Highway 4 between the Mokelumne Wilderness to the North and the Carson Iceberg Wilderness to its South, the Lake Alpine Lodge offers a free resupply package service for hikers on both the TYT and PCT routes, as well as being an excellent starting point for hikers beginning shorter hikes either North or South into both of these fantastic Wilderness areas.

The TYT
North and South

A lengthy section of unmaintained trail North of Lake Alpine along the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail separates Lake Alpine from Carson Pass. This challenging segment of unmaintained trail makes this a very interesting bit of hiking for advanced and expert backpackers. The last bit of the hike North along the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail from Lake Alpine to Camp Irene brings us down the NE flank of Mount Reba on faint trails.
Serene Camp Irene marks the end of the the maintained Tahoe to Yosemite Trail to our North. Excellent fitness and skills are required of backpackers venturing North of Camp Irene.

South
The next section of our Tahoe to Yosemite Trail South of Lake Alpine hikes into the Carson Iceberg Wilderness. The last six miles of the TYT approaching Saint Marys Pass enters unmaintained trail at the Eureka Valley trail junction that deteriorates into basic route-finding from Clarks Meadow to Saint Marys Pass.

We've exciting sections of trail to our North and South while sitting here relaxing, recharging, and resupplying at the Lake Alpine Lodge.

Below we have information about Lake Alpine Lodge's exact location along the trails and on this very scenic Ebbetts Pass National Scenic Byway, the resupply, food, showers & laundry facilities, the full range of backpacker services Lake Alpine Lodge offers, as well as a basic introduction to their cool staff and the unique culture of this fun High Sierra backpacker resource.

You can see that I have enjoyed my stays at the Lake Alpine Lodge over the years and decades.

The Carson Iceberg Wilderness
to our
South
These difficult segments of unmaintained trail along the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail should not deter any backpackers. The Carson Iceberg Wilderness to our South contains a vast web of excellent trails exploring a wide variety of amazing terrains that we can access out of the Silver Trailhead on the Northeast end of Lake Alpine.
We can craft backpacking loops of at least 50 to 60 miles staying on well-maintained trails, and over 90 if we want to hike cross country along part(s) of a vast loop around the Carson Iceberg Wilderness.

Hikers on the TYT who want to avoid the unmaintained segments of trail will have to walk the PCT across the Mokelumne Wilderness, but can walk the majority of the TYT across the Carson Iceberg Wilderness, then detour to the PCT around the unmaintained segment.

The web of trails laid across the Carson Iceberg Wilderness to the South of Lake Alpine are magnificent.

Carson Iceberg Wilderness
USGS 30 minute backpacking map

There are a wide range of trails in the Carson Iceberg ranging from Intermediate 2 to Hard 1, spanning every range of trail condition from the super-well maintained Superhighway of Trails, the PCT, to very difficult route-finding across very difficult unmaintained and untrailed "scrambling" terrain.

The Mokelumne Wilderness
to our
North
The same is not true of the Molkelumne Wilderness to our North. I am not saying it is less beautiful, only that it has more of an "impenetratable" character of terrain than the Carson Iceberg. This is more a function of the layout and structure of the terrain in the Mokelumne Wilderness than anything else.

The TYT and PCT bisect the Mokelumne Wilderness just like the Carson Iceberg, but unlike the Carson Iceberg these trails are not connected by four trails across its length. The vast glacial cuts of the great Summit City and North Mokelumne River Canyons don't just push the TYT South down the West flank of the Sierra, but these features put the heart of the massive Deadwood Peak Massif between the TYT and PCT.

We can zig-zag between the Pacific Crest and Tahoe to Yosemite Trails while hiking South through the Carson Iceberg Wilderness virtually all the way down to Saint Marys Pass, but not whle crossing the Mokelumne Wilderness.
In the Mokelumne Wilderness we are either hiking the TYT or the PCT. This is a function of the terrain. That's why the Mokelumne Wilderness does not offer many loop trips...

We have to hitch-hike between Lake Alpine and Ebbetts Pass if we want to hike a loop around the Mokelumne Wilderness using the TYT and PCT.

Mokelumne WildernesS
USGS 30 minute backpacking map

Lake Alpine Lodge is good to, and good for backpackers
Lake Alpine Lodge is perfect for a last meal before a local trip, and our first big meal after a trip.
But for me Lake Alpine Lodge is a great place where I rest, recover, and resupply while backpacking the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail.
I even hitch down to visit when I'm hiking the Pacific Crest Trail across Ebbetts Pass, if I don't swing down an alternative route and walk in.

I always have fun when I hike through the Lake Alpine Lodge.

Find the Lake Alpine Lodge
Road Map

The Lake Alpine Lodge is situated across Highway 4 from the Northwest shore of Lake Alpine. Around us are numerous Federal car campgrounds that are full of families for much of the Summer. Lakes, streams, rivers and reservoirs draw fishermen during the Summer, and hunters during Fall.

I enjoy spending some time on the deck between the bar and store. That's where the passing backpackers hang out, where the fishermen and hunters swap lies, and where the employees catch a break. I've had great conversations with about every kind of person up there. You'd think Yosemite would be better for meeting folks. Nope. There's something about that deck by the bar and store that draws folks. You may have to sit there for a lot longer to meet folks than in Yosemite, but a wider range of folks come through. Maybe they are less in number but deeper in character. Less is More... Over the years I think I've sat there for a month... haha, but its always been rewarding and relaxing to kick back at Lake Alpine Lodge.

This page also explores the services available 3 miles West down Highway 4 at Bear Valley, as well as the full regional services 45 miles West down the mountain to Arnold.

Bear Valley and Arnold



The Lake Alpine Lodge
on the
Tahoe to Yosemite Trail

The
Lake Alpine Lodge

The Lake Alpine Lodge is located on Highway 4 on the Southwest Shore of Lake Alpine.

The Lodge is located .5 of a mile West down Highway 4 from where the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail exits Bee Gulch crossing Highway 4 on the East Shore of Lake Alpine.

67.6 miles North to Meeks Bay on the TYT.

107.78 miles South to Tuolumne Meadows on the TYT.

The Lodge is well located and equipped to resupply, rest, feed up and recover backpackers on the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail.

The Lake Alpine Lodge Sign from Highway 4.
Lake Alpine Lodge Sign
from Highway 4

The Lake Alpine Lodge Store, Bar, and Restaurant
The Lake Alpine Lodge

Lake Alpine Lodge
Click For
Contact Information
Trail Guide Information
The Tahoe to Yosemite Trail
from

Lake Alpine

TRAIL MAPS

North
Mokelumne Wilderness

Lake Alpine Area Topo Map

South
Carson Iceberg Wilderness

Click Red and Black Dots on 30 min Maps

TRAIL GUIDE

North
Mount Reba to Lake Alpine

Lake Alpine

South
Lake Alpine to Rock Lake

Highway 4
Trail Guide Index

TYT
MILES
and

ELEVATIONS

NORTH
Carson Pass to Lake Alpine Miles and Elevations

SOUTH
Lake Alpine to Saint Marys Pass
Miles and Elevations


Lake Alpine
Location Essentials

Situated on Highway 4 between the Mokelumne Wilderness to the North and the Carson Iceberg Wilderness to the South makes Lake Alpine an ideal location to resupply through-hikes as well as to begin local or long distance trips into either or across both Wilderness Areas.

For us long-distance backpackers Lake Alpine is a vital resupply spot along the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail and a strong candidate as an optional resupply spot for hikers along the Pacific Crest Trail.


The Lake Alpine Lodge
from the
Pacific Crest Trail

The Pacific Crest Trail crosses Highway 4 at Ebbetts Pass, about 15 miles East of the Lake Alpine Lodge up the classic narrow and twisting Highway Four.

It's worth a trip up here to check out
Highway 4!

Road Map

Ebbetts Pass Scenic Byway

A very quiet Ebbetts Pass in late September, 2009 Parking is East of where the Pacific Crest Trail crosses Highway 4
  Ebbetts Pass is very quiet in late September. Parking is .3 mile East of Ebbetts Pass. There is no parking at Ebbetts Pass.

MAPS

North
PCT across Mokelumne Wilderness

Ebbetts Pass Topo Map

South
PCT across Carson Iceberg Wilderness

TRAIL GUIDE

Ebbetts Pass
Trail Guide

Highway 4
Trail Guide Index

PCT
MILES
and
ELEVATIONS

NORTH
Carson to Ebbetts Passes
Miles and Elevations

SOUTH
Ebbetts to Sonora Passes
Miles and Elevation


Lake Alpine Lodge
is
Super
-Backpacker Friendly
Basic and Extended Services at Lake Alpine

The Basics
Backpacker amenities include showers & laundry, great food and a store along with their free backpacker resupply service on the edge of the wilderness.

Stop by dirty, hungry, and tired to pick up your next backpacking resupply, depart clean, well rested, and well fed.

Extended Services
Tent Cabins and Resort Cabins at Lake Alpine
Recently added to Lake Alpine's compliment of vacation cabins are three new tent cabins each with four twin beds, a fire pit and BBQ pit. The cost is $70 a night.

I've talked to friendly sportsmen having a great time there, after a great day in the field.

The Tent Cabins can be split between different backpackers who are hiking through.
Let the folks working the store know you'd like to split a tent cabin, and they can put you together with other hikers, fishermen, hunters or tourists who have inquired about tent cabins.

The main activity at Lake Alpine are their cabins on the hillside overlooking Lake Alpine. Most are larger cabins with a two night minimum, but they also have a few smaller cabins that might be perfect for a thrashed backpacker looking for a couple of nights off the trail in a bed.

Check out the bottom of their Accomodations Page for prices and descriptions of the Tent Cabins and smaller cabins at Lake Alpine.

Food at Lake Alpine
Food in the Resturant is top notch but a bit on the expensive side. Hey, I am seriously a backpacking bum. That means not much money and lots of miles. The bread is amazing, the salads a real treat, especially after some extensive time on the trail, and the steaks and burgers are top quality.

A simpler bar menu offers burgers, fries, and snacks. More about Lake Alpine services below...


Lake Alpine

A crystal blue lake filling a polished granite basin
Stunning on a Quiet Morning

Lake Alpine

Late July 2009. Elevation 7303 feet

Lake Alpine has car campgrounds on its East and West Shores, the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail running past its East Shore, with the Pacific Crest Trail crossing Highway 4 fifteen miles to the East at Ebbetts Pass.


Lake Tahoe from the top of Mount Reba
A glimpse of Lake Alpine from just below the top of Mount Reba, descending its Southern Flank.

The Lake Alpine Lodge

Address, Location on Road Map, Services, and People

Lake Alpine Resort

4000 Highway 4
PO Box 5060
Bear Valley,
Ca 95223

 

209-753-6350

 

Lake Alpine Lodge Website

email
info@lakealpineresort.com

Tahoe Yosemite Trail Sign in Bee Gulch

Local Transportation Note

There is none.

From the Pacific Crest Trail at Ebbetts Pass I hitch-hike West to Lake Alpine.

People are very nice along Highway 4, but late and early in the hiking season we may have to wait a while between cars.

When following the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail I establish my campsite on the East side of Lake Alpine, then walk down to the Lodge.

Tahoe to Yosemite Trail sign in Bee Gulch a bit North of Lake Alpine. Mokelumne River to the North, Highway 4 to the South.

Highway 4 Road Map
Ebbetts Pass, Lake Alpine, and Bear
Valley
The TYT and PCT in Relation to Highway 4 and the Lake Alpine Lodge

Lake Alpine Road Map


top of page

Physical
and
Social
Organization

The Lake Alpine Lodge is composed of a beautiful main lodge building containing the restaurant, bar, and store.

Rental units are scattered around behind the main building, along with housing for some of the employees. There is also a building housing coin-operated showers as well as clothes washers and dryers that backpackers can use.

The most comfortable patio at the Lake Alpine Lodge

The Deck
between the
Bar and Store

One of the features of the Lake Alpine Lodge is the Deck. A sliding glass door connects it to the bar on one side, and we overlook Lake Alpine on the other.

Here we find fishermen, backpackers, tourists, Hunters later in the year, and lots of good conversation floating around, telling stories not even your mother would believe.

It is a wonderful spot to relax and "take it all in" on the Lodge's Deck after backpacking in. Or a day of fishing, hiking, hunting, or whatever.

The Deck represents the center Lodge's social and working environment, which is laid back, and very backpacker friendly.
The Bar is to the Left, the Store straight ahead, and lake to the Right. Deck seating for the restaurant is behind us.

Note the mailbox and pay phones. Plenty of chairs. Quite a mix of people gather here, heavy on fishermen and car campers from all over California, our nation, and the world.

Backpacker Camping
at
Lake Alpine

There is a backpacker campground on the East side of Lake Alpine. It is situated on the left side of the short paved road between where the Tahoe to Yosemite hiker exits Bee Gulch on Highway 4 along the East Shore of Lake Alpine to where the trail continues South through the Silver Trailhead.

When we see the bathroom on the right we will shortly see the backpacker's camp on the left.

The problem for me is that a campsite costs $15, which is just crazy, considering that camping in the National Forests is free, even without a backpacking permit. I've never seen a backpacker camping there.

UPDATE: During 2011 a car pulled up, some folks pirate camped, and they departed early the next morning.

About 50 yards upstream past the backpacker's camp (East, behind the backpacker's camp) is my little camp. It has a little fire ring, a nice flat for your sleeping bag, and good places to sit.

Don't make fires. Too dry.

There are bathrooms with a water tap across the paved road from the backpacker's camp that are open until mid-September. My camp behind the camp is about .75 of a mile East of the Lake Alpine Lodge.

As Lake Alpine is our first rest and resupply point South of the Tahoe Basin, a span of between 4 and 7 days, depending on which trailhead we started from and our pace, I generally spend two nights at Lake Alpine. The first night is after I hiked in, and the second night is after a full day off the trail.

Lake Alpine Sign pointing to the Silver Trailhead, where the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail continues South

Sign pointing to the Silver Trail Head, as well as the Silver Valley and Pine Martin Car Campgrounds on the East Shore of Lake Alpine along Highway 4.
This is where the Tahoe to Yosemite backpacker exits Bee Gulch, crosses Highway 4, and continues South following the arrow above hiking South along the East Shore of Lake Alpine.

There are numerous car campgrounds around Lake Alpine, which always appear full during Summer.

There is the crappy & expensive backpacker's camp, and my pirate camp behind it.

Lake Alpine Lodge has tent cabins, and I've urged them to set up a backpacker's camp area, where backpackers could throw down while soaking up some services, a shower, clean clothes, and their great breakfasts!

Lake Alpine Lodge
Resupply Services
and
Information

Resupply Notes

Lake Alpine Lodge will accept your resupply package and hold it for your arrival for no charge.

Kim, the Lodge's most excellent manager, says that as UPS delivers the package to them for free, they will not charge backpackers.

If Kim has to pick it up, as is the case with resupply packages sent through the US Postal Service, she will charge you for it.

So with the money you saved on your free resupply, buy yourself a nice meal at the Lake Alpine Lodge!

NOTE

Free Resupply Service is ONLY available when shipping your resupply by
United Parcel Service.

Mel and Kim at the Lake Alpine Lodge Store

Resupply Information

Kim, the Lake Alpine Lodge Manager, has two simple rules for resupplies:
#1. Put your firm date of arrival at Lake Alpine Lodge, and an emergency phone number on the outside of your resupply package.

The reason is that Tahoe Yosemite backpackers get lost in Summit City Creek and along the Mokelumne River, and do not show up for their packages.

If Kim knows our arrival date and has an emergency phone number, she will check with your people then call in SAR.


#2. Send your resupply package through United Parcel Service, not the US Post Office.

I highly recommend that you call the Lake Alpine Lodge and speak with Kim about her current resupply preferences.

(209)753-6350

Mel and Kim behind the counter at the store, as a nice Chinese Student worker stocks the shelves...

Resupply Address by UPS ONLY
Lake Alpine Resort

4000 Highway 4
PO Box 5060
Bear Valley, CA 95223

(209)753-6350

Lake Alpine Lodge Website

email
info@lakealpineresort.com

Also Add: Date of Arrival and an Emergency Phone Number.

Resupply Note: a set of cheap shower shoes (thongs), an old towel, and a small bar of soap are excellent additions to your Lake Alpine Lodge resupply package.

I have found these items hard to come by at Lake Alpine, so I pack them in my resupply package.

Other
Lake Alpine Lodge
Services

Hot Food

Restaurant

Expensive, but you just picked up a free resupply. Muir Ranch charges $50 to deliver your resupply, so have a big dinner on your savings...

Salad and Soup are always good, the steaks and burgers always great.

Short Bar Menu

The Lake Alpine Lodge sports a short appetizer/Bar menu that is a bit cheaper than the restaurant menu.

Microwave food in the Store

Burritos, ice cream, chips, candy and such.

 

The Lake Alpine Lodge restaurant is expensive, as are all High Sierra resupply spots. The added expense of Lake Alpine compared to other resorts and resupply spots is due to the owner's intentions to provide gormet-quality fare along the Sierra Crest.

The result is the highest quality meat, seafood, and veggies along the Highway 4 corridor.

To counterbalance pricing are large portions of high quality fare. Backpacking bums like me and other low-wealth hikers will find the restaurant prices intimidating, but also find cheaper pricing on the bar menu.

Delicious breakfast at Lake Alpine.

Left: Delicious Corned Beef Hash with scrambled eggs, potatoes and lots of coffee and water

Right: I ended up sharing my breakfast conversation and map with Phil and Jim Hurley, hunters up from Oakdale, 2013.

You meet the nicest folks at the Lake Alpine Lodge.

Jim and Phil have breakfast with Al at the Lake Alpine Lodge.
Store
Thin for backpackers

Beverages

Beer

Juice

Milk

Soda

Food

Not much suitable for backpackers. The store is meant to supplement the supplies of the car campers and fishermen from the nearby car campgrounds.

The Bear Valley Store has more in the way of lightweight foods.

Fuel

I managed to scrape up some white gas with the help of the Lodge Staff, and especially Steve, but the store did not stock fuel.

Laundry
and
Showers

Showers
It would be nice if the Lodge stocked and sold small soap bars, shampoo, and towels for backpackers.

I suggest including a small soap bar and a small bottle of shampoo in your resupply package.

It's about time for a shower and clean clothes

Men's Shower is on the Right side of the Building

Shower and Laundry building, Lake Alpine Lodge

shower and laundry building

Get your supply of quarters in the store to operate the showers and laundry.

clean clothes and a shower will feel good. Clothes are washing...

Laundry Day on the Trail.

Men's shower on right side of building, women's on the left, with the washing machines in the middle.

The
Lake Alpine Lodge Bar

The Lake Alpine Lodge Bar is a good place to have a stiff drink, meet the locals, car campers, fishermen, while having a set of mini-burgers ("Sliders") with a cold beer.

The bartenders and most of the staff at the Lake Alpine Lodge are drawn from the local area.

The people who live on the Highway 4 corridor from Arnold, through Calaveras Big Trees, and up to Bear Valley are noted for their independent characters.

China Blue behind the Lake Alpine Bar.

China Blue behind the bar keeping things rolling.

Debbie makes the Lake Alpine Lodge Bar a friendly place for backpackers

Let's Kick Back
and
Relax...

 

The relaxing overview from the Lake Alpine Lodge Patio

Above: The patio between the Bar and Store is a great place to have a beer, write a postcard, enjoy some food, watch the lake, and talk with fellow backpackers, fishermen, and campers.

Deborah is the Coolest Bartender between Lake Tahoe and Mount Whitney. Stop in and buy her a beer! And Have one yourself, too!

(Though Casey, the old cowboy/rodeo rider/horsepacker at Kennedy Meadow's Bar is a close second!!)

A few
of the
Fine Staff
of the
Lake Alpine Lodge

I generally arrive at the Lake Alpine Lodge in the early Afternoon, having hiked over Mount Reba from Camp Irene on the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail. 

First, I establish a campsite on the East side of Lake Alpine. I properly stash the remainder of my food, get water, and locate a nice place for my pad if it's late in the season and the mosquitoes have diminished. If not, I put up my tent.

Then I walk down the paved lake shore path along Lake Alpine to the Lake Alpine Lodge.

That's a lot different than the unmaintained trails we navigated North of here, and will encounter to our South!

Very Relaxing...

I check with Kim to see if my resupply has arrived, but do not yet pick it up. I will spend two nights at my campsite on the East Side of Lake Alpine, and there are lots of bears trying to pick off the car camper's food.
No need to give them an alternative target.

The Boss Your fine wait staff at the Lodge's Restaurant
The Boss, husband away on a job... Cool Wait staff. Tip them well.
     
Steve, the maintenance dude Housekeeping and Kitchen
Big Don keeps things moving at the store. Steve is a heck of a dude. He keeps fixes things at the Lake Alpine Lodge, which is a heck of a job Emilie, who keeps the cabins fresh and clean, and Jeremiah the Excellent Cook, at center and right. I can't remember the name of the guy on the right

Miles
North and South

 

Miles
To and From
the
Lake Alpine Lodge

North

Lake Alpine North to...

Carson Pass Trailhead
24.89

Carson Gap
(Entering Tahoe Basin )
26.28

South Upper Truckee Trailhead
(Tahoe Basin in Meyers)
33.31

Echo Summit Trailhead
36.89

Lower Echo Lake @ Echo Chalet Resupply
38.89

Meeks Bay TYT Trailhead
67.6 miles

South

Our Next Section South on the TYT
Tahoe to Yosemite Trail
Lake Alpine to Saint Marys Pass
34.57

Remaining Distance South on the TYT
Tahoe to Yosemite Trail
Lake Alpine to Tuolumne Meadows
132.3

The Southbound PCT
Pacific Crest Trail
Ebbetts Pass to Sonora Pass
29.44 miles

Other Resupply Considerations

Lake Alpine Lodge was not stocking White Gas or other backpacking fuels in 2009.

My solution was to carry the necessary fuel to get to Kennedy Meadows. I am hoping we can work out a white gas and fuel canister supply out of Lake Alpine.

Lake Alpine Lodge was not stocking towels, small soaps and small bottles of shampoo for backpacker showers in 2009.

I've hit them up to sell these items.

In the meantime I pack little bars of travel soap and little bottles of shampoo into both my Lake Alpine and Kennedy Meadows resupply buckets.

Kennedy Meadows has towels and soap, but you might want to pack yourself shampoo, a razor, and whatever else cleans you up.

 

 

In any case you've got to determine if fuel resupplies are available for your particular stove at each Resupply Spot.

I cay call them and make sure:

Lake Alpine Lodge
(209) 753-6350

Kennedy Meadow Pack Station
All Contacts

 

High Sierra
Weather

Lake Alpine
Highway 4

 

Point
Weather Forecasts

NWS
Point Forecast
Lake Alpine
Point Forecast

NWS
Point Forecast
Ebbetts Pass
Point Forecast

NWS
Point Forecast
Carson Pass
Point Forecast

Regional
Weather Forecasts

NWS
Regional Forecast
West Slope Sierra Tahoe to Yosemite

NWS
Regional Forecast Greater Lake Tahoe

All
Ebbetts Pass
Regional Weather Information
All
High Sierra
Weather Resources
Real Time Ground Reporting Stations

Stanislaus
Meadow

Carson Pass
reporting station

Caples Lake
Reporting Station

Ebbetts Pass

Bloods Creek
near Bear Valley

Silver Lake
Reporting Station

All Ground Reporting Stations

MesoWest
N Calif Stations

Calif Snotel

Road Conditions

Caltrans Hwy 88        Caltrans Hwy 4

Big View
Radar

North Sierra
Radar

Big View
Space

Western US
Satellite

All
Fire,
Weather,

and
Smoke
Information

All
High Sierra
Weather Resources

CALFIRE INCIWEB

Comprehensive
High Sierra Fire
and
Smoke Information

Scenic Splendors:
Canadian Geese Fishing
on
Lake Alpine

Lake Alpine in the morning with Geese.

Lake Alpine in the morning with geese.

This place is beautifully relaxing, especially taking FULL a day off here.

Geese Fishing on Lake Alpine

Goose Fishing on Lake Alpine Lake Alpine Goose
Looking for fish found 'em
Lake Alpine Goose end up fishing The target: Lake Alpine Trout Fry
Getting breakfast Breakfast: Trout Fry

Mergansers Too

Lake Alpine Merganser Chicks feeding Meganser Mom is eyeing me suspiciously
Merganser chicks hunting and feeding near shore as I walk by Merganser mom does not like me walking past
Merganser calls her chicks away from my presence. Merganser chicks follow mom's warnings. She eyed me coming a long ways off.
Merganser mom calls chicks away while tracking me The Merganser chicks respond to mom's call

Bear Valley

Bear Valley

Bear Valley is located on Highway Four 3 miles West of the Lake Alpine Lodge, and 26 miles East of Arnold. Arnold is the nearest full service city down the West side of Sierra Crest from Ebbetts Pass and Lake Alpine.

Bear Valley has a good store with some lightweight foods, a Deli in the store which is excellent and priced for locals, along with two sports shops where you can pick up socks, sunscreen, and random items you may have forgotten in your resupply, or damaged on the trail.

This map provides locations for all the resources I've identified in Bear Valley

Bear Valley from Highway 4 Bear Carving marking Bear Valley
   
 
The Bear Valley Village Center is where the Store/Deli, the Post Office, and one of the sports shops is located. Follow Bear Valley Road about a quarter mile from Highway 4. The Bear Valley Village Center is the huge building on your right.

Bear Valley Services

Bear Valley Store and Deli

Bear Valley Village Center

PO Box 5242

phone: 209 753 2842

"Your complete food service store. We carry fresh produce, fresh meats, liquor and wine plus film, drugs, and sundries, games and toys, camp fuels and fire wood. Our in store delicatessen serves fast and delicious breakfast and lunch sandwiches. We also can prepare trays for your parties."

Bear Valley Store and Deli Sign Suzanna at the Bear Valley Store and Deli
The Bear Valley store and Deli Susanna keeps it real in the store
Working for the feds now?
I hung out at The Bear Valley Store and Deli for about 5 hours in late September of 2009. My main activity was eating. As Summer was ending and Ski Season had not begun, I was enjoying the company of Bear Valley locals. After eating all day, I tried to hitch back up to Ebbetts Pass, but only made it to the East Shore of Lake Alpine before dark. I ran by without stopping during trips through in 2010 and 12, only stopping here again in 2013, where I found a quiet scene.

Rim Fire Effect, Sept-Oct 2013

Small buisness vital to support long distance High Sierra backpacking, such as the Bear Valley Store and Deli, suffered deeply from the Rim Fire of 2013.

Fire danger and damage was expanded for hundreds of miles by the massive smoke plume, killing outdoor activiey and business up and down both flanks of the Sierra Crest.

Most of these businesses are run by normal working class folks who depend on Summer profits to survive Winter.

High Altitude
Highs and Lows


Our job is to keep these vital services and the people who run them operating by giving them our business.

I never promote consumption or even acknowledge any validity for "consumer" identity or values, yet these folks need our commerce.

Help local high altitude businesses as your means permit. Get out for an extra trip to the Sierra and spend some money.

Stop for meals, buy a six-pack, and do a little high altitude shopping.

Denise Carter running Bear Valley Store and Deli.

Denise Carter, owner of the Bear Valley Deli lives here for the beauty of the terrain.

This beauty comes with physical and financial dangers, as the Rim Fire reminded us.

Denise reminds us that the smoke has cleared and the cold beauties of Fall are spreading across the Sierra.

Stop by and have a sandwhich and beer with Denise at the Bear Valley Deli.

The Bear Valley Deli offers lower cost fresth hot food for backpackers who cannot afford the restaurant at the Lake Alpine Lodge.

Bear Valley Laundry

The Laundry Mat is located directly West of the gas station/sports shop at the intersection of Highway 4 and Bear Valley Road.

Laundry entrance at Bear Valley Inside the Laundry at Bear Valley
The laundromat is like a bunker

Bear Valley Sports Shop

Bear Valley Village Center

PO Box 5096

phone: 209 753 2844

I was able to resupply with sunblock here. Kira, who works in the store, is really nice. This shop is located in the Village Center, along with the Store/Deli and the Post Office.

"Come to the Bear Valley Sport Shop in the commercial center for the local’s scoop on any of your mountain adventures. We offer the inside information and gear you need for day hikes, camping, running, swimming holes, off road-ing, biking, and high sierra lounging. Of course, we have alpine ski gear available for deeply discounted prices for those of you who are bargain hunters. We also have a mountain boutique full of affordable summer clothing to fit any activity’s needs and a good selection of gifts. Come visit us!"

Bike Shop-Gas Station

Bear Valley Adventure Company
Link disabled due to hacked site

1 Bear Valley Road

PO Box 5120,

Bear Valley, CA 95223

phone: 209 753 2834

This shop is located at the intersection between Highway 4 and Bear Valley Road.

I bought a pair of acceptable backpacking socks here, when one of my pairs came apart on the trail.

Post Office

Bear Valley Village Center

3 Bear Valley Road

Bear Valley. CA 95223

phone: 209 753 2898

I had a nice conversation with Rick, who runs the BV Post Office. I really suggest sending your resupply package to the Lake Alpine Lodge via UPS.

Rick's post office is pretty small, and it would be a hassle for him to store resupply packages there.

But he will, even though Kim will have UPS deliver our resupply packages to Lake Alpine, which is much closer to the trail.

Informative Websites

Lake Alpine Lodge

Bear Valley Business Association: local guide

Bear Valley Adventure Company

Bear Valley Sports Shop

 

Arnold

Arnold
Full Regional Services

The nearest full-service town is Arnold, located 29 miles down the Western Flank of the Sierras from the Lake Alpine Lodge on Highway 4. If you break your leg, you will end up in Arnold. But not to worry, Arnold is a fine town full of very nice people.

This is the place you can find a full grocery store, a doctor, pharmacy, gear and clothes, as well as a wide range of dining and lodging.

Good Food in Arnold

There are two excellent cafes that I like to eat at in Arnold. Both serve excellent breakfasts and lunches. If you have further recommendations, shoot me an email, or post it on the comments feature of the Lake Alpine/Bear Valley Forum.

Suzie's Diner
1308 Highway 4, right behind the El Dorado Savings in the Cedar Center. Good Deal, large portions, and Suzie and her girl Tiff are awesome! (209) 795-5156

 

Just Delicious Cafe
2182 Highway 4, 209-795-5100. It's just delicious at the Just Delicious Cafe. Last time through this place had closed... too bad...

 

Arnold Restaurant Guide: insider guide

 

Outdoors Shop

Sierra Nevada Adventure
2293 Hwy 4 Owls Nest Bldg #A
Arnold, CA 95223

(209) 795-9310

 

Mountain Art
and
Culture
in
Arnold

It's there...

I met a bunch of really nice people in 2009 when I hitch-hiked down the mountain from Ebbetts Pass, first to the Lake Alpine Lodge, then to Bear Valley, and finally all the way down to Arnold.

An exhilarating conversation was had with Mr. William Poulson, a fine artist, lover of Wilderness, and a good guy who runs Poulson Glass Studios with his wife. I'm still glad that Bill picked me up hitch hiking! Thanks Bill!

Their mailing address is

Poulson Glass Studios
PO Box 705
Arnold, California, 95223

209 795 5365

Stop by their studio and saw hello! Bill just loves the mountains, the wilderness, and gave me a great conversation, as well as a ride. Their studio is located close by Suzie's Diner, also in the Cedar Center by El Dorado Savings. Poulson Glass is across from the Savings to the West, while Suzie's Diner is directly behind El Dorado Savings.

(http://www.williampoulson.com/William_Poulson/Welcome.html)
(was offline as of March 2014)

Hitch hiking to Arnold and back: You meet the Best People in the Mountains!

You meet the best people hitch hiking in the mountains, this is Bryan.

You meet the best people in the mountains, and the Highway 4 corridor is no exception. This is Bryan, and you'll be lucky if you meet him when you are hanging around Arnold. Hey Bryan! Thanks for the ride, Dude!

Next
Resupply South
Kennedy Meadows Pack Station

Our next Resupply heading South from Lake Alpine will be
Kennedy Meadows Pack Station
.

Yes!

It's time to go visit the cowboys, horsepackers, hunters (If you are packing through late in the Season), and the many fine people who have come up from the valley.

Distance South to Kennedy Meadows Pack Station Resupply
34.57 miles South

 

Distance South to Tuolumne Meadows Resupply
132.3 miles South

 

Distance North to Echo Lake Chalet Resupply
38.89 miles North

 

Differences
between the
Pacific Crest Trail and the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail
Resupply Strategies between Highway 4 and Highway 108

Hiking South from Highway 4

Both the Pacific Crest and the Tahoe to Yosemite trail routes travel through the Carson Iceberg Wilderness for the majority of their respective routes South from their Lake Alpine Lodge resupply point on Highway 4, to their next resupply point at Kennedy Meadows on Highway 108.
Though the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail route remains on the Western Flank of the Sierras and the Pacific Crest Trail maintains its Eastern-biased Crestline route, both trails converge as they approach Sonora Pass on the South end of the Carson Iceberg Wilderness.

The Southbound Tahoe to Yosemite Trail hiker reaches Highway 108 through Saint Marys Pass. The Saint Marys Pass Trailhead is about a mile West of Sonora Pass along Highway 108.
9 steep and twisting miles of the Sonora Pass Road, Highway 108, separate our positions at Saint Marys or Sonora Pass from our resupply point at the Kennedy Meadows Pack Station.

Though the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail Guide book calls for the Tahoe to Yosemite backpacker to walk the 9 miles down Highway 108 into Kennedy Meadows from Saint Marys Pass, I don't suggest it.

This has never been an issue with any Pacific Crest Trail backpacker I've met. They always either hitch the 9 miles West down Highway 108 to their resupply point at Kennedy Meadows from Sonora Pass, or they are hitching about 13 miles East to Highway 395, where they will hitch another 25 miles South to the nice little town of Bridgeport.

Kennedy Meadows Resupply

I suggest that both Pacific Crest and Tahoe to Yosemite backpackers hitch-hike down to Kennedy Meadows for their resupply from Sonora Pass. It's an easy hitch hike if there are cars on the road, it's close, it has great services and people, and I love that place. I enjoy Bridgeport, but I love Kennedy Meadows.

As of 2015 the grocery store in Bridgeport was still closed, significantly reducing available resources. Rhino's is still the best place for hot food and cold beer. I visit Bridgeport when I hitch or drive up and down Highway 395 along the Eastern flank of the Sierra Nevada, but do not use it as a resupply point while hiking the Sierra.

Though Highway 108 is a fairly remote road, even on weekends during the Summer, a high percentage of the people who drive on it live in the country, and many of them will pick up backpackers. I have never had a problem hitching down to, or back from Kennedy Meadows Pack Station from Sonora Pass. The same is true from Ebbetts Pass to Lake Alpine on Highway 4.
It might take a little time for a few cars to pass by, but only a few have to come by before I get a ride.

Southbound hikers on the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail will not have to hitch back up to Sonora Pass, as the PCT hikers will, to continue hiking South after resupplying. The Tahoe to Yosemite route calls for a hike South into Emigrant Wilderness out of the Kennedy Meadows Trailhead up to Brown Bear Pass, the Western entrance to the High Emigrant Basin.

Different Characters of TYT and PCT Routes

The deeper distinction that characterizes the difference between the TYT and PCT trail routes across Emigrant Wilderness is the same difference we have experienced hiking from Lake Tahoe to Sonora Pass: The PCT follows the Crestline and upper Eastern flank of the Sierra Crest, while the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail dips deeply down into the high, deep valleys cutting wide drainage channels up the Western flank to the Sierra Crest.

Here's how I like to do it Southbound: The TYT from Carson Pass to Highland Creek. TYT at Highland Creek to the PCT at Wolf Creek Pass. PCT to Boulder Lake, and down to the TYT for the unmaintained/untrailed portion of the TYT over Saint Marys Pass to Highway 108.
It's a toss up South from the top of Highway 108. Both the PCT and the TYT are excellent from Highway 108 to the Yosemite Boundary. As a matter of fact, there are three excellent long distance routes routes between Highway 108 and the Yosemite Park Boundary we can explore as we build up a succession of High Siera backpacking trips from the Tahoe Basin to Mount Whitney. The Tahoe to Yosemite Trail is only one of many potential routes and variations we can craft to explore more with each trip.

There is also an emergency route that can take PCT hikers around Leavitt and Sonora Peaks when they are covered in snow, completely bypassing both of these peaks.
Getting over Leavitt and Sonora Peaks in Spring snow conditions requires gear and skills many PCT hikers lack, which can make this series of peaks along the Sierra Crst serious early season snow bottlenecks for early season Pacific Crest Trail hikers.

PCT and TYT route differences across Emigrant Wilderness

The Southbound Tahoe to Yosemite backpacker enters the Emigrant Wilderness, Stanislaus NF, at Kennedy Meadows Pack Station, while the Southbound Pacific Crest Trail hiker enters the Emigrant Wilderness by crossing Highway 108 at Sonora Pass.

Although the Southbound PCT hiker briefly enters the Emigrant Wilderness through the Stanislaus NF at Sonora Pass, the trail route wobbles across the crestline boundary of the Toiyabe and Stanislaus Forests' along the Eastern edge of Emigrant Wilderness until the PCT fully turns East down Kennedy Canyon into the Toiyabe NF just South of Leavitt Peak.
From that point until we enter Yosemite throguh Dorthy Lake Pass the PCT remains in the Toiyabe National Forest.

The third option South between Highway 108 and the Yosemite Boundary is to continue straight through this junction off of the Southbound PCT South of Leavitt Peak to remain within the Stanislaus NF's Emigrant Wilderness by climbing over Big Sam into the awesome High Emigrant Basin on our way South to join with the TYT route to enter the Yosemite Backcountry through Bond Pass.

This third route splits the difference between the the PCT and TYT routes across the heart of the Emigrant Wilderness, useing pieces of both trails to craft a unique route from Highway 108 into the top of Jack Main Canyon.

I'm still building this octopus of a website, so when I get that part of the trail guide completed, I'll link to it. But you can check out the map of this route option in the meantime!

 

Index
of

Resupply Points

 

High Sierra
Backpacking Resupply Points

Lake Tahoe Region Resources and Transportation

Echo Lake Chalet

Lake Alpine Lodge and Bear Valley

Kennedy Meadows Pack Station

Tuolumne Meadows

Yosemite Valley

Red's Meadow and Mammoth Lakes

Vermilion Valley Resort

Muir Ranch

Whitney Portal-Lone Pine

top of page

 

High Sierra
Backpacker Forums

Have a great Sierra Nevada trip or story to relate? A fine piece of gear? Or gear that failed?

Post it on
TahoetoWhitney.Org

Above we come to the Front Page of the High Backpacking Trails and Topics Forums. Below we break the forums down into categories:

High Sierra Trails High Sierra Topics

Anyone can post text comments in the existing forums, but only members can post up new topics, along with images, maps, and formatting.

Become a Member

If you have experiences, comments, questions, or pictures and videos about resupplying on the Tahoe to Yosemite or Pacific Crest Trails at Lake Alpine Lodge or Bear Valley on Highway 4, post up here as an unknown hiker or as a member:

Backpacking Preparation / Resupply
Lake Alpine Resupply Forum
Trailhead
Contact
Alex Wierbinski

top of page

Frosted Backpack

Backpacking Lake Tahoe to Mount Whitney

Your guide to the High Sierra Crest, including the Tahoe to Yosemite, Pacific Crest, and John Muir Trails

Snug tent after Snow Storm
© Lake Tahoe to Mount Whitney: Crown Jewel of the Pacific Crest Trail