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High Sierra Trail late sept/early oct


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Hi there,

I'll will be in the US for a short training and was hopping to do the high sierra trail after the course. I have classes until the sept the 22nd, and should be able to get to the trailhead around the 24th.

Is it still possible, or shoul I say reasonable, to do the trail this late in the season? What kinda of weather should I expect?

Thanks a lot

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It will get really cold at night and the nights will be long. I doubt you get snow, more likely pretty sunny days.

The problem with the High Sierra Trail is that this 50-mile hike requires a 300-mile shuttle, which I think is unreasonable in any season. There is no public transportation to get you from one trailhead to the other. So just go to where ever is the nearest Sierra Nevada trailhead and work out a loop of some sort. There are hundreds of places just as awesome as the High Sierra Trail without the confounding logistics.

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  • 2 weeks later...

What toejam says -- it's a bit cold and dark, but usually not snowy.  Check the forecast, though, as your life could really suck if there is an atypical early-season storm.

Not only does the HST require a long shuttle, it passes through a lot of boring terrain.  A loop out of one of the high east-side trailheads (e.g. Onion Valley or South Lake) has a much higher reward for effort.  Better still, you can go in one, come out another, and hitch-hike back to your car without much trouble.

If you want to stay on-trail, the loop from North Lake to South Lake via Evolution Valley is a good option.  If you're comfortable off-trail there are many better options.

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  • 2 years later...

The fall is the best time to be in the Sierra.  You are proposing to go around the time of the autuminal equinox, equal day length.  It is usually not  that cold but expect frost.

I spent late October in Yosemite this year and it was great.  Before mid November you have the odds of good weather in your favor. 

I spent late November camping this year,  and by then the night is 14 hours long.  I chose milder weather around 18-20 at night.  In comparison Sept will be easy.  

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