A lovely tour of the woods and mountain tops culminating in amazing views from the summit of Alta Peak.
From the Wolverton parking lot, follow the Lakes Trail
to begin the hike. The trail to Alta Peak is the same as the Lakes Trail
for the first 1.8 miles. When you reach a fork, the trail to Alta Peak will veer to the right as signs indicate.
Here you'll climb moderately through the forest over a few creeks requiring some rock hopping in spring and early summer. When you reach the end of the forest, you'll climb to Panther Peak for a great lookout. Upon continuing, you'll see great views of the Western Divide and eventually Castle Rock looking right from the trail.
You'll reach a point where you can continue straight on Alta Peak or veer off to the High Sierra Trail
. At this point, you have 3 miles to go to the summit. Continuing on, you'll reach another wooded section before coming to the split for Alta Peak and Alta Meadow. This section of the trail is only 2 miles, but it is the steepest part, especially the last mile.
While climbing, you'll come out of the tree line and become fully exposed to the sun and wind as you make the steep climb through rocks and dirt to the summit. Continuing up Alta Peak will require minor rock scrambling to reach the summit to see Pear Lake and the Eastern Divide.
You may come across a bear on this trail before Panther Peak in the wooded area so keep your eyes open. Marmots are populous but harmless at the summit.