Kerrick Canyon and Matterhorn Canyon Loop via Barney and Peeler Lakes Backpacking

Bridgeport, California

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This is Yosemite at its finest: sweeping subalpine vistas, soaring granite peaks, and intimate campsites beside delightful, trout-filled lakes and streams. And, since this semi-loop trip is far from the big-name attractions of southern Yosemite, there aren’t crowds! Matterhorn Canyon, the jewel of northern Yosemite, lies halfway through our trip. This spectacular canyon is named for 12,264-foot Matterhorn Peak, which dominates its head. Here, iceage glaciers modified the 13-mile-long trough, giving it a dazzling array of smooth cliffs and aprons, capped with lofty, frost-riven peaks that now support lasting snowfields. Cozy conifer groves make the canyon bottomlands eminently hospitable to campers. We start via the Robinson Creek Trail, justifiably the most popular route into the Yosemite north country. It leads quickly up into breathtaking sub-alpine terrain around glittering Peeler Lake. After traversing Kerrick Canyon, which has less relief than Matterhorn but a marvelous assortment of flanking domes, this hike follows the Pacific Crest Trail to Benson and Smedberg lakes, both with good fishing. It then ascends Matterhorn Canyon, before passing right under the spiry Sawtooth Ridge at the head of little-visited Slide Canyon.
Backpacking California: Mountain, Foothill, Coastal, & Desert Adventures in the Golden State

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Backpacking California: Mountain, Foothill, Coastal, & Desert Adventures in the Golden State

by Author varies by trail (Wilderness Press)

This is Yosemite at its finest: sweeping subalpine vistas, soaring granite peaks, and intimate campsites beside delightful, trout-filled lakes and streams. And, since this semi-loop trip is far from the big-name attractions of southern Yosemite, there aren’t crowds! Matterhorn Canyon, the jewel of northern Yosemite, lies halfway through our trip. This spectacular canyon is named for 12,264-foot Matterhorn Peak, which dominates its head. Here, iceage glaciers modified the 13-mile-long trough, giving it a dazzling array of smooth cliffs and aprons, capped with lofty, frost-riven peaks that now support lasting snowfields. Cozy conifer groves make the canyon bottomlands eminently hospitable to campers. We start via the Robinson Creek Trail, justifiably the most popular route into the Yosemite north country. It leads quickly up into breathtaking sub-alpine terrain around glittering Peeler Lake. After traversing Kerrick Canyon, which has less relief than Matterhorn but a marvelous assortment of flanking domes, this hike follows the Pacific Crest Trail to Benson and Smedberg lakes, both with good fishing. It then ascends Matterhorn Canyon, before passing right under the spiry Sawtooth Ridge at the head of little-visited Slide Canyon.

© 2008 Author varies by trail/Wilderness Press. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Backpacking, Hiking
Nearby City: Bridgeport
Length: 53.6
Elevation Gain: 9,300 feet
Trail Type: Loop/Lollipop
Skill Level: Moderate to Difficult
Duration: 5-7 days
Season: Late summer through early fall
Local Contacts: Toiyabe National Forest - permit required
Local Maps: USGS 7.5-min. Twin Lakes, Buckeye Ridge, Matterhorn Peak, and Piute Mtn.
Topo Map: Kerrick Canyon and Matterhorn Canyon Loop via Barney and Peeler Lakes (Backpacking) Topographic Map
Guide Book: Backpacking California: Mountain, Foothill, Coastal, & Desert Adventures in the Golden State Guide Book
Driving Directions: View Directions
Trail Directions: View Guide

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