Sierra High Route Day 19: A Zero Day at Reds Meadow Resort and a “Flip Flop” Decision

So Ray and I have a zero day at Red’s Meadow and are staying in the backpacker’s cabin. A zero day means no miles toward’s our thru hike goal. A rest day in other words. The cabin is rustic as it only contains a bed. The showers and bathrooms are across the way on the other side of the small general store and restaurant. But hey, it feels very luxurious after camping out for days on end.

Hikers (mostly hiking the John Muir Trail) hanging out in front of the restaurant at Reds Meadow Resort

Today we spend most of the day deciding what to do. After showering, doing laundry and eating big meals of course. We find out that the Beck’s Lake Trail, which is the access to the next section of the Sierra High Route is closed because of the Lion’s Fire. You would think at this point Ray and I would give up. But no. We are both stubborn and driven to a fault. Ok, maybe tenacious is a better word. We will just have to find another way to make this work.

Sun setting through the smoke at Red’s Meadow Resort

We come up with Plan B (or C, D, or E..). We will do what is called in the thru hiking world a “Flip Flop”. Our plan is to pick up our vehicle first, drive up to Tuolumne Meadows (skipping the current section which is closed from the fire) and do what is normally the final section. For picking up our car, we will take the Red Meadow’s Bus to Mammoth Lakes, take the Eastern Sierra Shuttle from Mammoth Lakes to Independence, stay at the Williamson Hotel overnight and take their shuttle back to the trailhead at Onion Valley to pick up our car. We will then drive to Tuolumne Meadows and hike the final section north from Tuolumne to Twin Lakes. Then we will go to Oregon to visit family (a previous commitment) and come back after Oregon and do the section from Red’s Meadow to Tuolumne. Hopefully that will give the firefighters and Mother Nature time to get the Lion’s Fire under control and open the Beck’s Lake trail.

Whew. We spend some time arranging a shuttle from Twin Lakes back to Tuolumne Meadows, making reservations, and planning our flip flop. Sometimes you just gotta adjust.



  1. Kerrie, How do you arrange shuttles from trailheads like Twin Lakes to other locations on the East side?

    1. Hey Otis! Yes. There are a few local shuttles. We used Lew Hill for transporting us from Twin Lakes to Tuolumne Meadows. We used Paul from East Side Sierra Shuttle from Tuolumne Meadows to Mammoth Lakes. Both were $150 for 2 of us. YARTS is great and cheapest during peak season between Mammoth and Tuolumne Meadows. Eastern Sierra Transit provides service between towns on the east side of the Sierras and the Bishop Creek Shuttle provides service between Bishop and the Piute and Bishop Pass Trails out of North and South Lake. Hope that helps!

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