Walker Meadows Backpack

Hoover Wilderness

Climb to high, open ridges
with spectacular views,
then descend to beautiful
Walker Meadows

Walker Meadows Backpack Trail

Along the Pacific Crest Trail

Walker Meadows are just east of the Sierra crest along the route of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) in the Hoover Wilderness. The meadows provide a comfortable base camp from which to explore the many lakes in the area and to hike along trails once used by emigrant wagon trains in the 1850s. Fishing is good in all the lakes and many of the streams.

The 8-mile hike from Leavitt Lake to Walker Meadows is a high elevation trek, beginning at 9,600' at the lake and climbing immediately 1,000' to a ridge where you join the PCT. Panoramic views of both the eastern and western slopes of the Sierra from the ridge make carrying a camera a must. From there it is a 2,000' descent to Walker Meadows.

map of hike to Walker Meadow

Hiking Guide to Walker Meadows

Getting Organized

Wilderness Permits for the backpacking trip to Walker Meadows can be picked up at the Summit Ranger Station near Pinecrest or the Bridgeport Ranger Station in Bridgeport. The 3-mile dirt road to Leavitt Lake leaves Highway 108 four miles west of Leavitt Meadow. The road is often impassable in early summer due to snow and muddy stream crossings. Follow the road to Leavitt Lake and around to the left side to a small trailhead parking lot.

Starting the Hike to Walker Meadows

Water may not be available along the trail for the first several miles. Plan to start slowly. Pace yourself up the 1,000' climb to the top of the ridge. Once you reach the summit you join the Pacific Crest Trail. Views to the west are of the Kennedy Lake area and beyond, while to the east you can see out toward Leavitt Meadow.

The Heart of the Hike

The PCT turns downhill at the saddle. Another trail continues on south and climbs another high ridge before dropping into the Emigrant Meadow area. Take the PCT and descend the canyon to the east, finally leveling out in the Walker Meadows vicinity. The trail skirts the meadow area, joining other trails near a bridge.

Camping at Walker Meadows

The best campsites are near the bridge, some downstream. A nice campsite is just upstream from the bridge. Another choice would be to follow the trail east toward Chain of Lakes and to camp among the lakes. There are many good campsites there.

Nearby Adventures

  • Fish at Cinko Lake - Cinko Lake is a good fishing destination, only a few miles away. Good campsites can be found there.
  • Follow the Route of the Emigrants - The emigrant trail passed along Chain of Lakes, coming up from Fremont Lake. From the bridge at Walker Meadows the trail heads up the West Fork of the West Walker River toward Emigrant Pass.
  • Visit Piute Meadow - Head south 3 miles by trail to Piute Meadow. (Be sure to carry your Wilderness Permit with you). You'll find a ranger cabin at the edge of a beautiful meadow with 11,700' Tower Peak rising above.
  • Make a Loop Trip to Leavitt Meadow - If you have two vehicles, leave one at Leavitt Meadow. Then instead of returning to Leavitt Lake, hike down the trail past Fremont Lake and on out to Leavitt Meadow (10 downhill miles), thus avoiding the 2,100' return climb to Leavitt Lake.