Leavitt Meadow

Mono County, California

Gateway to the Hoover Wilderness

Explore the Eastern Sierra.
Great fishing, scenic lakes,
plenty of room to wander.



Leavitt Meadow

Hiking, Fishing, Mountain Biking, Star Gazing, Sightseeing


Photo of the Leavitt Meadow

Leavitt Meadow rests at the foot of the eastern slope of Sonora Pass in Mono County, California. The 2-mile long meadow is 7,100 feet above sea level, but because of lower precipitation on the eastern side of the Sierra, it is often free of snow by May. Adjacent to Leavitt Meadow is its sister, Pickel Meadow, where the Marine Mountain Warfare Training Center is located. The only facilities at Leavitt Meadow now are the Leavitt Meadow Pack Station and the Leavitt Meadow Campground. Bordering the Hoover Wilderness, Leavitt Meadow is a popular jumping off place for trips into the back country. Great fishing abounds in the lakes, rivers, and streams in the area.




map of Leavitt Meadow

Scenic Drives

Fall Color on Sonora Pass

It's hard to predict when the aspen trees standing in groves along the eastern side of Sonora Pass will turn to their brilliant fall colors. Often it is sometime in October for all of Mono County. If you happen to be in the area in the fall, don't miss the opportunity to drive up the pass from Leavitt Meadow. The colors are often so dazzling it's hard to believe they are real.

Silver Creek

If you have a 4-wheel drive vehicle, heading up Silver Creek behind the Marine Training Center makes for an interesting adventure. To access the Silver Creek Road, you have to pass through a gate at the Marine Base. Once on the road you may find the side roads confusing, but if you go at it with a sense of adventure, whichever way you go will turn out interesting. Climbing up to Summit Meadow you get spectacular views of the Sierra crest back to the west. Often the Marines are in the area doing training.

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Fishing and Hiking

Fishing

Fishing is excellent on the West Fork of the Walker River, especially lower down toward Sonora Junction. The river is home to rainbow, brook, and brown trout. Fishing is usually best beginning in late June when the peak of the snowmelt has passed.

For those willing to do a little hiking, the nearby lakes and streams in the back country provide some great fishing destinations. Close to the road are Poore Lake and Kirman Lake. No fishing is allowed at Junction Reservoir and special regulations govern Kirman Lake.

By taking the trail from Leavitt Meadow Campground you can reach Roosevelt and Lane lakes in a little more than an hour. Both offer great fishing. Check state regulations regarding limits in these lakes.

For more about fishing around Leavitt Meadow see Dave's Sierra Fishing.

Hiking

photo of Roosevelt Lake

The 3.5 mile hike to Roosevelt and Lane lakes mentioned above is a great day hike. By swinging past Secret Lake on your return you can make a nice loop trip.

More ambitious hikes take you deep into the Hoover Wilderness. Backcountry lakes such as Fremont Lake, Cinco Lake, and Chain of Lakes are rewarding fishing destinations and take you along scenic backpacking routes. Piute Meadow is another beautiful location. From the meadow you are nearly at the foot of Tower Peak and surrounding summits. Pick up a wilderness permit at the self-serve kiosk in the backpackers parking lot or stop at the Ranger Station just south of Bridgeport.


High Sierra Trails

A Backpacker's Guide to the
Most Spectacular Trails
in the Sierra Nevada


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Historic Sites

The Sonora and Mono Wagon Road

The old Sonora and Mono Wagon Road came down the pass using the same twists and turns as present-day Highway 108. Once at Leavitt Meadow an early version of the road crossed the river and struck out directly toward Pickel Meadow. Objections to that route brought the road back to the same side of the Walker River as Highway 108. If you stop at Silver Falls (see below), cross the road

Leavitt Meadow Hostelry

In the 1860s when the wagon road first opened, Hiram Leavitt brought his family over Sonora Pass and established a small hotel on the bank of the river in Leavitt Meadow. A marker notes the historic site, but there is virtually nothing to be seen there. Eventually Leavitt tired of running the way station and moved his family to Bridgeport.

The Walker River Emigrant Trail

In 1852 a group of emigrants from Ohio known as the Clark-Skidmore Party brought the first wagons over the Walker River Trail to Columbia in Tuolumne County. The route led down from Summit Meadow and close to Silver Creek, across the West Walker River in Pickel Meadow, and up past Poore Lake. From there the emigrants wound their way over to the head of Leavitt Meadow and up a narrow chute which brought them out on the river just beyond Lane Lake. Following streams they found their way up to Fremont Lake, past Chain of Lakes, and on up to a pass near High Emigrant Lake.

Few traces of the trail remain. For more about the history of the trail and its emigrants, read Sonora Pass Pioneers by David H. Johnson, available from the Tuolumne County Historical Society.

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Leavitt Falls

Waterfalls

Leavitt Falls

For the best view of Leavitt Falls (shown right), drive 1.3 miles west from the Leavitt Meadow Pack Station , watching for a sign and turnoff on your left. A short trail leads to an overlook. The falls drops about 250 feet in several steps.

Silver Falls

Silver Falls is between Leavitt Meadow and Poore Meadow. From the Leavitt Meadow Campground drive .8 miles east and watch for it on your left. It makes about a 20 foot drop in two tiers. By late summer it usually dries up.


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Leavitt Meadow Area Campgrounds

Leavitt Meadow Campground


Leavitt Meadow Campground

The Leavitt Meadow Campground is located on Highway 108 in Leavitt Meadow 7 miles west of Sonora Junction (Highway 395). The West Fork of the Walker River runs past the campground. At an elevation of 7,100', Leavitt Meadow Campground is usually open from late May through October. It is on a first come, first served basis.

Cost: $20 for a single site and $5 for an extra vehicle

Leavitt Meadow Campground Amenities

  • 1 tent-only sites and 15 RV or tent sites
  • Piped water
  • Vault toilets
  • The nearest supplies (food and gas) are in Bridgeport, 24 miles away

Sonora Bridge Campground


Sonora Bridge Campground

The Sonora Bridge Campground is located off Highway 108 in 1.7 miles west of Sonora Junction (Highway 395). The West Fork of the Walker River runs near the campground. At an elevation of 6,800' Leavitt Meadow Campground is usually open from May through October. It is on a first come, first served basis.

Cost: $12 for a single site and $5 for an extra vehicle

Sonora Bridge Campground Amenities

  • 23 sites
  • Piped water
  • Vault toilets
  • The nearest supplies (food and gas) are in Bridgeport, 19 miles away

For more information, see Leavitt Meadow Campgrounds.

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Leavitt Meadows Pack Station


Leavitt Meadows Pack Station is located alongside Highway 108 in Leavitt Meadow, on the east side of Sonora Pass. They are a favorite in Mono County and up and down the the eastern Sierra. They offer a variety of Trail Rides:

Leavitt Meadows Pack Station

The Meadow Ride: $30 / person

This is a 1-hour ride loops around Leavitt Meadows. On this ride you will ride along side the river and through the gorgeous meadow. Enjoy the warm sun and refreshing breeze. This is the perfect horse adventure for those who just want a little bit of time in the saddle.

The Secret Lake Ride: $55 / person

Around 2 hours long, this ride will follow the pack trial for a ways and then head to Secret Lake. You will overlook Leavitt Meadows and the Pickle Meadow area during the ride.

The Falls Ride: $70 / person

This ride will be close to 4 hours. Follow the pack trail past Lane and Roosevelt Lake. Then split off and down to the West Walker River and the Falls. If you wish, you can pack a lunch or snack to enjoy during the break overlooking the Falls.

pack animals and wrangler

Pack Trips

On Spot Pack Trips you ride in with a packer to a campsite and are dropped off there for as long as you like. The packer then returns to pick up you and your gear.
With a Backpack Drop you and your backpacking equipment are taken into the back country and left to proceed on your own backpacking trip. It's a great way to jump-start a backpacking trip.
On a Base Camp Trip you are packed in with your personal equipment to a base camp set up by the packer/guide. Meals, tents, and other group equipment are provided.
Other types of trips are also available to suit your needs.

Call, Email, or Stop By for Reservations
530-495-2196 ~or~ craig@leavittmeadows.com
For more information, see Leavitt Meadows Pack Station.

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