Female backpacker near alpine lake on Palisade Glacier Trek

Palisade Glacier Trek

Trip Highlights

  • New Trip Offering
  • Ancient Sierra Glacier
  • 5 Different Glacial Lakes
  • Breathtaking Views
  • 2000' Ascent up Big Pine Creek
  • North Palisade & Temple Crag
  • Stunning Campsites
  • Mountain Solitude


Hands down one of the most exciting treks in the Sierra Nevada mountain range!  Come hike with Wildland Trekking to one of the last remaining glaciers in the Sierra Nevada range, the Palisade Glacier.  The glacier descends from jagged, granite peaks that are over 14,000 ft in elevation and are composed of what is known as North Palisade.  We will also explore the Palisade lake basin visiting over 5 pristine, glacial meltwater lakes along the way.  This trip is a must do in California’s less crowded, Inyo National Forest.

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From USD
$1810 Per Person
Trip Type: Guided Backpacking Trip
Difficulty Level:
Solitude Level:
Group Size: 1-10 Guests
Trip Length: 5 Days
Distance: 21MI / 34KM


Scale of 1-5. 1 is least difficult; 5 is most difficult

The first portion of this trek is on well maintained trails and involves a strenuous 2800′ ascent into the Palisade Lakes Basin. The route to the Palisade Glacier is completely off trail and involves scrambling over rough terrain including large boulders and talus. There are areas of exposure to vertical drops within 10 feet of the route.

Hiking Distances:

3-7 miles

Backpack Weight:

35-45 lbs


Extremely Rugged

Max Daily Elev. ↑↓:

2813 feet

Heights Exposure:


Please Note: Terrain, Elevation Gain and Heights Exposure ratings reflect the section or day of the trip with the maximum difficulty of each. Much of the trip is at easier levels. See the trip itinerary for more detailed information. Backpack Weight ratings are estimates that account for Wildland-provided gear, guest clothing, personal items and a share of group food. By packing light it’s often possible to stay on the lower end of the weight range. Pack weights also decrease during the trip.


  • Hiking uphill or downhill with a 35-45 lb backpack for 6-10 hours
  • Maintaining balance and footing on extremely rugged, off trail terrain with large boulders and talus
  • Hiking with occasional, moderate heights exposure
* For an official and complete list of physical requirements, please see our Essential Eligibility Criteria.


1 least solitude, 5 most solitude

We rate this Sierra backpacking trip a solitude 3. You can expect hours of solitude at a time.

Private Trips

Travel in perfect company by booking a private trip exclusively for your group!

Our sliding scale for private trips is based on the final number of guests in your group. Rates are per person and do not include sales tax, national park fees or guide gratuity. The final rate is based on the actual number of guests on the trip and may adjust based on cancellations or additions.

Please Note: you can also enjoy a private trip at our normal scheduled rates by filling any empty tour to capacity. However, if group members drop from the tour those spots will automatically become available on our website for instant booking. By purchasing a private trip at the rates listed below, your trip will remain exclusive to your group regardless of cancellations. 

Private Rates FOr This Trip

  • 2 People: Rate x 2.5
  • 3 People: Rate x 1.75
  • 4 People: Rate x 1.25
  • 5+ People: Rate x 1.15

*all rates are per person

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Day 1

Today you will meet up with your Guide at 5 pm at the White Mountain Ranger Station in Bishop, CA. We will camp locally and conduct an orientation of the trip over a tasty dinner prepared by your guide.

Day 2

  • Shuttle: 1 Hour
  • Distance: 6.2 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 2813 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 400 feet

After a hearty breakfast, our Eastern Sierras adventure officially begins with a short shuttle to our trailhead. Embarking on the hike, we start with an ascent of a breathtaking mountain creek. After our long ascent up the creek, the first of five glacial lakes we’ll see over the coming days comes into view. Less than 2 miles from this point, we will make our camp on the shores of beautiful Second Lake. The color of the glacial lake resembles a tropical reef with beautiful, turquoise water. We will enjoy our first backcountry dinner with the views of the surrounding Sierra peaks surrounding us.

Day 3

  • Distance: 2.8 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1080 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 400 feet

Today is an easier hike to help us acclimatize for our trek to the Palisade Glacier. We will pack up camp at Second Lake and move to Fourth Lake, a great staging point to ascend up to the glacier. After we drop our packs and set up camp, we will embark on a short day hike up to Summit lake, another stunning area of the Palisade Lakes Basin.

Day 4

  • Distance: 5.6 miles
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 2472 ft

Today we get an early start as we have a big day ahead of us. Today is the day we trek with light packs up to the Palisade Glacier! After fueling up with a big breakfast, we start our trek by ascending toward a subalpine meadow, almost as stunning as the glacier itself. Here we will pause for a snack and enjoy views of the surrounding peaks and the lakes below. Continuing on, we scramble over a few giant boulders that are part of a lateral moraine left by the bulldozing action of the ancient glacier. The glacier comes in to view at the very end of our rigorous climb. The namesake and main highlight of this trip, Palisade Glacier is a massive ice sheet that sits below us. We will pause here for lunch and soak up the incredible views.  To cap off our day we descend back to camp at Fourth Lake and enjoy another great dinner and evening together.

Day 5

  • Distance: 6.8 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 400 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 3,500 ft
  • Shuttle: 1 hour

Today we will pack up our camp at Fourth Lake and head back down to our trailhead. Instead of returning the way we came, we will loop around Black Lake and take in a different view along the way. Just past Black Lake we meet up with a familiar trail junction and make our way back to the trailhead and our vehicle. We will have a last lunch together and celebrate an amazing trek before saying our goodbyes!

Please Note: We always do everything in our power to follow the set itinerary, however it can change occasionally based on temporary access restrictions, weather, lodging/campground availability, guest ability/injury, natural events like fires and flooding, and other potential causes. Normal terms and conditions apply to trips with itinerary changes.

Trip Dates & Booking


Click on a date to register. You can also click here to request new dates or book through customer service.

Available to Book


This trip is available and bookable online! Click on the date to register now or contact us online to book through our award-winning customer service team!

Going Fast


This trip has 1 or 2 spots remaining and is bookable online! Click on the date to book now or contact us online to book through customer service.

Request a Reservation


This trip is exclusively booked through customer service due to logistics with lodging, permits, staffing, availability, or something else. Please contact us online or call us at 800-715-HIKE (4453) to request a reservation.

Don't see your dates? Call us! We may be able to add new trip dates.

800-715-HIKE (4453)

Trip Details

Trip Details

What's Included

  • Top-of-the-line tent, backcountry sleeping pad and multi-day backpack
  • High quality, synthetic sleeping bag (professionally laundered after every use) – or bring your own.
  • Use of trekking poles
  • All meals are included from dinner on Day 1 through lunch on the last day
  • Trained hiking guide(s) with years of personal wilderness and hiking experience, medical certifications, and a passion for leading people into breathtaking landscapes. See Guide Bios.
  • Transportation originating and ending in Bishop, CA
  • Backcountry camping permits
  • Bear cannisters for food storage
  • Emergency equipment including a company-issued first-aid kit and communication device (InReach Explorer or satellite phone)

What's Not Included

  • Clothes, raingear and footwear (see recommendations)
  • Sunscreen, toiletries and personal items
  • Water bottles and a headlamp or flashlight
  • Guide gratuity (industry recommendation is 10-20% of trip cost)

Click here to see a printable, downloadable trip information packet with more detailed information about what to pack.

Meals: What to Expect

All of our hiking and backpacking tours include a diversity of tasty meals packed full of critical carbohydrates, proteins and fats. We carry foods that travel well in the backcountry – rice, pastas, lentils, beans, couscous, packaged meats, nuts, breads, oatmeal, granola, and more.

For optimal taste and energy, we supplement all our meals with spices, herbs, oils, cheeses, butter, sugar, and fruits and vegetables (fresh and dried). In addition, we provide you with with an assortment of trail mix, snacks, and dried fruits to eat at your own discretion.

We regularly accommodate vegan, vegetarian, kosher and non-gluten diets and will make adjustments for food allergies. These and other special dietary requests may require an additional fee.

Gear We Provide

We provide all group gear which includes the following:

  • Deuter or Osprey backpacks
  • Sierra Designs, Kelty or Big Agnes tents
  • Sierra Designs, Big Agnes and Mountain Hardware synthetic-fill sleeping bags (or bring your own)
  • Thermarest or Big Agnes sleeping pads
  • Leki trekking poles
  • Cooking stoves and cookware
  • Bear cannisters
  • Company-issued first-aid kit
  • Emergency communication device(s)

Guest Packing List

When you register for this tour you’ll receive access to a printable, downloadable trip information packet with a detailed packing list specific to this trip (click here to see it now.) All trips require a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots, rain gear, a recommended clothing system, a headlamp or flashlight, a hydration system (water bottles and/or bladder) and other items specific to each trip.

Additionally, some guests choose to bring their own sleeping bag. We supply high quality, synthetic fill bags that are professionally laundered after every trip. Synthetic fill is non-allergenic, insulates when damp and stands up well to repeated washings, but is heavier and bulkier than down. If you’re able to bring your own down sleeping bag, there are multiple benefits. If not, we’ve got you covered!

Trip Logistics

Trip Logistics

How Do I Register?

Reserve your spot today! In the Trip Dates & Booking section of this page, the green and red dates are bookable online by simply clicking on the date, and blue dates must be booked through our customer service team for a variety of possible reasons. To email our customer service team, you can click here to get the ball rolling. Our adventure consultants will confirm availability, and if you’re ready to register we’ll email you a link to a registration profile. You’ll have 72 hours to complete your profile (and that of any dependents) and pay the deposit.

Feel free to call us for more info – we’re here 7 days a week!

Where Do We Meet?

This trip meets at 5:00 PM on Day 1 at the White Mountain Ranger Station (798 N Main St) in Bishop, California. Upon arrival, you will easily spot your guide waiting for you in a Wildland Trekking hat and shirt. This trip includes dinner and camping at a campground close by. Personal vehicles can remain parked at the ranger station during trips.

Click here to see a printable, downloadable trip information packet with more detailed information about flights, shuttles, recommended lodging and more.

Travel to Bishop, CA

This trek begins and ends in Bishop, CA on Day 1 of the trip. Bishop is on the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, not far from the border of California and Nevada. It is located at the junction of CA Highways 395 and 168.

Getting to Bishop requires having a vehicle. The main driving gateways are Reno, NV; Fresno, CA; and Sacramento, CA. Bishop is a 3 hour and 30 minute drive south of Reno on Highway 395; and it’s 5 hours from both Fresno and Sacramento.

Start/End Times

Your guide will inform you of the first day’s rendezvous time at the orientation meeting. Generally, you can expect it to be between 5 and 8 am, although the exact time will depend on current weather and road conditions. On the final day we will be out of the backcountry normally before 5 PM (this time is not guaranteed, as a variety of circumstances can influence our exact return time) on the final day.

Safety Precautions

Your safety is our top priority. Our hiking tours are led by professional hiking guides, all of whom are wilderness-certified first responders or EMT’s, each with years of guiding and wilderness experience. Guides adhere to standardized risk management protocols in case of any potential or actual incident, and all tours carry an emergency communication device and comprehensive first-aid kit. Additionally we have a “24/7” system through which guides or guests can reach Wildland support personnel at any time.

If you have any further questions about safety, please contact us at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) for more information.

Essential Eligibility Criteria

Essential Eligibility Criteria (“EEC”) have been specifically identified to help you understand the skills and abilities necessary to participate on each Wildland trip, and they apply uniformly to all potential trip participants, irrespective of the presence or absence of any disability.

Once you identify a trip in which you may be interested, please carefully review the EEC and itinerary details. If after reviewing the EEC that apply to your desired trip, you determine you need an accommodation in order to meet the EEC, please contact us prior to registering to discuss your requested accommodation.

The EEC exist for your own safety and the safety and enjoyment of all participants. If you are unable to meet the EEC for the trip, with or without an accommodation, you are not eligible for that trip. If you register and arrive for a trip for which you do not meet the EEC, you will be disqualified from participation on the trip and will be dismissed or evacuated from the trip without a refund.

Guide Shifts

Eastern Sierra guides work daily shifts from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. During off hours (9 p.m. to 5 a.m.) the guides’ time is their own, and they are free to sleep, rest, take personal time, postpone guest requests until the next morning, and any other legal, reasonable activity people engage in when not working. We ask all guests to respect the guides’ off-duty hours by not waking or asking anything of them unless there is a true emergency. Also, state law requires that employees receive an uninterrupted 10 minute break every four working hours, so guides are required to take four 10 minute breaks between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m.

Age Restrictions

Age restrictions on this trip are as follows:

  • 12 and older to join scheduled tours (mixed groups)
  • 10 and older to join private tours, with final approval on a case by case basis
  • specific logistical requirements (such as porter or stock assist) determined on a case by case basis

Weather in the Sierras

Being a high mountain environment, the Sierra Nevada Mountains are prone to sudden temperature and weather shifts. This is an exciting aspect of being in the mountains. On trips in June, snow is a possibility, and the rest of the summer rain is always a possibility on your trip. To be fully prepared, please follow the recommended clothing list closely (this list comes as part of your trip packet when you register). See below for average summer temperatures:

Average Temperatures (Fahrenheit)



Backcountry Sleeping


Sleeping on backpacking trips is in premier 1-person, 2-person or 4-person backcountry tents. Solo travelers, and anyone else who requests it, are issued single tents. Top-of-the-line self-inflating sleeping pads and synthetic-fill sleeping bags (professionally laundered after every trip) are also provided.

Backcountry Cuisine


Meals from breakfast Day 1 through lunch the last day are fully included and prepared by your guide. We never use dehydrated backpacking meals, instead serving freshly prepared, delicious backcountry cuisine made with a variety of common and specialty ingredients that travel well in the wilderness.

Amazing Campsites


Of course campsites vary tremendously by destination, trip and even by the individual day of a trip. However, you can expect to camp in beautiful areas that put you right in the action to make the most of your backpacking adventure. We carefully design our itineraries with campsites in mind.

Trip Reviews

Trip Reviews

  • Average Customer Ratings:

  • 5.0 (2 reviews)
Alexander O


2 years ago

Excellent guide, great food, and perfect itinerary.

Kati N

Hidden gem of a trip

3 years ago

5 out of 5 stars, would definitely recommend! This trip is breathtaking! If you like gorgeous hidden lakes and mountain views, this trip is one you should consider. This trip has an itinerary that makes it very accessible; there were a few challenging days and a few relaxing days. This was my first foray into backpacking and it was the perfect one for me. In case it's helpful for anyone else planning to go on this trip in August, I took a pair of lightweight capris, a pair of lightweight pants, 2 merino short sleeve shirts, 1 long sleeve 1/2 zip merino light weight shirt, separate camp clothes and wore traditional hiking boots (Lowa Renegades). If I were to do this trip again, I'd keep most of that the same, but only bring 1 short sleeve shirt and add in another long sleeve shirt. I wore the one I brought every day, mostly for sun coverage, but also for warmth at night. The boots I brought were great for traction and carrying the weight of the pack, but would like to find a pair without the ankle support for next time just to see if I liked that better. I'd also recommend a swim suit or something that dries super quick so you can dip in the lakes! For gear, I recommend bringing a foam sleeping pad - it's super versatile for sitting at camp and helps things not be so slippery while you're sleeping. A headlamp with a red light option is nice for not blinding your campmates. I brought a pair of classic Crocs for camp shoes and they worked very well. If you choose this hidden gem of a trip, you will have the opportunity to challenge yourself in incredible ways and be able to appreciate an area of the Sierras that not a lot of people have seen.

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