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General Information
How to get here

The Golden Trout Wilderness is great for moving trips in July when passes in the Bishop, Mammoth and Yosemite area are impassable. It is quite beautiful, with many meadows, streams and forested areas.

Rock Creek Pack Station, operating as Mt. Whitney Pack Trains, offers fully outfitted pack trips for hikers and riders who want to travel into the remote Golden Trout and Sequoia National Park Wildernesses. We originate trips primarily from Horseshoe Meadows but serve guests from the Sage Flat, Sawmill, Taboose and Shepherd trail heads, as well.

The Mt. Whitney Pack Trains portion of the Rock Creek Pack Station operates under permit by the Inyo National Forest and Sequoia Kings Canyon National Park.

Trips departing from Horseshoe Meadows, originate at Cottonwood Pack Station. We park cars at the Cottonwood Pack Station parking lot. We do have a restroom now at Cottonwood Pack Station.
And, we can accomodate guests that want to stay at Cottonwood Pack Station the night before the trip. We ask that you call and let us know that you want to stay the night before your trip.

General Information

Horseshoe Meadow is a vast 10,000 ft high meadow, surrounded by pine forests.

Getting to Horseshoe Meadow is an adventure in itself. The road to Horseshoe Meadow climbs over 6,000 feet, as it winds its way up from Lone Pine.
Three(3) campgrounds are located in the Horseshoe Meadow Area. trails from Horseshoe Meadow provide access to the John Muir and Golden Trout Wilderness Areas, and to Sequoia National Park.

Directions to Cottonwood Pack Station/Horseshoe Meadows

Located at the end of Horseshoe Meadow Road, 24 miles southwest of the town of Lone Pine, California. From center of Lone Pine, turn west at the stoplight and follow Whitney Portal Road for 3 miles. Then turn south onto Horseshoe Meadow Road.The road to Horseshoe Meadow climbs over 6,000 feet, as it winds its way up from Lone Pine. It is about 18 miles from Lone Pine to Horseshoe Meadows, about a 45 minute drive.

Latitude/Longitude: 36.45172418066291, -118.17150474920052 or
36°27'06.2"N 118°10"17.4'W

Google Maps link to Cottonwood Pack Station.

Campgrounds: The Horseshoe Meadows Campground is the easiest and most accessible campsite for those departing on a pack trip.
Part of the Horseshoe Meadow Recreation Area, it is located 24 miles from the town of Lone Pine, California. The campground has 18 walk-in sites with tent pads,
shared tables, fire grates, piped water, and toilet facilities. One night stay limit.

Fees: $6/Night for single unit
Usage: Medium
Restrictions: One night stay limit at campgrounds. Wood gathering is prohibited; bring own supply of firewood. High bear activity; bear boxes are provided and
must be used (box dimensions typically 18x18x50inches)
Closest Towns: Lone Pine, CA
Water: Potable Water
Restroom: Vault Toilet (1)
Operated By: Forest Service

All cars need to be free of food items or scented products that could attract bears. Please give your packer those items to be stored in our bear proof containers while you are on a pack trip.

There are NO PHONES at Horseshoe Meadows. Cell service is available on the road overlooking the Owens Valley just before you enter the Cottonwood/Horseshoe Meadow area.


More details on fishing regulations for the Golden Trout Wilderness can be found at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife website. Be sure to read them carefully and have a valid fishing license in your possession, if you intend to do any fishing.
You can download a PDF file of regulations from this link :

Here is an abbreviated list of regulations:

"Register 2023 Notice Reg. No. 52, December 29, 2023
Section 7.50 - Alphabetical List of Trout Waters with Special Fishing Regulations

    (a) General Provisions:
  • (1) Every body of water listed in subsection (b) is closed to all fishing except during the open season as shown. Unless otherwise provided, waters shown as open to trout fishing in subsection (b), are open to fishing for other species. Gear restrictions listed in this section apply to the take of all species of fish unless otherwise noted.
  • (2) Unless otherwise provided, waters closed to trout fishing are closed to fishing for all other species, except that these closures do not apply to fishing for amphibians (see Section 5.05), freshwater clams (see Section 5.20), crayfish (see Section 5.35), and lamprey (see Section 5.40), using legal fishing methods other than hook-and-line fishing, and saltwater clams, crabs, ghost shrimp, and blue mud shrimp (see Ocean Regulations Booklet sections 29.20 to 29.87). Crabs may only be taken using hoop nets or by hand, and Dungeness crab may only be taken within the North Coast District and Sonoma and Mendocino counties.
  • (3) Daily bag and possession limits, unless otherwise noted, mean the total number of trout.
  • (4) Unless otherwise provided, it is unlawful to possess more than one daily bag limit.
  • (5) These waters may also be subject to restrictions on fishing methods and gear (Sections 2.00 through 2.40), fishing hours (Section 3.00), and the use of bait (Sections 4.00 through 4.30)."

Body of Water Open Season and Special Restrictions Daily Bag and Possession Limit
(32) Cottonwood Creek and all tributaries upstream from the confluence of the main stem Cottonwood Creek and Little Cottonwood Creek, including the unnamed tributaries flowing through Horseshoe Meadow (Inyo Co.). All year. Only artificial lures may be used. 2 trout
(33) Cottonwood Creek drainage lakes (Inyo Co.). (A) Cottonwood Lakes 1, 2, 3 and 4 and their tributaries (Inyo Co.). Sep. 1 through Nov. 30. Only artificial lures may be used. Minimum size limit: 14 inches total length. 2 trout
(33) Cottonwood Creek drainage lakes (Inyo Co.). (B) All remaining Cottonwood Creek drainage lakes. All year. Only artificial lures may be used. 2 trout
(51) Golden Trout Wilderness Area (Tulare Co.), excluding the main stem Kern River (see subsection (b)(69)), and the Tule River drainage (see subsection (b)(154)). All year. Only artificial lures may be used 2 trout

Copyright © Cottonwood Pack Station 2016-2024 -- All Rights Reserved
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Last updated: February 14, 2024
Cottonwood Pack Station provides all of its services as a permit holder of Inyo National Forest and Sequoia Kings Canyon National Park.


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