Trip summary: 11 miles (round trip) Total elevation gain: 2,800′ Max elevation: 11,572′ Trailhead: Sonora Pass Time: 5h 45m (lunch break and photo ops included)
I love hiking peaks. I never pass up an opportunity to nab a prominent or interesting peak when it presents itself. That said, when I was due to cross the Sierra Nevada on a road trip from Santa Cruz to Mammoth Lakes, I was scanning the peaks on satellite imagery to pick one that looked feasible to quickly hike on the way.
The typical route from Santa Cruz to the Eastern Sierra would be over the Tioga Pass, which winds through Yosemite National Park. However, due to the restricted entry into the park, we were forced to use the longer route roughly 30 miles to the north, Sonora Pass. Despite a bit more driving, it actually was a nice change of scenery to explore a new area of the mountains that I had never been to in the summer months. I had only been to the area during the winter to snowboard.
After some investigating on Google Maps, I keyed in on Leavitt Peak, a 11,500-foot flat-topped mountain just 5.5 miles off the road from Sonora Pass. Leavitt Peak checked all the boxes in that we could get there relatively quick, it is the highest peak in the immediate area to provide ideal panoramic views, and it included a great variety of scenery ranging from alpine lakes, volcanic formations and meandering streams.
Leavitt was a great warm up and acclimating trek for our upcoming backpacking trip in the Sierra. It was invigorating to feast my eyes on new mountains and let my mind run wild with the future possibilities for when I go back.
I’ll let the pictures do the talking for this trip: