5 NIGHTS | 50 MILES | GODDARD CANYON
Stretch the imagination and summit Kings Canyon’s 13,560′ beast on our most physically demanding route, including 10 miles off trail.
Traverse over 50 miles through John Muir Wilderness and Kings Canyon National Park to summit one of the burliest, intimidating and inspiring mountains in the Sierra, Mt. Goddard (13,560′). Our 5 night, 6 day route includes more than 10 miles of off-trail trekking, crossing two ~12,000’ passes.
Mt. Goddard is a massive, imposing mountain located in one of the most remote sections in Kings Canyon National Park. Standing at over 13,560′, the mountain sits atop the relatively isolated Goddard Divide and arguably commands the most extensive view of the High Sierra. From the top, one can view nearly every major peak in the High Sierra. Our looped route from Courtright Reservoir will traverse Goddard Canyon, Black Cap Basin and the LeConte Divide. This is mountain that summer dreams are made of. While no experience is needed, this trek is best suited for experienced backpackers ready to push the limits of what is possible, and fit and motivated individuals with an appetite for big challenges and true adventure.
- Guided 5 night, 50 mile trek to Kings Canyon National Park and Mt. Goddard
- Roundtrip transportation between Shaver Lake, CA meeting point and our trailhead
- Facilitate carpool transportation to/from Northern California and Clovis/Fresno area to meeting point
- Personalized pack-check prior to departure
- All meals and snacks while in the back-country
- Group gear and equipment
- Backpack, tent, sleeping bag and pad if needed
- Post-hike shower
- Flexible cancellation policy
What’s not included
- Meals in the front-country, including while in Shaver Lake, CA
- Personal items
How it works
A $475 deposit per person is required with balance due 60 days prior to the event. Typical group size of 7, including one guide. Maximum group size of 12, including two guides. An additional 5% charge will be applied when your reservation is made to offset new fees mandated by the U.S. Forest Service. Private, family and modified itinerary trips available through TSX Pods. Cancel up until the day of the trip without the risk of lost money. View cancellation policy.
Our Mount Goddard treks will meet at a designated cabin in Shaver Lake, California on the day of arrival (listed start date). This is a 3-4 hour drive from the Bay Area, 4-5 hour drive from Southern California, or 1 hour drive from the Fresno/Clovis area. If you need a ride, just ask! We help facilitate carpool arrangements for those who need them from the San Francisco Bay Area, and Fresno/Clovis area. Please contact us for details or to make arrangements.
Watch this video to experience the view from the top of Mt. Goddard.
Day 1 – Afternoon arrival, pack-check, overnight on trail
On the day of arrival, you’ll be welcomed into our Shaver Lake, CA cabin like family. Need a ride? Let us know and we can help with carpool arrangements. At the cabin we’ll hand out gear requested, help you lighten your load with a pack-check, and talk safety. We’ll get to know our team before driving out to our trailhead near Courtright Reservoir where our we’ll begin with an early evening hike to camp on the trail.
Day 2 – Courtright Reservoir to Disappointment Lake
Trail: Long moderate-to-intense uphill, with 1,500′ climb and multiple stream crossings
Our pace will be brisk, as we cover miles on good trail with a long and gradual climb toward Red Mountain Basin to camp near Hell For Sure Lake, a slice of heaven on earth.
Day 3 – Disappointment Lake to Martha Lake
Trail: Moderate-to-intense uphill, intense downhill, then long gradual hike up Goddard Canyon
A moderate morning hike will take us over Hell For Sure Pass and then through stunning Goddard Canyon where we’ll break for lunch along the headwaters of the San Joaquin River. We’ll follow the headwaters of the San Joaquin River up canyon, then off-trail, to camp at Martha Lake, at the base of Mt. Goddard.
Day 4 – Martha Lake to Rainbow Lake, with summit of Mount Goddard
Trail: Intense off-trail hiking with over 3,000′ of elevation gain, and loss
Weather permitting, we’ll be on trail at the break of dawn for a day-hike summit attempt of Mount Goddard. We’ll work as a team to overcome multiple obstacles including talus, scree, boulders, snow, and the chute, as we make our way to the summit. After returning to camp, we’ll pack up and begin an intimidating off-trail scramble over The Wall, crossing the LeConte Divide to camp near Rainbow Lake.
Day 5 – Traverse of Black Cap Basin, then drop to Kings River
Trail: Moderate downhill on steady granite, and trail
We’ll start the morning with an off-trail hike over steady granite as we begin our descent through Black Cap Basin and past Lightning Corral Meadow. After meeting up with the North Fork of the Kings River, we’ll continue on good trail downstream to camp beyond.
Day 6 – Kings River to Courtright Reservoir
Trail: Reconnect with loop trail, and exit, moderate up and downhill
An early start will get us back to Courtright Reservoir before lunch where we will reload cars, and return to the town of Shaver Lake to share a hearty group meal. A final stop for showers at our cabin in Shaver Lake is optional, then it’s home to brag.
If traveling by air, Fresno Yosemite International is the preferred airport. It’s a one hour drive from the airport to our meeting point in Shaver Lake, CA. If you’ll need a ride, please let us know! Be ready for pick-up by 11am. If traveling by car, meet us at our Shaver Lake cabin. It is a roughly 4 hour drive from the Bay Area, and 5 hour drive from Southern California to Shaver Lake. We will provide transportation from our Shaver Lake meet-up point to and from the trailhead.
When scheduling flights or planning your drive, ideally, please allow enough time to arrive at our Shaver Lake meet-up point between 1pm-2pm, or the Clovis/Fresno area by 11am if you need a ride up to Shaver. This will allow enough time for welcome activities, a pack-check, and a drive to our trailhead where we will begin our trek that evening before making camp.
We plan on exiting the trail between 10am and 12pm on the last day of the trek. Please plan your return transportation accordingly. If flying out of Fresno on the same day, we suggest scheduling flights for departure no earlier than 3pm. Staying one additional night in the Clovis, Fresno or Shaver Lake area is also popular option.
Pre- and post-trek accommodations (Out of State Guests)
For guest traveling in from out of state, we suggest flying into Fresno, CA the evening before departure and staying at the Best Western Clovis Cole, in historic downtown Clovis or Hampton Inn and Suites Clovis. Both are about a 10 minute cab/Uber ride from the airport. We can pick you up at the hotel on the morning of departure. If you plan on staying somewhere else, please let us know where you end up, and we’ll do our best to accommodate.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
Don’t own a backpack, tent or sleeping bag? We provide all major gear for those who request it at no additional charge. We also take care of all group items like stoves, food, water filters, first aid and more. Your guides will do the cooking and dishes. Just show up with your personal items ready to hike!
Download Our Official Gear Checklist!
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Glenda W. –
When AJ mentioned that she wanted to do a 5 night backpacking with a group to hike Mount Goddard, I thought she was a bit crazy. AJ then mentioned we will have a guide and it would be a great experience for the both of us since we love hiking and always wanted to try backpacking. I was a bit hesitant but I decided to lock my spot for the hike. I was very nervous and honestly was very excited at the same time. As the time was getting near, I received a phone call from Chris and he actually said I was the last one that have not completed the questionnaire. I thought the questions were great because it provides Chris little information about who he was going to spend 5 nights hiking. During the hike, I kept telling myself I could not do more than 5 days out backpacking in the wilderness. But everyday the scenery and solitude we had made me LOVE backpacking. The wilderness was beautiful, peaceful and the tranquility it gives makes me appreciate nature. Waking up to the beautiful sunrise and watching the sunset was stunning. The food that Chris had prepared were scrumptious. I learned to wear the same clothes and bathe in the lakes even though it was freezing. The people I spent with for the last 5 days were amazing and at the end we became a family. The overall experience I had was absolutely amazing. At the end of the hike, I felt more confidence in backpacking more than 5 nights in the wilderness especially with the TSX team. I honestly would love to do another TSX Challenge. Chris was an amazing guide and the people you meet becomes a part of your life.
I had an amazing experience completing the TSX Mount Goddard Challenge. The pre-trip information, including zoom meetings and responses to all my questions, was excellent. The route had breathtaking views and great challenges to overcome. Chris and Amy were attentive and supportive throughout the journey in every way, from the delicious meals to personal attention to each team member’s specific needs. I could not be happier with the experience, and cannot wait for the next challenge.
Jason B. –
I recently completed the TSX Mount Goddard Challenge, and could not be more happy with my experience! Chris and team were wonderful and on top of everything, whether it was cooking TREMENDOUS meals in the back-country, providing advice/motivation to hikers like myself or guidance on how to get the most of the trek. This is a very hard hike, but as Chris says, anyone that truly wants it, will achieve it – and I definitely felt like I achieved it. I am already looking at my next trip and will be bringing my son with me. I cannot describe how wonderful and meaningful the experience was.
I highly recommend this trip or any trip with TSX. The Hell for Sure with Mount Goddard route is just breathtaking. It features a beautiful and truly remote backcountry experience, exceptional guides, “holy-cow-real-food” meals and a dynamic supportive team structure to help everyone meet their own goals. This trip was way more than I was expecting in every way.
Mount Goddard is a giant gemstone with forever views from the top. The day we summited and then climbed “the Wall” to camp below at Rainbow Lake was as perfect a day as I’ve ever encountered.
I lack the skills to go off-trail by myself which doesn’t mean that I haven’t long stared up mountain slopes wishing I could see the other side from the top. This trip allowed me to walk, scramble, hop, leap, slide and, on occasion, crawl to my heart’s content all while feeling absolutely safe, capable and supported. I did way more than I thought I could do and I loved every minute.
Topping it all off with burgers, fries and a coffee shake in Shaver Lake? Brilliant!
THANK YOU! Chris, team TSX and our own 2021 Mt. Goddard Team One for making “the art of the possible” a reality.
Truly a once in a lifetime adventure. If you are looking to explore the Sierras in a way that others rarely do, then sign up for this trip. It will probably be on of the hardest and most rewarding things you will do. The views are spectacular, the food is delicious and Chris is a fantastic guide and leader. The climb up Mt Goddard is one you will never forget and to get the opportunity to explore parts of Kings Canyon National Park off trail with a group of like minded adventurers is a remarkable experience. Not only will you have bragging rights when you get home, but you’ll hardly see another soul while you’re out there which is a hard thing to accomplish in California! Put this on your bucket list.
Great trip. TSX gauged the group’s skill and and energy level and planned accordingly. Inspiring journey into the backcountry. Perfect for folks looking to challenge themselves while enjoying each day.
Jonathan Hunt –
A fantastic experience. The route was spectacular, the food was great and we had a world class guide.
I highly recommend this trip.
Aj P –
Our guide was so awesome. Very knowledgeable on all things backpacking and the route.
He was also an impressive cook. We were all fed and taken cared of. Delicious, real food, meals. Not dehydrated camp food.
We did about 53 miles total and experienced the most incredible views of the Sierra.
My TSX challenge experience was one for the books, it was challenging but very rewarding. I’m glad I signed up with TSX because the knowledge and support I received were above and beyond expectations. Highly recommended!
Dave (Two-Shot) Beasley –
As a lifelong Californian, I can’t believe I waited this long to experience the amazing views of the deep Sierras. It was a pleasure to share them with my family and new friends. Thank you TSX for hosting this adventure with us. I hope we can meet again on the trail.
This trip was intense. Alpine lakes to fish and swim in. Bouldering off trail thru passes and up rock walls. “Skiing” down Mountain shoots and crossing glacial ice. Camping at the top of the ridge overlooking Goddard Canyon on one side and Blackcap Basin on the other. This trip was a true challenge and so incredibly rewarding in a way I didn’t expect. I can’t wait to take my nieces!
Jan A. Gazenbeek –
Incredible!!! What a thrill to stand on the summit of Mount Goddard with your teammates. You realize that you met a formidable personal challenge. The scenery along the trail is awe inspiring. Off-trail makes this hike even more special. There is no trail to the summit: tallus, scree, rock strewn slopes and enormous boulders might make you wonder if you are up to it. Have no fear, the experienced guides will totally support you and make sure that you safely deal with the difficulties. Some images at the presentations might look scary to you, but the guides have your back. Your teammates are totally supportive and encouraging. Camaraderie is one of the best experiences in all these TSX challenges. I know, since I have done 6 different routes spread out over the Grand Canyon Challenge, the Hell for Sure Challenge and the ultimate Trans Sierra Extreme Challenge summiting Mount Whitney.
What are you waiting for? Take the plunge and get inspired for a lifetime. You won’t regret it. Read some reviews and feel confident that your guides will get you safely reach your goal.
El Tanko (trail name)
Edward Kopelson –
We had an amazing trip courtesy Chris C. and TSX team.
Dropping over the ridge, down the Hell for Sure trail into Goddard canyon was a personal highlight. It would have been on my bucket list if I had any idea it existed before this trip. This particular canyon is worth the trip alone; stunning meadows, long vistas, shear granite cliffs, capped by pristine Martha lake and Mt Goddard, and not a soul in sight.
I’m thankful to have done this trip with TSX. There is no way I would have seen what we did if I had done it any other way. From logistics, to trip support, to food, to great attitude – everything is top notch.
I highly recommend to others.