Tehipite Valley

(8 customer reviews)

$1,774.00

5 NIGHTS | 45 MILES | kings canyon np
MAY, JUNE, SEPT, OCT

Starts near Fresno/Clovis, CA

Immerse yourself in the wonder of Tehipite Valley, the most powerful, majestic and remote glacial valley of the Sierra.


If Yosemite Valley is for tourists, Tehipite Valley is for true adventurers. Immerse yourself in a valley of mythical proportions on a 5-night, 6-day backpacking trek that will take you into the most majestic, powerful and remote valley in the Sierra. You’ve heard of Half Dome? Discover Tehipite Dome, the largest dome in the Sierra, with a sheer 3,500′ rise from the valley floor, and venture onto its ledges. Enjoy a layover day camped along the wildly exuberant Middle Fork of the Kings River with time to explore cascading waterfalls, swimming holes and native petroglyphs in the serene wonder of a valley filled with solitude. This 45-mile Y-shaped trek includes two base camps, roughly 4 miles of off-trail trekking, and a 3,500′ descent in just over 2 miles. Reaching Tehipite is not for the undetermined! Our route is rugged, overgrown, full of down trees and at times barely discernable. Yet all who have ventured into the Tehipite Valley would agree that the view from it’s rim and sense of wonder from it’s floor are worth every step.

What’s included

  • Guided 5 night, 45 mile trek to Tehipite Dome and Tehipite Valley
  • Transportation between Fresno/Clovis area meeting points and trailhead
  • All meals and snacks while in the back-country
  • Backpack, tent, sleeping bag and pad if needed
  • Personalized pack-check prior to departure
  • Group gear and equipment
  • Post-hike shower
  • Flexible cancellation policy

What’s not included

  • Lodging in the front-country
  • Meals in the front-country

How it works

A $500 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. Book with confidence! Review our flexible cancellation policy.

Waterfall Photo credit: Leon Turnbull http://www.waterfallswest.com

Itinerary


Day 1 – Late morning arrival, pack-check, overnight on trail

We’ll meet up in the Fresno/Clovis area between 8am and 9am on the day of departure and then begin the journey to our near Wishon Reservoir (about a 2.5 hour drive from the Fresno/Clovis area).  Guests who are driving in may optionally meet us at our Shaver Lake Cabin at 10AM. Our goal is to make it to the trailhead by lunch where we’ll do a final pack-check, get to know our team and talk safety before beginning an afternoon hike to camp on the trail.

The afternoon hike is a rolling 7-mile hike with moderate elevation gain/loss on good trail. We will wind through forests dotted with High Sierra meadows and small stream crossings. At the end of the day we will set up the first of two basecamps on a ridge with views of Tehipite and Kettle Domes.

Day 2 – Crown Valley camp to Tehipite Dome and back

Trail: 8 miles on rough trail with moderate incline and 4 mile off trail

After breakfast, our team will set out on an out-and-back day hike to the ledges of Tehipite Dome. The first 4 miles will be on primitive trail winding through woods, meadows and river crossings. We’ll leave the trail behind and begin off-trail on a 2 mile trek along steep slopes with short scrambles until our route gives way to stomach tingling views as we approach the ledges of Tehipite Dome. After enjoying the view and a well-deserved lunch we will hike back the way we came to basecamp and prepare for the next day.

Day 3 – Crown Valley camp to Tehipite Valley

Trail: 9 Miles over rough trail with 3,500′ descent into Tehipite Valley

We will pack up our basecamp and hike down into Tehipite Valley. The first 7 miles of the hike will be over moderate to rough trail until we come to “The Point of No Return” which marks the beginning of the descent into Tehipite Valley. With stunning views we will begin our 2.5 mile descent, dropping 3,500 ft. into the valley. At the bottom of the switchbacks it is a short mile hike along the Middle Fork of the Kings River and camp.

Day 4 – Tehipite Valley layover day

This is your day to choose your own adventure and explore the many wonders of the Tehipite Valley. Hike up the valley and find “Painted Rock” which is covered in petroglyphs. Take a side trip up to Silver Spray Falls or search for the infinite pools in the Gorge of Despair. If you like to fish, spend the day angling up and down the Middle Fork of the Kings River. Or rest and reflect by the river in serenity.

Day 5 – Tehipite Valley to Meadow Camp

Trail: 8 Miles with intense uphill over moderate trail

What goes down must come up. We will set out early to get a jump on our long climb back up the 70 switchbacks. After a well-earned break at the top we will have an easy hike back to Rocky Creek meadow where we will camp for the night.

Day 6 – Meadow Camp to Wishon Reservoir

Trail: Easy to Moderate 5-mile hike along a rolling maintained trail

We will hike back the way we came along the same trail as Day 1. With an early start we will be back at the van 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.

Logistics


Departure and pickup locations

On the day of departure, TSX will coordinate transportation from Central California (Fresno/Clovis area) and our Shaver Lake Cabin.

The specific departure time will be confirmed on a trek by trek basis. The Fresno/Clovis area is a 3 hour car drive from the Bay Area, and roughly 4 hours from Southern California. Meals are not provided when in transit, however, we will stop for food and to refuel before reaching the trailhead. Our goal is to make it to the trailhead around lunch time. Dinner will be provided that evening on the trail.

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.

At the trailhead

Bring your personal items and a positive attitude! All group gear and food will be provided on the trail. Any major personal gear you’ve indicated you’d like us to provide (sleeping bag, tents etc.) will be waiting for you at the trailhead. Please also bring a small bag with a clean set of clothes. Before we hit the trail, we’ll leave that bag at the cabin for optional showers after we exit.

Returning home

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 4pm. Staying one additional night in the Clovis, Fresno or Shaver Lake area is also popular option. Expect to arrive back in Clovis by 3pm.

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!

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8 reviews for Tehipite Valley

  1. Gary Stephens (verified owner)

    Review of my Trek to Tehipite Valley with TSX Challenge 9/28 – 10/3 2023.

    I had read about Tehipite Valley and Tehipite Dome about 8 years ago in R. J. Secor’s “The High Sierra: Peaks, Passes, Trails”. A few years later I read about the valley again in Mike White’s “Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks: Your Complete Hiking Guide” that included a description of the hike to and into the valley as part of an 80-mile backpacking trip. Both sources noted how remote and wild the valley is and how difficult and rugged the trails are to get to the valley and then down to the valley floor. The section of trail that climbs down 3000 feet in about 2 miles to the valley floor is a notoriously steep section and is best described as awful. Both sources also described how beautiful and majestic the valley, canyon, and dome were and both described it as a rival to Yosemite Valley without all the people.

    For the last 8 years I had been reading, studying, watching Youtube videos, planning, and dreaming of making the trip into the valley. I had asked all my buddies and had decided that I would have to do the trip solo. Then in early September I found TSX when doing a Google search to show a friend at work a photo of Tehipite dome. I studied TSX’s website and the trip itinerary and decided it was perfect and included a day hike with an off-trail stretch to the area near the summit of the dome. This was described in Secor’s book and was something I badly wanted to do when I went. To make a long story short, TSX’s itinerary was perfect for me.

    The autumn 2023 treks were sold out, so I signed up for the late May early June 2024 trek. I hike in north Alabama and Tennessee and do not hike much in the summer due to the brutal humidity, insects, spiders, and snakes. I figured by the end of May I would be at the end of my hiking season and could be ready for the Tehipite Valley challenge. Right after I signed up Chris Casado at TSX contacted me to let me know that they had two cancellations and that if I wanted, I could go on the September 28th through October 3rd trek. I mulled it over since it only gave me about 21 days to prepare. I decided to go ahead and take one of the available slots because there were no active fires in the Sierra, and you never know what might happen in 8 months. I went on a crash course hiking with my loaded pack near my home in Huntsville Alabama, and two test backpacking trips in Tennessee. My preparation culminated with a 12-mile round trip in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on September 23rd. I hiked with my full pack up 6 miles and 4100 feet to Mt Sterling on the Baxter Creek Trail, the steepest trail I could find in the park. The hike was tough, especially since it was still very hot and humid. It was the best I could do to prepare for the climb into and out of Tehipite Valley.

    I flew into Fresno and TSX picked me and the other trekkers up at the motel in Clovis. We stopped at TSX’s cabin in Shaver Lake for a thorough pack check and lunch. We then headed to the trail head, stopping by the ranger station to pick up the group backcountry permit. We then headed to the lower Rancheria trail head in two 4X4 vehicles. It might have been possible to make it in a regular rental car, but it would have been tough. Making it to the lower trail head saved about 1.25 miles each way on our hike, and it would have been an extra 1.25 miles of climbing on the way out when we were all very tired.

    This brings me to some of the key services included in the fee I paid TSX. They provided transportation to and from the remote trail head from the motel, arranged and obtained the backcountry permits, provided all food and snacks for the entire trip, prepared every meal on the trail, cleaned dishes after every meal if you wanted (I cleaned my own), filtered water for drinking and cooking, and helped any of the team when they struggled. But I think the key thing for me was that Chris had made the trek several times and knew the route like the back of his hand. Our second guide was Wyatt Barrett, and it was his first trip to Tehipte Valley, but he was so good at route finding I would have guessed he had been many times. In any case, I did not have to once think or worry about route finding on the sketchy trails to and into the valley.

    The first night we hiked about 8 miles. We reached a “wye” where the Tehipite trail veers to the right and the Blue Canyon trail veers to the left. We went left and hiked about 0.75 miles on the Blue Canyon trail and reached our campsite in the dark. I wouldn’t call it a complaint, but this was the only thing I would recommend TSX change – mainly that we needed to start earlier on the first day. In TSX’s defense, I believe the trails were exceptionally bad this year due to the record winter snowfall, and one hiker struggled the first day due to the altitude. Chris and Wyatt had to help a great deal and we all did a good bit of waiting to try and encourage the struggling teammate. In any case we made it to the campsite and had the first of many great trail meals and crashed for the night. When I woke up, the view from the campsite blew me away. Chris had said it was awesome, but it was better than that. We were on a granite and sand ledge with nice level tent sites looking over Crown Valley to Kettle Dome and the top of Tehipite Dome. I’m sure I would have never found this beautiful campsite on my own.

    After breakfast and a beautiful sunrise, we did a day hike to the area near the top of Tehipite Dome. This included about 4 miles on the Blue Canyon “trail” and 1.25 miles off trail one way. The Blue Canyon trail was in very bad shape, and we all agreed the off-trail section was much better than the trail. It was a beautiful day and the area near the top of the dome was gorgeous with views of the dome, across the canyon to the Gorge of Despair, looking east up the canyon toward the Monarch Divide and southeast toward Tombstone Ridge. A class 4 climb is required to get to the summit we did not attempt that. I’m not nearly brave enough.

    We got back to camp before sunset and had a nice dinner. Overnight the predicted rain and hail moved in. It lightened up while we broke camp and headed out to the valley. Chris and Wyatt led us off-trail to shortcut the wye and get us on the Tehipite trail. We hiked a rugged 6.25 miles to get to the lip of the valley. We had to cross many downed trees and go through several sections of trail overgrown with bushes and shrubs that were wet. We called theses wet scrub sections “car washes”. When we reached the edge of the valley the famous overlook view was socked in, and I was a little sad. Then we started the hike down “The Beauty”. This section of trail descends 3000 feet on 70 tight switchbacks in about 2 miles. On top of that there were several downed trees and several of the switchbacks near the top included very thick and wet “car washes”. There’s no way to sugarcoat it, it was a brutal descent in the rain on tired legs. My quads locked up about a half a mile from the bottom and I can never thank Chris enough for helping me get back up and make it to the bottom.

    We got to the bottom and set up our tents at a beautiful site under ponderosa pines and incense cedars in the rain. I immediately got in my tent, changed to my dry base layers, and got in my warm, dry sleeping bag. I decided that I was just going to stay in my warm sleeping bag and skip dinner, but Wyatt brought me a hot bowl of soup to my tent. It was one of the nicest things anyone had ever done for me. Even more so because he had suffered like everyone else and had also cooked supper while I “hid out” it my tent.

    The next morning things cleared up a good bit and we spent a leisurely day in the valley. Wyatt and Chris led a few of us on a short hike to Silver Spray falls that spills down to the left of Tehipite Dome and then upstream along the Middle Fork Kings River to the “painted rock” with pictographs from long ago. Wyatt and I had the GPS coordinates on our maps, but I think I would still be down there looking for the spot. Wyatt went straight to the pictographs like he had been there the day before. I spent the afternoon just wandering around the valley floor taking photos of Tehipite Dome from almost every possible angle. This was overall a very peaceful and restful day.

    In the morning I got up early and went and sat on a boulder in the valley floor just admiring Tehipite Dome in the moonlight with the stars out in the mostly clear sky. This was an extra special experience, and I could almost convince myself that I was the first human to see this. After the camp came to life we ate breakfast, packed up, and climbed out of the valley. The day of rest made a big difference as did starting the climb on fresh legs. I would have never believed it, but climbing up the switchbacks with a pack was easier than descending. And the weather climbing out was perfect. We had a mostly blue sky with patchy white clouds and views of the valley and dome opened up for the entire ascent. The view just before reaching the top was stunning with Tehipite Dome in the foreground and high peaks covered in fresh snow in the distance. After a nice break at the top, we all regrouped and hiked another 3.5 miles to our last campsite. We had a nice meal and sat around the campfire before heading to bed. We got up the next morning and hiked 8.5 miles back to the trailhead.

    This was one of the best experiences I have had in my 65 years on earth. It is a very rugged trek, but also very rewarding. I highly recommend TSX Challenge. They couldn’t make the trail conditions less rugged, but they did everything else to near perfection. Chris and Wyatt were both very nice and encouraging guides. Another thing that made the trip so enjoyable was that all the people on the adventure were so nice. We had me, seven other backpackers, and the two guides. We were together for five nights and six days and we all got along just great, even on the hardest day. I would love to travel with any of these people again tomorrow. One special moment was when the last three hikers made it up to the top of the 70th switchback the rest of us made a “summit tunnel” and cheered them through to the top. It was a very special moment.

  2. Niki Stokols (GI Jane)

    This was my 4th trip with TSX Challenge, so you know they’re doing it right. Tehipite Valley Challenge was well worth the challenge with the views of the valley from the trail and ledges of the dome and the views of the dome from the valley. I enjoyed exploring the valley as we hiked to the petroglyphs and waterfalls.

    I just want to point out, I mistakenly thought the number of switchbacks down into the valley and back up was the challenge and the reason so few people backpack into the valley (I was picturing Grand Canyon switchbacks). The trail itself was the challenge, since so few people come here (just our group of 11 in mid-October) nature has taken over the trails with downed trees, branches, rocks, shrubbery, and occasionally gnats. On the switchbacks, there were a pair of downed trees together thst we had to sit and slide under going down, and crawl under going up. For the younger people (30s) the terrain may not have seemed full of obstacles, but in my mid 60s with a fear of jumping down from 2 feet or higher, I straddled a lot of trees. But the wonderful people that TSX attracts were always there with a helpful hand. Luckily, our guide, Dirk, brought clippers so we didn’t have to go around the shrubs on the narrow switchback path which made coming up easier.
    Our two guides, Dirk and Dave, were great. Their calm leadership takes away any anxiety you might feel about a trip with the word challenge in its name. The meals are always good with the fresh ingredients we all helped carry: burritos with fresh made guacamole and salsa, beef stroganoff, jambalaya, lasagna, and thai ramen (Dave’s specialty). All in all another great TSX trip I recommend to anyone who wants to explore a part of the Sierras few people know about with all the details taken care of so you just have to show up and enjoy the trek.

  3. Jill

    This was my first TSX trip and I chose it because I really wanted to see this valley. I couldn’t have found better guides and fellow hikers with whom to share the experience. TSX runs a great trip and I would love to join another one. For now, I’ll treasure the memories of laughing around the campfire, sleeping with a view of the dome reflecting the light of the moon, swimming below the waterfall, and pushing up those switchbacks.

  4. Philip (Joe Cool)

    If you want and easy hike to see the Sierra’s along with everyone else, then this hike isn’t for you. The challenge of the hike is worth the solitude and incredible views few people see.

    From the dome, imagine the beauty of Yosemite without roads, building or other evidence of people. Once on the valley floor you will not want to leave. But be warned the price of admission is “steep” down the switchbacks. But so worth it.

    I enjoyed every step of this hike and appreciate Dave and Dirk guidance.

  5. Peter Callan

    October 2022 Tehipite Valley: When I signed up to hike this newer trail with TSX, I knew it was going to be good, but I didn’t realize it was going to be so amazing. It’s seldom that you get to hike to one of the most remote valleys in North America, swim beneath a waterfall which is only seen by a handful of people each year, see petroglyphs that have been hidden for ages and witness the night sky without a hint of light pollution. This is a tough hike for sure, but not near as hard as some of the comments one sees online. The campsites – views for ever!!! What made this trek extra special was the expert guidance, education and gourmet food prepared by the TSX team. If you’re looking for something different, off the grid for sure and trek of a lifetime – I highly recommend Tehiptite Valley and Dome with TSX. You will not be disappointed – 10 stars ********** (fyi – 65yr old)

  6. Thea

    This was the most incredible trip. Magical and solemn, our small group didn’t see anyone else on the hike. We brought all the humans. It’s a hidden treasure filled with meadows, waterfalls, crystal clear streams.
    If you only go to the gym or hike leisurely , you are perfectly fit to do this hike.
    In our group we had people in their 20s and 50s and were all comfortable with the pacing of the trip. Our guides Dave and Nate were extremely knowledgeable, experienced and laid back.
    Can’t wait to do another hike with the TSX team!

  7. Kristi Olguin

    This was one of my favorite TSX treks out of 3 I have done so far. The views in the back country were unparalleled, with granite domes, rivers, waterfalls and petroglyphs. We had 2 day hikes where we did not have to break down our camp or carry our big backpacks. I met a fantastic group of people and our guides (Chris and Dirk) were so helpful and supportive. Challenging at times, but so well worth it!

  8. Jose Untalan

    A trail less traveled; expansive valley views from the ledge of the dome and then riverside camp at the base of the largest granite dome in the Sierra Nevada. This trek has it all, steep ascents and descents, on and off trail miles, water crossings, plus upright trees and sideway trees. Like all TSX treks the hiking days are challenging with rewards of earned views and a sense of accomplishment. There are always hearty and tasty meals to end or start the day. This trip is unique to the TSX mix with its two days of day hiking (no backpack/no tent setup), which allows you to choose your own experience in the valley. It’s a fun filled adventure that makes me hungry for the next one.

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