OverviewEast Sister is the shortest and northernmost of 3 sister peaks in the Sweetwater Mountains straddling the California/Nevada border between Bridgeport, CA and Wellington, NV.
East Sister is usually combined with Middle Sister (a Nevada COHP) or a full traverse of the Sweetwater Range including South Sister, Mount Patterson, and Wheeler Peak. All 5 of these peaks are on the Tahoe OGUL list.
The Sweetwater Sisters
Left to Right: South, Middle, and East Sister
Trailhead DirectionsTake Hwy 338 north from Bridgeport,CA or South from Wellington,NV to Forest Service 50 Risue Road. There is a nice view of the 3 sisters from the FS50 turnoff.
Follow the dirt but well graded FS50 for 3.2 miles following the signage for Desert Creek (This road eventually connects with Desert Creek Road)
At 3.2 miles, there is an unsigned left turn. Either park here or follow this road another mile through a cattle gate to an old corral. (2wd or those caring about their paint would be better off hiking the last mile)
There is a good map of this trailhead on the Middle Sister page.
From the corral, travel 1/2 mile up the pack trail towards Little Smith Valley. From here the north ridge of east sister will be visible to the left of the trail. Leave the trail and scramble up to the ridge. Now follow the ridge 1.4 miles south with 2000ft gain to the summit.
The ridge is mostly easy class 2 with some class 3 sections near the intervening unnamed minor peak 9715. Veer right onto the rocky sidehill to avoid the class 3.
This ridge is mostly brush free with minor desert scrub on the lower sections and some sparse pines towards the summit.
South Slope (Traverse from/to Middle Sister)
Unlike the clear northern slope, the southern slope of East Sister is a maze of mountain mahogany. The drop to the East/Middle sister saddle loses 800ft in 1/2 mile and the entire slope is covered in moderately dense mahogany. Stick to the ridgeline near the top and generally there are more clearings on the western side of the slope. With careful route selection most of traverse can be navigated via brush free clearings. (These clearings are much easier to see descending vs ascending the slope)
Once to the saddle, it is another half mile and 1,000ft gain to Middle Sister and the mahogany thicket does not extend past the saddle.
There is a good use trail leading down from the saddle toward Little Smith Valley. (This trail doesn't approach the saddle itself, but veers off towards Middle Sister)
Camping/Red TapeNo restrictions that I'm aware of.
This area is managed by the Bridgeport Ranger District Office of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest.
Bridgeport Ranger District
P.O. Box 595 (Highway 395)
Bridgeport, CA 93517
Phone (760) 932-7070