Muah Mountain is a small peak in the southeastern Sierra located roughly between Mt. Langly and Olancha Peak. At 11,016 ft, its summit is just slightly above treeline and provides great views of the desert and Owens Lake down below to the east, and the green meadows and forests of the Golden Trout Wilderness on the west side.
Most commonly approached from the Horseshoe Meadow trailhead at the end of Tuttle Creek Road, the peak can also be climbed from below, out of Cottonwood Canyon via the northeast ridge, which is a challenging cross-coutry hike that can be done in the winter when the upper access is snowed in.
Muah is pronounced Moo-uh and is probably derived from the Panamint Shoshone word for Moon. The name first appeared on the USGS Olancha Peak quadrangle map in 1905.
Directions for the Horseshoe Meadows (upper) approach:
From Lone Pine take the Tuttle Creek Road to Horseshoe Meadows and follow the trail over Mulkey Pass and follow the PCT south to Ash Meadow. From the meadow, hike cross-country to the summit. It's about 1 mile with 1200 feet of gain from the meadow. This hike is about 15 miles roundtrip and can be done as a dayhike or overnight backpack. You may also want to hike Trail Peak while you're in the area. The Tuttle Creek road is closed in winter.
Directions for the Cottonwood Canyon (Lower) Approach:
Take the Cottonwood Canyon road off Hwy 395. The turnoff is about halfway between Lone Pine and Olancha - there is a sign for the Cottonwood Power Plant. The road ends about 4 miles up at the Cottenwood Trailhead. The hike begins 0.9 mile before the road's end across the street from the old packstation. Head straight up the hill from the road, tending a little to the right as you go up. The sandy slope makes the going tough (but easy on the way down!). When you reach the ridge , go left and follow it. About 3/4 of the way up you'll find cattle trails that help tremendously. It's about 6 miles one-way and 5800 feet elevation gain.
Red TapeMuah Mountain is within the Golden Trout Wilderness in Inyo National Forest. Overnighters will need a wilderness permit. You can get permits from the Forest Service vistior center in Lone Pine.
Dayhikers do not need a permit.
CampingLots of good backpacker campsite possibilties in the Golden Trout Wilderness.
For the Northest Ridge route, you can car camp in Cottonwood Canyon across the road from the starting point, or numerous other spots along the creek. There are no facilities.
External LinksSPS Trip Report. Northeast ridge, 1964.
USFS Inyo National Forest