Mount Silliman (11,188 ft) is an easy access peak within the Lodgepole Visitor Center in Sequoia National Park.
The best approach is by taking the Twin Lakes trail. The Twin Lakes trailhead (elev = 6,760') is located right next to the Lodgepole campground bridge on the north side of the Marble Fork of Kaweah River (within yards of the Tokopah Falls trailhead). From the trailhead to the summit is approximately 5 to 6 miles with an elevation gain of 4428 feet.
The trail starts out very gentle and gradually ascends in a western direction. About 0.9 miles in, the trail turns north at 7,200'. Then at about 1.3 miles in, you'll encounter a creek crossing (7,240') close to Willow Meadow. After 2.0 miles, you'll come up through some small switchbacks just before the junction to go off-trail. This junction (at which there is a metal sign that reads, "Twin Lakes 4.4, Ranger Lakes 8.0" or something like that---can't remember the exact mileages) is around 7,520' and it is the starting point to go off trail/cross-country. Do not cross over Silliman Creek. There is an unmaintained trail there, just to the right of the metal sign and down and across. Follow cross-country the Silliman Creek drainage on this unmaintained trail (always hugging Silliman Creek on the right/south side as you ascend). Soon you'll reach Silliman Meadow (8,120') after 2.9 miles from the trailhead. By the way, there are some good campsites at Silliman Meadow, one of them next to a 20-foot boulder and Silliman Creek. Continue hiking up to an unnamed meadow at about 8,700' (this meadow is just below the granite friction slabs). From this unnamed meadow, granite friction slabs (class 2) lead up to Silliman Lake (10,049'). Silliman Lake has limited camping spots on the northeastern side of the lake.
Route: South Slope (Class 2). From Silliman Lake, you climb up northeast towards a smaller, shallow lake (10,440'). Now, from this small lake (and your first view of the summit), Mt. Silliman can be reached by following a gully at the northwest end of this small lake and then head straight north to the summit. You should see Foxtail pines just a few hundred feet from the summit on the South Slope.
Click here for directions to Lodgepole, Sequoia National Park.
The trailhead (Twin Lakes Trail) is located right next to the Lodgepole campground only bridge on the north side of the Marble Fork of Kaweah River, next to the Tokopah Falls trailhead.
No permits if you are day-hiking the peak. For an overnighter, a permit is required. This permit can be obtained at the Lodgepole Visitor Center. Reserved permits cost $15. Ask for the Twin Lakes Trail backcountry wilderness permit.
Also, when entering the Sequoia/Kings Canyon Parks by car, you pay $20 (effective as of January 2006) and this lasts for 7 days after purchase.
Mount Silliman seems to be a popular peak year-round, although most people climbed it during summer.
Another popular approach to the peak is via Silliman Pass (10,479'). You take the same Twin Lakes Trail but keep following it passed Cahoon Meadow (3 miles in), passed Twin Lakes (7 miles in) and up to Silliman Pass (8 miles in). At Silliman Pass, you turn south and follow the Class 2-3 Silliman Crest to the summit. Obviously, this is a longer route.
There are also easy and hard 5th class rock routes on the north and west sides of Mount Silliman.
You can car-camp at the Lodgepole campground ($20/night during summer season only, then $18/night).
Overnight camping on the backcountry must be beyond three miles from the established trailhead(s). There are some good backcountry campspots at Silliman Meadow, the unnamed meadow under the granite slabs, and at Silliman Lake.
General weather information can be found on the Sequoia/Kings Canyon weather page.
Try calling the Lodgepole Visitor Center at (559) 565-3775.
Etymology: See snwburd's Mt. Silliman etymology page.