Craig Peak is located in the scenic northern region of Yosemite National Park in a remote area that sees few visitors each year. It sits just south of Tower Peak along the ridge that separates Stubblefield Canyon from Mary Lake. The area is spattered with alpine meadows, wildflowers, pockets of Lodgepole, Hemlock and Whitebark Pine trees, as well as a 20 foot waterfall in Tilden Creek that feeds down from Mary Lake. This is an ideal destination for anyone seeking solitude.
The south ridge offers a relatively easy but fun scramble to the summit. The western ridgeline has better rock but requires some boulder hopping and slightly more technical climbing than the sandier section of ridge to the east.
The west face drops off dramatically and is mostly unclimbable due to the loose, decaying rock of which it is comprised. However, there is a great looking wall just below the summit block that looks very appealing.
The summit block is flat but requires a short Class 4 move to reach, adding a nice element of challenge to the finale.
The closest trailheads to Craig Peak are located at the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in the south, or at Leavitt Meadows from the north.
1) Hetch Hetchy Reservoir is accessible off of Route 120 near the western entrance to Yosemite National Park. From Hwy 120, drive north on Evergreen Road. Turn right on Hetch Hetchy Road and drive for 9.1 miles until you get to the parking area at O'Shaughnessy Dam.
The Hetchy Hetchy Road is only open at certain times, usually 7am-8pm. Check the NPS site for current times.
Take the trail north to Jack Main Canyon until you reach the PCT. Continue north until you reach the trail for Tilden Lake. Follow the trail on the western shore past the lake and continue northward until you reach Craig Peak to the east. (22 miles total)
2) Leavitt Meadows Pack Station is located on CA Hwy 108, just west of I-395. Free parking is available in the trailhead parking area near the campground, north of the pack station. You can hike the 18.5 miles to Snow Peak, or have Leavitt Meadows Pack Station take you all or part of the way. Rates for horses are available on their web site*.
Follow the West Walker River trail south all the way to Tower Lake. Continue south over a low use trail over the saddle to Mary Lake. Follow the use trail along the eastern shore past Mary Lake until you reach Craig Peak to the east.
* Call well in advance to reserve horse and guide if you decide to pack in with either one of the pack stations.
Free wilderness permits are required for overnight stays in Yosemite National Park.
Depending on your point of entry and which direction you are coming from, call one of the following ranger stations for wilderness permits.
Food Storage Bear cannisters are required by federal law in most areas of Yosemite National Park, and in all areas above 9600 ft. If you plan to camp at Mary Lake, you will need a bear cannister. Currently, they are not required at Tilden Lake. Please check the Yosemite website for current conditions as conditions change over time.
The climbing season varys each year depending on how much snow the area receives during the winter months. Hwy 108 closes during the winter, making winter access from the north more difficult. The distance of Craig Peak from the nearest trailhead adds complexity to winter climbing. So typically the most popular time to climb the mountain is from June through October.
There are several excellent camp sites at the north end of Mary Lake. There is also a fair camp site at the northwest end of Tilden Lake, and another one near the middle of the lake by the peninsula/beach. There is better camping at the south end of Tilden Lake, albeit farther from the peak.
There is also excellent fishing in both Tilden and Mary Lakes. We caught 17-18 inch Rainbow Trout in Tilden. There are Golden Trout in Mary Lake.
There are numerous other peaks that can be bagged while in this remote area of northern Yosemite. Snow Peak, Tower Peak, the Saurian Crest, Keyes Peak, Haystack Peak, Schofield Peak, Michie Peak, Kendrick Peak, Bigelow Peak, and Quartzite Peak, are all within a 5-mile radius of Craig Peak.
"Named by R. B. Marshall for John White Craig, US Army. (Farquhar: Marshall.)" - Peter Browning, Place Names of the Sierra Nevada