Northeast Slope

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 38.15770°N / 119.5797°W
Additional Information Route Type: Hike / scramble
Additional Information Time Required: One to two days
Additional Information Difficulty: Class II
Sign the Climber's Log


Forsyth Peak is located on the northern boundary of Yosemite National Park and is located just a mile off of the Pacific Crest Trail. The closest trailheads are the Leavitt Meadows Pack Station, or Leavitt Lake.

1) 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 16 miles to Forsyth Peak, or have Leavitt Meadows Pack Station drop you off on horse back. Rates for horses are available on their web site. Call well in advance to reserve horse and guide if you decide to pack in with them.

Follow the West Walker River trail south until you reach the Cascade Creek trail. Follow the Cascade Creek trail until it joins the PCT. Stay on the PCT until you reach the sister lakes. Head east at the Stella Lake trail split. This unmaintained trail skirts the south side of Stella Lake and the north side of Lake Ruth. Continue east until you reach Helen Lake.

2) The Leavitt Lake trailhead is only accessible with an SUV with high clearance and 4-wheel drive. Leavitt Lake road is located 3.8 miles east of the Sonora Pass off of CA Hwy 108. It's 3 miles to Leavitt Lake over very rough terrain and a couple of stream crossings. Free parking is available on the north side of the lake. Follow the Leavitt Pass trail south, up and over Big Sam, for 10 miles until you reach Emigrant Pass. Take the trail split to the south. Near Grizzly Meadow, you can take 1 of 2 routes that lead to Bond Pass. The Bond Pass High trial is a bit more scenic. Or you can take the trail that borders Summit Meadow. Continue east until you reach the PCT, then head north. You can base camp at west end of Dorothy Lake, or continue north past Dorothy Lake and take the trail split east to Stella/Ruth/Helen Lakes. (It's 15.5 miles to Dorothy Lake and 18.5 miles to Helen Lake.)

Route Description

Follow the inlet stream that feeds into Helen Lake south, up the north face of Forsyth Peak. You'll reach a small tarn at elevation 10,160'. From this point, head due south towards the snow covered saddle that sits just east of the summit.

Forsyth Peak actually consists of several pinnacles and it is difficult to discern which is the actual high point once you're up there. It's an easy walk from the saddle to the first couple of pinnacles. The actual summit is further west and requires a bit of scrambling to reach.

There is an awesome looking granite column on the north side just east of the summit which requires technical climbing.

Essential Gear

No special equipment is needed during the summer other than for overnight backcountry camping.

Miscellaneous Info

If you have information about this route that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.



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