Vandever Mountain is the striking peak you see to the south from Mineral King, its western slope rising in a perfectly straight line from Farewell Gap. Its presence dominates the view as you hike toward Farewell Gap or White Chief Valley, and its summit can be attained with a Class 2 scramble from either, making it an appealing destination.
Despite the easy approach and the fine views from its summit, which include the Kaweah Peaks
, nearby Florence Peak
, and the Sierra Crest, the summit register dates back to 1982 and is only opened a handful of times each season.
Vandever Mountain is on the Sierra Peaks Section Peaks List
The view east from the summit.
The standard route to Vandever Mountain starts from Mineral King, at the end of Mineral King Road, in western Sequoia National Park. From Visalia, take Highway 198 east for 28 miles to Three Rivers. After continuing 5 miles past Three Rivers, turn right onto Mineral King Road at the 'Mineral King' sign. From here, it's only 25 miles east to Mineral King, but the narrow, winding road makes this last leg of the trip take over an hour.
There is a $20 per-vehicle fee when the ranger station is staffed. The fee covers a seven-day pass to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.
Vandever Mountain can be done as a dayhike, and the Cold Springs and Atwell Mill campgrounds, both near the trailhead, are convenient staging areas.
Cold Springs campground is a mile from the trailhead and first-come first-served. Each site is $12 per night. There are limits of one car, two tents, and six people per site that are strictly enforced.
Atwell Mill is 5 miles from the trailhead and first-come first-served. Each site is $12 per night.
The mountain's name "commemorates the man who introduced the bill in Congress in 1890 establishing Yosemite, Sequoia, and General Grant National Parks. William Vandever
(1857-93) was brevet major general in the Civil War and represented the sixth district of California in Congress, 1887-91 (Farquhar)."
-Gudde, Bright, California Place Names