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The Bus Trip Program

Our schedule for 2022 trips is as follows:

 Trip Name  Dates
 Death Valley  March  23 - 27, 2022
 Grand Canyon National Park  April 27 - May 1, 2022
 Mammoth  July 13 - 17, 2022
 Yosemite National Park  August 17 - 21, 2022
 Sedona  September 28 -  October 2, 2022

Since 1982 the San Diego Chapter has been offering bus trips to a variety of National and State Parks within an eight hour drive of San Diego.

Part of the largest grassroots environmental organization in the country, Sierra Club provides environmentally friendly outdoor adventures.

What makes these bus trips special is that they are organized by a fantastic team of volunteer leaders who do not get paid for their efforts. They do it out of an appreciation for these special places, and a passion for sharing them with you. Bus Trips include transportation by motorcoach unless otherwise specified, camping permits, backcountry backpacking permits, route planning and the expertise of our Chapter Outings Leaders. We look forward to having you join us on a bus trip to explore, enjoy and protect the planet.




Backpacking Trips

All of our backpacking trips are led by Sierra Club Chapter Outing Leaders. On each bus trip we offer a minimum of 4 backpack outing trips. We do our best to offer a variety of backpack trips from easy to difficult. We utilized a rating system to provide you with guidance on selecting a backpack that is in alignment with your fitness level and backpacking experience. The backpack trips are usually five days and four nights in duration. On some trips, you will backpack in to a remote location and set up camp and go on day hikes each day. On other trips you will backpack and travel from campsite to campsite each day. As we will be in the wilderness, restroom facilities, showers, tap water, restaurants and stores will not be available, therefore, you will need to bring all your food, cooking supplies, gear and water filtration/treatment products with you. If you have never backpacked before, we highly recommend taking the Wilderness Basics Course

Bus Camping & Day Hikes

Camping Bus Trips

Camping Bus Trips are also usually five day and four night trips. On these trips the bus will drop us off at a campsite usually in a National or State Park and we will set up a base camp. We offer a number of day hikes each day led by Sierra Club Chapter Outings Leaders that range from easy to hard or you may have the option of going on a self-guided hike. Depending on the location, the bus will take us to our trail head, we will use locally provided transportation or depart from our campground.

Pre-Trip Planning Meeting

Pre-Trip Planning Meeting

A few weeks before the bus trip, we will hold a pre-trip meeting where you will get to meet your leaders and the other participants on the trip. We will review general information about the trip, and you will have the opportunity to have your questions answered. In addition, the leaders will elaborate on the details of your outing, review plans, maps and required gear. You will have the opportunity to connect with other participants on the trip and discuss gear sharing. We will review the departure location information and what to expect on the bus.



Transportation is provided by San Diego's most trusted charter service. Our trips take us to some areas that can be quite challenging for a motorcoach to navigate. We developed a relationship with a team of dependable professional drivers to meet our unique needs.  Our bus of choice is a 47 seat passenger luxury MCI motorcoach with the following features:

  • Air Conditioning
  • Reclining Seats
  • Restroom-equipped
  • Privacy Shades
  • Large Overhead Compartments
  • Luggage Bays
What to Expect on the Bus

What to Expect on the Bus

The great part about not driving yourself is you don't have to worry about traffic and can relax and enjoy the view, eat, sleep, read a book, watch a movie on your tablet or smartphone, or talk to your neighbor. Seat selection on the bus is based on a priority system of when you signed up for the trip and your presence at the time of seating. On the ride up to our destination, we will do introductions and get to know one another. Depending on the length of our bus ride, we have a rest stop at the half-way junction to stretch our legs and grab a bite to eat. On our return trip home, every outing group is encouraged to share their trip's experience.

Post Trip Gathering

Post Trip Gathering

A few weeks after the trip, we all get back together for a post trip gathering. We set up a slide show for everyone to share their favorite pictures and videos and recount stories about their experience. Depending on the venue, participants are encouraged to bring a potluck meal to share and friends and family are welcome to join in on the post trip gathering.

Mammoth Lakes 2022

JULY 13-17, 2022

Our July Bus Trip features a number of trips in Inyo National Forest near Mammoth Lakes. Inyo National Forest takes its name from a Native American word meaning, “Dwelling Place of the Great Spirit,” and you can see why it would choose this location. It is home to expansive clear skies, crystal blue mountain lakes and streams, majestic mountain peaks, green meadows awash with flowers, and unbelievably beautiful views.
We will be offering a base camp with dayhikes as well as four backpacking trips of varying degrees of difficulty. We will travel in a chartered, air-conditioned bus. Participants must provide their own meals and camping equipment. Please check the information under the resources tab for more information about what to bring. Upon registration, you will receive an email confirmation and information about an optional pre-trip meeting to meet your leaders and ask questions (highly recommended for first-timers). A hand-out will also be available with suggestions about what to pack, weather, safety tips, etc. Please check out the documents found under the Resources Tab for more information.

Visit our Trip Rating System to determine which Backpacking Trip or Day Hike is right for you.

Trip 1 
Type of Trip:  Campground Basecamp
Name of Trip: Base Camp / Day Hikes
Leader: Karen Nelson   Assistant Leader: Ruben Garcia
Trip Rating: Moderate
Event capacity: 10

Our group camp is at the New Shady Rest campground, close to the Mammoth Lakes Visitor Center and free shuttle bus service within the surrounding area. Our day hike format will allow us to sample some of the most beautiful destinations in the area, while stopping for dinner in Mammoth on the way back to camp as an option. Our campground includes potable water, flush toilets, fire pits, and bear lockers.  The campsites are adequate for small tents, so larger tents are not allowed unless you are sharing. Campers are responsible to bring their own equipment (daypack, tents, sleeping bags, stove…), as well as food for four days (four breakfasts, four lunches, four dinners, trail snacks).

This trip is intended for hikers who are fit, have had recent experience at higher altitudes, and want to explore the area by hiking each day. Depending on trail/weather conditions and group interest, our hiking options include two hikes in the Mammoth area and a spectacular hike near Bishop. We will hike at a moderate pace on well-used trails, with ample stops for snacks, lunch and enjoying our surroundings. 

Long Lake via Little Lakes Valley Trail (M7B)
Located south of Mammoth near Rock Creek, the easy access to this beautiful chain of lakes makes Little Lakes Valley popular for day hikes. Glaciers carved this extensive chain of lakes, both large and small. Wildflowers bloom in the high elevation framed by the spectacular 13,000-foot peaks of Bear Creek Spire, Mt. Dade, Mt. Abbot and Mt.Mills.  Some evidence of mining equipment can be seen. 

Lower Falls via Devils Postpile (M6B)
We will take a shuttle Reds Meadow and the Devils Postpile National Monument. A main feature of Devils Postpile National Monument is Rainbow Falls, where the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River tumbles 100 feet over a basalt cliff in a vertical-walled - a delicate sheet cascade in fall, when the water splits into separate streams, or a raging torrent during the peak snowmelt season of early summer. Further downstream, outside the monument, is the smaller, but prettier Lower Falls, a 15 foot drop over a smooth granite rock face.

Barney Lake Trail (M6C)
Just outside of Mammoth Village, we will escape the chaos of the city and venture to Barney Lake, a well-trafficked but pristine hike that is just challenging enough to get your heart rate moving and takes you deep into the Sierras. Sitting just below Duck Pass, you will be rewarded with a high alpine lake and mountains jutting up out of the water high into the sky.


Trip 2
Type of Trip: Base Camp 
Name of Trip: Barney Lake Base Camp
Leader: PJ Jeffery  Assistant: Monica Elrod
Trip Rating: (MC3)
Event capacity: 7
Number of Backpack Days: 2, Number of Backpack Miles: 6, Number of Day Hike Miles: 20+

This trip involves a short backpack but longer dayhikes which could include some cross-country travel.  Participants should be comfortable hiking 10+ miles a day at or above 10,000 feet.  We will start our trip by hiking up the Duck Pass Trail (9,128'); climbing moderately steep switchbacks through a lodgepole pine forest for about a mile until arriving at our first lake - Arrowhead.   We continue our climb with views of Mammoth Crest ahead of us, passing Skelton Lake (9,924') and the trail to Red Lake before arriving at our camping location - the beautiful turquoise, Barney Lake (10,210').  After setting up camp, we will go back and explore the lakes in the area with daypacks.  On Friday and Saturday we will hike further afield with possible trips to Duck Lake (at 222 acres, it is one of the largest natural lakes in the eastern Sierras), Pika Lake, Purple Lake, and Deer Lakes.  We will have amazing views of Mammoth Mountain, the Minarets, stunning Silver Peak, and the Silver Divide.  Sunday we return to the trailhead.  We might take an alternate loop around Emerald Lake.


Trip 3
Type of Trip: Base Camp
Name of Trip: Deer Lakes Base Camp
Leader: Mike Fry,  Assistant Leader: Sharon Rhodes
Trip Rating: (M6D)
Event capacity: 4 
Number of Backpack Days: 2, Number of Backpack Miles: 12, Number of Day Hike Miles: 3+

Backpack along the Mammoth Crest from Lake George to Deer Lakes.  The trail climbs 2000' through forests, then stays on the ridge top.  The views are magnificent in all direction.  At the highest, 11,223", we look down on the summit of Mammoth Mountain.  The three lakes are surrounded by granite peaks in an otherwise volcanic area.  The optional day hikes will explore the area, including a cross country hike to Duck Pass.  If that route is not difficult, we may return to the shuttle bus via the Duck Pass Trail.


Trip 4
Type of Trip: Backpack
Name of Trip: McGee Creek though backpack to Lake Mary
Leader: KH Chong,  Assistant Leader: Sonya Shaffer
Trip Rating: (H9D)
Event capacity: 5
Number of Backpack Days: 4, Number of Backpack Miles: 27, Number of Day Hike Miles: 6

Plan to acclimate at McGee Backpacker campground on day 0 at 8050’ elevation. Heading out early via McGee Creek trailhead. We will enjoy the climb which starts gently through wildflower meadows and aspen/lodgepole forests. Plan for lunch stop at Round Lake at 5 mile mark and then the final steep ascent to Big McGee Lake campsite at mile 7.5 at 10500’. We will do a day hike to explore the lake perimeter. Day 2 will be a long  9 mile backpack to Lake Virginia. After an initial climb over McGee Pass at 11900’, the trail will generally descend for next 5 miles with a lunch stop at Tully Lake. We will then climb an 800’ ascent from Tully Hole to Lake Virginia for our second day camp. Short day hike to explore Lake Virginia basin. On day 3, we will backpack 7 miles to Duck Lake, our final night campsite. We will explore Duck and Pika Lakes. Last day is a 4 mile backpack out, passing by Barney, Skelton and Arrowhead Lakes, exiting through the Coldwater trailhead.


Trip 5
Type of Trip: Backpack
Name of Trip: Ediza and Thousand Island Lakes: Journey of Amazing Scenery
Leader: Diane Hargrove,  Assistant Leader: Lynn Nebus
Trip Rating: (H9C)
Event capacity: 7
Number of Backpack Days: 3, Number of Backpack Miles: 26, Number of Day Hike Miles: 0-8

Hiking bloggers say that this area tops their list for the most amazing scenery: deep blue lakes, starry night skies, and the mountains including the Peaks of Mt Ritter, Banner, and the Minarets provide a beautiful backdrop. We start our 4-day backpacking journey at Agnew Meadows and head to Shadow Lake for a well-deserved lunch break and perhaps some swimming. We then continue along the Shadow Creek Trail to Ediza Lake for a 2-night stay. On the second day of our journey, we will do an optional day-hike to Cecile Lake and possibly beyond, we can go as far as our hearts desire and our energy allows. On day 3, we will backpack to the stunning Thousand Island Lake and spend our last night there.  On our last day, we hike out on the scenic “High Trail” back to Agnew Meadows and return to civilization. 


Cost: $250
Registration Opens: June 4, 2022 at 6 am
Pre-trip Meeting: July 7, 2022 6:15 pm on Zoom
Departure: July 13, 2022 at 12 noon
Return: July 17, 2022 at approximately 9:00 pm

For more information: Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., the trip coordinator.


Explore, enjoy and protect the planet