Lost Valley Pack Station has been owned and operated by the Ross Family since 1935. Our pack station is located 80 miles east of Fresno at the southeast end of Florence Lake in the John Muir Wilderness Area. Trips are scheduled and confirmed well in advance by phone, mail, or email. They are done by horse or mule with a load limit of 150 lbs of your gear per animal. Our rates are based on per day use of each pack animal, and daily rate for hire of a packer (one packer is required for every 4 pack animals). Please contact us for a quote and to reserve your trip dates using the form linked to below or call us at (559) 855-3960.
>>> All of our parties are walking parties. We no longer rent saddle horses. <<<
Lost Valley Pack Station will spot pack parties into the John Muir Wilderness along the South Fork of the San Joaquin River between Blayney Meadows and the North entrance to Kings Canyon National Park. There are many fine secluded camping sites along this seven mile section of the San Joaquin River Canyon. All are within a comfortable one day walking distance from the trailhead at the Florence Lake ferry landing for most hikers (from 4 to 9 miles).
Spot Packing to a Base Camp is ideal for families and hiking groups whose members include a wide range of ages and/or levels of ability. The packer meets each scheduled party at our corrals at the southeast end of Florence Lake and hauls all camping equipment, food and personal gear to a previously chosen site, returning for it on a pre-arranged date. The hikers carry lunch in a light day pack and walk at a pace which allows them to enjoy the scenery along the trail. The use of pack animals allows you to include more comforts (and small luxuries) in your camping gear and cuisine. A well located Base Camp allows a wide range of activities to suit the needs of all members of each party. For those who wish to stay close to camp, there is great fishing in the San Joaquin or a short hike to golden trout in Sally Keyes and Sanger Creeks. Local trails through meadows and woods offer wildflowers and spectacular views. The San Joaquin River’s Pot Holes Gorge, and Blayney Hot Springs are unique attractions (the latter is accessible only when the river is low enough to ford.) There are great swimming holes along the river, and there is always the lazy comfort of a hammock and a good book.
For the more ambitious, there are four distinctly different alpine regions suitable as day hikes or easy overnights. Lower Piute Canyon, Sally Keyes Lakes and Selden Pass, Evolution Meadow, Lower Goddard Canyon, Heather Lake, are all within reasonable hiking distance for the hardy hikers in the group.
Lost Valley Pack station also provides stock assistance to back packers beginning their trip from the Florence Lake trailhead. The Florence Lake Trail intersects the John Muir Trail approximately 1.5 miles beyond Blayney Meadows providing convenient access to groups seeking to travel to points North or South on the John Muir Trail. Many hiking groups have found that hiring a packer to transport their gear on the first day of their trip provides several advantages.
- You spend the first day enjoying the hike without the burden of a heavy pack.
- You are able to cover a greater distance in one day than would be practical carrying heavy packs.
- With extra food packed in, your group can lay-over several days to become acclimatized before continuing their trip.
Some groups hiring our pack service are “through hikers” that will continue on and end their trip at another trail head. Others make a base camp at the drop site and day hike to points of interest from there, or continue their hike to campsites further up the canyons. Most groups return to Florence Lake on their own, but return transport to Florence can also be scheduled.