Manter Meadow Loop
ElevationAscent: 1,396' 425 m
Descent: -1,385' -422 m
High: 8,268' 2,520 m
Low: 7,066' 2,154 m
GradeAvg Grade: 6% (3°)
Max Grade: 25% (14°)
Popular runs nearby
Heart of the Domelands
28.3 mi 45.6 km • Point to Point • 3,737 ft Ascent 1139.09 m Ascent
Wiskey Flat Out-and-Back
12.4 mi 19.9 km • Out and Back • 903 ft Ascent 275.35 m Ascent
Kern River Upper to Rincon Trail
13.4 mi 21.5 km • Out and Back • 1,831 ft Ascent 558.05 m Ascent
Trail of 100 Giants
1.3 mi 2.1 km • Out and Back • 130 ft Ascent 39.48 m Ascent
The Needles Lookout
9.9 mi 16.0 km • Out and Back • 1,659 ft Ascent 505.69 m Ascent
Bear Creek Trail
5.0 mi 8.0 km • Point to Point • 3,642 ft Ascent 1110.11 m Ascent
Navigate on-trail with our free app
“From Big Meadow, loop around the beautiful Manter Meadow, with views of surrounding domes, and then return.”— Lee Watts
The South Manter, Cabin Spur, Woodpecker and North Manter trails can be combined to create a 9-mile loop that leaves Big Meadow, goes around Manter Meadow, and returns. Manter Meadow could also be used as a base camp for runs to any of the nearby rock formations: Church Dome, Bart Dome, Knuckles, Fist, and others that are exotic, but unnamed. So few people visit the Domelands, that although this is one of the most popular spots, you may still have it entirely to yourself or you may see only one or two other groups passing through.
Some runs from a Manter Meadow base camp:
*Church Dome: about 5 miles roundtrip from the junction between the Cabin Spur Trail and the Woodpecker Trail #34E08.
*Woodpecker Trail past the Bart Dome, Fist, and Knuckles rock formations: about 6 miles roundtrip from the junction between the Woodpecker and North Manter trail junction.
*Woodpecker, Domeland, and off-trail section to view Bart Dome, Radian Dome, Stegosaurus Fin, and others: about 9 miles roundtrip from junction between the Woodpecker and North Manter trails.
Note: you first have to scroll out first to find your area of interest and then scroll in to see the details for that area.
The South Manter Trail climbs about 100 feet over the ridge that separates the Salmon and Manter Creek drainages. It follows South Manter Creek, under a canopy of mixed conifers, until it ends at the Cabin Spur Trail #34E37A, just before Manter Meadow. Turn right on the Cabin Spur Trail and follow it around the south end of the meadow to the Woodpecker Trail #34E08.
Unlike the North Manter Trail and the north part of the Cabin Spur Trail, which both stay well away from the meadow, the south part of the Cabin Spur Trail and the Woodpecker Trail skirt the edge of the south and east sides of Manter Meadow. There are great views across the meadow towards the rock formations to the north and south. The best is probably the morning view from the south side of the meadow. There are some good campsites at Manter Meadow, but you'll probably want to pump your water from the creek before you reach the meadow.
The Woodpecker Trail goes up the east side of the meadow and crosses Manter Creek at the junction with the Manter Creek Trail-35E12. Farther up next to the meadow's narrow northern extension, there is a fire circle and a metal frame that was previously used for a large forest service tent. It is a few hundred yards from there to the junction with the North Manter Trail #34E14.
The North Manter Trail stays well to the west of the meadow. After about 0.3 miles, it is possible to run off trail about 0.25 miles to the west edge of the meadow where there is a beautiful view towards Church Dome. Parts of this side of the meadow are covered with blue lupine. The trail passes an old cabin and a spring and then meets the junction with the Cabin Spur Trail.
From there, the trail climbs about 1,100 feet in less than 2 miles. The ridge on the North Manter Trail is about 300 feet higher than it is on the South Manter Trail. For most of the climb you can hear the creek flowing below. From the ridge the trail drops down to the trailhead on road 23S07. Just across the road there is a good view of Big Meadow.
The South Manter trailhead is about 0.6 miles down the relatively level dirt road.
The higher areas are covered with forest, but as you drop towards 7,000 feet, the trees are farther apart as the land becomes semi-arid. Farther east towards the South Fork of the Kern, it drops below 6,000 feet and becomes hotter and more desert-like.
The wild and scenic South Fork of the Kern crosses the wilderness. South of Rockhouse Meadow, it drops through deep and essentially inaccessible gorge. The South Fork, Fish Creek, and Trout Creek are excellent for fishing, but this often requires strenuous off-trail running. The river and these two creeks can be dangerous, to impossible, to cross until after the snow melt.
In the northeastern section of the wilderness, the Pacific Crest Trail follows the South Fork for 9 mi
Run this trail?
We need help with the following missing trail information:
Is something wrong? Let us know. Have photos to share? Help fellow runners know what's here.
Land Manager: USFS - Sequoia National Forest Office
Dec 12, 2019: Snow play opportunities in Sequoia National Forest
Dec 8, 2019: Prescribed burning expected to begin near Hume Lake