• Aria Zoner

Big Climbs & Elevation Changes on the HST


Between Santa Barbara and Canada, The Hot Springs Trail climbs over a dozen major mountain ranges. Detailed here is a rough breakdown of the elevation changes that are required to complete this trail as a single journey. Please be aware that these totals and averages have been loosely calculated and are only based on the major high and low points that are reached during each section. They do not include every up and down that will be experienced. Elevation gain & loss totals will vary with each journey as well based on which options you choose to bypass or attempt during it.


*This post will be updated in the future when accurate totals can be gathered. But for now...


The Hot Springs Trail visits wild hot springs & trail-less summits

Elevation Gains & Loses on The Hot Springs Trail

Listed below here are only the most noteworthy elevation gains & losses. These totals are not an accurate reflection of what will actually be experienced, once out there. These individual sections can be used for weekend adventuring or training hikes, even if you're not planning to hike this whole trail. Let's take a look at each section then see how they stack up:

Part 1: The Coast Connect Trail

  • The Santa Ynez Mountains: +5,320’ / -4,372’

  • Sespe Wilderness: +6,730’ / -6,540’

  • Liebre Mountain: +4,510’ / -2,605’

  • The Tehachapi Mountains: +3,890’ / -3,060’

  • The Piute Mountains: +4,350’ / -5,920’

Total elevation gain/loss in Part 1: +24,800’ / -22,500’

Averages: +88 / -80 feet of elevation change per mile

Part 2: The High Sierra Hot Springs Trail

  • The Great Western Divide: +9,970’ / -4,580’

  • Kings Canyon National Park: +8,270’ / -11,550’

  • John Muir Wilderness: +9,140’ / -6,730’

  • Ansel Adams Wilderness: +7,250’ / -4,640’

  • The Inyo Crossing: +11,110’ / -6,820’

Total elevation gain/loss in Part 2: +45,740’ / -34,320’

Averages: +130 / -97 feet of elevation change per mile

Part 3: The Nevada Trail

  • The Silver Peak Range: +2,765’ / -11,755’

  • The San Antonio Range: +4,050’ / -2,970’

  • The Toyiabe Crest: +9,090’ / -8,780’

  • The Toquima Range: +1,520’ / -790’

  • The Monitor Range: +3,460’ / -3,650’

  • The Diamond Range: +4,410’ / -4,670’

  • The Southern Rubies: +4,915’ / -3,600’

  • The Ruby Crest: +3,435’ / -2,370’

  • The Northern Rubies: +2,230’ / -4,320’

  • The East Humboldt Range: +4,400’ / -5,190’

  • The Jarbridge Mountains: +3,740’ / -6,890’

Total elevation gain/loss in Part 3: +44,015’ / -54,985’

Averages: +61 / -76 feet of elevation change per mile

Section 4: The Idaho Soaktennial Trail

  • The Bennett Mountains: +3,640’ / -1,900’

  • The Trinity Mountains: +3,820’ / -4,610’

  • The Boise Mountains: +5,470’ / -4,410’

  • The Sawtooth Mountains: +6,680’ / 6,530’

  • Frank Church Wilderness: +7,450’ / -9,710’

  • Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness: +22,220’ / -21,730’

  • The Stateline Trail: +12,340’ / -9,730’

  • The Cabinet Mountains: +4,390’ / -4,330’

  • The Selkirk Range: +5,340’ / -4,010’

Total elevation gain/loss in Part 4: +71,350’ / -66,960’

Averages: +69 / -64 feet of elevation change per mile

Total elevation gain/loss for The Hot Springs Trail at a minimum: +185,905’ / -178,765’


Averages: +77 / -74 feet of elevation change per mile at a minimum


In comparison, other long-distance trails of similar length such as the Pacific Crest, Continental, and Appalachian Trail average +/- 4-500,000 feet of elevation change overall. These measurements are much more accurate and would likely be the actual on-trail changes in elevation that would be encountered on this trail too.


Now that we've got that over with, let's get to the exciting part...


THE STEEPEST CLIMB



According to Guthook Hikes, the steepest climbs on the Big 3 trails are as follows:


  • The PCT's Steepest Climb: Old Snowy Mountain, WA (about 700′ in 0.6 mi)

  • The CDT's Steepest Climb: Parkview Mountain, CO (1400′ in 1.1 mi)

  • The AT's Steepest Climb: Pinkham Notch to Wildcat E, New Hampshire (2000′ in 1.5 miles, with 1000′ of it in 0.5 mile)


In Comparison:


  • The HST's Steepest Climb: The Dragon's Tail, Nevada (1,860' in 0.9m, with 1,260 of it in 0.6m)

  • The HST's #2 Climb: Tehipite Valley, Kings Canyon NP (3,100' in 1.8m) (Not pictured)

  • The HST's #3: Montgomery Peak, CA (6,647’ in 5 miles – or 1,329’ per mile for 5 miles)


The Steepest 0.1m of Trail:


  • On the PCT: 116' per 0.1m

  • On the CDT: 127' per 0.1m

  • On the AT: 200' per 0.1m

  • On the HST: 210' per 0.1m

(F.Y.I - 528' = 0.1m)


THE DRAGON'S TAIL

THE MONTGOMERY PEAK CLIMB

Approaching the Montgomery Peak climb


7am - Montgomery Creek - 6,800'


2pm - summit of Montgomery Peak - 13,447'


How BIG will you go on your next hike?

With Challenge comes Reward...The Hot Springs Trail


#HotSpringsTrail