Welcome to the Backpacker Resupply Service at
Muir Trail Ranch! We hope the following information answers every question you can think of. We have been doing this since the early 1950s, and think we have been asked every possible question. Here you will find every possible answer.
When you send your resupply to us, we assume that you have read, understood, and agreed to the terms outlined on this page.
We will open in June, and close in September. Exact dates will be determined when we have a more accurate idea of spring snow conditions, and the water level in Florence Lake in the fall.
From the north, it is 0.9 miles, 1.4 km; an elevation drop of 600 feet, 183 meters.
From the south, it is 1.5 miles, 2.4 km; an elevation drop of a mere 160 feet, 49 meters.
Put your stuff in a sturdy plastic bucket with a tight-fitting lid (5-gallon is most popular, other sizes OK). Why? We’re located in the wilderness and take packages across a lake, sometimes during rainstorms. A cardboard box won’t survive the trip. Buckets are waterproof (and recyclable!). Your cache may be hauled in to the ranch on horseback, but likely on a rugged truck that crawls over rocks. It’s almost impossible to keep meadow mice out of anything that isn’t just about armor-plated. Plastic keeps them out. As for bears, our stout storage building keeps them out. You can get free buckets and lids at a restaurant; they’re used for mayonnaise and such. Home improvement stores have them for sale also. (The bucket can be any color.)
Tape the lid and handle down, too. To make things totally pro, order a free set of labels (see below).
DO NOT put the address label on the side; ONLY THE TOP. It could be returned by the post office if on the side and the postage is also on the side where it could be knocked off in handling. It’s safe on the top.
If you must use a cardboard box, make sure you put your address label on ONE SIDE ONLY. Multiple address labels will cause the Postal Service to return your box to you, not send it to the ranch.
Common carriers don’t allow flammable fluids in packages that travel by air. We strongly suggest you use the US Postal Service. They don’t allow flammables. At the ranch we have white gas and denatured alcohol for sale by the ounce. We carry Camping GAZ screw-on and punch-type iso propane canisters. We also carry Primus and SnowPeak brand screw-on iso propane canisters. They are compatible with the following backpacking stoves: GAZ Turbo 270, Jetboil, Primus, Snow Peak and the following MSR stoves—WindPro, Super Fly, Pocket Rocket, and Reactor. They are in stock at all times; you do not need to reserve one. Our prices are reasonable.
If you’re an Esbit tablet user, you may want to change to something else since they are losing popularity. We still have them, though.
The best way is by US Mail. We have found them to be extremely reliable in getting hikers’ buckets to us. We strongly recommend that you use Priority Mail with delivery confirmation. That way you can call a toll-free number or use the Internet to see if your package has arrived at our post office. (You may receive a message saying that delivery was attempted but not successful. Don’t worry. Until we pick up your package, that qualifies as an unsuccessful delivery attempt. If it is at the Lakeshore post office, we’ll pick it up within a week.) When your bucket gets to the ranch, we will send you an email saying so. You can also drive to Florence Lake and leave your bucket at the store. Also, you can hike in to the ranch with your bucket, but we don’t recommend that unless you need some hiking practice!
Please send your bucket so it will arrive at our post office at least a week ahead of your expected pick-up date. When you mail your resupply, the post office clerk can give you an estimate of the delivery date. To be sure it gets here in time, ship about three (3) weeks before you want to pick it up.
We will pick up your resupply bucket at the Lakeshore (Huntington Lake) post office and deliver it to the Muir Trail Ranch and hold it for you for $65 per bucket. It should weigh at most 25 pounds (12 kg). For additional weight, we charge $2.00 per pound ($4.40 per kg), which you can pay for at the ranch. For options other than mailing, see How do I ship my package to the ranch above, or contact us for rates.
Only paid-for resupply buckets will be picked up from the Lakeshore post office and delivered to the ranch. You can use VISA, MasterCard, American Express or Discover by going to our credit card payment page and send payment when you mail your bucket. Or you can mail a check or money order payable to Muir Trail Ranch when you mail your bucket. Don’t put your check in the bucket. The exception is for people coming from outside the United States and find it difficult to obtain a check or money order denominated in US currency, you may use a credit card or cash when you arrive at the ranch.
If you mail payment, send it to:
PO Box 176
Lakeshore, CA 93634
We are open seven days a week from 8 AM to 5 PM, holidays included. In fact, even non-holidays and all other days included. We never get a break!
Two weeks (14 days). Unlike some other resupply providers, we do not charge by the day past your estimated date. At the end of our season, we will have your buckets available at the ranch until our closing date in September, after which they will be shipped out for disposal. We can’t keep your bucket over the winter. We will try to contact you to determine your plans, so please make sure you let us know how to contact you (email is best).
If you have a misfortune, there are several options. You can give your food cache to someone else. Simply give them your claim check* (sign it on the back). You can contact us to have your bucket returned to you. If you have paid our service fee and you sent it by Priority Mail there is no charge if unopened. If you sent it Parcel Post or other means, we are unable to return your bucket. Let us know soon if you won’t be picking up your bucket.
We will only return buckets shipped via USPS Priority Mail!
If we have received payment for our service, and your bucket was sent via Priority Mail, we will send the unopened bucket to your United States return address for no charge. Let us know what to do with the bucket as soon as possible, no later than two weeks after your expected pickup date. If we don’t hear from you we will send the bucket out for donation to a charity food distributor.
Yes. In recognition of the Leave No Trash ethic, we have recycling barrels available for your sorted trash. We’ll recycle your bucket, too. No charge for this service.
Please, No Dead Fish!
Yes. The cost will be determined by the weight and size of the shipment. There is a $10 handling charge plus postage for a Priority Mail flat rate box. If you are sending out too much for one box, there is a handling charge plus postage for each additional box. Inquire while at the ranch.
We rent computer time, and our satellite connection to the Internet works just about 80% of the time. You will be able to access your email account. No big downloads or uploads, though. We have limited bandwidth and if we go over our allotment, we get punished by suffering 24 hours of dial-up speed! Some people forget their email login password—don’t let that happen to you.
Yes, tell your correspondents that your address is:
c/o Muir Trail Ranch
PO Box 176
Lakeshore, CA 93634
We have postcards and stamps for sale. Your mail will be sent out the next time there is a trip to Florence Lake.
Nope. The phone number we show is at our Business Office location in the foothills north of Fresno. It is for general information only. If you need to know about trail conditions, snow levels, or stream crossing information, email is best.
Sometimes you can get a cell phone connection from the high peaks of the Sierra.
No problem. Most of the season we have 24-hour power, 120 volts AC, just like your house has. Bring your charger for your camera, phone, iPod, whatever. No charge for a charge.
You can send the information regarding your resupply bucket for entry in our database ahead of time. It will make picking up your resupply quick and easy, and make our job easier too. The return address should be where you want your bucket returned to if you are unable to pick it up at the ranch.
We will email a PDF file of labels that you can print and attach to your bucket (just stick them on with clear packaging tape). When you arrive you can get your stuff pronto!
The main reason for pre-registering is in response to what happened on July 22, 2008. We got 150 buckets that day! It was a very long day lasting into the night entering all those buckets in the database, and the possibility of making mistakes in entry was great. This solution will make handling your packages more accurate. Go here for a preview of the label sheet.
One more thing—we can haul your now-full pack on a horse to Heart Lake near Selden Pass or to Evolution Creek near Evolution Meadow. See details at the bottom of the Backpacker page.
Have a memorable, delightful trip!
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We expect to know those dates sometime in May or June, 2014.
Please check back then.