enchanted





evolution





fin





foerster





forester





forgotten





franklin





funston





gallats





gem





goat





golden





golden





golden





granite





granite





grouse





guitar





guyot





haiwee





happy





harrison





hel





hetch





horsehead





horsethief





hummingbird





hungry





inconsolable




ionian





island





italy





jo





jackass





jigsaw





jobs





joe





johnson





jordan





jordan





junction





junction





kaweah





kaweah





kearsarge





kern





kern





kettle





king





kuna





lake





lake





lake





le conte





leidig





lembert





little





lost





lubken





lucys





mammoth





mariposa





mather





matterhorn





matthes





mcgee





meysan





milestone





mineral





mirror





mogul





monache





monitor





mono





moraine





morgan





mount





mount





mount





bago





beatitude





brewer





carillion





corcoran





darwin





elsen





fiske





gould





fuyot





hitchock





ickes





julius caesar





langley





newcomb





pinchot





rixford





shinn

 
Sierra Nevada & Owens Valley Place Names

 Sequoia & Kings Canyon Map

 Yosemite Map

See USE NOTICE on Home Page.


trail crest

forester pass

olancha pass

abandoned

colby pass



sierra nevada
Sierra Nevada crest from just east of Lone Pine, CA
[Photo courtesy of Ray DeLea]


sierra nevada
Sierra Nevada crest from just east of Owenyo Road near Lone Pine, CA
[Photo courtesy of Ray DeLea]


sierra nevada
Sierra Nevada crest from just south of Coso Junction, CA
[Photo courtesy of Ray DeLea]

sierra nevada
Sierra Nevada crest from just east of Lone Pine, CA
[Photo courtesy of Ray DeLea]

Sierra Nevada is Spanish for "snowy mountain range." Sierra is the word for "saw," and when used in this way means a jagged range of mountains - the teeth of the saw being similar to a row of mountain peaks. The Spanish used the name Sierra Nevada with abandon - any time they saw a mountain range with snow on it. As early as 1542, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo gave that name to what we now know as the "Santa Lucia Range," south of Big Sur. Our present Sierra Nevada received its name from Fray Pedro Font, who saw it from a hill east of the contemporary town of Antioch in April 1776.
"If we looked to the east we saw on the other side of the plain at a distance of some thirty leagues a great Sierra Nevada, white from the summit to the skirts, and running diagonally almost from south-southeast to north-northwest."
[Francis P. Farquhar, History of the Sierra Nevada]

I LOVE THE SIERRA NEVADA
A video by David Wheat

sierra nevada
Sierra Nevada view from Kearsarge Pass, Independence, CA
[Photo courtesy of Ray DeLea]

sierra nevada
Sierra Nevada crest from just north of Independence, CA off of old U.S. 395 near Aberdeen, CA
[Photo courtesy of Ray DeLea]



Lt. Davis used the name "Volcano Creek" on his 1896 map, and called the nearby falls "Whitney Falls." On the first edition of the Olancha 30' topographical map in 1907, the USGS named the creek "Golden Trout Creek" and the falls "Volcanic Falls." In 1927 the falls was officially named "Volcano Falls." Volcano Meadows, Volcano Creek, and Volcano Falls all lie in the vicinity of two extinct volcanoes and an enormous expanse of lava. Volcano Falls actually lies on Golden Trout Creek just before the creek flows down the Kern River gorge to meet the Kern River at lower Funston Meadow.
volcano falls

volcanic complex
Golden Trout Creek chain of valcanoes
volcano
Golden Trout Creek volcano
(Photo unknown)
volcano falls
Golden Trout Creek - Volcano Falls - off to the right
Photo 2, Photo 3
(Photo courtesy Valerie Norton)



monache meadow
Monache Creek and Monache Meadows are the remnant names of a failed attempt by the citizens of Owens Valley in 1864 to create a new county south of Mono County. They wanted to name the new county, Monache County in honor of the Monachi Indians.
[Walter Chalfant, The Story of Inyo] [photo: unknown]
monache meadow
Monache Meadows
[photo courtsey of Rebecca Sudduth]
monache meadow
Monache Meadows
[photo courtsey of Rebecca Sudduth]



The USGS named that creek that flows from Big Whitney Meadows south through Groundhog Meadows and Little Whitney Meadows, Golden Trout Creek in 1905. The creek is so named for the proliferation of Golden Trout in the creek. The creek was first called "Whitney Creek" because it source was thought to be near Mt. Whitney (actually Mt. Langley) when Clarence King climbed it (Mt. Langley) in 1871.
[Joseph N. LeConte, A summer of Travel in the High Sierra]

[Golden Trout images below courtesy troutesite.com]

golden trout creek
gilbert
Gilbert Golden Trout


south fork kern
South Fork Kern Golden Trout
little kern
Little Kern Golden Trout
volcano creek
Volcano Creek Golden Trout




Thunderbolt Peak was named by Francis P. Farquhar and sixothers when they made the first ascent of the mountain on August 13, 1931. "...shortly after the party reached the summit a violent thunderstorm drove all precipitately to a place of safety. So rapidly did the storm gather that Eichorn, last man to leave the ridge, was dangerously close to a lightning flash that appeared to strike the mountain. The importance of immediate retreat as soon as the rocks begin to 'sing' was strongly impressed upon the members of the party."
[Sierra Club Bulletin, February 1932]
[Scotty Strachan photo]
thunderbolt peak
Thunderbolt Peak
[photo: unknown]
palisade peaks
Palisade Peaks
[photo: unknown]
thunderbolt peak
Thunderbolt Peak
[photo: unknown]



kaweah peaks
Peaks of the Kaweah range.
(photo courtsey of Leor Pantilat)

"Red Kaweah", "Black Kaweah", "Mount Kaweah", "Kaweah Basin", "Kaweah Gap", and "Kaweah Queen" all derive their names after a Yokuts tribe called Kawai, or probably more exactly, Gawia. They lived on or near the "Kaweah River" where it emerges from the foothills into the San Joaquin Valley plains. The river was discovered by the Gabriel Moraga expedition in 1806. Kaweah was originally 'Kah-wah' and some Indians say it means 'I squat here,' or 'Here I rest.' Other Indians say 'Ka' is Indian for crow and 'wia' is Indian for water - getting the name 'crow-water.' 'Ka' came from the sound that a crow makes. There were buzzards and crows by the thousands around the site of Visalia and all the way to the Sierra foothills.

kaweah peaks

The Kaweah Basin as seen from the south end of Red Spur Lakes Plateau. Picket Creek Basin is on the extreme right.

(photo and text courtsey of Lee Watts)

kaweah
KThe Kaweah Basin as seen from the south end of Red Spur Lakes Plateau. Picket Creek Basin is on the extreme right.
(photo and text courtsey of Lee Watts)

kaweah peaks
Lower end of the Kaweah Basin looking toward Mt. Kaweah on the left and Kaweah Queen on the right.
(photo and text courtsey of Lee Watts)

kaweah peaks
Kaweah Peaks from the Big Arroyo - Black Kaweah (left), Mount Kaweah (right)
(photo unknown)



olancha peak
Olancha Peak from Monache Meadows - Olancha Peak 2
(photo unknown)
Olancha Pass and Olancha Peak are said to have derived its name from the Olanches Indians. "Olanche" was formerly an Indian settlement south of Owens Lake. It is thought that the word is a borrowing from a Yokuts tribe west of the Sierra Nevada who called themselves "Yaudanchi," and were called by a neighboring band "Yaulanchi." It is thought that the name "Olanches" originally meant "sleeping beauty." From the summit of Mt. Kaweah the reclining figure of a woman could be seen on the side of Olancha Peak - arms across abdomen, hair flowing back of head, face and breast clearly visible.
[Olancha Peak from Owens Valley, Craig Adkins photo]

 olancha pass
olancha summit
Olancha Peak
(photo unknown)
olancha peak
Olancha Peak from Templeton Meadows
(photo unknown)



The Lake of the Lone Indian was named by J. S. and Lincoln Hutchinson and party in 1902. "The name was suggested to us by the very distinct profile of an Indian's face and feathery head-gear in the mountain south of the lake.
[Sierra Club Bulletin, 1903]
lake of the lone indian
Lake of the Lone Indian
[Photo courtesy of Dale Matson]
lake of the lone indian
Lake of the Lone Indian trail sign.
[Photo courtesy of Dale Matson]



Dragon Peak was named because its outline as seen from Rae Lakes resembles a dragon. The Dragon Lake was named from the peak.
dragon lake
Dragon Lake and Dragon Peak.

[Photo courtesy of Dave Coppedge]
dragon peak and lake
Dragon Lake and Dragon Peak.
[Photo unknown]



chagoopa plateau
"Chagoopa Creek" and "Chagoopa Falls" were named by W. B. Wallace, J. W. A. Wright, and F. H. Wales in 1881. "We named the highest of the falls Sha-goo-pah Falls, after an old Pi Ute chief." "Chagoopa Plateau" was named by William R. Dudley and party in July 1897 after the falls which bears the same name.
[Mount Whitney Club Journal, May 1902]
[Sierra Club Bulletin, January 1898]



Pemmican Lake was named in August 1951 by Elden H. Vestal of the California Department of Fish and Game in reference to the travel food of some North American Indians.
[Heyward Moore, Fresno, Past and Present]
pemmican lake
pemmican lake
Pemmican Lake - Sierra Nevada



RECOMMENDED READING

green button Spanish and Indian Place Names of California - Their Meaning and Their Romance by Nellie Van De Grift Sanchez, 1922
green button Place Names of the Sierra Nevada - From Abbot to Zumwalt by Peter Browning, 1986
green button Naming the Eastern Sierra - Dirty Sock to Bloody Canyon by Marguerite Sowaal, 1985
green button
Place Names of the Sierra Nevada - From Abbot to Zumwalt by Francis P. Farquhar, 1926
green button
The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States by Henry Ganett, 1902
face ABE Books, making "out of print" books easier to find. face



bar

 

Trans-Sierra Highway  

Slim Randles "Night Ride"  

Olancha  

More Sierra Place Names

 

George Brown, Native American

 

To the Top of Mt. Whitney by Rena Moore


sign
Free Guestbook
Sign Guestbook

View Old Guest Book Entries
Oct 1999 - Feb 2015 (MS Word)

Sunhorn
CONTACT the Pigmy Packer  

view
Free Guestbook
View Guestbook

View Old Guest Book Entries
Oct 1999 - Feb 2015 (PDF)


This page was last updated on 22 January 2018