sardine





sawmill





sawmill





sawtooth





sawtooth





scaffold





scepter





scyllia





seavey





selden





seven





shepherd





shotgun





siberian





siberian




sierra





silver





silver




six





sky





sky





smedberg





soldier





sphinx





split





stoneman





striped





symmes





table





taboose





taboose





tamarack





templeton





the hermit





miter





sirens





thimble





island





thunderbolt





tilden





timber





tombstone





tower





tragedy





trail crest





trojan





lake





tunnel





tuttle





tydall





university





upper basin





upper indian





useless





vacation





vandever





vermillion





vidette





vogelsang





volcano





volcano





wahoo





wallace





warren





warrior





waterhouse





waterwheel





wet meadow





whaleback





white wolf





wildman meadow





whitney portal





windy cliff




wonder lakes





woods lake





wright lakes





zumwalt meadows





acker peak





aeolian buttes





agnew pass





alder creek





aperture peak





army pass





arrow peak





arrowhead spire





avalanche creek





baboon lakes





bakeoven pass





banner peak





barigan stringer





barney lake





basket dome





battalion lake





battalion pass





bearpaw meadow





beetlebug lake





bench lake





60 lakes basin





benson lake





big arroyo





big chief lake





big five lakes





big pete meadow





bighorn plateau





bishop pass





black rock pass






blackcap basin





bloody canyon





boneyard meadow





boreal plateau





brown meadow





bubbs creek





buckyeye pass





bunny lake





burro pass





camiaca peak





carroll creek





casa diablo





casa vieja meadow

 
Sierra Nevada & Owens Valley Place Names: Q - Z


 Sequoia & Kings Canyon Map

 Yosemite Map

See USE NOTICE on Home Page.

 

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rae lakes
Rae Lakes were named in 1906 by R. B. Marshall for Rachel ("Rae") Colby, wife of William E. Colby. In 1899 Bolton C. Brown named the southernmost lake for his wife - "Lake Lucy."
rae lakes
Rae Lakes
[Photo by Ian MacDonald]

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ramshaw meadow
Ramshaw Meadows
[Photo by Derek Richardson]
ramshaw meadows


Ramshaw Meadows was named for Peter Ramshaw, a stockman in this region from 1861 to 1880.

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red and white mtn.
red and white mountain
Red and White Mountain
and Red Slate Mountain - background
(Photo courtesy of Noondueler)
Red and White Mountain was named by Theodore S. Solomons in 1894. "The name has gained a place in the maps, and it ispeculiarly descriptive of the great peak of red slate fantastically streaked with seams of white granite. The name identifies the mountain."
[Sierra Club Bulletin - February 1903]

 

regulation peak
mountain."
[Sierra Club Bulletin - February 1903]
volunteer peak
(Photo courtesy www.tahoetowhitney.com]

 Regulation Peak and Regulation Creek were named after Lt. Harry C. Benson and a trumpeter named McBride who, in 1895, placed copies of Yosemite National Park regulations on trees throughout the park. McBride suggested the name "Regulation Peak" for a mountain between Smedberg Lake and Rodgers Lake. Benson put the name on his map of 1897. "Regulation Peak" was also called "Volunteer Peak" at one time and "Regulation Creek" was often called "West Fork Return Creek."

 

mount ritter
mount ritter
Mt. Ritter (left)and Mt. Banner (right)
(Photo - unknown)
Mount Ritter and the Ritter Range is named for the great German geographer and founder of the science of modern comparative geography - Karl Ritter (1779 - 1859). It was named by the Whitney Survey in 1864. Karl Ritter was a professor of history at the University of Berlin in the 1840s when Whitney was a student at the university.

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creek
rock creek drainage
View east up Rock Creek drainage from the summit of
Mt. Guyot. Mt. Langley is off in the left horizon and Olancha Peak to the right.
 
[photo courtesy Yosemite Steve]




lake sabrina
Lake Sabrina was named for Sabrina Hobbs, whose husband,Charles M. Hobbs, was the first general manager of the Nevada California Power Company, which dammed the lake during 1907-1908.
lake sabrina
Lake Sabrina
(Photo courtesy of alwayswanderlust)

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shepherd pass
Shepherd Pass was named for John Shepherd. He was born in Illinois and came to California in 1852 and to Owens Valley in 1863. In 1873 he built a house 1/2 mile west of the Manzanar crossroads. It was said to be the first two-story frame dwelling in Owens Valley.
shepherd pass
Shepherd Pass - almost dead center of photo

[photo by Ian MacDonald]
shepherd pass
Traversing the rock glaciers of Shepherd Pass

[photo by Simon Massicotte]

shepherd pass
Shepherd Pass - notice the rolling rock glaciers in the center of the photo

[photo by Bruce Lemons]

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siberian
J. N. LeConte crossed Siberian Pass in 1890, before it was named. "The summit (Siberian Outpost) was an immense flat area covered with loose slabs of granite piled on top of one another in sharp pinnacles. Many dead pines stood around. Still more lay prostrate, all barkless, limbless, and bleached by the winds and snow, but not a living tree in sight." The name "Siberian Outpost" was given in 1895 by Harvey Corbett, for the area's bleak appearance.
siberian outpost
Looking northeast across the Siberian Outpost
[photo courtesy Yosemite Steve]


 

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

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]

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silver pass
Theodore S. Solomons named Silver Creek in 1892 for its silvery appearance, and he later named the peak from the stream. The pass and the divide apparently were named by the USGS during the 1907-09 survey for the 1912 Mt. Goddard map.
silver pass
Looking down from Silver Pass
[Photo unknown)

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The name Sky Parlor Meadow apparently came into general use in the Sierra Club in the early 1920s. Before then, this meadow was called "Funston's Kaweah Meadow" on William R. Dudley's sketch map of 1898.
sky parlor meadow

sky parlor meadow
Sky Parlor Meadow with the Kaweah Peaks in the background

[Photo by Laura Molnar)

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 Mount Starr is named in honor of Walter A. Starr, Jr., a renowned mountain climber and author of Guide to the John Muir Trail and the High Sierra Region. Starr was killed in August 1933 while climbing in the Minarets.
The first ascent of the mountain was on July 16, 1896, by Walter A. Starr, Sr. and Allen L. Chickering, who gave it a name of their own. "...a large cloud passed over us. Suddenly everything began to buzz like an electric car in motion. The camera tripod, our fingertips, and even our hair, which stood out straight, seemed to exude electricity. We were badly frightened, and got off the peak as rapidly as possible. We called this point 'Electric Peak.'"

mount starr
mt starr
Looking east over Taboose Pass
(photo courtsey of Will H.)

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taboose pass
 Taboose Pass comes from the Piute Indian word "Taboose" which is a small edible groundnut found in Owens Valley. There was a "Taboose Ranch" about 12 miles north of Independence in the 1870s. Apparently the USGS surveyors borrowed the word for the pass and creek. Bolton C. Brown called the pass "Wide Gap" in July 1895
taboose pass
Looking east over Taboose Pass, Cardinal Mountain to the left
(photo courtsey of Chris Ryerson)
taboose pass
Looking east over Taboose Pass
(photo courtsey of Chris Ryerson)

taboose pass
Looking west over Taboose Pass - Arrow Peak in the back center and Bench Lake right below it.
(photo courtsey of Chris Ryerson)

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templeton meadows


Templeton Meadows and mountain were named for Benjamin Stuart Templeton who ran sheep in the area from 1877 to 1885.
templeton meadows
Templeton Meadows
(photo by Jimmy M)

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Thunder and Lightning Lake was probably named by Halliday, a South Fork packer, who got caught in a storm while planting fish in the lake during the 1920s.
thunder

thunder and lightning lake
(photo courtesy of Sierra C.J.)

thunder and lightning lake
(photo courtesy of Sierra C.J.)

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thunderbolt
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]

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 Tragedy Creek - July 19, 1848: "Made only five or six miles and encamped at the spring near the fresh grave; determining to satisfy ourselves, it was soon opened. We were shocked at the sight. There lay the three murdered men robbed of every stitch of clothing, lying promiscuously in one hole about two feet deep.... The blood seemed fresh still oozing from their wounds."
July 20, 1848: "We cut the following inscription on a balsam fir that stood near the grave: 'To the memory of Daniel Browett, Ezrah H. Allen, and Henderson Cox, who were supposed to have been murdered and buried by Indians on the twenty-seventh of June, A.D. 1848.' We called this place Tragedy Spring. Bigler, his companions, and the murdered men were members of the disbanded Mormon Battalion, on their way back to Great Salt Lake.
[Erwin G. Gudde - Bigler's Chronicle of the West, 1962]

tragedy creek

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tunnel air strip
Tunnel airstrip (Photo courtesy of Ray DeLea)
tunnel
Golden Trout Creek and the South Fork of the Kern River come within a few hundred feet of each other near a trail junction north of the guard station. About 1883 or 1884 some enterprising South Fork ranchers dug a diversion tunnel to take water from the creek to irrigate the meadows lower down the river. The tunnel was plagued by cave-ins, and was converted into an open cut about 1891. That too had a cave-in problem, and the project was abandoned about 1899. Tunnel Meadow, Tunnel Air Camp (formerly owned and operated by Bob White out of Lone Pine, and Tunnel Guard Station all garnish their name from those 1800s ranchers.
[Los Tulares, August 1984]
tunnel meadow
Tunnel Meadow 
[photo courtesy Rob Yang]



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)



Waterwheel Falls, formerly Le Conte Falls and sometimes called California Falls, was originally named in 1895 by R. M. Price and derives its name from a set of cascades called the "Rocket Cascades." Here the water strikes the edges of the great plates of granite and is spun off continually in great arches. The columns, or waterwheels, of water rise fifteen to 20 feet high.
[Sierra Club Bulletin, May 1895] [photo: unknown]
waterwheel falls
water wheel falls
Waterwheel Falls - Yosemite

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mt whitney
ansel adams

Ansel Adams

mt whitney
Mt. Whitney, the high peak on the right of the picture, was named in July 1864 by Clarence King and Richard Cotter
of the Whitney Survey team in honor of Josiah Dwight Whitney.

[photo courtesy Ansel Adams]

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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



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Trans-Sierra Highway  

Slim Randles "Night Ride"  

Olancha  

More Sierra Place Names
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George Brown, Native American

 

To the Top of Mt. Whitney by Rena Moore


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This page was last updated on 10 May 2021