The Pacific Crest Trail follows the ridges of mountains, and in many cases, is a long way from re-supply towns. In California there is no public transportation to and from either Lone Pine or Independence.
If you arrive in the High Sierra too early, or before June, the roads that connect the two towns to parking lots and trails that lead up to the Pacific Crest Trail may not be open yet and there will not be any hikers, backpacker or anglers to give you a lift down to town — and in both cases, it’s a long, long walk.
The fastest way to get to town from the trail is to leave the trail on Trail Pass or Cottonwood Pass. Both trails head 2.5 miles down to the Horseshoe Meadows Campground where you can get a lift down into town from someone heading that direction.
Lone Pine, which you can see from the top of Horseshoe Meadows Road, is 20 miles straight down in the Owens Valley via a narrow road with many blind curves and switchbacks and few shoulders. Hiking down the road is not recommended.
If you can manage it, try to resupply in Lone Pine instead of Independence, which is much further from the PCT and hash limited amenities. Getting into town requires hiking nine miles downhill from the PCT on the Kearsage Pass Trail to the Onion Valley parking lot, and then hitchhiking another 15 miles into town. What goes down must come up and it’s a very steep hike back up to the PCT from Onion Valley.
If you get down to Lone Pine or Independence only to find they don’t have the supplies you need, you’ll probably be able to find it in Bishop, a much larger town with a Kmart, a Von’s grocery store, Starbucks, pharmacies, cafes, restaurants, motels and several camping/hiking supply shops.
You can reach Bishop by hitchhiking north 40 miles from Lone Pine and 15 miles north from Independence or you can hop the local CREST bus, which runs north and south three times daily between Lone Pine and Bishop. Call (800) 922-1930 for more information and schedules.