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Beginner Sierras Loop 3-4 days

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Beginner Sierras Loop 3-4 days

Postby k4nandez » Fri May 02, 2014 5:21 pm

Hi guys! I am an experienced backpacker but am looking to head out for a 3-4 day trip with some newbies in late July. We live in LA area and I really want to show them what the Sierras are all about so am thinking somewhere in Yosemite, SEKI, Ansel Adams area, etc. I want to keep it on the easier side with between 5-7 miles/day. I would love to find a loop to see the most ground and be able to camp at lakes/streams, etc. If you know of anywhere with lakes at 8-9K feet that would be perfect but I know the Sierras are usually higher altitude. Just trying to find an easy fun trip that won't scare them away from backpacking! Thanks guys!



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Re: Beginner Sierras Loop 3-4 days

Postby wildhiker » Fri May 02, 2014 5:34 pm

If you are willing to drive a little farther, the Emigrant Wilderness just northwest of Yosemite Park has lots of granite and lakes in the 8 to 9 thousand foot elevation range that you asked about. Also more gentle terrain than the higher Sierra to the south, and no trailhead quotas!

-Phil
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Re: Beginner Sierras Loop 3-4 days

Postby tim » Fri May 02, 2014 5:51 pm

There's not many easy short loops in SEKI and some of the easy loops in Yosemite (eg Cathedral to Sunrise) are hard to get permits for. You say you are looking for lower elevation, is that due to concerns about altitude sickness or just a desire not to have too much climbing?

If just the latter then coming from the south I would lean towards Cottonwood Pass to Soldier Lake and Miter Basin. A four day out and back trip is very easy and pleasant, we did it with 10 yr olds. Permits are also very simple to get and the landscape is stunning.
This is our trip report from 2011: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=6526
It won't have the snow this year of course.
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Re: Beginner Sierras Loop 3-4 days

Postby maverick » Fri May 02, 2014 6:54 pm

Hi K4nandez,

Welcome to HST! Dinkey Lakes Wilderness is what your looking for but July, especially
this year, will be dry and hot. A loop from Agnew Meadows>1000 Is Lake>Garnet Lake>
Ediza>Shadow Lake>Agnew Meadows would be roughly about 21.6 miles, all staying
below 10000ft, and a beautiful trip. Use the search feature at the top of the backpacking
section to see previous trip reports this these places.
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Re: Beginner Sierras Loop 3-4 days

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sat May 03, 2014 11:33 am

It was years ago when I visited Miter Basin. Am I missing something? I do not recall Miter Basin having a trail. I never really thought of Miter Basin as a trip for total newbies.

Emigrant from southern CA is quite a bit of a drive for a 3-4 day trip although it is perfect for those of us who live in northern CA. Although not loops, Humphry's Basin from North Lake, Hungry Packer Lake from Sabrina, and Dusy Basin are all nice routes. Another easy route is Fourth Recess with a day hike to Pioneer Basin.

I think you are really limiting good routes by insisting on a loop. The routes with considerable elevation gain can be easy if you simply split the entry into two days. For example, take two days to get into Dusy Basin, and out in one day. Hungry Packer Lake with first night at Blue Lake, is one of my favorite for newbies. And most people just fly by the beautiful lakes on the east side of Humphrey's basin. First day at Piute Lake makes the trip easier.

I prefer to take beginners to spectacular scenery areas, even if they can be crowded. Most scenic remote areas are a bit too much for beginners and many remote areas that are easy to get to are not the most scenic. I would also avoid trailheads that have long slow drives (such as Edison Lake).
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Re: Beginner Sierras Loop 3-4 days

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sat May 03, 2014 11:39 am

Forgot to mention. Altitude problems can be greatly mitigated by taking it real easy the first day -very slow pace, about 1000 feet gain and 2-4 miles. I would not limit myself to lower elevations, UNLESS you have someone who you know has unusual difficulty with altitude (for example, throws up when driving over Tioga Pass).
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Re: Beginner Sierras Loop 3-4 days

Postby k4nandez » Sat May 03, 2014 12:28 pm

Thanks so much for all of your input! I think I have decided on leaving Rush Creek TH to Gem Lake (night 1) to Thousand Island lake (night 2) to Agnew lake (night 3). It's got more elevation change than I was hoping for but it's only about 4-5 miles a day so I figured we could take it slow. There's also a campground at the TH so we can camp the night before to acclimate a bit.
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Re: Beginner Sierras Loop 3-4 days

Postby DavePloessel » Sat May 03, 2014 8:11 pm

Maybe humphries basin? Plenty of pretty up there, short hike over piute pass to get there and you can loop around through the evolution valley/Lamarck col or set up a base camp and dayhike places like pilot knob, French canyon.. Snag a few peaks... Etc..


Also, I've taken a few beginners out behind lake Sabrina.. Lots of lakes out there And some cool easy off trail spots like fishgut lakes, etc
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