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Southern Sierra - Route suggestion

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Southern Sierra - Route suggestion

Postby markley » Mon Jul 27, 2015 6:23 am

Hey all,
My wife and I a few weeks away from a two week loop around the southern Sierra. We will be flying in and out of LA, and will be spending our first night at Quaking Aspen CG. From there, we are trying to decide whether to go back south and up around the east side, or head north up the west side. We will eventually be cutting across Tioga Pass. If we go up the east side first, our next stop would likely be Horseshoe Meadows (3-4 hr drive??). And if we go up the west side first we'd likely head to Mineral King (i've seen from 3 -5 hour drive??)

We have a reservation in Yosemite Valley 9 days into our 14 day trip. If we go up the west side first, we'd only be able to check out the east side for 4-5 days (and vice versa). So I guess another way to ask is which side (east vs. west) would you rather spend the majority of your time? We will be mostly trying to disperse camp (which i understand east side is easier), but will also be doing a few short (1-2 night) backpacking trips.

Also, i'd say our main goal is to spend as much time getting into the classic Sierra scenery (through mostly day hikes; 10-15 miles) with the fewest crowds.
Level of experience = Level 3
Terrain comfort = Class 2-3
Main interest = Lake, Fishing, Big Mtn Scenery

Thanks in advance!!



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Re: Southern Sierra - Route suggestion

Postby Sierra Miguel » Mon Jul 27, 2015 9:06 pm

markley wrote:we'd likely head to Mineral King

I think the marmots will have stopped eating cars by then.

which side (east vs. west) would you rather spend the majority of your time?

East. Less crowded, more dramatic scenery. But that may mean climbing 3000-6000' to the Sierra crest. And it may be hotter down at the trailhead.

There's a lot of beautiful terrain accessible from Tuolumne Meadows, if you can get a permit out of there or a campsite.

Here are a few places to clean up:
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Re: Southern Sierra - Route suggestion

Postby markley » Wed Jul 29, 2015 1:00 pm

Thanks for the reply! I think that's what we're going to do..with Horseshoe Meadows, Onion Vally, Lake Sabrina, and Mammoth Lake areas as possible starting off points!
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Re: Southern Sierra - Route suggestion

Postby Sierra Miguel » Wed Jul 29, 2015 9:32 pm

Mammoth Lake

The JMT could be lousy with hikers. You could do part of Roper's Sierra High Route out of Devil's Postpile N.M. You need to arrive early or late to drive in. Nancy Pass isn't worth the time; maybe start up towards Minaret Lake instead.
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Re: Southern Sierra - Route suggestion

Postby markley » Thu Jul 30, 2015 5:41 am

Sierra Miguel wrote:
Mammoth Lake

The JMT could be lousy with hikers. You could do part of Roper's Sierra High Route out of Devil's Postpile N.M. You need to arrive early or late to drive in. Nancy Pass isn't worth the time; maybe start up towards Minaret Lake instead.

Thanks for the heads up!
So I ended up getting an overnight permit for Saturday to hike up to Ediza Lake out of Shadow Creek TH. Will the same rules apply here (arrive early to drive in)? Or will we have to take a shuttle to that trailhead as well?

Also, what are the chances we'd be able to snag a camp spot at one of the campgrounds along Minaret Summit Rd if we arrive late on Friday night (ie. after 7pm)? It appears that they are all first come/first serve. Or is there dispersed camping allowed?
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Re: Southern Sierra - Route suggestion

Postby gary c. » Thu Jul 30, 2015 11:02 pm

markley wrote:Also, i'd say our main goal is to spend as much time getting into the classic Sierra scenery (through mostly day hikes; 10-15 miles) with the fewest crowds.

Main interest = Lake, Fishing, Big Mtn Scenery

Thanks in advance!!


I would go with the east side. Sticking with day hikes you can see a whole lot of country. Camp at Horse Shoe Meadow and day hike to Cottonwood Lakes or get a permit and make it an overnighter. Day hike to Kearsarge Pass or overnight to Kearsarge Lakes. Day hike to Lone Pine Lakes and Sam Mack Meadow / Glacier or again get a permit and stay at Lake #2. Skip Bishop canyon but do a 1 - 2 night trip to Sabrina Basin. Do a day hike of Little Lakes Valley. In the Mammoth / Andrews Meadow area stay a night and see the Post Pile and Rainbow falls then day hike to Garnet Lake / Thousand Island Lake or stay the night. Use up whatever days you have free in the 20 Lakes Basin before entering Yosemite.

You are not going to be alone or experience a solitary time in any of these areas. LLV being the worst as far as other people go but if you play the permit game it could work pretty well. By obtaining a few overnight permits at your selected trails you not only get to stay a night in the backcountry but you also get to stay one night before and after your hike at the trailhead backpacker camp. That can save some cash for meals and showers in between by not having to pay for a campground or hotel.
"On this proud and beautiful mountain we have lived hours of fraternal, warm and exalting nobility. Here for a few days we have ceased to be slaves and have really been men. It is hard to return to servitude."
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Re: Southern Sierra - Route suggestion

Postby markley » Fri Jul 31, 2015 5:22 am

Thanks for all the suggestions Gary!!

gary c. wrote:By obtaining a few overnight permits at your selected trails you not only get to stay a night in the backcountry but you also get to stay one night before and after your hike at the trailhead backpacker camp. That can save some cash for meals and showers in between by not having to pay for a campground or hotel.


Is this true if starting at Shadow Creek TH? It appears that the Agnew Meadow campground is closed.

Also, sorry I have similar questions in another post....this one just got off on a tangent. #-o
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Re: Southern Sierra - Route suggestion

Postby gary c. » Mon Aug 03, 2015 12:50 am

markley, The only backpackers camp I know of for sure down that way are the sites set aside for backpackers at Reds Meadow CG. They have something like three sites just for backpackers that are first come / next to squeeze in where you can. The charge was minimal tho and I want to say something like $5 a tent. I think that someone else here wrote about changes to the BP sites earlier this spring? One good thing about the Reds Meadow BP sites is they are right by the free showers.
"On this proud and beautiful mountain we have lived hours of fraternal, warm and exalting nobility. Here for a few days we have ceased to be slaves and have really been men. It is hard to return to servitude."
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