I’m looking for a new place to take my kids backpacking this summer and would love to hear some suggestions from the HST community. We have been going to Little Lakes Valley for the last few years (some of you may have seen my TR’s), which we love, but wanted to try something new. This time we are thinking of following a stream/river under a forest canopy at 10,000ft elevation and under. Cascades, waterfalls, and pools are a huge plus. We would like to keep the 1st day mileage under 10 miles and plan to base-camp and do day hikes from there.
- Children are comfortable with level 2 backpacking/class 1 terrain – Some backpacking experience on-trail and some hiking off-trail. Small stream crossings are ok.
Planning on 3 nights/4 days.
Loop or out-and-back is fine.
Anywhere in the Sierra is fine (east side or west side approach). We usually stay on the east side, but understand our options would be limited considering the type of terrain/atmosphere we are looking for. I think it may be time to start exploring the west side a little more.
Places I have looked into so far are (in order of preference):
- River Trail from Agnew Meadows to somewhere below Garnet Lake. I remember the Middle Fork San Joaquin River having some nice cascades and pools just below (1/4 mile or so) where the waters from Garnet Lake meet the San Joaquin.
Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne. I don’t really know too much about this area other than the pictures look like exactly what I’m looking for. Do I need to pass Glen Aulin on the first day? I need to look into all the red tape for this area.
Lyell Canyon. Passed through here on my JMT trip last year and camped at an amazing spot on the other side of the river at a cascade. I’m not sure, however, that we would be able to cross with the kids this year due to the drastically different snowpack.
Thanks in advance for any advice or suggestions. Hopefully I provided enough information for recommendations.