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Beginner Overnight suggestion

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Beginner Overnight suggestion

Postby tstrauss » Tue Mar 29, 2016 10:24 am

Hi everyone - an eastcoaster here, never been to California before. I'm heading to Kings Canyon Sequoia (i guess you call it SeKi?) for a week in early July. We will mostly be camping in the front country, but would like to do an overnight into the backcountry. We have been car camping many times, have been backpacking a couple of times.
We are comfortable with trail hiking, and small stream crossings, but not rivers with any real flow.
No Dog
4 people - 2 daughters 10 & 12
we are a pretty active family, mainly soccer, running, cycling, hiking, etc. - so in decent shape but live at about 300ft above sea level.
Depending upon elevation, 6-7 miles tops?
Scenery is desired, seclusion is not a necessity, actually the wife wouldn't mind having a few other campers around as she is afraid a bear is going to eat us.
I hope i covered everything.

Thanks for the help.



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Re: Beginner Overnight suggestion

Postby LMBSGV » Tue Mar 29, 2016 12:05 pm

Where will you be car camping? If it’s one of the campgrounds at Cedar Grove in Kings Canyon, then Paradise Valley would be good for an overnight. Since many dates in July are already full by reservation, you could go to Road’s End the afternoon before and get a walk-up permit for the next day. If you have a reserved campsite at Lodgepole, Emerald and Pear Lakes are walk-up permits the day before with no reservations. Also, Redwood Canyon would be a good for a single night. If you are interested in doing more than an overnight, then there many more possibilities. Also, I expect someone will offer more overnight suggestions.

In terms of bears, you’re much more likely to see them in the front country campgrounds than in the backcountry. But since they are black bears, they only want your food; humans are not part of their diet so your wife need not worry.
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Re: Beginner Overnight suggestion

Postby maverick » Tue Mar 29, 2016 1:26 pm

Hi Tstrauss,

Welcome to HST!

Getting a walk-in permit for 4 may not be that easy, where will you be camping, Kings or Sequoia? One needs to get reservation for these campsites well in advance too, especially starting July, and on weekends. The distances between the main campgrounds don't look like a lot on the map, but they do take a long time, the road up/down to the Cedar Grove area is a long, very steep, and extremely windy road, scary to some folks, so plan accordingly. Spending a few nights down in the Cedar Grove area, and a few in the Lodgepole/Dorst Creek area, would allow you explore both parks, without having to do an exhausting/dangerous drive at the end of the each day.

SEKI is known as backpackers park, especially Kings Canyon, this is because it takes 1-2 days to get you into the heart of the Sierra, unlike in Yosemite, where you can use Tioga Road (Hwy 120) to gain access into the heart of the Sierra immediately.

In Sequoia, one of the best and easiest big mountain scenery you can get is at Moro Rock Lookout, it will give you a grand view of the Great Western Divide.

Sequoia day hikes:
- Muir Grove /4 miles (good hike to see huge sequoias)
- Little Baldy /3.5 miles (outstanding views)
- Tokopah Falls /3.6 miles (great waterfalls hike into gorgeous valley)

Kings Canyon (including area around Grant Grove) day hikes:
- Panoramic Point/Park Ridge Lookout /4.7 miles (great views)
- General Grant Tree Trail /.6 miles (views of the second oldest tree in the world)

If you plan to spend several days in the two parks, then plan a visit to Mineral King, it is a very long and windy road, which takes a while (get an early start), but well worth the time and effort.

Do not have a lot of backpacking trip options to recommend at 14 miles round trip:
- Bubb's Creek corridor is a climb, and you will not get anywhere worth going to visit in 7 miles. Mist Falls is nice, but Lower Paradise has no scenery, and has a lot of bears.
- Copper Creek/Lewis Creek are definitely to steep and won't get you to any location in 7 miles
- Nothing from Horse Corral or Lodgepole in 7 miles, Jennie Lakes is okay

Would recommend to do the Lakes Trail /13 miles RT to Pear Lake, a beautiful lake situated in a granite bowl. There is a 2300 ft elevation gain from the trailhead to the lake (7200/9500), if you spent a couple days, day hiking in other parts of the parks, then you should be acclimated to do this hike. It is 2300 ft, are you sure everyone would be up to it? You have enough day hikes, and if you are not planning to use different campgrounds for basecamps (for example Cedar Creek area and Lodgepole), but instead use only one, then the hiking and driving is going to be exhausting enough, you may consider doing a backpacking trip at another time.
I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: Beginner Overnight suggestion

Postby Wandering Daisy » Tue Mar 29, 2016 6:34 pm

Franklin Lakes from Mineral King- 4.5 miles, 2600 feet gain. Very scenic and not crowded. On a major trail. Could have some lingering snow early July.
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Re: Beginner Overnight suggestion

Postby balzaccom » Tue Mar 29, 2016 6:53 pm

If you can't get a permit for Jennie Lake, you could look at Seville or Ranger Lakes...also great destinations. In fact, Ranger lake has the best view of all by far. Anything out of King's Canyon itself will be a steep climb for the first five miles or so...not ideal for an easy backpack.

you could also look at the wilderness areas outside the park, like Dinkey Lakes, or even the area of Kaiser Road in the John Muir Wilderness.
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Re: Beginner Overnight suggestion

Postby zacjust32 » Tue Mar 29, 2016 7:53 pm

Jennie Lake is in Jennie Lakes Wilderness and therefore needs no permit, which is a double-edged sword. Jennie is pretty, but I agree with Balzaccom that Seville and Ranger are better. Even better yet is the Lakes Trail but that's much more crowded than either previous suggestions. Twin Lakes out of Lodgepole maybe, haven't done that one but only just about everything around it. Staying close to Lodgepole gives you the best options per square mile IMHO, tons of different terrain so close together.
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Re: Beginner Overnight suggestion

Postby maverick » Tue Mar 29, 2016 9:00 pm

Did not recommend Lost, Twin, or Ranger Lake (even Jennie), why, because all are oustide the OP's indicted 7 miles max limit.

OP wrote:
Depending upon elevation, 6-7 miles tops?
I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: Beginner Overnight suggestion

Postby zacjust32 » Tue Mar 29, 2016 9:11 pm

maverick wrote:Did not recommend Lost, Twin, or Ranger Lake (even Jennie), why, because all are oustide the OP's indicted 7 miles max limit.


Ok, I was thinking 6-7 miles a day, OP said they were interested in an overnighter. If the 6-7 is per day it really opens up a whole other set of possibilities.
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Re: Beginner Overnight suggestion

Postby maverick » Wed Mar 30, 2016 8:04 am

One more important thing to mention, you may be going out at the height of mosquito season, which can ruin some peoples trip, especially if you are not physically and mentally prepared to deal with them. Read the following thread to pick up on different ways to deal with those little blood sucking vampires: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=7828&hilit=mosquito+avoidance
I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: Beginner Overnight suggestion

Postby balzaccom » Wed Mar 30, 2016 8:37 am

Maverick is correct---Ranger is more like 8-9 miles from the Rowell Meadow Trailhead, and maybe 10 miles from Lodgepole. Well worth it. Here's the view from the ridge above Ranger to the east, where we camped:

Image


And here is photo of the restroom facilities at Twin Lakes. This area gets a LOT of traffic, and there are bear boxes at most of these lakes as well.

Image
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