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Suggestions Near Sacramento

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Suggestions Near Sacramento

Postby whiskeyguy » Wed May 11, 2016 10:40 pm

Hey, new member here and I'm looking for some areas to visit near Sacramento. I recently moved to the area and I'd like to take advantage of being this close to the Sierras.

For now I'm mostly looking for campgrounds within ~2 hours of Sacramento from which I can do some day hiking. I have to work most Saturdays so I'd like somewhere I could drive to after work and then spend all day Sunday there.

I've been to Wright's Lake in the Desolation Wilderness and that's exactly the type of place I'm looking for.

Also interested in any quick overnight or two night loops within that same driving time.

Thanks in advance.



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Re: Suggestions Near Sacramento

Postby Vaca Russ » Thu May 12, 2016 6:33 am

Whiskeyguy,

Maverick is going to want an introduction......viewtopic.php?f=1&t=9329.

Unfortunately, living in Sacramento limits you to only about 900,000,000 places to explore the Sierra. I am sorry to come across with such sarcasm, but you have almost limitless possibilities. Wrights Lake is an excellent start. From there you have instant access to Desolation Wilderness.

Let's start here, which highway is easier for you to access, 80 or 50?

-Russ
” Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports … all others are games.”- Ernest Hemingway
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Re: Suggestions Near Sacramento

Postby norcalhiker » Thu May 12, 2016 7:35 am

My main suggestion is to buy a bunch of maps. We've got a ton of places nearby. Two hours limits you a lot, but the possibilities are endless.
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Re: Suggestions Near Sacramento

Postby wildhiker » Fri May 13, 2016 5:37 pm

OK, here are some ideas off the Interstate 80 corridor, all within two hours of Sacramento. These should all be open by late June or early July. Check the Tahoe National Forest website for road and campground opening dates.

1) Grouse Lakes roadless area - take the Highway 20 exit from I-80 westbound back towards Nevada City, drive down the grade about 5 miles and turn right on the Bowman Lake road. This is a paved road. Follow it through Bear Valley, across the South Fork Yuba River, up past Fuller Lake (lots of local fishermen there since they stock it). In the next 10 miles you will pass connections with gravel roads to several primitive camp sites and trailheads. The best ones (in my opinion, of course) are found in this order as you drive on the main road:
a) Grouse Ridge - the road goes several miles, some of it washboarded but all passable to a normal car, up onto Grouse Ridge. There is a primitive campground and then a main trailhead for day hikes or backpacking into the Grouse Ridge area. This Caltopo map view with the open street map overlay shows the trails:
http://caltopo.com/map.html#ll=39.40045 ... &b=t&a=mba
Not shown are easy use trails and cross-country routes down and around the Five Lakes Basin from the big lake at the east end of Sand Ridge.
b) Carr Lake - there is a big parking area just before the lake. There is a walk-in campground at Carr Lake. An easy hike continues on past Feeley Lake to Island Lake and then up past the Crooked Lakes to Penner Lake. This is a great area for easy backpack trips with children.
c) Loney Meadow - no campground, but a great hike past the meadow (lots of wildflowers early to mid season) and then up along Texas Creek to the Rock Lakes. The lower part of this trail is not shown on the caltopo map link above, but is easy to follow. Rock Lakes make a good short backpack trip. I like the upper one better - campsites along the west shore. Easy climb from there up to Peak 7264 to the south for good views.

2) Castle Peak roadless area - take the Castle Peak/Boreal ski area exit from I-80 just before Donner Summit, go to the north side of the freeway, and then up the short paved spur to a big parking area where the road turns to dirt. You can continue about 1/2 mile on this rough road, even with a normal car (if you drive carefully) past several informal dispersed camping spots - bring your own water or purify creek water. Then there are great hikes up the road to its end and beyond on the PCT or up to Castle Peak on a use trail. See this caltopo link:
http://caltopo.com/map.html#ll=39.36217 ... &b=t&a=mba

3) Donner Pass Pacific Crest Trailhead - take the Soda Springs exit off I-80 and head east to Donner Pass. Just before the pass, there is a minor road heading south (probably signed for Lake Mary). After a couple hundred yards, where it bends, there is a Pacific Crest trailhead. Park in wide spots along the road. No camping here, but great day hikes or backpacks up the PCT. For a good dayhike loop, we like to head south up the PCT and then do the Mount Judah loop. Just scroll down from the caltopo Castle Peak link above to see these trails.

There's more, of course, but this should get you started. Study the map and explore. Oh - here's a suggestion - skip the Loch Leven trail from Big Bend off I-80. You hear freeway noise the whole way and the trail is badly rutted. Instead, find the "back side" trailhead by Huysink Lake, coming in on good Forest Service gravel roads from Lake Valley Reservoir, which you get to from the Yuba Gap exit on I-80.

-Phil
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Re: Suggestions Near Sacramento

Postby FeetFirst » Mon May 16, 2016 4:14 pm

All great suggestions by wildhiker above (I-80,Tahoe NF).

For highway 50, you're mainly dealing with the Eldorado National Forest. The link goes to a page with all of their Recreational Opportunity Guides (ROGs), which includes ones for campgrounds & hiking trails. I suggest taking a look at these and asking questions about specific locations.

Quite a few of the trails in Eldorado NF enter the Desolation Wilderness, which does require a permit for day use. The permits are free, no quotas for day use, and available from Ranger stations and most trailheads (self issued).

Most campgrounds can be reserved well in advance and some become fully booked for holiday weekends. With that, most keep a percentage of sites off of the reservation system so it's rare not to find something available. Also, some of the smaller campgrounds, especially those without piped water, don't accept reservations at all and it's rare for those to be completely full. Maybe not your first choice though.

My suggestions:
Loon Lake campground is always great with the Wilderness trailhead in the parking lot.
Wrights Lake campground is wonderful and has the Rockbound & Twin Lakes trailheads at the end of the campgrounds.
Last edited by FeetFirst on Mon May 16, 2016 5:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Suggestions Near Sacramento

Postby Wandering Daisy » Mon May 16, 2016 4:55 pm

The area off Carson Pass is another suggestion. This is the area I started in when I first came to Sacramento. It is not as "alpine" as Desolation, but really more wild and not used as much. From Carson Pass there is a trail to Winnamuca Lake and then you can go to Fourth of July Lake and then drop into Summit City Canyon and go all the way to the Mokulamne River. This would be a 2-3 day trip. There is a nice 10-mile round trip hike along the north side of Salt Springs Reservoir to the mouth of the Mokkulmne canyon. Good fishing there too. Access from Hwy 88 on Salt Springs Reservoir Road. There are some spectacular granite domes just below Salt Springs Reservoir.
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Re: Suggestions Near Sacramento

Postby Kirkwood » Tue May 17, 2016 4:01 pm

I agree with Wildhiker on the Grouse Lakes roadless area suggestion. From there you have access to several lakes. If fishing is your thing, hit up Penner Lake. I've caught Rainbow, Cutthroat and Lake Trout up to 18" fishing the south shore. The website below has alot of descriptions of hikes in this area.

http://www.davessierrafishing.com/count ... adaco.html
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Re: Suggestions Near Sacramento

Postby Tom_H » Tue May 17, 2016 7:07 pm

Point Reyes National Seashore is accessible all year. Quite a few ways to do short trips.

The upper trail to Feather Falls is fun and the fall is huge. If the bridge on the lower trail ever gets repaired, the once existing loop will be restored.

The Neavda Point Trail from the Rubicon Trail to the confluence of the Rubicon River and Pilot Creek. Good fishing. There is one nice campsite right on the river and another secluded site slightly uphill: http://caltopo.com/m/6M4J

WD already mentioned Salt Springs Reservoir. The trail continues upriver to Blue Hole along Class 2 rapids on the Mokelumne. There's good fishing at Blue Hole and also in a small hole just before the river enters the reservoir.

Spooner Summit to Marlettte Lake

You already mentioned Desolation. It's a small wilderness area, but has points of entry all the way around it. It's crowded, but has magnificent views. There are numerous ways to do short trips.
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Re: Suggestions Near Sacramento

Postby gplhiker » Wed May 18, 2016 9:47 am

In my spare time I have documented a couple hundred of my hikes in the area (I live in the Sacramento Foothills) on my website. Most of them are dayhikes, but as others have mentioned this is an amazing area for getting outdoors! The site is (link removed by Admin).
Last edited by ERIC on Wed May 18, 2016 10:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Suggestions Near Sacramento

Postby Tom_H » Wed May 18, 2016 5:18 pm

Here's a gallery of 26 hiking places near Sactown, done by KCRA:

http://www.kcra.com/news/may-resolution ... pe=Gallery
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Re: Suggestions Near Sacramento

Postby whiskeyguy » Wed May 18, 2016 5:31 pm

Thanks for all the great advice, this is exactly what I was looking for... Just needed an idea for where to start looking.

I'm going to look through the suggestions this weekend and set up a dozen or so trips so I can hit the road when the rare weekend off comes up.
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Re: Suggestions Near Sacramento

Postby Tom_H » Fri May 20, 2016 3:07 pm

I live near Sac and have 25 hiking guidebooks related to trails within 2 to 3 hours from Sac. I am getting ready to move to WA and am interested in selling them. Like new condition-good price.
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