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Need some under 3 miles (one-way) backpacking destinations

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Need some under 3 miles (one-way) backpacking destinations

Postby fyton2v » Fri Aug 24, 2007 7:17 am

Doesn't seem like there are a whole lot of options. I'm taking my youngest daughter on this trip and she'll tolerate about 3 miles. We could do an overnighter or possibly 2 destination trip across 3 days with nor more than 3 miles each day. Oh, something less than 10,000ft would be good.


Maybe Dinky Lakes?


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Postby mountaineer » Fri Aug 24, 2007 8:02 am

How old is she?

I have the perfect trip for you. I just returned from a trip with my 75 year old dad and my 15 year old son.

We went to Devil's Bathtub(9200') in the Ansel Adams wilderness out of Edison Lake on the west side. Left the trailhead at 6:15 PM and hiked about 2.5 miles to Twin Meadows(no water but a real pretty site...water about 1/4 mile up the trail) and spent the night there. It was a very easy, leisurely hike with a short, steep section just below Twin Meadows. The next morning, we went two miles up to Devils Bathtub. For the most part, this was an easy hike except for about a 1/4 to 1/2 mile section that was kind of steep but not too bad. So, 4.5 miles in(about 3.5 hours with heavy pack and numerous rest stops) and a very easy 2 hour hike out. The lake is warm with a nice sandy beach along the entire NW shore. Fishing is sporadic...

There was a couple with their 8 and 10 year odl daughters up there having a great time.

I don't have any pictures yet(still using film) but here are a couple that Doyle has posted at sierra-trails.

This is Twin Meadows where we camped the first night.

Here is Devil's Bathtub.
Last edited by mountaineer on Fri Aug 24, 2007 8:40 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby will_jrob » Fri Aug 24, 2007 8:06 am

If west side, northern Sierra is practical, consider the trail to Twin Lakes/ Island Lake from Wrights Lake in Desolation Wilderness, or, a less strenuous trip, to Winnemucca Lake from Carson Pass.
Last edited by will_jrob on Fri Aug 24, 2007 8:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Grzldvt » Fri Aug 24, 2007 8:08 am

You could try May Lake in Yosemite. Less than a 2 mile hike in, there is some climbing, but it is not bad at all. Took both my kids there for their first trip. Another option is Murphy Creek & Polly Dome Lakes area also in Yosemite. Pretty easy flat hike.
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Postby markskor » Fri Aug 24, 2007 8:18 am

Had the same problem a few years back.
We found a few hikes with my 8-year old that worked.
Onion Valley to the lakes before the pass...(Flower?)...worked out well.
Desolation Wilderness...(Ferry to trailhead at Echo Lakes) to Ralston Lake was sweet.
20 Lakes Basin behind Saddlebag was magic.
Then the big hike...Yosemite Creek, 2 overnights to the top of the falls...then down was good too.
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Postby TehipiteTom » Fri Aug 24, 2007 8:22 am

My first couple of backpacking trips with my son were to Granite Lake in Mokelumne Wilderness, out of Blue Lakes (east of Carson Pass). Easy 2 miles in, very pretty area.
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Postby Cloudy » Fri Aug 24, 2007 10:12 am

You could try heading for Rowell Meadow from Sunset Meadow or Horse Corral Meadow trailhead. It's only 2.5 miles or so from the trailhead (from memory)and is a pretty meadow - not much else there except the old ranger station but is still a nice camp. There are some good packer campsites and the creek has run every year that I've been late through that area. This year I'm not so sure though. Devil's Bathub out of Edison is quite beautiful also if you decide to head that way. The pictures don't do it justice and the walk is nice except for a couple of short steep parts.
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Postby dodgerbill55 » Fri Aug 24, 2007 10:25 am

The hike to BLue Lake from Sabrina Lake would probably satisfy your requirements. From Blue Lake there a number of other lakes you could dayhike to.
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Postby giantbrookie » Fri Aug 24, 2007 2:06 pm

Here are several nice ones, from north to south (my top choices are no.13, 9 and 11):
(-1) forgot this one: Gold Lake, Bucks Lake Wilderness. 1 mi from Silver Lake trailhead. Gorgeous lake that not too many folks know about. Decent fishing too.
1. Grass Lake, Plumas-Eureka State Park (north of Sierra Buttes). This is about 1.5 mi. A very nice lake with big fish and several other lakes to hike to.
2. Tamarack Lake, below Sierra Buttes. This is reached via a 1 mi. hike or 1 mi of moderate 4 wheel low (no problem for stock SUV). Surprisingly nice and not as crowded as one would think for the accessibility.
3. Grouse Ridge area, north of I-80. There are three different trailheads (or more) that get you to a number of nice spots. Here are some examples. Downey Lake from the Grouse Ridge lookout road is about 1 mi (nicer looking Sanford is 0.5 mi), Penner probably the most beautiful lake in this area is about 2 or 2.5 mi from Carr Lake as I recall. Culbertson Lake is about 1 mi from the end of the road at Lower Lindsay L. (high clearance vehicle useful to get to Lower Lindsay). And there are many pretty lakes within easy walking distance of the above. Oh yes, the fishing is good too.
4. Grass Lake, Desolation Wilderness (Glen Alpine trailhead). 1.5 mi. It is popular, but this is not a bad place.
5. Winnemucca L. (1.5 or is it 2 mi from Carson Pass) or Round Top Lake (2 mi from Woods Lake campground). Classic beautiful area. There are pretty tight camping restrictions at Winnemucca, though. You must camp in designated campsites. In wildflower season this is one of the most stunning areas in the Sierra. In the fall there is nice fall color.
6. Granite Lake, Mokelumne Wilderness. 2 mi from Blue Lake. Another nice spot that flies under the radar.
7. Upper Kinney Lake, Mokelumne Wilderness. 1.25 miles from Ebbetts Pass along the PCT. A nice place with lots of room to find your own spot should there be others there (there usually are).
8. Roosevelt, Lane, and Secret Lake out of Leavitt Meadow. 3 mi. Can be very popular, though. One time there I could barely find room to fish along the shore of Roosevelt/Lane.
9. Area in back of Saddlebag Lake. This would be super choice. You can get into something like Z Lake in 1 mile after taking the boat ferry and the scenery is off the charts. Make sure to check the map. You must be outside the boundary of the Hall Natural Area in order to be able to camp.
10. Gaylor Lakes, Yosemite, Tioga Pass area. Bit steep to get over the hump, but you're looking at a bit over a mile to the first lake in beautiful country.
11.OK I messed this up. This is actually north of 9 and 10, but...Blue Lake (0.5 mi) or a bit further (Cooney), Virginia Lakes trailhead. This is a very pretty area with easy access. Maybe the easiest access into pretty country outside of the Saddlebag and Little Lakes Valley areas.
12. Mammoth area. There are some decent lakes, but these tend to be more crowded with less little nooks and crannies to escape crowds than Little Lakes Valley. Still there are lots of options.
13. Little Lakes Valley. My top choice (Saddlebag area is probably second, and Virginia Lakes area third). You can get to some nice hideaways in under 1.5 miles--and I mean several of them. Lots of options.

South-central Sierra, West Side.
1. Upper Twin L., Kaiser Wilderness, from the east side is about 3 mi or a hair less. It's a bit further than the other options listed above, though.
2. Dinkey Lakes are not bad. Mystery Lake is about 2 mi from the trailhead. First Dinkey is a bit far: it's at the 3 mi limit.
3. Weaver Lake, Jennie Lakes Wilderness. This is your easiest West Side option that I can think of. About 1.5 from Fox Meadow. Its a nice lake witth good fishing.

there are some additional places that require even less hiking if one does some 4wd (stock SUV/pickup not full blown jeep). These are reachable in the area between Dinkey Lakes wilderness and 168. Mirror Lake and Brewer Lake are two good examples that require less than a mile of hiking (and are nice places) after a bit of 4 wheeling.
Last edited by giantbrookie on Fri Aug 24, 2007 5:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: ... ayshi.html
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Postby maverick » Fri Aug 24, 2007 4:29 pm

Thats easy, most bang for the least effort, Little Lakes Valley.
Though higher elevation than requested it is so easy and the views!
20 Lakes Basin though higher again would be my secong choice,
of coarse you would take advantage of the ferry across Saddlebag
Lake which she will enjoy.
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