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Wilderness Backpacking Trip Planning, Please Help

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Wilderness Backpacking Trip Planning, Please Help

Postby tigfour » Tue Aug 12, 2008 10:19 am

I'm so glad I found this site. I am planning a wilderness backpacking trip to the High Sierras for Labor Day Weekend.

Here is my itinerary so far. I fly into San Fransisco on Thursday evening, I will be renting a car to drive to the trailhead. Thursday evening I will be staying in a motel/hotel near the trailhead or wherever I can find one.

I am looking for a secluded wilderness experience. I will be with a group of 5 people (all competent backpackers). I want a rounded experience, in otherwords I'd like to see some lakes, rivers, mountains, maybe do a little peak trip. The duration of my trip will be 4 days of backpacking so a 4 day loop trip is my ideal situation.

My main question is this, what trailhead can you guys recommend me starting off from. I'd prefer to start near yosemite somewhere and can you all recommend a loop or a common area that would be good to explore. I really need to know the specific names of the trailheads so I can go ahead and reserve the permits.

Thank you all so much for your help.



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Re: Wilderness Backpacking Trip Planning, Please Help

Postby SSSdave » Tue Aug 12, 2008 12:29 pm

Well, drive up to Tuolumne Meadows and backpack up the Lyell Fork of the Tuolumne River then up Rafferty Creek towards the Volgelsang High Sierra Camp zone. You can easily avoid the beat up Fletcher HSC by camping at nearby Boothe, Evelyn,or Townsley Lakes. There are a number of choices for class 2 scrambling up to bag peaks. And one might move further out to Ireland Lake on a following day and via the Ireland Creek Trail then loop down to the Tuolumne River for a night along the river.

http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=37.79283,-119.31925&z=13&t=T
http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=37.79826,-119.31762&z=14&t=T
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Re: Wilderness Backpacking Trip Planning, Please Help

Postby tigfour » Tue Aug 12, 2008 1:38 pm

Wow great! This should be a start. Any other good suggestions you can think of that would be a solitude type situation.
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Re: Wilderness Backpacking Trip Planning, Please Help

Postby SPeacock » Tue Aug 12, 2008 3:07 pm

Over Labor day you will have a dickens of a time finding much solitude on the trail. But getting off trail aways there is plenty of lonesome times.

There are many places on the west side to backpack. Mineral King at south end of Sequoia would be another option with Black Rock or any other pass to the east to make a 4 day loop.

If you are not required to fly into just SF, you have many other options. If you fly into Reno you can access the northern part of the East side

If LA or Las Vegas, you have the east side within 4-5 hours drive. The east side is a different type of experience. You generally start high (9-10,000') and then crest a pass to the Sierra high areas. You would not be getting that type of altitude that quickly on the western side. The west side has longer trail accesses to the higher areas.

BUT, that being said, Yosemite is very popular because it has a lot of beauty.

If you are stuck with SFO, we can give you a few more from there.
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Re: Wilderness Backpacking Trip Planning, Please Help

Postby tigfour » Tue Aug 12, 2008 4:16 pm

Yep, definitely already purchased the sfo tickets, no refund :D so SFO routes or recommended areas that are good all arounders. I really don't want to stay on a trail, I'd like to just make my own path if possible, i just want to know of a good common area that i could use or that someone recommended.
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Re: Wilderness Backpacking Trip Planning, Please Help

Postby giantbrookie » Tue Aug 12, 2008 5:53 pm

I agree with others that if you want a secluded backpacking adventure on Labor Day weekend you must: (1) go off trail or (2) go somewhere other than the Sierras (such as the Yolla Bolly's, or Warner Mtns.). To minimize crowds I would in fact avoid Yosemite's main trailed areas, although the northern parts of the Park get far less use. A semi trailless trip in the Bermuda Triangle (NW Yosemite out of Hetch Hetchy) or the NE (say into trailless canyons accessed via Virginia Pass or (not as good) out of Twin Lakes) might work. I would still recommend something in the flanking wilderness areas, instead, such as Emigrant, Hoover, Ansel Adams, or John Muir Wilderness. I am not in a habit of drawing people to my backyard, but the trailheads accessed off of Hwy 168 (out of Fresno) tend to be among the more lightly used given that they are not as popular with the So. Cal and Bay Area folks as East Flank trailheads or trailheads either to the north (Yosemite and northward) or south (Kings Canyon-Sequoia).
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Re: Wilderness Backpacking Trip Planning, Please Help

Postby Buck Forester » Tue Aug 12, 2008 7:07 pm

If it were me I'd head up out of the Florence Lake area, drive through/past Jack Ass Meadow near Hooper Diversion Dam, and then find the trail that leads up to a series of lakes under Mt. Hooper. There a few lakes up there (Gordon, Harvey, etc. and Chamberlain in the next drainage over) that can have decent fishing for goldens. You can climb Mt. Hooper which has great views. I've been up there several times and not seen anyone, but I've never been on Labor Day. I don't think the trail is officially maintained, it's more of a use trail that can get relatively faint and steep at times (compared to graded trails... it's still not difficult). I haven't been up there in a few years so I don't know if things have changed or not, but it has a great "High Sierra" feel and is quite beautiful.

There's Cirque and Apollo Lakes just to the north that are off designated trails that I've long wanted to visit but haven't yet.

I don't know the status of Tehipite Valley since the fire, but there are some lakes you can visit along the way and usually find some great solitude in the beautiful Valley of the Tehipite, although that's a long hike through nice-but-flat-and-uneventful forests to reach.
It's all about the WILDERNESS!!!

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Re: Wilderness Backpacking Trip Planning, Please Help

Postby hikerduane » Tue Aug 12, 2008 7:58 pm

I'm thinking you will have a heck of a time getting reservations where able. You may need to plan on getting to the FS/Park Service permit place early in the morning for first come, first serve permits where needed or hit the Marbles or Yolla Bolly/Middle Eel Wilderness or places northwest of Truckee where you can drive to and start hiking. The Warners, Yolla Bolly will be dry with water at springs or lakes. Lassen Volcanic National Park, Emigrant Wilderness come to mind also, but then again, it is the last holiday of the summer.
Piece of cake.
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Re: Wilderness Backpacking Trip Planning, Please Help

Postby giantbrookie » Wed Aug 13, 2008 7:12 am

hikerduane wrote:I'm thinking you will have a heck of a time getting reservations where able. You may need to plan on getting to the FS/Park Service permit place early in the morning for first come, first serve permits where needed or hit the Marbles or Yolla Bolly/Middle Eel Wilderness or places northwest of Truckee where you can drive to and start hiking.


Getting under the wilderness permit quotas will be a problem at many trailheads, and pretty much all of the National Park trailheads. There are a number of trailheads that are non-quota'd (see my other post; hopefully other folks will add to the list) and others that rarely fill. The last time I did a popular trailhead on Labor Day weekend was Bishop Pass on Labor Day weekend, 1984. I slept under my car (to avoid getting run over) at the entry kiosk parking area and when a long single line (some had slept in line, too) divided in the morning was very skillful at gaining about 5 places when the line split--I got the last available permit on the Bishop Pass (South Lake) trail that morning (it was used to go to Dusy Basin and climb Mt. Sill).
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Re: Wilderness Backpacking Trip Planning, Please Help

Postby SPeacock » Wed Aug 13, 2008 4:00 pm

Dinky Lakes - low altitude
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