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seeking dayhiking route in N Cal

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seeking dayhiking route in N Cal

Postby adornowest » Sun Sep 12, 2010 4:32 pm

I have time to make one more trip to the mountains this year from the Bay Area before winter weather sets in. Unfortunately I can't spare more than a day or two maximum. Does anyone have any recommendations for the best dayhike in Yosemite or possibly Mt. Shasta? Depending on difficulty, it could be up to 15-20 miles. I can be pretty flexible about timing too just so long as it is between now and late October, in case the foliage is better later in Oct, etc.

Are backpacking experience is between level 2 and 3, and we are comfortable with easily navigable off-trail portions as well as class 2 passes. We like mountains, meadows, and water.



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Re: seeking dayhiking route in N Cal

Postby balzaccom » Sun Sep 12, 2010 7:21 pm

I'd vote for Cloud's Rest in Yosemite--which is the best dayhike in the park. 15 miles, stunning views. For something shorter, try going for North Dome--about 11 miles or so.

Out of Carson Pass, which is even easier to get to, I'd do 4th of July Lake or Grouse Lake out of the Blue Lakes trailhead on the east side...

We have a bunch of dayhikes by highway on our website...
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Re: seeking dayhiking route in N Cal

Postby oleander » Mon Sep 13, 2010 2:50 pm

In exactly your situation, I usually finding myself driving to Desolation Wilderness (just to the west of Tahoe). It's the shortest drive/easiest Sierras wilderness access from the Bay Area (3:15 drive with no traffic), and it does have the elements you want (especially, lots of lakes!).

Here's how I've done it

5 a.m. Leave home
8:15 a.m. Arrive Horseshoe Falls parking lot (Highway 50 before the ascent to Echo Lakes)
8:30-all day Hike up Horseshoe Falls (Class 3 climbing; stay to the left from the falls); Ropi Lake; maybe Pyramid Peak if you're ambitious; Aloha Lake; maybe dayhike to the lakes just northeast from there; Ralston Peak; Ralston Peak parking lot on Highway 50; hitch the ~2 miles from that parking lot back to your car at Horseshoe Falls.

Camp for free at the legal camp area along Wrights Road, halfway to Wrights Lake. That road leaves Highway 50 a few miles west of Horseshoe Falls. Drive maybe 4 miles (?) till you cross a creek. Legal, primitive car camping allowed across the creek, on either side of the road.

Drive home early Sunday morning or go on another Tahoe hike.

A variation of the above is to start at Fallen Leaf Lake, climb Mount Tallac, head for Lake Aloha and then back to Fallen Leaf Lake via another connector trail (forgot the name) to the east of Aloha Lake.

Eagle Creek Trail into Velma Lakes/Dicks Lake and beyond, that would be another great Desolation trail with many loop possibilities. It's a bit longer of a drive (maybe 3:45 from Bay Area); not sure if the 50 or the 80 is a faster approach to that particular trailhead.

Get a good Desolation map and it'll be easy to plan out.

- Oleander
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Re: seeking dayhiking route in N Cal

Postby windknot » Tue Sep 14, 2010 11:58 am

These are all great suggestions! The Glen Alpine drainage is nice, although I've heard that the connector trail from Aloha to the trailhead which Oleander mentions is quite steep. The Eagle Falls trailhead is about 3.5 hours from the Bay Area via Hwy 50. I did an overnighter out of Van Vleck (northwest Desolation) to Highland Lake two weeks ago which could possibly be done as a long dayhike if you want something very strenuous. Even if you just get to the top of the ridge below Tells Peak, the views are worth it.

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Re: seeking dayhiking route in N Cal

Postby adornowest » Wed Sep 15, 2010 4:31 pm

Thanks very much for all the suggestions. I haven't got a chance to look into them in depth, but they all look very interesting. I've never been to the Desolation Wilderness, so maybe it will be there, though Cloud's Rest is also very tempting. How much exposure does getting to Cloud's Rest entail? Some places online say a lot, others say little to none.

Thanks again. I really appreciate the ideas.
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Re: seeking dayhiking route in N Cal

Postby bheiser1 » Thu Sep 16, 2010 8:16 pm

adornowest wrote:... though Cloud's Rest is also very tempting. How much exposure does getting to Cloud's Rest entail? Some places online say a lot, others say little to none.


Assuming you're day hiking from Tenaya Lake ... It's little to none until you get very close to the summit. From there it can be enough to stop you from continuing if you're acrophobic... word has it (though I haven't done it) there's a trail (requiring another mile or so of hiking r/t) that goes around to the far side of the summit, and that it's less exposed than the direct route.
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Re: seeking dayhiking route in N Cal

Postby tim » Wed Sep 22, 2010 8:26 pm

I just got back from a quick trip to Clouds Rest - highly recommended, and fairly easy to do in a day or day and a half from the Bay Area. I left home at 5.30am, got a walk-in permit for Sunrise Lakes at the Big Oak Flat entrance at 8.45am and was on the trail just after 10am. It took about 3.5 hours to climb up and then I headed over to Lower Sunrise Lake to spend the night before heading back early this morning - its only 1hr15 from there to the trailhead (though I could have easily got back to the trailhead by 6pm last night if I'd felt like driving back).

The weather and the views were beautiful, and the last 200ft of the ridge was pretty airy, but easy if you didn't look down (5000ft drop one side and maybe 2000ft the other). The sunset last night was very nice also - the sun was setting into the smoke from the Harden Fire.

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Half Dome and Yosemite Valley from Clouds Rest

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The last section of ridge

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Sunset from Lower Sunrise Lake
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Re: seeking dayhiking route in N Cal

Postby balzaccom » Wed Sep 22, 2010 9:32 pm

I love that hike---glad you had such a good time!
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Re: seeking dayhiking route in N Cal

Postby adornowest » Sat Sep 25, 2010 9:52 pm

Well, I had hoped to be doing Cloud's Rest tomorrow, but its not going to work out. The good news is that I can take an extra day next weekend, so that I can do a 2 day / 1 night backpacking trip (including drive times too and from Bay Area). Does anyone have good ideas for that? Cloud's Rest area would work, but it doesn't need to be there. Desolation looks mighty interesting too.
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Re: seeking dayhiking route in N Cal

Postby tim » Sun Sep 26, 2010 6:07 pm

I would take Clouds Rest every time - I like Desolation Wilderness but the central part is nicer when Lake Aloha is full and it will probably be empty this time of year. If you can get from Sunrise to Cathedral trailheads now the TM shuttle has stopped then I would recommend thinking about adding the Cathedral Lakes to Sunrise Lakes section as well if you have two full (long) days.

Watch the weather forecast though - there may be thunderstorms next weekend
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Re: seeking dayhiking route in N Cal

Postby adornowest » Fri Oct 08, 2010 5:31 pm

OK, I think we finally are going to be able to the Cloud's Rest trip this weekend! Does anyone have any good suggestions for where to backpack in for camping nearby? Or any suggestions on which camp ground is superior in that area?
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Re: seeking dayhiking route in N Cal

Postby balzaccom » Fri Oct 08, 2010 6:38 pm

You'll need a permit to backpack into Sunrise, which is probably the closest. At least it has fewer people than Little Yosemite Valley.

Car camping at Porcupine flat is pretty close...but you'll have to pump your own water there.

I don't know which campgrounds are still open, but you might just have to stay at Crane Flat and drive from there. It's about 30 minutes
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