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Early summer day hikes with low water crossings

PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 10:57 am
by jessegooddog
With Mammoth Mountain now reporting 606 inches of snow, I am interested in some good early summer (when the trails are at least partially snow free) day hikes of any length on the east side (where I am lucky enough to live now) that tend to follow more creeks than cross them. I usually hike alone (with my dog) and certainly don't mind wet feet but I am a woman, 63 by the time the back country opens, fairly fit for my age, not willing to risk deeper water. Parker Lake, trails out of Coldwater Campground in Mammoth, Twin Lakes in Bridgeport are some. What about Onion Valley and Big Pine?? I also wish to explore the Hoover wilderness and Tahoe area this season. Thanks so much for any suggestions!!

Re: Early season day hikes with low water crossings

PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 11:18 am
by texan
Leavitt Meadows has some good day hikes but this with harsh winter I would wait until the end of May. Theres 5 ft of snow in Leavitt Meadows right now(3/27/11).

Texan

Re: Early season day hikes with low water crossings

PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 11:32 am
by jessegooddog
Thanks, Texan...I was not planning to hike in the backcountry until the trails are at least partially snow free. I have not hiked Leavitt Meadows but it is near the top of my list!!

Re: Early season day hikes with low water crossings

PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 11:52 am
by Ikan Mas
The trail from Twin Lakes to Barney and Peeler Lake in Hoover runs on one side up to Barney. There are some wet spots, but no crosings up to Barney. Above Barney you have two crossings, one of which would be bad if done with high flows (lots of down timber in the creek, high gradient, swift water). Had to wade with shoes off in August. Would not like to cross it in the spring.

Re: Early season day hikes with low water crossings

PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 1:54 pm
by oldranger
Maybe you should think desert or coast range until mid-June.

Mike

Re: Early season day hikes with low water crossings

PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 2:14 pm
by AlmostThere
Yeah, those coastal hikes...

http://www.thecalifornian.com/article/2 ... ed-Big-Sur

Careful where you go, and be aware that highway 1 between Carmel and Big Sur has fallen... no traffic going south on 1 after Paso Colorado Road (Bottchers Gap trailhead).

You have plenty of low elevation options including Henry Coe State Park. But all areas with creek crossings can become dangerous if it's rained heavily.

Re: Early season day hikes with low water crossings

PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 3:50 pm
by Wandering Daisy
Although not on the east side, my early season favorites are in Yosemite Valley because the main trails have big bridges. Yosemite Falls and the Snow Creek trail are great. The hikes out of Hetch Hetchy are open early. A major bridge is out now, but they say it will be fixed in late April. On the east side, you may try a day-hike up to Mono Pass from Rock Creek. I do not recall any hard crossings going in from South Lake to the lakes east of Bishop Pass. At most crossings big rocks that you can hop have been placed. You would need trekking poles. I have not been to Chocolate Lakes, but they should be pretty. From Glacier Lodge trailhead you can easily get to First and Second Lakes. The trail goes up a south-facing sage brush slope. Anything from Onion Valley will have snow higher up. If you do not mind a bit of snow the hike up to Kesearge Pass is spectacular. The road is not known as an early opening road, however. I am not sure what you mean by "early season". Another interesting short trip is up Tuttle Creek to the "Stone House". As for Hoover Wilderness, most of these trailheads are high and snowy early (unitl June). The hike into Green Lake is beautiful. But I am not sure when that road opens. The trail from Sliver Lake up to Gem Lake has bridges. I did this early last year. There is one section of the trail with a steep snow-bank, but there usually are steps across. There are considerable water problems to continue to Waugh Lake. Nothing dangerous but muddy and trails covered in foot-deep water. The inet creek to Gem Lake could be a problem. And there are the trails out of Devil's Postpile. The major trails have huge bridges. In general, my early season strategy is to stay on major trails with big bridges.

Re: Early season day hikes with low water crossings

PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 5:05 pm
by jessegooddog
Thank you Wandering Daisy - I moved to Independence a few months ago so I plan to do lots of hiking within a day's drive. By "early season" I mean when the backcountry starts opening up....July maybe?? But yes, Yosemite area before the summer crowds.

Re: Early summer day hikes with low water crossings

PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 5:59 pm
by balzaccom
We hiked Leavitt Meadows last 4th of July, and it was just then opening up. The crossing of the West Walker River to Fremont Lake was, frankly, just a bit more than we bargained for, although we did it. Icy cold water moving steadily...and it was deep enough to get our shorts wet. Not fun.

Snow level then was at about 8000/8500 feet, Cinko Lake was open but the trail was covered with snow.

To hike that in May of this year would be a snow adventure, not a backpacking trip.

And I wonder if the creek crossing above Barney Lake would be wild this time of year. We did it in August with no trouble...but to get to Peeler Lake you have to cross that creek at one point, as I recall? Or maybe that is to get to Crown Lake?

We have photos of both trips on our website, if you're interested, on the highway 108 section

Re: Early summer day hikes with low water crossings

PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 8:02 pm
by LMBSGV
My wife and I have visited the east side in mid to late June many years (to celebrate my birthday and our anniversary). That includes heavy snow years. I concur with WD's suggestions. The Glacier Lodge trail, Bishop Pass trail to Long Lake or Treasure Lakes (though you may not be able to make it all the way to Treasure without hitting a nasty snowbank until quite late in June), the Mono Pass trail to either Little Lakes Valley or Mono Pass (we did this in June 1983), the McGee Pass trail (if the bridge across the creek is in place) are all interesting day hikes.