Westside Sierras, early season 2-3 day backpack suggestions | High Sierra Topix  

Westside Sierras, early season 2-3 day backpack suggestions

If you've been searching for the best source of information and stimulating discussion related to Spring/Summer/Fall backpacking, hiking and camping in the Sierra Nevada...look no further!
User avatar

Westside Sierras, early season 2-3 day backpack suggestions

Postby oleander » Fri Apr 08, 2011 11:18 am

Hi,

We're looking for 2-3 day trips we can do in June or early July this year. We know that the huge snowpack will drive us down to lower elevations. This is fine, but we're not very familiar with the lower-elevation hikes, thus I ask you on the forum.

Our criteria:
West side of the Sierras
Reasonable drive (max ~5 hours) from Bay Area
We are very experienced, OK with class 2, some snow crossings, orienteering/compass.
But we also don't want it to be a *constant slow* through snow!
No absolutely crazy stream crossings
6-12 miles/day depending on conditions
We are not fishermen
Big Scenery is always our most important criteria!

Some ideas that came to mind: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne (saw that thread); Rancheria Falls; Yosemite Valley for 2 long day hikes (such as Snow Creek); Paradise Valley in Kings Canyon (how early do you think that will be accessible?). Also *very* curious about the backcountry south of Yosemite and north of Kings Canyon; never been into any of those trailheads, except Edison Lake.

Thanks!



User avatar
oleander
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 325
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 10:15 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Westside Sierras, early season 2-3 day backpack suggestions

Postby SPeacock » Fri Apr 08, 2011 1:54 pm

National Parks are an option. Wonderful waterfall action expected this year.

Sequoia NP, Crescent Meadows to BearPaw Meadows and base camp there. The later in July the more trail will be open but you have dayhikes up to Hamilton and perhaps maybe even Kaweah Gap. Great scenery even if you stop at Hamilton. Elizabeth Pass might be snowy, but it is not so steep you can't go up for the view. Tamarack Lake is good as well. Bearpaw is a low altitude destination at 8000'

http://www.topo.com/explore?lat=36.5629 ... &type=topo

The area leading up toward Alta Peak area that could include Pear and Moose as well might be mostly snow free by July.

http://www.topo.com/explore?lat=36.6015 ... &type=topo

All of these are popular places.

Dinky Lakes should be snow free and very wet by early July.

Pacific Crest south out of Lake Edison has some grand scenery and perhaps a foray up toward Lake Italy for curiosity sake. There will have been a passel of through hikers past there by July.
User avatar
SPeacock
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 122
Joined: Tue Feb 06, 2007 5:50 pm
Location: Pasadena area, CA
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Westside Sierras, early season 2-3 day backpack suggestions

Postby maverick » Fri Apr 08, 2011 3:27 pm

Hi Oleander

It is not easy to recommend trips with this much snow, especially from the west
since most of the highlights are at least a 1 to 1 1/2 days in for most folks, and with
only 2 or 3 days available your kind of limited in choices.

Paradise Valley is okay, it does not offer any really great views until you get to the
JMT, the exception would be for the aspens in the fall, though Mist Falls will be
booming.

Pear Lake might be doable, but prepare for skeetrz (a lot of locations in July may
be very bad).

Seville and Lost Lake out of Corral Meadows in July may be doable check SEKI
trail conditions updates, same for Pear Lake.
http://www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/trailcond.htm


Bear Creek Trail maybe doable, check the PCTA site to get trail updates for that
area by thruhikers.
http://www.pcta.org/planning/during_tri ... asp?sect=H


Rancheria Falls will be crowded unless you go during the week.
When it is a high snow year most folks do not wander into the backcountry since
the trails are covered with snow becoming a cross country trip, so all
the close snow free areas are crowded like Rancheria, Little Yosemite Valley.
Even Vernon and Merced Lake can get busy with permits hard to get.

Hemlock Crossing near the North Fork San Joaquin River should be doable.
It has a fine lookout on the way to the crossing of the Minaret Range, and the
wild flowers should be great.
If you can make it up to Stevenson Meadow the run-off starting from Catherine
Lake all the way down from 10400 to 8400 ft is quite a spectacular show a worth
seeing.
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
User avatar
maverick
Forums Moderator
Forums Moderator
 
Posts: 8034
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:54 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Westside Sierras, early season 2-3 day backpack suggestions

Postby balzaccom » Fri Apr 08, 2011 7:53 pm

You could head somewhere closer, too. Emigrant has some good hikes, as does Carson Iceberg. Maybe not quite the mileage you are looking for, but last year on the first weekend in June we hiked to Sword and Lost Lakes in C-I Winderness and had the place to ourselves.

THere are quite a few hikes on our "early season" section of the website.
Balzaccom

check out our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
User avatar
balzaccom
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1290
Joined: Wed Dec 17, 2008 9:22 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Westside Sierras, early season 2-3 day backpack suggestions

Postby Wandering Daisy » Fri Apr 08, 2011 8:30 pm

In 2006, which was a similar snow pack to this year (however I do not know if the spring melt will be the same), I did a 4th July trip from Mineral King- up Farewell Gap, over Shotgun Pass, and over Franklin Pass back. The only difficulty was Franklin Pass - a short cornice to go up. The same year I did a trip up Rancheria Trail all the way to Pleasant Valley in June, then climbed Piute Peak (all snow). Tablelands via Pear Lake out of Wolverton is also good. And you could always go into Hamilton Lake. I have made it into Hamilton Lake in a day, once from Crescent Meadow and once from Wolverton. It is not as bad as it seems when looking at the map. It is about 14 miles but it is a good trail all the way. The river crossing below Hamilton Lake is quite difficult in high water. If you do not mind a lot of uphill, Copper Creek Trail to Granite Basin is on a south facing slope. Granite Basin would have snow but there is enough rock to offer dry camp spots. This year, the Pohono Trail and North Rim Traverse in Yosemite, as well as going up to Merced Lake should still be quite nice into late June. Once Tioga Pass opens and they run the busses, you can go one-way from Tuolumne to Yosemite Valley. I have also done Kibbie Ridge out of Cherry Lake, to Boundry Lake early season, but you do get into some snow. I really liked Inferno Lakes. I had to walk on lots of snow but found dry campsites on rocky south-facing points. The ridge has burned so the trail is a bit hard to follow and muddy. In spite of the burn, there is a lot of green vegetation. And I have gone into Edyth Lake early season from Hetch Hetchy. Be prepared to wade in flooded areas. Jack Main Canyon from Hetch Hetchy is also a good early season hike (be prepared for mosquiotes).
User avatar
Wandering Daisy
Topix Junkie
 
Posts: 2607
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 8:19 pm
Location: Fair Oaks CA (Sacramento area)
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Westside Sierras, early season 2-3 day backpack suggestions

Postby oleander » Sat Apr 09, 2011 3:53 pm

Thank you for all the input so far!

What is the North Rim Traverse in Yosemite?

I am not much for Yosemite crowds, but the place might prove irresistible this year, with the big water. I've always wanted to explore the North Rim side, either by hiking up from the Valley (I'm told Snow Creek trail is gorgeous and difficult), or by hiking downhill from one of the Tioga Road trailheads (Yosemite Creek? Porcupine? Tenaya Lake?)

If starting from the Valley, how far up do you suppose we could get in April? With El Cap at 7600 feet, I'm guessing there will be a lot of snow up there, and the more realistic April itinerary is just a couple of hard dayhikes from the Valley. ? June, on the other hand, for some overnight backpacking: Which trailhead would you start at? Is that part of Tioga Road open before the highest stuff (Tioga Pass) is?

Favorite loops? It also looks like a person could just start at one trailhead in the Valley, end at another, and take the shuttle back to the starting point.

Oleander
User avatar
oleander
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 325
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 10:15 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Westside Sierras, early season 2-3 day backpack suggestions

Postby maverick » Sat Apr 09, 2011 4:28 pm

Oleander wrote "If starting from the Valley, how far up do you suppose we could
get in April?" Not very far.
I have gone up to North Dome in May in a lower than average snow year, and there
was a lot of snow, especially in the forested/northern section, and this means it
becomes a cross country trip, so navigational skill is a must, I came back down the
climbers route.
Once near the rim the snow was spotty, but again, this year is different with over
150% of average.
Tioga Road will not be open till sometime in June, and you can still expect some
snow to be present on the trail, especially in the forest sections.
From Tioga you would use the Porcupine Creek trailhead to start your trip to North
Dome.
http://www.baoutdoors.com/2009/08/yosem ... -loop.html
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
User avatar
maverick
Forums Moderator
Forums Moderator
 
Posts: 8034
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:54 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Westside Sierras, early season 2-3 day backpack suggestions

Postby East Side Hiker » Sun Apr 10, 2011 10:48 pm

The snow will limit all trips in the highcountry for months. What about north on Hwy 89? Prossor Mdw region . Or east in the Adobe Valley/Glass Mtn area? Or the So. Fk. of the Kern? Or Death Valley? Or hang out in the Alabama Hills, lots to see there. There are alot of nice places to go off Hwy 88. Or try something down Olancha.
User avatar
East Side Hiker
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 391
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 8:10 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Westside Sierras, early season 2-3 day backpack suggestions

Postby East Side Hiker » Sun Apr 10, 2011 10:51 pm

Oh, I meant to mention the southern and low end of Sequoia N.P. Woodlands and grasslands, but beautiful (look out for mj growers though).
User avatar
East Side Hiker
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 391
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 8:10 am
Experience: N/A


Return to Backpacking / Hiking / Camping



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], Pika and 10 guests