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Trip Suggestion for SEKI over Labor Day Weekend

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Trip Suggestion for SEKI over Labor Day Weekend

Postby elicali » Thu Jul 28, 2011 10:55 pm

I want to explore more of the Sierras over Labor Day Weekend, and expand my knowledge to non-Yosemite parks. I am interested in a 3 day backpacking trip in Sequoia/Kings Canyon. I have been to Hockett Lakes before through Garfield Grove, but that is all I have seen of SEKI.

I am looking for suggestions for a trip that would explore some high sierra lakes in the area and get some good vistas. I am a level 2 to 3 backpacker looking for a trip around 15 to 20 miles starting from the western side of SEKI. For the long weekend, I expect to share the wilderness with others with similar plans, but also prefer it not to be overly crowded. Any suggestions for someone very new to SEKI fitting these descriptions?

Dreaming of the sierras!

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Re: Trip Suggestion for SEKI over Labor Day Weekend

Postby cgundersen » Fri Jul 29, 2011 8:26 am

Check out Maverick's reply to lauralai several days ago: the trail over Silliman Pass is a good starter and depending how energetic you're feeling, you can turn it into a loop or back track. Or, another "classic" is to go into the Pear/Heather/Aster trio by leaving from Wolverton. That trip will afford lots of time for day hiking. Any of the trails out of Kings Canyon tend to be much steeper, and I'm guessing you'd not want to put in the miles (~40) to do the "Rae Lakes" loop out of Cedar Grove. But, it's another classic when you have more time.
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Re: Trip Suggestion for SEKI over Labor Day Weekend

Postby lambertiana » Sun Jul 31, 2011 9:48 pm

Do you mean 15-20 mile one way or round trip? If one way, my vote is for Hamilton Lake out of Crescent Meadow (start of the High Sierra Trail). If round trip, there are a couple great options out of Mineral King - Franklin Lake or the upper Mosquito Lakes. Both of those are short (5-6 mile) hikes in, so you will have plenty of time to explore or summit a peak.

The first Mosquito Lake is not very spectacular, but you can't camp there anyway. The trail ends at that lake, head cross country up the drainage to the second large lake where thare are great campsites that you will have all to yourself (very few people go there, go up the west side of the first lake where there is a faint use trail); here is that lake:

Here is the view north from the campsites at the second lake:

On the second day, explore up the drainage, here is the third lake:

I really like Franklin Lake. Although you will share it with others, it is not crowded. On the middle day of the trip, you can summit any of the peaks around the lake (most popular is Florence Peak in the middle of that picture, it is a really fun class 2 boulder scramble from Franklin Pass).
Franklin 2006 172.jpg
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Re: Trip Suggestion for SEKI over Labor Day Weekend

Postby Wandering Daisy » Mon Aug 01, 2011 11:28 am

Do you want to mainly move and see a lot of country, or mainly camp (short days)?

Hamilton Lake would be a "mainly move" trip. Another rigorous "mainly move" trip is a loop I did from Mineral King- Day 1 to Lost Canyon over Sawtooth Pass, Day 2 to Little Clair Lake, Day 3 out via Franklin Pass. Another variation of this would be Day 1 to Columbine Lake, Day 2 day-hike to Five Lakes, Day 3 out. Another intersting rigorous 3-day loop: Mineral King-- Silver Lake via Farewell Gap, over Shotgun Pass to Rattlesnake Creek, over Franklin Pass and out.

Be aware that it is a long drive to Mineral King, so if your 3-day weekend means you also have to include driving, Lodgepole or Cedar Grove are shorter drives. A more leisurly loop - Wolverton to Pear Lake, day hike cross country to Tablelands, then out. If you are glutton for hot uphill punishment, Cedar Grove to Granite Lake and Volcanic Lakes (some cross-country). If you do not mind a bit of off-trail Sphinx Lakes is beautiful and not crowded, but unfortunately, the permit is under the same quota as those doing Rae Lakes Loop which are hard to get.

A lot will depend on if you can get a permit. If reserved permits are gone, then have several alternatives when you go in to get your permit.

If you just want to get "into" Kings Canyon NP, you can access the high country from the east also. Taboose Pass to Bench Lakes. Dusy Basin is in KCNP. Shepherd Pass to Wrights Lake Basin. Can also go in from other west side trails- Florence Lake to Evolution or Martha Lake area.
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