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2-3 day fall backpacking trip ideas

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2-3 day fall backpacking trip ideas

Postby crosec7 » Sun Sep 18, 2011 11:56 am

Hi-
I'm new here, and am planning a short (long weekend) backpacking trip for mid-late October, and possibly other trips later in the year as well, although I know we might be limited to the coast after this next trip. I've done a few trips in the Mt. Shasta area along the PCT this year, but I think we've hit the end of the season up there and would like to try something new. What we're looking for:

2-3 nights
within a 4-5 hour drive from Sonoma County
we both have some experience backpacking but nothing too extreme or steep. Probably not more than 5-8 miles/day.
Some water source, preferably more than a trickle, ideally a river or lake.
We have 2 dogs that come with us
Not too crowded, although I'm hoping that by October we won't have to worry so much about that.

Any ideas? Any other information needed?

Thanks a lot!



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Re: 2-3 day fall backpacking trip ideas

Postby windknot » Sun Sep 18, 2011 1:37 pm

Welcome to the board! I've done quite a bit of backpacking in the Desolation Wilderness from mid-October through early November, and I'd say that this area fits your requirements perfectly. The worst thing about Desolation, the high volume of visitors during the summer, is a non-issue by the time you hit October. Dogs are legal, and there are ample water sources within reasonable distances from popular trailheads. Most lakes in Desolation are also pretty easy to reach, and you can do quite a bit of exploring during a three-day weekend.

It can get very cold (lowest temps I've experienced are in the 5-10 degree range, but this was during a particularly bad storm), but as long as you prepare accordingly you'll be in for a great trip.
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Re: 2-3 day fall backpacking trip ideas

Postby balzaccom » Sun Sep 18, 2011 4:46 pm

I agree completely with Windknot....Desolation (or Carson-Iceberg, for that matter: Sword Lake, Boulder Lake, etc. ) are really nice this time of year, and easy to get to from Sonoma.

The other option Henry Coe St. Park...

There are descriptions of a bunch of these trails on our website
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Re: 2-3 day fall backpacking trip ideas

Postby crosec7 » Tue Sep 20, 2011 9:05 pm

Thanks! I've looked at Desolation Wilderness as a possible destination but was deterred by the warnings of crowds (maybe a non-issue at this time of year) and the fact that campfires aren't allowed. I know that's a tricky one by fall when everything is dry, so we may just have to suck it up and figure no fire this time, but I thought maybe some areas might allow them by the lakes?
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Re: 2-3 day fall backpacking trip ideas

Postby windknot » Tue Sep 20, 2011 9:32 pm

The crowds won't be an issue, but if you want fires, you'll have to look either north to the I-80 area (National Forest land, not designated wilderness) or south to the Mokelumne or Carson-Iceberg Wilderness areas. I haven't done any 2-3 day loop style trips in either the Mokelumne or Carson-Iceberg (all of my visits there have either been day trips or of the up-and-back variety), but there do seem to be several options to fill three days of hiking and exploring in the Grouse Ridge area north of I-80. This area also sees a lot of people, but it should offer more solitude once we get into October.
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Re: 2-3 day fall backpacking trip ideas

Postby mschnaidt » Wed Sep 21, 2011 8:26 am

I've been considering a 2 nighter out of Woods Lake off of Hwy 88 just past Caples Lake. There is a loop that takes you to Winnemucca Lake and Round Top Lake. The whole loop is about 5 miles with 1100 ft of elevation gain from Woods to Round Top.

I've been looking at pics of the area on Google Earth and it looks pretty nice. However I have not done this trip myself.

If you go, let me know...

M
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Re: 2-3 day fall backpacking trip ideas

Postby windknot » Wed Sep 21, 2011 9:27 am

Mschnaidt, that Winnemucca/Round Top loop out of Woods Lake is very nice. I did this as a day hike several years ago and found great flower displays (granted, this was in July) with great views. For a 2-night trip, you could also do a day hike to explore 4th of July Lake as well.
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Re: 2-3 day fall backpacking trip ideas

Postby mschnaidt » Thu Sep 22, 2011 7:39 am

windknot wrote:Mschnaidt, that Winnemucca/Round Top loop out of Woods Lake is very nice. I did this as a day hike several years ago and found great flower displays (granted, this was in July) with great views. For a 2-night trip, you could also do a day hike to explore 4th of July Lake as well.

Thanks Windknot! I'm going to check it out ASAP.
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Re: 2-3 day fall backpacking trip ideas

Postby balzaccom » Thu Sep 22, 2011 7:55 am

For a backpacking trip, you will need a permit for this hike---and the permits include specific campsites on each night. They are numbered at each lake. For obvious reasons, this is a very popular hike.

You could add on a trip to 4th of July Lake if you want a few more miles, and a bit more solitude.

We have a trip report on this as a day-hike on our website in the destinations section.
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Re: 2-3 day fall backpacking trip ideas

Postby Carne_DelMuerto » Thu Sep 22, 2011 8:21 am

Another option for the OP may be Five Lakes Basin. The TH is out of Carr/Feeley Lakes just a bit north of I-80. It' NF land, so all you need is a fire permit. The hike in is about 7 miles and the lakes have quite a few nice spots to camp. Every time I've gone, we've hiked in, set up camp, and then day hiked for a couple days. There's the Black Buttes to climb or the drainage below to explore. There are also many lakes between the basin and the TH, so plenty of ways to mix it up if you desire a different place to camp every night.
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