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worthwhile peaceful backpacks between 1 and 2 miles from roa

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worthwhile peaceful backpacks between 1 and 2 miles from roa

Postby SSSdave » Mon Jan 09, 2012 11:50 am

Do you know any worthwhile backpacks between 1 and 2 miles from roads? (And please check out your distances on http://mapper.acme.com/ if you are unsure.)

In our national forest wildernesses and national park backcountry, a standard requirement is that one camp at least one mile from any road or trailhead. A prime reason is that some car campers would otherwise simply park along roadside pullouts and stumble into woods a hundred yards or so. That would predictably impact the near road environments more than is already the case and often leave a mess since many such people are relatively ignorant of acceptable ettitiquette. Note in national forest zones where dispersed camping is allowed, one can actually legally wander off even close to roads and do that. But here I am talking about backpacking with a pack at least the noted mile.

Why would one backpack just a mile? Maybe to set up a camp by oneself for a short peaceful and or interesting two or three days. Maybe because you are taking people that are physically limited say like an older person or out of shape person you may be trying to interest in getting outdoors.

I actually know many such places because as a photographer I have done a lot of rambling off from obscure roadside pullouts. Yes for this person most of such places are actually easy crosscountry efforts. But I also know some nice spots a mile or so out along actual trails.



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Re: worthwhile peaceful backpacks between 1 and 2 miles from roa

Postby freestone » Mon Jan 09, 2012 9:17 pm

Many years ago my daughter wanted to go "backpacking". The destination was the north fork of Big Pine creek at an improved tent site just past the first set of switch backs. It was clean, organized and totally deserted because everyone was heading for a view of the lakes and the glaciers with their wilderness permits in hand. It can be that way because it is still outside the the Wilderness boundary so its possible to do some grading for a designated tent area, fire pit, and maybe even a picnic table. Not to get off topic, but this site was vastly superior to what I see at overused sites just before the crest. Thanks Dave, a great topic!
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Re: worthwhile peaceful backpacks between 1 and 2 miles from roa

Postby balzaccom » Mon Jan 09, 2012 10:42 pm

Actually, many areas in the National Forests allow for what is called "dispersed" camping. Which just means that you can camp anywhere you can find a spot that looks good.
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Re: worthwhile peaceful backpacks between 1 and 2 miles from roa

Postby dave54 » Tue Jan 10, 2012 8:04 am

balzaccom wrote:Actually, many areas in the National Forests allow for what is called "dispersed" camping. Which just means that you can camp anywhere you can find a spot that looks good.


More accurately stated: All NF lands are open to dispersed camping except where prohibited by local regulation.
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Re: worthwhile peaceful backpacks between 1 and 2 miles from roa

Postby SSSdave » Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:19 am

balzaccom wrote:Actually, many areas in the National Forests allow for what is called "dispersed" camping. Which just means that you can camp anywhere you can find a spot that looks good.


Which is why I noted that so there would just be backpacking inputs where people actually use a backpack loaded up in a more serious way haha. :)
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Re: worthwhile peaceful backpacks between 1 and 2 miles from roa

Postby SSSdave » Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:37 am

Well I'll start with a place one can reach by trail that though the near trail areas are very popular, if one wanders off a bit, one can easily find peace just a bit more than one mile from trailheads. The first is one of everyone's favorite, 20 Lakes Basin beyond the ferry dropoff of Saddlebag Lake. To go the one mile minimum one needs to at least hike the old mining road to Wasco Lake. Of course many of the ferry customers camp right on the Saddlebag or Greenstone Lake shores but that is hardly backpacking. More like walk to public campsites.

http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=37.98561,-119.29290&z=15&t=T

So where I will recommend backpacking to is above Wasco Lake's west shores that is a beautiful area of metasedimentary rocks. Of course the hike has very little vertical which is ideal for someone out of shape. Within the zone for the next mile there are many little benches well away from the old road, often with pretty little no name ponds where one can easily camp without being visible to others. The views of both North Peak and Mount Conness are of course spectacular.

http://www.davidsenesac.com/Gallery_B/06-GG8-4.jpg

My favorite time for this high elevation area is early to mid September when the grass high arctic willow turns turfy areas red.
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Re: worthwhile peaceful backpacks between 1 and 2 miles from roa

Postby oldranger » Tue Jan 10, 2012 12:22 pm

My not so secret place is Redwood Canyon south of Grant Grove. Early and late in the season (now, this year!) you probably won't meet anyone else and you can pitch your tent amongst the sequoias. You can even do this as a loop trip. I posted this or a similar pic last spring but it does dramatize a unique experience.

IMG_1912.jpg
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Re: worthwhile peaceful backpacks between 1 and 2 miles from roa

Postby balzaccom » Tue Jan 10, 2012 1:10 pm

Grouse Ridge and lakes below that of Highway 20?
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Re: worthwhile peaceful backpacks between 1 and 2 miles from roa

Postby SSSdave » Tue Jan 10, 2012 1:42 pm

balzaccom >>>"Grouse Ridge and lakes below that of Highway 20"

http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=39.40728,-120.62233&z=14&t=T

Amen. The very best short backpack area for those living in the Sacramento Valley. We found surprisingly good fishing for nice sized brook and rainbow in one of those more obsucre lakes just a mile from the road on a Memorial Day. Just one other group visited that sunny weekend.


oldranger >>>"Redwood Canyon south of Grant Grove."

http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=36.70624,-118.91387&z=15&t=T

Yes indeed. Not only is the hike into those groves short, but it is one of just a few places one can legally backpack on trails and set up a tent in old growth sequoias in the Sierra. Because of the low elevation, it is also a good choice early and late season.
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Re: worthwhile peaceful backpacks between 1 and 2 miles from roa

Postby QITNL » Wed Jan 11, 2012 3:18 pm

For a short, easy backpack trip I often recommend May Lake. When the road to the trailhead is open, it's about a mile and a half, maybe an hour with a full pack. The shortest distance from car to camp in YNP.

It's busy in the summer when the HSC is in full swing, but not too crowded before and after that. From there you can dayhike Mt Hoffmann or follow an abandoned trail towards Tuolumne Peak.
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Re: worthwhile peaceful backpacks between 1 and 2 miles from roa

Postby windknot » Thu Jan 12, 2012 6:29 pm

You never specified locations in the Sierra (though maybe that was to be assumed, given the forum), but one great place for these kinds of short "backpacks" is Death Valley in the winter. You can pull off to the side of the road nearly anywhere in the park, walk a mile or two, and have a ton of beautiful desert all to yourself. I did this a year ago and it was a great way to get a bit of a wilderness experience without too much effort. Certainly preferable to one of the many drive-in campsites with tents almost stacked up on top of each other.
A few backcountry fishing pictures: http://wanderswithtrout.wordpress.com/
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Re: worthwhile peaceful backpacks between 1 and 2 miles from roa

Postby SSSdave » Thu Jan 12, 2012 10:49 pm

windknot wrote:You never specified locations in the Sierra (though maybe that was to be assumed, given the forum), but one great place for these kinds of short "backpacks" is Death Valley in the winter. You can pull off to the side of the road nearly anywhere in the park, walk a mile or two, and have a ton of beautiful desert all to yourself. I did this a year ago and it was a great way to get a bit of a wilderness experience without too much effort. Certainly preferable to one of the many drive-in campsites with tents almost stacked up on top of each other.


Yeah I was thinking Sierra. But since you brought up Death Valley, I would strongly agree that during those rare winters like 2005 it can be an astounding place to backpack into:

http://www.davidsenesac.com/images/print_05-d8-3.html

Vast areas of absolutely pristeness where there are no human footprints. I talked to DV rangers about that and they chuckled that most people are simply afraid to simply ramble off from roads more than a half mile. There is something about the waterless landscapes that scare people even during winters like 2005 when it is so green. Of course there are almost no places even then where there is potable drinkable water so a person has to carry all their water and that limits how far they can practically get off roads and for how long. Much like other southwest desert hiking. If they ever have another winter like 2005 and I have the free time I could easily spend a month in the park. It is so absolutely huge, I would only be able to put a small dent in my ideas of what is possible. The canyon in my above picture had zero zilch footprints in the wash I hiked into there although there were thousands of people less than a couple miles away each day gawking at all the flowers from the highway.
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