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West Side Short Trip Recommendation Please

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West Side Short Trip Recommendation Please

Postby Pietro257 » Fri May 31, 2013 2:50 pm

I'm going on a long expedition in the eastern Sierra in August. Meanwhile, I'd like to take a little jaunt into the western Sierra in mid-July -- nothing special, just a chance to test some recipes I'm concocting and get used to the altitude a little in advance of my big trip.

I'm not very familiar with westside backpacking. Can anyone recommend a trip along these lines?

* Within 3 hours' drive of San Francisco
* Getting a permit/permission for 6-8 people at short notice not much of a problem
* Two nights only (Friday and Saturday)
* Can start hiking right away upon getting to the trail head (what I mean here is that the the trail head isn't at too high an elevation so you can hike in a couple of miles to a campsite after driving without having to wait the requisite day to get acclimated to the altitude)

I guess I'm looking for something in the Emigrant, Mokelumne, or Stanislaus wilderness.

Thanks in advance.

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Re: West Side Short Trip Recommendation Please

Postby Wandering Daisy » Fri May 31, 2013 4:04 pm

Three hour or less drive from San Francisco, leaving on a Friday? Dream on! The only two places I can think of that are 3hrs or less from SF and in the Sierra, would be Desolation Wilderness, or Molkunmne Wilderness (on Hwy 88) from Carson Pass. If you are willing to take a bit more then 3 hours Emigrant Wilderness would also work. Since Yosemite dropped their speed limits in the park (also the road from Groveland to the park used to be 65 mph, now is 55 mph) I doubt you could get to Yosemite in 3 hours. The only way I can see that you can drive fast enough to get to any Sierra destination is to leave early in the morning (4AM Friday morning). Permits are harder to get for Desolation but there are more choices of where to go.

Here is another idea. With 8 people you will probably have two cars. How about the PCT between Carson Pass and Echo Pass, divide into two groups, each start at a pass, meet mid-way to camp, exchange keys, walk to the other's car to drive back to SF. I have not checked the trail miles with this. May not be feasible for a 2-night trip. But then, some people can cover a lot of trail miles. You need to check the maps and see if it would work.
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Re: West Side Short Trip Recommendation Please

Postby AlmostThere » Fri May 31, 2013 4:26 pm

I would do the Skyline to Sea.

It was beautiful last weekend....
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Re: West Side Short Trip Recommendation Please

Postby The hermit » Fri May 31, 2013 8:37 pm

Skyline is not very high elevation im guessing no more than 2k. Still beautiful.
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Re: West Side Short Trip Recommendation Please

Postby frisfraser » Fri May 31, 2013 10:49 pm

Echo pass is cutting it close on your 3 hour drive, but it is worth the extra time. I suggest going south on the PCT from Echo 1. because permits for that section are even easier to obtain for 6-8 people 2. Its easier with 8 people 3. You can make a loop, no back-tracking 4. Better wildflower and wildlife displays. The PCT south of Echo offers high views of surrounding peaks and meadows, along with a downhill slope so acclimating will not be so much of a problem on the first day. Camp in near Miess Mdws or one of the surrounding lakes the first night. Next morning take a stroll around the lakes or fish, good fishing. Pack your bags and loop back down and around to hwy 50 or 89 to the shuttle car.

I would hike this loop on my days off when I lived in south lake. The summits and hills near the trails are good for training too. It can be crowded, but not as crowded as the near hwy lakes in desolation. Echo lake pct is along a lake view homes for about two miles...not so much solitude. Go south.
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Re: West Side Short Trip Recommendation Please

Postby Tom_H » Sat Jun 01, 2013 3:06 pm

I agree with the others; three hours from the city is hard. Four hours gives you a lot more flexibility. The suggestions already made are good ones. Here are some other possibilities.



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