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20 Lakes Basin or Little Lakes Valley for my 8 year old

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20 Lakes Basin or Little Lakes Valley for my 8 year old

Postby snowblind » Sun Jul 07, 2013 8:37 am

I am taking my son (he's 8) on a 4-day backpacking trip next week and am deciding between Little Lakes Valley and 20 Lakes Basin.

Both seem about the same distance. As they also both appear to be somewhat busy, I am mostly concerned that it will be challenging to get some solitude. In addition to great scenary, I am also looking for good dayhike options / easy cross country.

Any advice on which is a better choice?



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Re: 20 Lakes Basin or Little Lakes Valley for my 8 year old

Postby giantbrookie » Sun Jul 07, 2013 10:14 am

snowblind wrote:I am taking my son (he's 8) on a 4-day backpacking trip next week and am deciding between Little Lakes Valley and 20 Lakes Basin.

Both seem about the same distance. As they also both appear to be somewhat busy, I am mostly concerned that it will be challenging to get some solitude. In addition to great scenary, I am also looking for good dayhike options / easy cross country.

Any advice on which is a better choice?


Both are wonderful places for kids because of the ease of access, plus the scenery is hard to beat at both. I believe Little Lakes Valley gives you more camping options, in part because all of Little Lakes Valley is open to camping whereas part of 20 Lakes Basin is within the Hall Natural Area which I recall camping is not permitted (this removes the Conness Lakes from consideration). If you look at the area of 20 Lakes Basin and compare it to the available area to stretch out in Little Lakes Valley, it is not as large, so you have more options in Little Lakes Valley. What this means is that there are more little nooks and crannies that you can get off the main drags (sometimes to an opposite shore of a lake, for example) to get away from crowds. Both areas offer a great array of little cross country hikes and dayhike options and it is hard to choose between them in this regard. For kids, such dayhike options involve exploration of some other lakes in the area: in the case of 20 Lakes Basin this can include the places you can't camp, such as the Conness Lakes, whereas in Little Lakes Valley this can include destinations off the main trail. Dayhike options also feature some summits of class 2 or less such as Dore Cliff NE of Saddlebag and North Peak for 20 Lakes, and (bit harder because of length of hike) Mt. Morgan from Little Lakes Valley. There are somewhat harder peaks available from each of those locations, too.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Re: 20 Lakes Basin or Little Lakes Valley for my 8 year old

Postby maverick » Sun Jul 07, 2013 10:37 am

Hi Snowblind,

First let me welcome you to HST! (Going thru your history you have never been
officially welcomed aboard yet).
Both places are beautiful offering great scenery and fishing. If you go to the
more outer lakes like Hidden Lakes in LLV their may be less people, and as GB
mentioned some areas of 20 LB has some restricted areas. You could set up base
camp near the middle of the LLV and then day hike to Ruby Lake one day and then
towards the southern end of the valley toward Chickenfoot or Gem Lakes.
The only thing you should be aware of is that the mosquitoes may be pretty
bad so either go prepared or put your trip off a few more weeks till they are gone.
If you do decide to go this may help: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=7828 Please write up a TR when you get back, would love to read
about you and your sons adventure. :)
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
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Re: 20 Lakes Basin or Little Lakes Valley for my 8 year old

Postby HikeSierraNevada » Sun Jul 07, 2013 2:24 pm

snowblind wrote:I am taking my son (he's 8) on a 4-day backpacking trip next week and am deciding between Little Lakes Valley and 20 Lakes Basin.

Both seem about the same distance. As they also both appear to be somewhat busy, I am mostly concerned that it will be challenging to get some solitude. In addition to great scenary, I am also looking for good dayhike options / easy cross country.

Any advice on which is a better choice?

Having done a lot of backpacking with my two kids since they were very young (teenagers now), I'm wondering if 4 days is going to be a long time for an 8 yr old in one area? Four days can be an eternity for a kid, even with dear old dad. Fishing, games, friends make it a lot more fun for the little guy. As spectacular as the scenery is, it's usually not enough to hold their interest day after day.

Both of these areas can be explored very well with day hikes. You might want to consider one or two nights backpacking and then explore the other area with a day hike or two. Without knowing anything about you or your son, I would just offer one bit of advise - be flexible.
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Re: 20 Lakes Basin or Little Lakes Valley for my 8 year old

Postby SSSdave » Sun Jul 07, 2013 3:45 pm

At 20 Lakes Valley just like other backpacking areas, most people camp at well used camp spots within 100 feet of trails and use routes even though such is specifically discouraged. Just human nature. Note there are more use routes than the topo shows especially the areas near Cascade Lake and Lake Helen. Thus when looking at the map of that basin, there is not much available that is not near a trail or is too rocky. But there is one good zone. From the north end of Steelhead Lake before crossing the creek, hike east to Shamrock Lake's south shores. Nice views , swimming in shallow less chilly lagoons, and good fishing.

http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=37.99156,-119.29286&z=15&t=T

David
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Re: 20 Lakes Basin or Little Lakes Valley for my 8 year old

Postby snowblind » Sun Jul 07, 2013 8:20 pm

Thanks so much for the advice...sounds like LLV may be a better choice for what I am looking for which is what I somewhat expected (I am extremely partial to the trailheads between Mammoth and Bishop). My boy has done a few other 3-day trips, but not one for 4 days. I like that it appears pretty easy to pull the ripcord and leave early if necessary on both these routes.

I was in Humphrey's Basin and French Canyon the week before last and it seemed that the mosquitos were mellowing out (they were worse at the upper elevations). Think they are still bad in Little Lakes Valley?
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Re: 20 Lakes Basin or Little Lakes Valley for my 8 year old

Postby mpeters » Sun Jul 07, 2013 10:19 pm

For what it's worth -- Passed through 20 lakes basin last Monday. Mosquitoes were bad but not unbearable. Controllable with the strong stuff. Beautiful up there now with waterfalls running down the flanks of North Peak. Have fun, where ever you choose.
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Re: 20 Lakes Basin or Little Lakes Valley for my 8 year old

Postby snowblind » Wed Jul 17, 2013 12:56 am

Thanks for the advice...we had a fantastic time in the Little Lakes area.

Headed to Little Lakes Wednesday afternoon and after like a dozen stops in Yosemite, a promise to climb Pothole Dome after the trip and dinner at the Mobil station, we rolled into the trialhead about 10:30pm. LLV has great backpacker campsites which were very welcome. We camped 3 nights at Chickenfoot (we found a great site with fantastic views both north and south). We did several hikes around Gem Lakes and the areas above. While we considered moving to the Gem area, I don't think the sites are quite as nice up there (just too few of them).

We definitely could have stayed more 2x as long. In addition to lots of hiking and fishing, we played games (UNO & backgammon), read a good book and even had a movie night on my phone.

Thanks again, highly recommended place for little kids.

p.s. I did clean up more trash that I have ever seen in the eastern sierra.

IMG_3958 - small.jpg
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Re: 20 Lakes Basin or Little Lakes Valley for my 8 year old

Postby TCHN DAD » Mon Jul 22, 2013 11:19 am

Thanks to the OP for bringing up this topic.

I am in a similar situation, but my son is 13 years old. We are looking for a good first experience of a few days out backpacking.

I have some questions that would help me out. I encourage anyone, not just the OP to chime in.

1. Did you go out during the week or on a weekend?
2. Did you need wilderness permits and if so where did you get them?
3. How cold did it get during the nights?

4. I found this link with directions? is this what you did? Others can chime in here if there are other options? [web_site] http://www.summitpost.org/little-lakes-valley/715698[/web_site]
5. Was altitude and issue?
6. Any nearby campgrounds where we can headquarter our pop up trailer and then drive up to the trailhead with just my minivan? We would be driving up from Los Angeles up 395.

Thanks!

Rod
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Re: 20 Lakes Basin or Little Lakes Valley for my 8 year old

Postby maverick » Mon Jul 22, 2013 12:02 pm

Here is campground info and regulations:
http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/inyo/rec ... 4&actid=51
http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/inyo/rec ... 6&actid=29
Low temps are in the high 40's currently with thunderstorms all week. Weekdays
are better since it can get busy during the weekends.
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
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Re: 20 Lakes Basin or Little Lakes Valley for my 8 year old

Postby Ska-T » Mon Jul 22, 2013 2:39 pm

TCHN DAD wrote:5. Was altitude and issue?

If you are introducing a person to backpacking it is a good idea to read up on altitude sickness (acute mountain sickness, AMS) so you can recognize the symptoms and respond appropriately.

I took my daughter and son to Little Lake Valley for their first trip. They were 7 1/2 and 4 yrs old, respectively. My daughter was not affected by the altitude while my son was. I later learned that I could take him up from Los Angeles (sea level) to about 7,500 ft the first day, go up about another 1,000 to 1.500 ft the next day, and by the third day he was OK for high Sierra altitudes.

Years later my backpacking buddy took his family to LLV and his son, about 12 yrs old, also got altitude sickness. So be aware and be ready to "cut and run" back to lower elevations.

One nice thing about LLV is that you can get back to the car in short order and quickly drive down the mountain.
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Re: 20 Lakes Basin or Little Lakes Valley for my 8 year old

Postby snowblind » Wed Jul 24, 2013 10:58 pm

We hiked in midweek. My kid felt the altitude a little on the second day (he got a bit of a headache). I rarely find it too cold at night esp. in a tent, however, conditions are naturally less predictable at that altitude.

You can get permits from here (http://www.recreation.gov/permits/Inyo_ ... rkId=72203). If the day you want is not available, they also have 10/day for walk-ins (just be at the ranger station at 8am and you should be good). Also, there are many campsites in the Rock Creek area that should work for your trailer.

Although definitely a harder hike, as your son is a little older another nice trip would be over Piute Pass.
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