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Suggestions for 3 day trip in Sonora Pass area

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Suggestions for 3 day trip in Sonora Pass area

Postby waltergraf » Wed Jul 24, 2013 7:23 pm

Hello everyone,
I've been following this forum for a while and have really appreciated the trip reports and helpful trip and route suggestions. Now this is my first post and I'm wondering if you all could help me with a bit of quick trip planning.

I'm looking for a shorter 3 day, 2 night trip trip to take a few beginner backpackers, around the beginning of August. I guess I'm a "level 4" hiker and my wife and friends are about "level 2." They are comfortable with terrain up to class 2. Interested in lakes, meadows, and big mountain scenery. I'm thinking I would like to do something in the 20 mile range over the 3 days. Also, it would be good to keep the elevation changes mild or moderate.. not severe.

I've driven across Sonora Pass a few times but have never been backpacking around there yet. Emigrant Wilderness looks especially nice. I'm thinking about a loop starting at Crabtree trailhead, out to Deer Lake via Piute Meadow, up to Salt Lick Meadow, down to Y Meadow Reservoir, to Bear Lake, and back. Here http://www.hillmap.com/m/ag1zfmhpbGxtYX ... cBiskI8BDA is a link to the loop. About 21 miles?

A few questions: I believe the section between Y Meadow Reservoir and Bear Lake is cross country. From the topo map looks like it's not too steep and doable, mostly through open granite. Anybody have experience with this section to confirm or deny? Any other thoughts about this loop?

I'm also open to other suggestions for similar loops in the area. If anything, I would especially like something of similar distance but at higher elevation. Sonora Pass is especially convenient because we're from the bay area so it's only a few hours, and it's all national forest land so we can take our dog (great hiker!).

Thanks in advance for the suggestions!

Walter



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Re: Suggestions for 3 day trip in Sonora Pass area

Postby Tom_H » Wed Jul 24, 2013 7:59 pm

Do you need to do a loop, i.e. do you have only 1 vehicle? If you have 2 vehicles, I can offer several suggestions. If you have one vehicle that is 4wd with a bit of clearance, you could drive into Leavitt Lake and take this loop. You would be at high elevation with some big scenery. Everything is on trail. I was a guide for many years and would not recommend taking newbies off trail for their first trip, especially if you have never hiked the terrain yourself. There are too many ways for them to have a bad experience. The red route on this map is 20.17 miles. If you take one of the yellow shortcuts on the east, that can be cut down a little. You will have a fair amount of up/down/up/down, but the majority of those are not too much at any one time.

http://caltopo.com/map?id=6M7I

From Crabtree to the east there are a couple of parallel trails with short north-south connectors. This ladder shaped group of trails offer many ways to make a loop, all on trail.

Loops are also possible from Kennedy Meadows and Leavitt Meadow. I have other maps.

Point to point routes that could be done in 3 days are Kennedy Meadows-Leavitt Lake and Leavitt Lake-Leavitt Meadow. I have maps of those too.
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Re: Suggestions for 3 day trip in Sonora Pass area

Postby Talimon » Thu Jul 25, 2013 12:52 am

I would second the Leavitt Meadows suggestion, in Hoover Wilderness (trailhead just past Sonora Pass). Fremont Lake is almost ideal for a beginner trip: relatively little elevation change, and really rewarding campsites (the better as you really circle around the lake). Great views as well. I believe round-trip you would be just under 20 miles (there and back), but there really isn't anywhere too appealing to camp before Fremont, so it would make more sense to go all the way to Fremont on day 1. Then you could either take a layover day, or if you are feeling really ambitious continue on to chain of lakes or even Cinko Lake.
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Re: Suggestions for 3 day trip in Sonora Pass area

Postby waltergraf » Thu Jul 25, 2013 10:21 am

Thank you both for the replies! Yes, we'll only have one car so we're constrained to a loop or out-and-back. Both the loop starting at Leavitt Lake and the Leavitt Meadows to Fremont lake trail sound excellent. I will look around to see if I can find some more photos of these areas.
Are we likely to find the bugs worse at a higher elevation like the trips above, or along the lower stuff from Crabtree?
Also, if we do something starting from Crabtree, is it going to be really dry this time of year?
Tom_H, any chance you could link me to those other maps of loops you have?

Thank you again!
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Re: Suggestions for 3 day trip in Sonora Pass area

Postby Tom_H » Thu Jul 25, 2013 8:15 pm

waltergraf wrote:Tom_H, any chance you could link me to those other maps of loops you have?


Sure. Is the 1 vehicle you're taking 4wd? How much clearance does it have? You'd need that for Leavitt Lake, but not for the following.

Crabtree Loops:

http://caltopo.com/map?id=4I54

You might be able to create something for 2 nights out of Leavitt Meadow:

http://caltopo.com/map?id=2F63

I think the following loops out of Kennedy Meadows are longer than you can do in 2 nights:

http://caltopo.com/map?id=011D
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Re: Suggestions for 3 day trip in Sonora Pass area

Postby balzaccom » Fri Jul 26, 2013 12:08 pm

We've got some photos of the Leavitt Meadows route---just back from hiking up that canyon. IN that area, we'd also suggest that you look at Clark Fork...which you can take up to St, Mary's Pass and back down through Boulder Lake, for example.

Leavitt area is more desolate/desert. Clark Fork is on the west side, so has more vegetation.

WE have trip reports on both trips---and a lot of others off 108-- on our website.
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Re: Suggestions for 3 day trip in Sonora Pass area

Postby Tom_H » Fri Jul 26, 2013 7:04 pm

balzaccom wrote:Leavitt area is more desolate/desert. Clark Fork is on the west side, so has more vegetation.


Leavitt Lake or Leavitt Meadows? Beyond Leavitt Lake you get above the tree line, but it's alpine. I've hiked from Leavitt Meadow to the source of the West Walker and most of the surrounding area. While the area downstream of Leavitt Meadow is dry and desert, I wouldn't describe anything between the Meadow and the source of the river as desert. There were places that are dryer than the far west slope with less lush vegetation in general, but I remember lots of grassy meadows and stands of Aspen. When you hike out at Twin Lakes or down Buckeye Creek it does start turning into desert. I surely would not compare the area with true desert camping at all.
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Re: Suggestions for 3 day trip in Sonora Pass area

Postby balzaccom » Fri Jul 26, 2013 8:27 pm

On the 19th, when we hiked up the West Walker, it was over 80 degrees at 11 a.m....and that first four miles up the trail are pretty dang dry...
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