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Backpacking Kings Canyon Suggestions

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Backpacking Kings Canyon Suggestions

Postby eaufdembrink » Wed Aug 28, 2013 7:28 am

I had planned a trip to the Yosemite area for Sep 3 - well the fire has put these plans at risk.
Looking at Kings Canyon area as an alternative area. This is for a 3-4 day trip Sep 3 - Sep 6.
Any suggestions?
Experience Level : 3
Terrain: Class 2 no climbing
Interests: Mountain scenery, photography, lakes

What are the chances of getting a walkin permit?

Any suggestions would be much appreciated!!!



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Re: Backpacking Kings Canyon Suggestions

Postby sierraholic » Wed Aug 28, 2013 8:51 am

Not sure if you want a west side or east side entry, but here are a couple suggestions.
East side:
Hike in from Onion Valley TH, down Bubbs Creek to Lake Reflection, over Deerhorn Saddle Pass to Vidette Lakes, and back to OV TH.

Hike in from Onion Valley TH, south on JMT/PCT over Forester Pass, hike out over Shepards Pass (requires a short shuttle or hitch).

Hike in from Cottonwood Lakes to Miter Basin and back with time to explore Crabtree Pass/Lakes and other sights.

West side:
If you can do bigger miles, Roads End TH to Lake Reflection, over Longley Pass to South Guard Lake, over Sphinx Pass to Sphinx Lakes and back out to Roads End TH.

Hike in from Wolverton TH to Pear Lake, across the Tablelands to Moose Lake or Lonely Lake, then hit whatever highlights you want (Big Bird Lake, Deadman Canyon, Coppermine Pass to look into Cloud Cyn/Whaleback, etc.). Very easy cross country with awesome views!

Hope this helps! These are all trips that I want to do next summer!
"Not all who wonder are lost!"
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Re: Backpacking Kings Canyon Suggestions

Postby giantbrookie » Wed Aug 28, 2013 9:29 am

I suspect you'll do OK with the walk up permit because you are going in the day after Labor Day, so the big crowds will have largely bailed. In fact, should you choose to go in from the E. side, many of the usually crowded E. side trails will be much less crowded. My recommendations on where to go would depend on: 1. Are you coming from from the Bay Area, SoCal, Sac area, or other, because this has an influence on driving time and access? 2. How much hiking (distance and elev. gain) do you see as the maximum you'd like to do in a day? 3. Do you have a preference between E. Side and W. Side entry (outside of driving time differences)?
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: Backpacking Kings Canyon Suggestions

Postby SSSdave » Wed Aug 28, 2013 10:44 am

Usual summertime Sierra upper atmosphere winds have been blowing the Rim Fire smoke to the east and northeast. Thus areas well south are likely good choices. South of Yosemite are several spur roads west from US395 to several high trailheads that can quickly get you into the High Sierra on a short 3-4 day trip as you related. Go to the Inyo National Forest USDA website for information on ranger station locations and walk-up permits. Three suggestions with lots of other timberline lakes below scenic peaks with still flowing streams in each area to day hike to and just modest effort to reach these areas:

Gem Lakes out of the Mosquito Flat Trailhead on the Rock Creek Road.
Blue Lake out of the Lake Sabrina Trailhead on the Bishop Creek Road.
Long Lake out of the South Lake Trailhead on the Bishop Creek Road.
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Re: Backpacking Kings Canyon Suggestions

Postby CaliCruzer » Wed Aug 28, 2013 2:22 pm

I agree with the Onion Valley trailhead start. you start near 9000 feet and it has great access to remote areas only a days walk and change. I did a 4 day trip into the Sixty Lakes Basin west of Rae Lakes last summer around this time. Awesome scenery, swimming, few people...can't ask for much more with only 4 days...

[http://www.highsierratopix.com/community/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=9920]
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Re: Backpacking Kings Canyon Suggestions

Postby eaufdembrink » Wed Aug 28, 2013 4:08 pm

My problem is am coming in from the west (Oakland)... Looks like Onion Valley is more than 2 hours further than the the main 180 road into Kings Canyon...
Any ideas with those restrictions??
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Re: Backpacking Kings Canyon Suggestions

Postby balzaccom » Wed Aug 28, 2013 4:16 pm

Jennie Lakes is nice, and easier to get to.

And Courtwright Reservoir has some great trails up to Red Mt Basin or Black Cap Basin...

Another option is to get into the very southern end of Yosemite via Bass Lake and Beasore Road: Fernandez, Clover Meadow, or Granite Creek trailheads

We have trip reports on all these areas on our website...
Balzaccom

check out our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
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Re: Backpacking Kings Canyon Suggestions

Postby maverick » Wed Aug 28, 2013 4:27 pm

Balzaccom wrote:

We have trip reports on all these areas on our website...


As does HST. ;)
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: Backpacking Kings Canyon Suggestions

Postby tim » Wed Aug 28, 2013 4:39 pm

From the West, Pear Lake and the Tablelands is a good option for a shortish trip, and your midweek/late season trip will mean its easy to get an overnight permit. Its a fairly straightforward drive to Lodgepole (~5 hours, the same as Roads End) and with an early start you can get to Emerald or Pear Lake that afternoon.

Then you could go across to Moose Lake for the second night and camp in Table Meadows the third night (assuming a four day trip), or if you only have three days, just stay in the same place for the second night and do a day hike to the Tablelands.

Here's a trip report for a late season 2 day trip I did in 2011: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=7169
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Re: Backpacking Kings Canyon Suggestions

Postby giantbrookie » Wed Aug 28, 2013 8:16 pm

eaufdembrink wrote:My problem is am coming in from the west (Oakland)... Looks like Onion Valley is more than 2 hours further than the the main 180 road into Kings Canyon...
Any ideas with those restrictions??

Perhaps, but Little Lakes Valley (out of Tom's Place) or any of the Bishop Creek trailheads (North Lake, Sabrina Lake, South Lake) are not quite as far (1 hr closer to Oakland or more than Onion Valley). The advantage of those trailheads is that you can get up into very nice alpine scenery faster than you can from Road End in Kings Canyon. The first lake up Bubbs Creek is a very long way in (say East L. at something like 13-13.5 mi, 4000'+ gain) and Copper Creek has a similar situation Grouse L. 8 mi/5500' gain. The Pear Lake area, noted in this thread out of Wolverton gets you into alpine scenery and lakes much faster (as quickly as the east side trailheads mentioned) but it is not quite as amenable to further exploration (not bad for 2-3 days but a bit limiting for 3-4 days) and such unless you go off trail over the Tableland. The 168 trailheads are nice, but many of them such as Dinkey Lakes Wilderness/Wishon/Courtright have somewhat more muted alpine scenery more akin to the north Sierra than the very alpine highest Sierra flavor you'd get in interior Kings Canyon. To get to such scenery from those trailheads will also require quite a bit of hiking.

If I was in Oakland , I'd head for the east side, by going over 108, given that it is likely that 120 will still be closed. I'm accustomed to thinking of such driving routes because I lived in the Bay Area for 46 years (last 15 years in Hayward) before moving to Fresno 2005.
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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Backpacking Kings Canyon Suggestions

Postby MountainMinstrel » Thu Aug 29, 2013 1:55 pm

There is still the possibility of the 108 being closed due to the Rim Fire.
Just an old musician who loves the Mountains.
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Re: Backpacking Kings Canyon Suggestions

Postby medici » Fri Aug 30, 2013 10:40 pm

tim wrote:From the West, Pear Lake and the Tablelands is a good option for a shortish trip, and your midweek/late season trip will mean its easy to get an overnight permit. Its a fairly straightforward drive to Lodgepole (~5 hours, the same as Roads End) and with an early start you can get to Emerald or Pear Lake that afternoon.

Then you could go across to Moose Lake for the second night and camp in Table Meadows the third night (assuming a four day trip), or if you only have three days, just stay in the same place for the second night and do a day hike to the Tablelands.

Here's a trip report for a late season 2 day trip I did in 2011: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=7169


Ditto on this one. A wonderful area and you'll run into few people beyond Pear Lake.
My wife and I did this (my second time) in late July. You can set up a base
camp up in the canyon beyond Pear Lake and dayhike the Tableland for a couple of days and then
hike out. Oh, beyond Pear Lk it's all x-country but easy.

Also, just below Mammoth, head up Convict Creek, set up a camp at Lake Dorothy, and explore all the lakes in that area with dayhikes.
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