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Daytrip Snowshoe Suggestions

Discussion about winter adventure sports in the Sierra Nevada mountains including but not limited to; winter backpacking and camping, mountaineering, downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, etc.
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Daytrip Snowshoe Suggestions

Postby ERIC » Tue Jan 20, 2009 3:11 pm

Looking for daytrip suggestions. I know the snow's crappy right now. But I just bought a pair of MSR Denali Classics that I'm dying to take for a spin somewhere in the local area (west side, east of Fresno). I also bought the 8" flotation tail, but I doubt I'll need it in current snow conditions. My preference would be somewhere in Sierra NF - SEKI's fine too - trying to avoid Yosemite if at all possible. I noticed there's a good list of trails on the Sierra NF Website. Can anyone suggest something from that list, or another trip that might interest me?
I'm currently looking at Coyote Vista Loop between Shaver and Huntington reservoirs. Anyone familiar with that one? 5-10 miles is about what I'm after.

BTW, I've yet to winter camp, but will pursue that option once I save up enough to purchase a new bag and pad, and possibly a new tent. So overnight trip suggestions are also welcome to store away for future use. :)

Cheers
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Re: Daytrip Snowshoe Suggestions

Postby trav867 » Wed Jan 21, 2009 1:24 am

I'm going to chime in- I was about to start an identical thread when I saw this. Where's good? I'm open to the east side also...
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Re: Daytrip Snowshoe Suggestions

Postby tomcat_rc » Wed Jan 21, 2009 7:29 am

I want to break out the snow shoes this weekend too. Hopefully this storm coming through will bring some new snow. The mountains are hurting for it right now.
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Re: Daytrip Snowshoe Suggestions

Postby ERIC » Wed Jan 21, 2009 9:15 am

tomcat_rc wrote:I want to break out the snow shoes this weekend too. Hopefully this storm coming through will bring some new snow. The mountains are hurting for it right now.


True story. Probably wont be much, but something is better than nothing.
Here's the email forecast (specific to the Kings River basin) I received yesterday from our staff meteorologist:

Kings River Cloud Seeding Project

Weather Discussion:

Currently good moisture advection is underway in the mid levels as a plume of moisture is moving inland across southern California coast. This will increase cloud cover later today and overnight tonight. A closed low is located in the Pacific at about 140E. This feature will continue to move into the area later today. Temperatures in the mid levels down to the surface are pretty warm with the freezing level currently at about 10,000 ft. This will change very little over the next couple of days as the closed low is somewhat tropical in origin and with it carries very little cool air. Expect rain chances to increase starting midday tomorrow as the first disturbance will move across southern California into central California. This feature is aided by moisture coming in from near Baja and will be a good rain producer. Due to the warm nature of this feature, will see snow levels pretty high throughout the event.

Area Forecast:

Expect increasing clouds later today as the area will receive its last blast of warm temperatures from the departing ridge which is now moving into the Rockies. Expect by tomorrow the area will be under the influence of the trough and its associated closed low. Expect surface temperatures to be cooler Wednesday into Thursday. As mentioned above, rain chances will beginning later tomorrow with the peak of the event occurring overnight Wednesday night. By midday Thursday, expect that most locations will not be under the influence of the trough but could still see some scattered showers as the pattern remains somewhat unsettled Thursday in Friday.

Extended Forecast:

Late Friday into Saturday, the area will be in between systems with the next storm due to arrive Sunday into Sunday night. This feature looks to have colder air associated with it, so might see snow levels lowering near the end of the event. Computer models are not agreeing with the infiltration of this cold air into the area and some are keeping the area with a warm atmospheric column. By Monday, generally clearing may be the case with the possibility of colder air next week.

--SB
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Re: Daytrip Snowshoe Suggestions

Postby copeg » Wed Jan 21, 2009 1:07 pm

I haven't done much in the National Forest areas you mentioned Eric, they've been on my list for years but I've yet to find the time...you can check the SnoParks map for locations where you need to pay for the Snopark permit. For SEKI i'd definitely recommend the trip up to Panther Gap from Wolverton. Awesome views. If the conditions allow it, you can even go further towards Alta Peak (see note below).
Off of 198 in Seki there is also the road that goes towards Big Meadows, an area that is nice. Of course after a big dumpy in SEKI there is Giant Forest - I've never done this myself but from the grove you may be able to easily head towards Crescent Meadow and the High Sierra Trail for some nice views (I think after a big dump 198 closes between kings and sequoia, so for some of these you may need to approach from the southern entrance to the park).
In Yosemite - Dewey Point - crowded but worth it.
On the east side - Little Lakes Valley - crowded but worth it (Snopark permit needed).
In Mammoth - snowshoe to Minaret Summit, and if conditions allow you can go further along San Joaquin ridge.
Note: Many of the trails above are out of harms way of avalanches, but some could take you through avy territory depending upon the conditions. Its always good to know a bit about avalanche behavior, as well as reading the advisories (if the area has any).
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Re: Daytrip Snowshoe Suggestions

Postby ERIC » Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:14 pm

trailblazer wrote:I haven't done much in the National Forest areas you mentioned Eric, they've been on my list for years but I've yet to find the time...you can check the SnoParks map for locations where you need to pay for the Snopark permit. For SEKI i'd definitely recommend the trip up to Panther Gap from Wolverton. Awesome views. If the conditions allow it, you can even go further towards Alta Peak (see note below).
Off of 198 in Seki there is also the road that goes towards Big Meadows, an area that is nice. Of course after a big dumpy in SEKI there is Giant Forest - I've never done this myself but from the grove you may be able to easily head towards Crescent Meadow and the High Sierra Trail for some nice views (I think after a big dump 198 closes between kings and sequoia, so for some of these you may need to approach from the southern entrance to the park).
In Yosemite - Dewey Point - crowded but worth it.
On the east side - Little Lakes Valley - crowded but worth it (Snopark permit needed).
In Mammoth - snowshoe to Minaret Summit, and if conditions allow you can go further along San Joaquin ridge.
Note: Many of the trails above are out of harms way of avalanches, but some could take you through avy territory depending upon the conditions. Its always good to know a bit about avalanche behavior, as well as reading the advisories (if the area has any).


Very helpful, Greg. Thank you. The snow-park link was key. I've taken my chances without a pass a couple of times at the Huntington Lake site, but never realized the fine for getting caught was that steep ($87 fine for no pass, while a season pass only sets you back $25). Not worth it. Guess I'll be picking one up! :D

I'm particularly excited about the Panther Gap and Big Meadows suggestions. Some neat areas in the summer, so I'm sure they'll be spectacular this time of year while covered in snow.
Snowshoed to Dewey Point once already this year. That's a nice hike, and the view is fantastic on a clear day without the smog that's pretty common in the summer months. Just wish the snow had been better. And I suggest heading out by 8am to beat the crowd.
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Sno-parks open up new ski options

Postby ERIC » Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:31 pm

Found this article, and thought the descriptions might be useful to anyone else interested in snow-park trailheads.

Sno-parks open up new ski options: three new California sites … for skiing, sledding, camping

Sunset Magazine
Jan, 1992
by Lora J. Finnegan
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m ... i_11764007


PICTURE LIMITLESS snowy miles of ski, sled, and snowmobile terrain in national forests. Now imagine them essentially closed to recreation simply for lack of a plowed parking lot, trail markers, and a few facilities. That's the problem California's growing Sno-Park system was created to solve.

Modeled after similar programs in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington, the relatively small but growing California system now boasts 15 sites--3 new since last winter. They range throughout the Sierra Nevada, from Yuba Pass south to Huntington Lake.

Recreation areas served by Sno-Park sites are mostly undeveloped. Some ski trails are marked, but none are set with tracks or groomed; each site has a pit toilet but no water.

HOT SNOW PARKS--ECHO

SUMMIT, SHAVER LAKE

Two of the best-developed sites each have well-marked cross-country ski trails and snow-play slopes, as well as equipment rentals and permit sales on site or nearby.

Echo Lake/Echo Summit. Managed as one site, these new snow parks are on both sides of U.S. Highway 50 at the 7,382-foot summit, 60 miles east of Placerville.

Bring your skinny skis to Echo Lake, 1 mile north of U.S. 50 on Echo Lake Road. For the best views, ski northwest 1 1/2 miles up the unplowed road (moderately difficult) to a vista point overlooking the lake; continue on a level 1-mile trail along the lake's south shore (back-track to return).

Echo Summit, just east off U.S. 50 at the base of a defunct downhill ski area, has a gentle slope and long, safe runout that make it ideal for sledding and snow play. On weekends this winter, the Forest Service plans to sell permits and rent cross-country ski equipment out of the old clock tower lodge.

For snow conditions, call (916) 644-6048.

Coyote Sno-Park. Of the four popular snow parks strung along State Highway 168 northeast of Fresno, this 6,760-foot-elevation site 18 miles beyond Shaver Lake offers the greatest variety of cross-country terrain on four well-marked ski trails, as well as free camping at nearby Huntington Lake.

Eagle Lake Trail, an easy 5-mile out-and-back trek, heads west from the parking lot to the Shaver Lake Vista. The toughest ski route is the 6-mile Coyote Loop, which climbs up Tamarack Mountain for views of jewel-like Huntington Lake.

For snow conditions, call (209) 841-3311.

You can rent equipment in Shaver Lake at Four Seasons Ski & Bike, 41838 Highway 168. Permits are available at the Pineridge Ranger Station (open 8 to 4:30 daily) on the highway in town.

WHERE TO FIND PERMITS

AND PARKS

Sno-Park permits cost $3 daily, $20 yearly. (Fines are steep--$75 to $200--for parking without a permit visible on the dashboard.) They're sold at some forest ranger stations and small stores near the parking sites.

To buy a permit before heading up to the mountains, check at ski shops or any California State Automobile Association office. Or send a check to California Parks and Recreation (Attention: Reservations), Box 942896, Sacramento 94296. Specify the date for which you need the permit; delivery takes at least two weeks.

For a statewide list and maps, request Recreational Guide to California Sno-Park Sites ($3) from the above address.

COPYRIGHT 1992 Sunset Publishing Corp.
COPYRIGHT 2008 Gale, Cengage Learning
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