3 or 4 night loop in Northern Sierra

If you've been searching for the best source of information and stimulating discussion related to Spring/Summer/Fall backpacking, hiking and camping in the Sierra Nevada...look no further!
User avatar
teddyinthewoods
Topix Novice
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2018 5:50 pm
Experience: Level 2 Backpacker

3 or 4 night loop in Northern Sierra

Post by teddyinthewoods » Tue Feb 09, 2021 10:09 pm

Hope everyone is safe and healthy. Hiked the High Sierra Trail in a week- now looking to head to the Northern Sierra. Looking for big views, lots of granite and alpine lakes (it's the Sierras- what else?) What can you recommend for a three or four night loop?








User avatar
kpeter
Topix Fanatic
Posts: 1093
Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2010 1:11 pm
Experience: N/A

Re: 3 or 4 night loop in Northern Sierra

Post by kpeter » Tue Feb 09, 2021 10:34 pm

There are so many to choose from. For something that short, I would probably go to Emigrant. Here is one of my trail reports on this region. It certainly has views and plenty of granite.

http://highsierratopix.com/community/vi ... co#p136477

and also this:

http://highsierratopix.com/community/vi ... eer#p69688

User avatar
wildhiker
Topix Expert
Posts: 755
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2011 4:44 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer
Location: Palo Alto, CA
Contact:

Re: 3 or 4 night loop in Northern Sierra

Post by wildhiker » Tue Feb 09, 2021 11:02 pm

Some more information would help us provide suggestions. What do you consider to be the "northern Sierra"? Is Yosemite "northern" to you - it's "central" to me? I think of the areas around Lake Tahoe as "northern". Also, what are your preferences and skills for on-trail versus cross-country hiking, and how many miles a day do you expect to hike? How important is solitude?
-Phil

User avatar
dougieb
Topix Regular
Posts: 120
Joined: Tue May 27, 2014 9:10 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

Re: 3 or 4 night loop in Northern Sierra

Post by dougieb » Wed Feb 10, 2021 8:26 am


User avatar
Lumbergh21
Topix Expert
Posts: 484
Joined: Mon Oct 31, 2016 10:11 pm
Experience: Level 3 Backpacker

Re: 3 or 4 night loop in Northern Sierra

Post by Lumbergh21 » Wed Feb 10, 2021 4:43 pm

kpeter wrote:
Tue Feb 09, 2021 10:34 pm
There are so many to choose from. For something that short, I would probably go to Emigrant. Here is one of my trail reports on this region. It certainly has views and plenty of granite.

http://highsierratopix.com/community/vi ... co#p136477

and also this:

http://highsierratopix.com/community/vi ... eer#p69688
Reading those trip reports had me planning a hike for the Cherry Creek area that I now plan to go on this year in August or September. Thanks for the great trip report.

User avatar
teddyinthewoods
Topix Novice
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2018 5:50 pm
Experience: Level 2 Backpacker

Re: 3 or 4 night loop in Northern Sierra

Post by teddyinthewoods » Thu Feb 11, 2021 11:48 am

Wildhiker, I'm looking to hike 7-12 miles a day and I define Northern Sierras as Lake Tahoe northward. Love those photos from Emigrant Lumbergh21!

User avatar
Lumbergh21
Topix Expert
Posts: 484
Joined: Mon Oct 31, 2016 10:11 pm
Experience: Level 3 Backpacker

Re: 3 or 4 night loop in Northern Sierra

Post by Lumbergh21 » Thu Feb 11, 2021 10:29 pm

teddyinthewoods wrote:
Thu Feb 11, 2021 11:48 am
Wildhiker, I'm looking to hike 7-12 miles a day and I define Northern Sierras as Lake Tahoe northward. Love those photos from Emigrant Lumbergh21!
Not me, kpeter.

User avatar
wildhiker
Topix Expert
Posts: 755
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2011 4:44 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer
Location: Palo Alto, CA
Contact:

Re: 3 or 4 night loop in Northern Sierra

Post by wildhiker » Thu Feb 11, 2021 10:42 pm

Well, if you are looking for a backpack in the Lake Tahoe area (or northward), and want to see granite, alpine lakes, and big views, then your best bet is the Desolation Wilderness. I know it has a reputation for being very crowded, but I've had nice trips there, particularly in the northwest part out of Wrights Lake trailhead, heading over Rockbound Pass and then visiting the many lakes to the northwest. Plenty of information online (including here on HST) about trails in Desolation Wilderness.

You can get big views, fewer people, and no permit issues (none required other than the annual California Campfire Permit that you can get online), but no lakes and little granite, on the PCT north of Desolation Wilderness, from Barker Pass to Donner Pass, which makes a nice 3.5 day backpack if you can arrange a car shuttle. Do this in the second half of July - the mob of PCT thru-hikers has mostly passed, but the wildflowers are still blooming - and there are spectacular blooms on the volcanic soils. Leave a car at Donner Pass (on old highway 40, not on the I-80 freeway), and head back south to Barker Pass and then hike in just a few miles to camp near the headwaters of the North Fork Blackwood Creek (a reliable water source). Next day is long and mostly waterless, so carry some, as the PCT gets up on top of the crest for many miles with expansive views. Camp somewhere along Five Lakes Creek or Whiskey Creek. Take a short detour to view and swim in one of the Five Lakes (but no camping allowed there). The third day, continue north on the PCT to the Granite Chief area. There are some creeks along this section. Take a short side trip on the use trail to the top of Granite Chief for more good views (you can also run the ridge cross-country to Needle Lake). Then camp a few miles further north in the bowl below (south of) Tinker Knob. There is a usually reliable stream there. Your final day is mostly waterless again along the PCT, once again generally running near or on top the crest, to Donner Pass. When you get to Roller Pass, at the edge of the Sugar Bowl ski area, you can either quickly run down the PCT through the ski area, or take the Mt. Judah loop instead that is more scenic and has more good views from the top. Then go back and get your other car at Barker Pass.

-Phil

User avatar
teddyinthewoods
Topix Novice
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2018 5:50 pm
Experience: Level 2 Backpacker

Re: 3 or 4 night loop in Northern Sierra

Post by teddyinthewoods » Sat Feb 20, 2021 12:06 pm

Phil,
Thanks for the detailed advice - love the suggestions!

User avatar
dave54
Founding Member
Posts: 1163
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2005 10:24 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer
Location: where the Sierras, Cascades, and Great Basin meet.

Re: 3 or 4 night loop in Northern Sierra

Post by dave54 » Sun Feb 21, 2021 3:11 pm

What is northern to you? Tahoe is southern to me. ;)

Lassen Volcanic and the adjacent Caribou Wilderness is not granite, but has gazillions of lakes.
Little visited, LVNP permits available on line, no quotas. Caribou requires no permits.
=~=~=~=~=~=~=~=~
Log off and get outdoors!
~=~=~=~=~=~=~=~=

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: goddard's will, grampy, markskor, RGTPSB and 7 guests