mid-may west-side 3-day backpacking loop?

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
tones
Topix Newbie
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri May 05, 2017 7:02 pm
Experience: Level 2 Backpacker

mid-may west-side 3-day backpacking loop?

Post by tones » Fri May 05, 2017 7:07 pm

Hey Gang — I'm looking to take a backpacking trip this coming weekend (May 12-14). Hoping to keep the distance to around 8 or 9 miles per day, so less than 27 miles total. Would love to find somewhere scenic, relatively secluded, within 4-5 hours of San Francisco. I've only got one car, so will need to do an out-and-back or loop.

I know the snowfall has been extra heavy this year, so am not sure what areas are likely to be clear enough to hike.

Any advice or suggestions would be appreciated!!

=Tim-
Last edited by tones on Fri May 05, 2017 7:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.








User avatar
balzaccom
Topix Addict
Posts: 2256
Joined: Wed Dec 17, 2008 9:22 pm
Experience: N/A

Re: mid-may west-side 3-day backpacking loop?

Post by balzaccom » Fri May 05, 2017 7:14 pm

The snow level right now is about 6500 feet...and there may be more snow coming over the weekend. Not a lot of options at that point. Hetch-hetchy might work, but that's not loop. Nothing in Emigrant or Carson-Iceberg is open. Highway 108 is closed at the sno-park, last I heard.

Look and Henry Coe or something in the Coast Range....
Balzaccom

check out our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

User avatar
tones
Topix Newbie
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri May 05, 2017 7:02 pm
Experience: Level 2 Backpacker

Re: mid-may west-side 3-day backpacking loop?

Post by tones » Fri May 05, 2017 7:19 pm

thanks Balzaccom!

You think Hetch Hetchy could work if we just hiked out-and-back along the reservoir? I was assuming it's too late to get a permit. (Also briefly considered the Hetch Hetchy / Vernon Lake loop, but I'm betting it's still impassable since portions of it are well over 6500)

I was considering the coastal range but so much of it is closed from last year's fire! :(

So yeah it seems like Henry Coe might be my best bet, even if it's not as scenic as the mighty Sierras.

User avatar
dave54
Founding Member
Posts: 1152
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2005 10:24 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer
Location: where the Sierras, Cascades, and Great Basin meet.

Re: mid-may west-side 3-day backpacking loop?

Post by dave54 » Fri May 05, 2017 8:05 pm

Ishi Wilderness?

Creeks will be high, of course.
=~=~=~=~=~=~=~=~
Log off and get outdoors!
~=~=~=~=~=~=~=~=

User avatar
maiathebee
Topix Regular
Posts: 351
Joined: Tue Jun 18, 2013 11:59 am
Experience: Level 3 Backpacker
Location: Oakland, CA
Contact:

Re: mid-may west-side 3-day backpacking loop?

Post by maiathebee » Fri May 05, 2017 8:44 pm

It's way too early for the Sierra unless you just want to day hike in Yosemite Valley or something. Go to Coe or Pt Reyes and come back and ask again in at least a month. If you're really set on driving somewhere to get out of town, maybe try Redwood NP.
oh hey! you're reading my signature.
that's nice. want to check out my blog?
here it is: plutoniclove.com
ig: @plutonic_love

User avatar
Wandering Daisy
Topix Docent
Posts: 5205
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 8:19 pm
Experience: N/A
Location: Fair Oaks CA (Sacramento area)
Contact:

Re: mid-may west-side 3-day backpacking loop?

Post by Wandering Daisy » Fri May 05, 2017 8:58 pm

I would go to Yosemite.

It would be snow on the upper half, but the North Rim Traverse in Yosemite is do-able. I did this trip in April one year, with snowshoes. A good 3-day trip. Day 1- up to buttress south of Snow Creek footbridge. Good snow-free camping on sand. Fantastic view of Half Dome.
Day 2- up Snow Creek then either down Lehamite Creek or to North Dome and across to Lehamite Creek and then Canyon Creek. Crossing Canyon creek is the crux. You can camp at North Dome or up on the Shoulder above Yosemite Point (have to carry water or melt snow). Mostly snow day, but you can find dry campsites.
Day 3 - down Yosemite Falls trail.
I do this route early season quite often. One trip in late May I did not use snowshoes- the snow was compact enough to walk on it.
This is not a popular backpack so I think first-come permits would be available.

You could also just camp two nighs near the Snow Creek Bridge and day-hike up to Mt Watkins. IT would be a snow climb. The buttress just east of Mt Watkins has a fantastic view into Tenaya Canyon. Or you could camp up here on the second night, then make a long day back out.

I have also done Pohono Trail from the tunnels before Glacier Point was plowed. Again, lots of dry viewpoints and you can camp on dry ground if you look around, but the trail is snow covered. I came back down via Panorama and Mist Trail. I camped the last night at the backpackers campground in the Valley. Then walked back to my car via the south valley trail and old road that parallels the road from the Valley to the Wawona Tunnels. The Glacier Point Road is now plowed and open to bicycles, so you could not camp out on Glacier Point like I did when the road was closed. Once it opens you are under the regular summer camping regulations.

Or just go up the Merced River as far as you can. Echo Valley is probably flooded. I have waded it before when flooded- icy cold but not bad. The issue with this trip is getting a permit.

Another early trip I have done is up YOsemite Falls trail, climb Eagle Peak, then traverse over to the top of El Cap and camp. Again, it will have snow. We did it without snowshoes, but if you take snowshoes it would be easier. This is also not a popular trail so you should be able to get a permit.

User avatar
Wandering Daisy
Topix Docent
Posts: 5205
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 8:19 pm
Experience: N/A
Location: Fair Oaks CA (Sacramento area)
Contact:

Re: mid-may west-side 3-day backpacking loop?

Post by Wandering Daisy » Fri May 05, 2017 9:01 pm

When I said Yosemite Falls Trail is not popular, I meant for an overnight backpack permit. It is a very popular day-hike so that stretch would not have any soilitude.

User avatar
zacjust32
Topix Regular
Posts: 342
Joined: Thu Apr 16, 2015 12:50 pm
Experience: Level 3 Backpacker
Location: Fresno, Ca
Contact:

Re: mid-may west-side 3-day backpacking loop?

Post by zacjust32 » Fri May 05, 2017 9:02 pm

Paradise Valley out of Cedar Grove for sure! (I was going to do the same but I found out it's Mothers Day that Sunday) No quota on the Woods Creek trail and you can go as far as you want, first campsite is ~6 miles in. Mist falls will be running great this time of year. S. Fork Kings Flow abv. Roaring River

User avatar
Wandering Daisy
Topix Docent
Posts: 5205
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 8:19 pm
Experience: N/A
Location: Fair Oaks CA (Sacramento area)
Contact:

Re: mid-may west-side 3-day backpacking loop?

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sat May 06, 2017 7:46 am

I am surprised that there is no quota on the Woods Creek trail. Is that because it is before Memorial Day? Or is that year-round?

User avatar
AlmostThere
Topix Addict
Posts: 2724
Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 4:38 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

Re: mid-may west-side 3-day backpacking loop?

Post by AlmostThere » Sat May 06, 2017 8:51 am

With the melt the way it is, call about Hetch Hetchy before you leave home. Can't camp before Rancheria Falls and the bridge will be closed if it is too dangerous -- people have died trying to cross it in high snow melt.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], ericpmeadow and 7 guests