Intense CA weekend hike recommendations?
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Brett Wingeier
(gs_rider) - F
Intense CA weekend hike recommendations? on 03/04/2008 11:02:49 MST Print View

Hi all,

I'm an experienced hiker still relatively new to California, with a sudden opening in my schedule this weekend. Trying to pick a two-night, light and fast, 50-70 mile route within four or five hours' drive of San Francisco. Everything on my to-do list is either too far (Mojave/Josh), needs a car shuttle (Lost Coast), or too snowy right now (Desolation). Any suggestions?

Thanks, and happy hiking!

-g

Dave T
(DaveT) - F
suggestion. on 03/04/2008 11:50:46 MST Print View

you could try a variation of a hike i did over thanksgiving at point reyes. see a thread at:
http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/xdpy/forum_thread/10491/index.html

Michael Skwarczek
(uberkatzen) - F

Locale: Sudamerica
Intense CA weekend hike recommendations? on 03/04/2008 15:43:25 MST Print View

Those pictures speak loudly. I would have to second Dave's recommendation.

You could do a 30mi Yo-Yo (60mi ttl) out in the Ventanas from China Camp to Big Sur and back, either direction. In typical Ventana style the trails are going back into the wild after all these storms, with fallen trees and overgrowth. You did ask for intense.

But I think there's probably better options coming out of Nor Cal.

-Michael "sawchuck"

Dylan Taylor
(nevadas) - F

Locale: California Coast
intense is definitely the word on 03/04/2008 17:33:06 MST Print View

yes, as mike just pointed out, the trail thru ventana wilderness is tough. he and i and another bpl'er did a 25 mile loop this last weekend and it was intense, to say the least. alternate sun and snow, gusty crazy winds and fog at night clearing to freezing temps in the early morning hours. we completed that yo-yo as described by "sawchuck."

the other route mentioned, the point reyes loop, is long, but the trail is clear and smooth and the intensity comes from mileage alone.

my two cents for an intense trip would be what you already mentioned--lost coast. you can do it yo-yo style in either one of the two sections. there is a redwood section-- the south section, sinkyone wilderness-- that goes thru a bunch of valley folds and has some cool beach campgrounds, like little jackass creek. (black sand beach, fresh water). the north section is all beach hiking with camps at the outlets to the streams. either of those sections could be done in a yo-yo. that is rugged, wild land but the trail is at least clear. you'd prob want to call though, b/c the trail is prone to slides, to make sure all is good before making the long drive up the 101.

theres also yolla bolly wilderness, which would have some snow up high, and/or the snowy mountain wilderness areas, which are in the coast range mountains. intense comes from the ups and downs and little water, but at this time of year, that shouldnt be a prob.

anyway, have fun and good luck!

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
"Intense CA weekend hike recommendations?" on 03/04/2008 21:22:17 MST Print View

I can always help with car shuttles to the Lost Coast. How about the Sinkyone ? Bitch of a drive from the 101 for about 23 miles (windy and steep) but, you'll most likely have the park pretty much to yourself and the elk.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Intense CA weekend hike recommendations? on 03/05/2008 08:32:36 MST Print View

I assume that you are wanting to avoid snow given your miles goal. My first three suggestion would be:

1) The Lost Coast. If you are shooting for 50-70 miles then you don't need a shuttle. This is how I have typically have done the lost coast... I drive up after work on a Friday night and stay in one of the motels in Sheltered Cove. Hike Sat/Sun and then drive back Sunday night. You can do this as a yo-yo along the beach, or as a loose loop taking the high trail if it's open. The last time I planned to take the high trail it was washed out. To get your 50-70 miles (rather than the ~48 listed above) you could continue on the section south of sheltered cove.

2) Ventana Wilderness. Lots of options. This time of year I typically do the Pine Ridge Trail starting by the Big Sur Station up to china camp and back. I find it's quicker in and out of big sur station than driving to china camp and the big sur bakery is a nice place to grab something yummy for the drive home. Once again this is ~48 miles, there are several side trails you could explore to add additional miles.

When you have even less time I would suggest this same hike but stopping a Redwood camp. When I need a quick "test" hike I will leave work early on Friday, hike up to sykes and enjoy the hot springs, and then continue a few more miles up to Redwood camp which almost never has people. Saturday I can come out quickly and be home around lunch time.

3) Henry Coe State Park... if it hasn't been closed due to budget issues. I haven't tried to string together a 50-70 miles loop, but I am sure you could easily string together a reasonably intense stretch. Toward the end of summer and fall water can sometimes be an issue, but that shouldn't be a problem now.



I wouldn't recommend the Skyline to Sea trail because much of the trail is too close to roads for my taste.

For some other ideas you might want to check out Matt Heid "Camping & Backpacking the SF Bay Area".

Edited by verber on 03/05/2008 09:27:28 MST.

Michael Skwarczek
(uberkatzen) - F

Locale: Sudamerica
Big Sur/China Camp yo-yo on 03/05/2008 10:07:58 MST Print View

Yo Mark,

When was the last time you used the trail system between Sykes and Pine Ridge Camp? Our experience with everything East of Pine Ridge, having done a loop from China Camp to Pine Ridge, then into Pine Valley and back. Our experience was often rough and slow going. The split down to Pine Valley from Pine Ridge by way of Bear Basin being the worst, even grueling at times. Anyway, I'd like to do this yo-yo route you, I and Daryl suggested but I'm curious about trail conditions between Sykes and Pine Ridge. Wondering how that may, or may not cut into travel time.

Also, you mentioned ~48. I was figuring 10mi from Big Sur to Sykes, 10mi from Sykes to Pine Ridge, 10mi from Pine Ridge to China Camp. +/- Do you concur?

cheers,
-Michael "sawchuck"

Edited by uberkatzen on 03/05/2008 10:09:16 MST.

Brett Wingeier
(gs_rider) - F
Lost Coast on 03/05/2008 10:31:58 MST Print View

Thanks for the great advice, everyone. Right now I'm leaning strongly toward Lost Coast. If I can get a lift from my Humboldt buddy, I'll do Mattole River to Usal - otherwise will do a loop from Mattole River.

Assuming the one-way option works out, I'll ride up on the Friday morning, drop the moto at Usal Road and Hwy 1, get picked up and taken to the north trailhead, walk for a while :), and come out Sunday afternoon.

I'm treating Usal Road and Hwy 1 as the the southern trailhead, since I've heard the road to Usal Beach is six crappy, rutted miles and I don't think my shuttle buddy's car will be up to it. If anyone can confirm distance and conditions on this stretch of Usal Road from personal experience I'd be much obliged.

Thanks again!

Michael Skwarczek
(uberkatzen) - F

Locale: Sudamerica
Lost Coast it is on 03/05/2008 12:13:53 MST Print View

Right on, Brett!

Please take plenty of pics and post a trip report. I'm looking forward to a planned Lost Coast adventure in April.

-Michael "sawchuck"

Edited by uberkatzen on 03/05/2008 12:14:56 MST.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Big Sur/China Camp yo-yo on 03/05/2008 13:52:03 MST Print View

The last time I was there was last year. To be honest I don't remember what time of year because the trips over the last ~4 years sort of blur together. This has historically been one of my standard "shakedown hikes" which I normally do several times a year cause it's a good work out and close to the bay area.

Big Basin to Redwood was clear and easy. Redwood to the junction was more difficult (trail ok, but some deadfall and lots of brush), and the junction to ??? (can't remember) was the worse, and then it got better as I got closer to China Camp.

The reason I wrote down 48 is because I am pretty sure that both from measuring the map and some trail signs that it's 24 miles. I am 99% sure that it's ~13 miles from big sur to redwood. My memory is that it's ~13 from redwood to china camp. Hmm... that would be 26 each way, 52 total. Maybe the slower going china camp to redwood made me remember it being longer.

--mark

Edited by verber on 03/05/2008 13:59:47 MST.

Brett Wingeier
(gs_rider) - F
Lost Coast, version 2 on 03/05/2008 15:24:54 MST Print View

Well... turns out my good Humboldt buddy is up for a shorter trip, and I can't pass up the chance to hang out. So as good as the 64-mile solo walk sounded I'll be scoping it down to Mattole->Shelter Cove to accommodate his schedule. I'll get my kicks setting up the car shuttle by bicycle while I wait for him to get off work.

Of course that doesn't mean I won't post a TR and photos. Look for 'em, and see you guys out there.

Anthony Weston
(anthonyweston) - MLife

Locale: Southern CA
Lost Coast on 03/06/2008 10:09:19 MST Print View

I'm heading to the Lost Coast in May, anyone know if poison oak there is problem, similiar to Big Sur?

Dylan Taylor
(nevadas) - F

Locale: California Coast
bear cannister and poison oak on 03/06/2008 15:05:35 MST Print View

three things to add:

lost coast requires a bear cannister. yes, the bears come down to the beach itself. in summer, so do the rattlesnakes, but this time of year that shouldnt be a prob.

have a tide chart. bits of the north section are only passable during low tide. when it is a full moon/ new moon, even the low tide can seem intensely close to the cliff there. lots of people have died on this section of trail so be careful of rogue waves and be mindful of the tides.

poison oak. yes, lots of it.

and ticks too. just like big sur. gaiters and tucking in clothing is recommended so as to prevent those little guys from getting in anywhere its dark and warm, where they love to then latch on for a feeding frenzy.

a last note about mileage. the lost coast is a "short" length but it's wild country and the miles will feel double what it is on paper. why? because on the northern section you are hiking through the sand which slows things considerably. then, once you pass shelter cove you enter the redwoods. this is intense up and down travel, where you basically climb to the top of a ridge via numerous switchbacks, then descend into a gully and then repeat. over and over again. there is very little flat thru the sinkyone section. i've never come out of that wilderness without some blisters and seriously sore muscles.

but its the best coast hiking i've ever done; comparable to the coast section of olympic national.

enjoy!

Edited by nevadas on 03/06/2008 15:11:44 MST.

Anthony Weston
(anthonyweston) - MLife

Locale: Southern CA
lost coast on 03/16/2008 21:56:23 MDT Print View

Thanks Dylan, I appreciate the run down. I'll start training for hills.