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Ideas for a 50 Miler in northern California?
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Walter Underwood
(wunder) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Ideas for a 50 Miler in northern California? on 06/02/2009 18:42:39 MDT Print View

I'm doing some research for our venture patrol on possible routes for a 50 miler in mid-August. I expect that the wilderness permits are full from Whitney all the way up to Yosemite, so I've been looking elsewhere.

So far, I've got three possibilities, a loop around the Emigrant Wilderness, a segment of the PCT from Echo Summit to Soda Springs (along the Tahoe rim), or something in the Trinity Alps.

We have a crew on the young side, 13-15, but in great shape and worked well together on Skyline to the Sea. It will be the first long backpack for any of the Scouts, though one has been on a 9-day canoe trip at Northern Tier.

Wide open to suggestions. We are in Palo Alto, near San Jose.

Bob Summers
(SM498) - F

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
A Few Off-The-Beaten-Track Ideas on 06/11/2009 19:36:41 MDT Print View

I have a couple of ideas.

Do you want to go where everyone else goes or do you want to avoid other people? I'm in the avoid other people category but some of my ASMs like the cachet of places like Shasta & Whitney. How tough are you and your Scouts? :-)

My troop did a 40 miler over the Memorial Day Weekend at Henry Coe. It was planned as a tough hike because I need to make sure my troop is in shape for Philmont. Henry Coe would be harder in August than it is on Memorial Day.

The itinerary was Hunting Hollow to Wilson Peak Friday Night. (4.3 miles)

Wilson Peak, Pacheco Falls, and Pacheco Camp to Mississippi Lake (16.2 miles) on Saturday. Pacheco Camp is a nice place to camp if you'd like a more relaxed trip. The side trip to Pacheco Falls (now dry) is a little less than 1,000 feet of elevation in a little less than a mile each way.

Mississippi Lake to Jack Rabbit Lake via the Hartman Trail (steep downhill even by Coe standards), then to the Orestimba Corral on Sunday. (13.4 miles )

Monday was Orestimba Corral to Dowdy Ranch. (6.1 miles)

My guys had a blast. We all slept well and it was great to see how jazzed they were on Tuesday at the troop meeting.

You could easily extend the trip north from Mississippi Lake to get a few more miles.

If you've been to Henry Coe, you know that it's tough terrain. In August, it will be hot and dry, so you'd need to practice good water management.

Last year I did a 100+ miles walking from Lassen Park to Susanville.

That itinerary started at Helen Lake, then to Bumpass Hell and Kings Creek. We picked up the PCT for a while where we forded Kings Creek. Then north to Cindercone, the Fantastic Lava Beds, the Painted Sand Dunes, and the Butte Lake Campground. Climbing Cindercone is a challenge - imagine a 2,000 foot tall pile of beach sand - but you get a great view of the Painted Sand Dunes.

From Butte Lake we hiked through to the Caribou Wilderness to Triangle Lake and the Silver Lake Campground. From there we hiked to Westwood for Pizza, then took the (~30 mile) Biz Johnston Trail to Susanville.

With a rest day at Silver Lake, it took us 8 days IIRC.

I can provide GPS tracks for those trips.

I'm thinking of something for summer of 2010. One possibility is to start at Warner Camp in Mt Lassen Park and head north along the PCT to Burney falls and beyond.

Bob S
Patrol Leader of the Steam Engine Patrol (Huff, puff, huff, puff)

Edited by SM498 on 06/11/2009 19:43:42 MDT.

Jeremy Pendrey
(Pendrey) - MLife

Locale: California
Re: Ideas for a 50 Miler in northern California? on 06/12/2009 15:22:34 MDT Print View

Walter: I would NOT do Henry Coe in August. It will be dry and blazing hot.

Your ideas are all good ones. PCT from Echo summit through Desolation up to Barker Pass or all the way to Tahoe City would be great.

Emigrant has some good loops and is easy to get free permits and is probably perfect challenge-wise for that age group. Last year I did a 40 mile loop out of Crabtree up to Deer Lake then to Emigrant Lake, over Mosquito Pass and down to Sheep Camp and then back up to Chewing Gum Lake by way of Upper Relief Meadow (did I get that name right?). Anyway, there are lots of possibilities in Emigrant and it is perfect in August. Emigrant has a high ratio of beautiful lakes for the work required to reach them.

I would also consider the Eastern Sierra out of Bridgeport or even Mammoth or Bishop. More of a drive, but the terrain is outstanding and permits are obtainable since you are in National Forest land and not National Park land.

Another place I highly recommend is Sequoia or Kings Canyon. Much easier to get permits than Yosemite and just as beautiful IMHO. There are many 50 mile loops to be done there. Some out of Lodgepole, Crescent Meadow or Mineral King, and Road's End in KK.

I haven't hiked the Trinity Alps yet (on my list) but have heard great things, so also worth looking into.

Overall, Emigrant would be easiest to set up and get to and everyone would love it. Sequoia/Kings Canyon would be my second choice, and is probably more beautiful but more of a drive too. Eastern Sierra is probably my favorite place, but even harder to get to from where you live.

Walter Underwood
(wunder) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Headed east of Emigrant on 06/26/2009 14:43:53 MDT Print View

Our Scouts decided in favor of less people over famous territory. That ruled out the PCT, since it is pretty heavily traveled.

We are headed for the area between the Emigrant Wilderness and the Hoover Wilderness. Enter at Leavitt Meadows and head south towards Dorothy Lake, then either over to Emigrant Lake or east to Peeler Lake, maybe Tilden Canyon or Slide Canyon.

Tomorrow we're hiking up Mt. Diablo with full packs, though not a full load of food.

Hiking at Henry Coe is hard enough when you can find water. In the summer, it would be nasty.

Edited by wunder on 06/26/2009 14:46:16 MDT.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Headed east of Emigrant on 06/26/2009 16:24:08 MDT Print View

Hi Walter, I hope you and the Scouts have a grand adventure. Entering via Leavitt you start in open sage, typical of the high desert of the eastern slope, then head up through several zones until reaching alpine as you work south.

The only downside (other than the interminable drive) is the commercial pack station, which keeps the trail wide, beaten up and well fertilized (like every other Emigrant trailhead). Still, Leavitt seems much less popular than, say, the Kennedy, Crabtree or Gianelli trailheads.

A shuttle, ending in Yosemite could be a spectacular route.

Edited by halfturbo on 06/26/2009 16:32:37 MDT.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Headed east of Emigrant on 06/26/2009 18:02:25 MDT Print View

Still alot of snow in the higher alitudes.

Have fun at Diablo, it is supposed to get REAL hot tomorrow

Jay Wilkerson
(Creachen) - MLife

Locale: East Bay
East of Emigrant-Mt. Diablo on 06/26/2009 18:20:44 MDT Print View

Like Ken said it will be VERY HOT at Mt. Diablo--I would suggest starting out at Castle Rock TH-because that trail is covered in nice tree canopy the entire way. It is supposedly going to be 103 degrees here in the East Bay....Have plenty of water on hand and have great time. (Castle Rock has water fountains, bathrooms and a public pool for a swim afterwards).


Edited by Creachen on 06/26/2009 18:36:28 MDT.

Walter Underwood
(wunder) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Mt. Diablo weather on 06/26/2009 18:59:23 MDT Print View

Yep, 100+ degrees at Diablo tomorrow. Thanks for the route suggestion.

sean mccutcheon

Locale: East Bay
PCT Carson Pass to Eagle Falls TH on 10/27/2009 06:06:39 MDT Print View

I'm hiling with my son from Meiss Lake TH and coming out the Eagle Falls TH. I will be spending one night in Desolation Wilderness. Do I need a permite?

Walter Underwood
(wunder) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Desolation Permits on 10/27/2009 08:12:48 MDT Print View

Call the ranger station and ask.

Desolation has an unusually complicated permit and quota system, using zones instead of trailhead quotas. The quota season is over now (runs Memorial Day through Sep. 30), but permits may still be required. Check this page:

Call the rangers anyway. With the early storms we've had, you need to check trail conditions. There could be trees down, washouts, anything.

sean mccutcheon

Locale: East Bay
Desolation permit on 10/27/2009 09:50:40 MDT Print View

Thanks I understand the permit program I just didn't want to go through Placerville. I'm wondering how section hikers handle this?
I will call the ranger station.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: PCT Carson Pass to Eagle Falls TH on 10/27/2009 10:10:59 MDT Print View

Hi Sean,

Yes, you'll need an overnight permit for your night in Desolation, and there's a per-night fee. You may be able to get one from a Forest Service office other than Tahoe or Eldorado--I'd call whatever office is nearest your intended trailhead and inquire.



p.s. I was up in Desolation two weekends ago, after the big storm, and there was very little snow left.

Edited by halfturbo on 10/27/2009 10:12:45 MDT.

Zack Karas
( - MLife

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Desolation is brrr on 10/27/2009 10:40:53 MDT Print View

We've been getting a little snow and the temps have dropped about 20 degrees both day and night for the last few days (highs 30-40, lows 10-20) . It's supposed to warm up a tiny bit for this coming weekend, but you will most likely encounter some snow. Should be beautiful.

I'm thinking of backpacking up there either tonight or tomorrow night, if I do I'll post conditions here.

sean mccutcheon

Locale: East Bay
Desolation Permite on 10/27/2009 11:40:10 MDT Print View

Thanks Rick and MDT
I guess we will have to go up 50 instead of 88. My son thinks fishing up in Little Yosemite Valley in Yosemite is a better idea.

sean mccutcheon

Locale: East Bay
Desolation Permits on 10/28/2009 13:29:30 MDT Print View

Talked to the ranger at Pacific House ranger station. I do need a permit, witch I payed for and can pick up after hours in a lock boxs at the staton. She also said I will need a snow park pass to park overnight at the meiss lake trail head. This should be a great weekend for a 30 miler!