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Elizabeth Tracy
(mariposa) - M

Locale: Outside
Best backpacking in your area on 11/22/2010 13:39:25 MST Print View

The purpose of this thread is to learn about some fantastic backpacking/hiking in your area, that might be off the radar.

Fill in the blanks:

I live/backpack in _________________ (fill in a city, state/province, mountain range or other regional indicator)

All the backpackers seem to flock to ______________________

But I think ____________________ is better, because ________________.

Go!

Jack H.
(Found) - F

Locale: Sacramento, CA
Re: Best backpacking in your area on 11/22/2010 15:18:07 MST Print View

I live in southern utah. Hike anywhere within hundreds of miles and it's some of the best stuff on earth. Outsiders flock to the national parks.

Cesar Valdez
(PrimeZombie) - F

Locale: Scandinavia
re: fave spot on 11/22/2010 15:30:31 MST Print View

But... if I tell everyone where my favorite spots are... then they won't be my favorite spots anymore.

Most of them are places where I can hike literally all day and not see another human being. And that's usually how I like it.

But it's pretty hard not to find a good spot in Sweden (where I live). If you like woods, that is.

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Southern California on 11/22/2010 16:33:56 MST Print View

In Southern California, the two best places (IMHO) to BP are the San Gorgonio Wilderness and the San Jacinto Wilderness.

In the San Gorgonio Wilderness, everybody wants to go to San Gorgonio Mountain via either the Vivian Creek Trail or the South Fork Trail. The overlooked spot is Big Tree Camp. You can also go to the area just east of the Wilderness, and the people count will drop by two-thirds.

In the San Jacinto Wilderness, everybody wants to go to the peak via Round Valley or Tamarack from the tram or to the greater Skunk Cabbage/Tahquitz Meadow area from Humber Park. The overlooked spot is Caramba Camp. The area south of the SJ Wilderness is also greatly under appreciated. The wilderness area itself is pretty darn popular though.

Southern California in general is under appreciated in terms of backpacking. So many more people go to the Sierra Nevada. Not without reason, the Sierra Nevada are beautiful, but I've gone on backpacks here in some pretty nice spots in So Cal where I've seen not a soul for several days at a time.

HJ

Edited by hikin_jim on 11/22/2010 16:36:57 MST.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
The best! on 11/22/2010 17:11:23 MST Print View

I live in Kalispell, Montana. All the backpackers seem to flock to Glacier NP in July and August, but I think that the same hikes are better in September and October because the autumn weather best enhances the parks ambiance. Plus, there are essentially no people backpacking in the fall.

Steve S
(idahosteve) - F

Locale: Idaho
Re: Best backpacking in your area on 11/22/2010 21:58:21 MST Print View

I'm in Idaho and all the backpacers hike the Toxaway Loop in the Sawtooths. I think pretty much any other trail in the Sawtooths is better! LOL But that just means I rarely ever see any other people in the cool spots!

Dirk Rabdau
(dirk9827) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Best backpacking in your area on 11/22/2010 22:13:58 MST Print View

I live near Mt. Rainier in Washington. If I had to pick some of the best backpacking spots in the state, I'd tell you to hike north from Stevens Pass and through the Glacier Peak Wilderness and into the North Cascades and Pasayten Wilderness via the Pacific Crest Trail.

If you can do it in late summer or early fall, all the better as the larch is turning. There are a number of loops you can hike in these regions that would be well worth a visit to Washington state. I'd also recommend visiting Steheiken, a trail town only reachable via the trail or by boat. Terrific bakery.

You will run into many day hikers at Rainy Pass, but don't be discouraged, for most of the time the trail is sparingly traveled.

Happy trails!

Dirk

Edited by dirk9827 on 11/22/2010 22:15:50 MST.

Nico .
(NickB) - MLife

Locale: Los Padres National Forest
Best Backpacking in your area on 11/24/2010 15:17:37 MST Print View

I live up against the Los Padres National Forest in southern CA.

We don't see too many backpackers in our local national forest, but of the ones we do see, I'd say most are hiking along the Sespe River Trail or Manzanna Creek. Both are really nice still and it's possible to hike them and not see others out there in the dead of winter.

But I prefer the deeper los padres backcountry along the Sisquoc River and the Sierra Madres because it's less visited, the porteros are really beautiful (think the chapparal version of the high country Sierra meadows), and there's a lot of neat places to explore (indian rock art sites, big waterfalls (by southern CA standards), see CA condors in the wild, etc.).

Paul Magnanti
(PaulMags) - MLife

Locale: People's Republic of Boulder
Colorado.... on 11/24/2010 16:20:51 MST Print View

I live in Boulder, CO.

Where NOT to hike within 2-3 hrs away? :)

Most people seem to flock to Rocky Mtn NP or the nearby Indians Peaks Wilderness..but even in those areas you can find solitude if you can read a map and go off trail. RMNP is esp nice for off trail jaunts.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
NYC on 11/25/2010 07:35:52 MST Print View

Lots of great hiking within 30 miles of NYC, but you will see lot's of people on the trail. Go a little further and you can hike for days without seeing a sole.

Northern Harriman Park on "The Long Path" along the border with West Point Military Academy. People don't hike it much as it is more strenuous than other area hikes. Lots of nice views.

Shawangunk Ridge Trail north of Wurtsboro, NY. 3 days on a normally busy 3 day weekend and we never saw a single person.

A little further away, but lots of great areas in the Catskills where you will see very few people and even further, the Adirondacks.

Steven Hanlon
(asciibaron) - F

Locale: Mid Atlantic
Dolly Sods. A long drive... but oh so worth it. on 12/03/2010 11:14:43 MST Print View

i live near Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

all the backpackers seem to flock to the AT or Shenandoah National Park.

but i think Dolly Sods is better because it's so varied. the northern tract is open and windswept - like a high plains plateau. the southern tract is very rugged and has plenty of vistas, water frolicking, and hidden camping locations.

it's also awesome because it's just far enough away that most of the weekend warriors won't make the 4+ hour drive from Baltimore/DC. i typically go in on a Saturday of a 3 day weekend and will not see another soul after 10am Sunday morning as most people trek back to their cars. my car is usually all alone come Monday afternoon when i hike out to head home.

Matthew Marasco
(BabyMatty) - F

Locale: Western/Central PA, Adirondacks
re: on 12/11/2010 19:30:37 MST Print View

I'm in Niagara Falls, NY. The closest places to backpack are in Western Pa. The crowds flock to Allegany State Park, close to the PA/NY border.

My favorite spots are Minister Creek Trail (many fond memories there), and the Black Forest Trail.

When I have the time, the Adirondacks are a great place to hike and paddle. The Whitney Loop is an amazing 90-mile paddling trip worth checking out, the highlight being island camping on Lake Lila.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Best backpacking in your area on 12/11/2010 20:06:13 MST Print View

"If I had to pick some of the best backpacking spots in the state, I'd tell you to hike north from Stevens Pass and through the Glacier Peak Wilderness and into the North Cascades and Pasayten Wilderness via the Pacific Crest Trail."

A big +1 To which I'd add: If you're comfortable with off trail or sketchy trail hiking, there are some spectacularly beautiful routes in the area. To mention a few: The Bath Lakes High Route; The Buckindy-Snowking Traverse; Easy Ridge-Perfect Impasse-Perfect Pass out and back from the Hannegan Pass TH. This last one has a short stretch of Class IV going up to Perfect Pass, but even if you stop before that, the views are mind blowing. In the Pasayten, the sky's the limit for cross country rambling. For anyone interested in this kind of hiking in the Glacier Peak Wilderness, THE source is Routes and Rocks: Hiker's Guide to the North Cascades From Glacier Peak to Lake Chelan: DF And RW Tabor Crowder. The book is out of print, but used copies are floating around; check with Amazon.com for openers. The book is a compendium of route descriptions, geological information, and a beautiful set of topo maps with the routes overlaid on them. Priceless.

Dirk Rabdau
(dirk9827) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Best backpacking in your area on 12/11/2010 22:19:15 MST Print View

Tom -

Hey, thanks for posting those routes - that's a fantastic tip!I am not super confident in my off-trail abilities, but since you post a book with good maps, I now know I must try. I am going to find that book online. Thanks for the excellent information.

The Sierras rightfully get a lot of praise on backpackinglight. But for a rugged beauty and like you said, "mind blowing" views, I'd put the north section of our fine state up there with anything in the west. I was grateful to have the opportunity to travel through this country in early fall.

Warmest regards,

Dirk

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Best backpacking in your area on 12/12/2010 15:00:35 MST Print View

"But for a rugged beauty and like you said, "mind blowing" views, I'd put the north section of our fine state up there with anything in the west."

Yeah, I'd have to agree, and I'm pretty familiar with both ranges. They offer very different kinds of beauty and I must confess I'm heads over heels in love with both. Who says a man can't love two women? ;)

If you're not real confident off trail, the Easy Ridge hike would be a good place to start. The other two are not one's I'd be comfy doing solo either, but Easy Ridge is almost completely on trail, sketchy at times, up to the point where you drop down around Perfect Impasse and by then you will have gotten most of the magnificent views. The only real obstacle is fording the Upper Chiliwack River, which is easy if done late season. Early in the year is another matter. The Buckindy Snowking Traverse isn't in Rock and Routes book, nor is Easy Ridge, but there are many other worth while hikes there, in addition to Bath Lakes, which is a real gem. Very strenuous, very beautiful, with a couple of interesting route finding problems.

Here are a couple of links to Easy Ridge and The Buckindy Snowking Traverse:

Easy Ridge

http://www.yellowleaf.org/scramble/g/r/2006-07-13-16-challenger.html

Buckindy Snowking Traverse

www.summitpost.org/mount-misch/333953

Best of luck and I hope you have a great time!

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Re: Best backpacking in your area on 12/12/2010 15:16:30 MST Print View

Which of those backpacking areas would be best for finding medium-size furbearing animals, say pine marten, weasel, fox, fisher, etc.?

--B.G.--

Kevin S
(ksmith818) - F
Re: Best backpacking in your area on 12/12/2010 20:16:24 MST Print View

Bob,

I did a quick overnight trip into Olympic National Park up the Quinault River (towards the Enchanted Valley) back in late May. Ran into a bobcat on the way in. Watched it from about 5 meters away for about 15 minutes. On the way back out, had a fisher run up the trail towards me. It finally stopped when it saw me and then bolted off pretty quick.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Best backpacking in your area on 12/12/2010 20:40:31 MST Print View

Thanks, Kevin. I value the firsthand observation.

The large furbearing animals can become dangerous, but the medium-size ones are no threat. I just want to head to somewhere that is a target-rich environment for my camera. The first place on my list is the North Cascades. Olympic and others may be on the list. I'm thinking about late May or early June.

I can find bobcats here in California, but the other furry critters are more common in the north woods. I had to go to Montana to get a perfect photo of a fisher. Apparently fishers exist in California, but in only a few places.

--B.G.--

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Best backpacking in your area on 12/12/2010 20:53:04 MST Print View

"I'm thinking about late May or early June."

Potentially LOTS of snow and very hazardous stream crossings that time of year. Check ahead with the Marblemount Ranger Station if going into North Cascades NP, and then plan your routes carefully. The folks at that ranger station are a pretty savvy bunch who can help you a lot.

Kevin S
(ksmith818) - F
Re: Best backpacking in your area on 12/12/2010 20:53:37 MST Print View

Bob,

Yeah i've done some work on a couple of fisher studies in California. They are around, but very tough to see. Martens seem to be a little easier to find. I saw 4 this year. one in the UP of Michigan, two in Grand Teton NP, and one up on Mount Shasta.