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Trip Suggestions for May 2011
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Brad Fisher

Locale: NC/TN/VA Mountains
Trip Suggestions for May 2011 on 01/01/2011 20:03:21 MST Print View

Every year I take a group of friends from work on a backpacking trip somewhere in the US. Some are avid hikers, but for others this is the only backpacking trip of the year. Need some suggestions for this year.

Past trips:
- Havasu falls
- Mt Whitney
- Yosemite(Half Dome, Cloud Rest, etc)
- Thousand island lake
- Palisades
- Smoky Mountains

One of the team members we added a few years ago has trouble with higher elevations, so we try to stay below 9k and sleep below 7k. This limits our options somewhat, so some of the classics are off the list.

- May 2011. 4 days, 3 nights
- Mileage. Avg around 8 miles a day from campsite to campsite. Some like more miles and we just explore from base camp and let the others just hang around camp.
- No snow or need from extra gear
- Bears are fine, but would like to stay away from grizzly country.
- Off trail and heavy navigation is fine.
- Solitude/less crowded is better
- Group size 5-8
- Prefer mountain/west region

Some things were are batting around:
- Northern CA. Maybe around the coast
- Idaho. Hells canyon, etc
- South Dakota. Black Hills, Mt Rushmore, Centennial trail,
- New Mexico
- South/South Central Wyoming

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

Brad Fisher

Scott Truong

Locale: Vancouver, BC
RE: 2011 on 01/01/2011 21:58:51 MST Print View

- I'm going to do the Escalante Route, Grand Canyon in April.

- The areas around Sedona, Az are really really nice and you can get easy to access mountain biking in (rent $50/day w/shop 50 yards from trail). Not sure about trails, but the scenery is pretty stunning/unique.

- My home town of Vancouver, British Columbia is pretty nice to visit in of itself in the spring/summer. There's the Howe Crest Sound Trail 30 minutes outside of town, Stein Traverse (see Dan Thurston's trip reports), Garibaldi Provincial Park (not exactly hardcore, but an easy and very pretty 45 min. drive from town) etc etc.

Things I'm thinking of doing local..ish, but haven't been yet:

- Enchantments in Washington, Cathedral Provincial Park, Sawtooths, Winds.

Brad Fisher

Locale: NC/TN/VA Mountains
Re: RE: 2011 on 01/03/2011 16:48:50 MST Print View


David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: May 2011 on 01/03/2011 18:03:22 MST Print View

Some of the higher desert areas stand out. High enough to not be super hot, low enough to be snow-free. For instance:

The Royal Arch route in the Grand Canyon.
-this might be too technical and physically demanding for your crew.

Down New Hance-Up Grandview in the Grand Canyon.
-might be a better fit.

Various routes in Escalante country.
-easy to find solitude. Get Steve's Allen guidebook.

Grand Gulch.
-lots of dayhiking/exploring options.

The Needles district in Canyonlands NP.

Under the Rim in Bryce.

[edited for detail]

Edited by DaveC on 01/03/2011 18:06:02 MST.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Trip Suggestions for May 2011 on 01/03/2011 22:25:26 MST Print View

"South/South Central Wyoming" May in Wyoming is still winter!

The mountains in the Pacific Northwest will also be too snowy in May--last May they were still having warnings of extreme avalanche danger! Of course there are the long low elevation valleys in the Olympics (Hoh River, Enchantment Valley) and the Olympic NP wilderness coast, which are excellent hiking possibilities in May. So is Hell's Canyon. California's Lost Coast is another good one.

Edited by hikinggranny on 01/03/2011 22:27:21 MST.

Chris S
(csteutterman) - F

Locale: Tahoe
Re: Trip Suggestions for May 2011 on 01/04/2011 12:50:30 MST Print View

Buckskin Gulch / Paria Canyon is pretty interesting.

jeffrey armbruster
(book) - M

Locale: Northern California
trip suggestion on 01/04/2011 13:40:15 MST Print View

How about Lake Merced in Yosemite. It's at 7200 feet, should easily be accessible in May. (Happy Isles trailhead.) Also, those who wish to go higher can day hike/overnight up towards Vogelsang. Then there's the high route for a return. Nice hike at this time of year.

Brad Fisher

Locale: NC/TN/VA Mountains
Re: trip suggestion on 01/04/2011 14:50:32 MST Print View

Good suggestions. Thanks everybody for the help.


Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Re: trip suggestion on 01/04/2011 15:23:18 MST Print View

Hi Brad,

If you're considering the Sierra Nevada, here's a place to watch the snowpack.

Early snow this year has been quite heavy, but there's a lot of winter yet to go and every year has some surprises, including long dry spells. The coast and coast ranges are open in May and there's still plenty of water that time of year.



Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Re: trip suggestion on 01/04/2011 16:45:57 MST Print View

I'm with David C. on recommending southwest Utah, it sounds like you've done a good deal in the Sierra already.


Locale: Greater Gila
re: utah in May on 01/05/2011 09:05:18 MST Print View


hitch a ride and start hiking at the southern end of Coyote Gulch at it's confluence with the Escalante River. Hike up Coyote Gulch, then up Dry Gulch. Hitch further north up road and explore the slot canyons of Zebra and Peekaboo/Spooky. Non-technical, loads of slots around, and greener than you'd ever imagine in Coyote Gulch.

Misfit Mystic

Locale: "Grand Canyon of the East"
Utah on 01/05/2011 11:23:37 MST Print View

Hi Brad, I have to agree with everyone on the Utah suggestions. I would stay in Torrey; it's close to Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, Escalante; the Swell, Henrys, and Dirty Devil aren't far. Not to mention, Cafe Diablo is one of my favorite restaurants.

PS: Completely off-topic, but ... GO WOLFPACK!!! Here's hoping Russell comes back next year and the hoops team wakes up!

Brad Fisher

Locale: NC/TN/VA Mountains
Re: Utah on 01/05/2011 14:40:17 MST Print View

Ok Utah is bubbling to the top. Thanks again for all the information.

Scott, your right. GO WOLFPACK!! I have watched Russell Wilson for the past several years and he sure is a great player. I was in Orlando for the bowl game and he was a highlight reel. I'm also hoping he comes back.

take care

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
May on 01/07/2011 18:34:17 MST Print View

I'd love to invite you and your friends to Montana, but May is not the time to come- much too unpredictable (even June is sadly) and there is that grizzly thing :)

Last May my wife and I went to New Mexico (Gila Wilderness)- was a great trip and our five day trip only scratched the surface. I'd highly recommend looking into SW NM for that time frame.

Utah also sounds very good, good enough we are planning on a trip to Zion in April :)

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
May in MT on 01/07/2011 18:58:55 MST Print View

I can't wait!

I'm going back for more:

Brad Fisher

Locale: NC/TN/VA Mountains
Re: May in MT on 01/07/2011 19:43:43 MST Print View

New Mexico sounds interesting.

The Black Elk wilderness in south Dakota is something that I'm also looking into.

Thanks again for suggestions

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Re: May in MT on 01/07/2011 19:58:19 MST Print View

Dave- he said no snow :)

Richard Gless
(rgless) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
trip suggestion on 01/07/2011 20:04:17 MST Print View

The Grand Canyon of the Toluomne River in Yosemite can be pretty spectacular. The 4000 ft climb out of the canyon (if you go downstream is a grind, but you might consider going up stream.

Brian Barnes
(brianjbarnes) - M

Locale: Midwest
RE:"Trip Suggestions for May 2011" on 01/07/2011 20:13:38 MST Print View

A good friend of mine is always talking up the Black Hills areas of South Dakota. Trout, great climbing, peaks, etc... Not sure what the multi-night backpacking opportunities are but the area sounds awesome.