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Kevin Lane
San Francisco on 09/21/2006 19:13:31 MDT Print View

I live in Buffalo NY and am attending a conference in San Francisco in mid October. I have three or four days to get into some trouble. I have never been out that way. I am a 50 year old walking bellie. Anyone have a suggesting for a trip? I will have a car.

Bill Law
(williamlaw) - M

Locale: SF Bay Area
San Francisco on 09/22/2006 10:36:18 MDT Print View

If you've never been to Yosemite, I'd definitely recommend seeing that first. It's a 4-5 hour drive from SF. Exactly where/what you see depends on weather and what equipment you've got. Dayhikes or backpacking?

Closer to SF, maybe Point Reyes National Seashore and/or Mt. Tamalpais.

I have no idea what a "walking bellie" is, BTW.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: San Francisco on 09/22/2006 11:34:17 MDT Print View

If you have never been here then go to Yosemite which is a four hour drive. The scenery is spectacular, You will be off season so the crowds in the valley will be managable and you can get solitude in the back country unless you are going to the most travelled locations.

The next time you are out I would suggest going north to the Lost Coast, also a 4-5 hour drive.

Closer in but not nearly as nice would be Pt Reyes and Ventana Wilderness. Some people like the trails around Portola and Butano State Parks with the coast redwoods... but I find this area a bit to close too civilization for my taste since I can hear road noise from several of the section.

If you end up near Monterey / Carmel, take some time at Point Lobos State Reserve.


Edited by verber on 09/22/2006 11:35:12 MDT.

Nathan Moody
(atomick) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: San Francisco on 09/22/2006 12:23:00 MDT Print View

Let's do this in ever-widening circles and in broader strokes to help you identify what kind of terrain you might like...

Nearest options include:
- Mount Tamalpais (north of SF, 30min away): 2600' or so peak, hiking and one or two walk-in camping sites. Gorgeous views, steep.

- Point Reyes National Seashore (north, 90 minutes). Overnight walk-in campsites, decent trail system, coastal with birds and maybe Tule Elk.

- Henry Coe State Park (south, hour or so): Often overlooked, plenty of hiking and backpacking opportunities.

These are places with backpacking possibilities. There are thousands of day-hiking trails that only a book could do justice to, from Muir Woods to forested watersheds on the peninusla south of SF to Mount Diablo in the east bay. I've been hiking in this area for a decade and have a long way to go before running out of new places to go.

Outside of this you're looking at several major areas that each also have whole books dedicated to them:

2-3 hours south you hit Big Sur and its various areas (Ventana Wilderness has already been mentioned). Coastal forests and rocky shores, tidepools galore and lots of otters!

3-4 hours east and you hit the Sierra Nevadas. Classic western mountains. Earlier poster's POV on Yosemite is spot on ... I just came down from there last weekend, nighttime temps now near freezing.

2-4 hours north and you get into Mendicino County and other areas north...Lost Coast, previously mentioned, is up that way (but farther). For reference driving to the Oregon border would easily take a full day or more. The farther north you go the more Redwoods, rhododendrons and similar vegetation you get.

Not tons more info than already given but hopefully paints the area in broader strokes and lets you determine what time commitments and what kind of terrain you're hungry for. We've got almost all of it within 2-4 hours of here... (the deserts are more like 6-10 hours away, remember SoCal's got some big wildfires down there right now)

Hope this helps,