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Loops In Sierra/Kings Canyon/Etc Coming from Vegas
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Ultralite Hiker
(Ultralite) - F
Loops In Sierra/Kings Canyon/Etc Coming from Vegas on 04/19/2011 10:04:09 MDT Print View

A buddy and I should have a free flight racked up from work by early September or so. We were planning to fly out to Vegas and do a 5 day loop somewhere in the Sierras/nearby the week of Labor Day.. If you had never been hiking out west, and wanted to get a good feel of the area, what would be the best loop with access from Vegas via rental car (w/in 5-6 hours or so)? We prefer loops to out and backs so we can get the most "bang for our buck". Point to point would also work, if we could work it out with 1 rental car, and the shuttle was not too expensive.


Edited by Ultralite on 04/19/2011 10:11:52 MDT.

Ultralite Hiker
(Ultralite) - F
Bump on 04/19/2011 21:31:45 MDT Print View


Ultralite Hiker
(Ultralite) - F
East Side on 04/20/2011 15:25:56 MDT Print View

No one familiar with the eastern side of those parks?

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: East Side on 04/20/2011 16:53:37 MDT Print View

"No one familiar with the eastern side of those parks?"

Drive up to Bishop, CA, go in over Paiute Pass down to the JMT, exit over Bishop Pass and either hitch or walk the few miles back to your car at the North Lake TH. This loop fits your time parameters and, depending on your hiking mileage/day would offer ample opportunities for side trips. It would definitely give you a feel for the Sierra. Another trip further south would be to turn west at Independence, CA, drive up to Onion Valley TH for Kearsarge Pass, hike over Kearsarge Pass down to the JMT, go south over Forester Pass and exit via Shepherd Pass. You would probably want to schedule a shuttle pickup there to take you from the Shepherd Pass TH back to Onion Valley, but it would not be very expensive, as the distance is not that much, perhaps 6-8 miles or so. This route also offers opportunities for great side trips into Wright Lakes Basin/Wallace Lake Basin, over to Lake South America, or even into the Upper Kern Basin, as the distances are short and the hiking easy. This area is quite different from the trip over Paiute Pass and personally I think it is by far the more beautiful of the two. It is also more strenuous, as you will be going over 13,000' to cross Forester Pass and Shepherd Pass is a rugged trail, even coming down. I find it worth the trouble. Opinions will vary on this point, of course. Hopefully this will be enough to get you started.

Edited by ouzel on 04/20/2011 21:50:47 MDT.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Re: East Side on 04/20/2011 17:20:20 MDT Print View

Tom hit it with the areas he has mentioned. A wrinkle on the Piute to Dusy Basin trip is you can take a side trip into Darwin Bench and Darwin Canyon, you can also enter over Lamarck Col and have a different exit/entrance too

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: East Side on 04/20/2011 19:23:35 MDT Print View

I'll add a brief caution: this is very high country for most folks and depending on where you live and what you're accustomed to, enter with due diligence to acclimitization.



Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: East Side on 04/20/2011 20:50:37 MDT Print View

"I'll add a brief caution: this is very high country for most folks and depending on where you live and what you're accustomed to, enter with due diligence to acclimitization."

Good point, Rick. Hopefully, if they decide to take either of the above routes they will post back and folks here who have done these or similar routes can bring them up to speed on how to ease into things.

Nick Larsen
(stingray4540) - F

Locale: South Bay
Western sierras too on 04/21/2011 06:02:59 MDT Print View

Just wanted to let you know you don't have to completely rule out the western sierras. They should easily be reached within 5-6 hours.

obx hiker
(obxcola) - MLife

Locale: Outer Banks of North Carolina
Loops In Sierra/Kings Canyon/Etc Coming from Vegas on 04/21/2011 07:27:06 MDT Print View

Google maps lists Cedar Grove as 7hr:59 minutes from Vegas
Mineral King 7he:31 minutes
Lone Pine 4hr: 23 minutes Add 55 minutes to Horseshoe meadows

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Spring Mountains on 04/21/2011 13:27:36 MDT Print View

Lots of us here in 'Vegas backpack the Spring Mountains just north of the valley. The Bonanza Peak, Spring Mountains Divide trail from the trailhead at Cold Creek
(off US 95) to the parking lot at the ski area (end of the short Bristlecone trail) is a great 2 day backpack. The only water is along the Bonanza Peak trail at Wood Spring. The snowpack is totally gone by the end of June.

This hike is 8,000 to over 9,000 ft. in beautiful Jeffrey and Ponderosa pines. Looks like some Yosemite views.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Spring Mountains on 04/21/2011 13:54:49 MDT Print View

If you want more isolation, you might look at the White Mountains too. East side of the Ownens Valley right next to Nevada. I think there might be a couple trip reports posted on BPL. White Mountain peak is over 14K feet(3rd higest in Calif), and is much easier to summit than Whitney or Williamson. Not as much water in the Whites, so do your research. For an interesting commentary, read Colin Fletcher's Thousand Mile Summer.

If time allows, a trip to Mono Lake and Bodie are highly recommended.

For eastern Sierras your best jump off points are Bishop, Big Pine, Independence or Lone Pine... or even Mammoth. June Lake area has easy access to the Ansel Adams Wilderness, < 3 miles from the trailhead. Not as crowded as other areas.

If in Bishop, stop at Schat's Bakery for sheepherder's bread.

I'll let you do the research and construct the trip :)