Forum Index » General Lightweight Backpacking Discussion » Awesome weekend trips in the American Southwest?


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Artia L
(artia) - F

Locale: SoCal
Awesome weekend trips in the American Southwest? on 07/29/2011 00:55:57 MDT Print View

Hi all,

I'm from southern california and love to take weekend trips to the outdoors / backcountry with friends. We work hard so any time we get off from Friday night to Sunday night, we like to plan fun outdoors trips that don't require over 7 hours of driving from southern california. We like to car camp or backpack, as long as the crowds aren't overwhelming.

We've done many hikes in Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Yosemite, Tahoe, Zion (most of the slot canyons, subway, etc), Bryce, Joshua Tree, Grand Canyon, Paria River, Havasupai, Sedona, etc. For example, I'm planning a trip in two weekends to Zion. Though I've been there many times before I just don't know of other options really.

Anything you guys have in your back pockets that are backcountry gems? I love backpacking, canyoneering, packrafting, mountain biking, and am open to anything else that involves the outdoors! Would love any and all suggestions !! Everything I've heard from this forum so far has been spot on.

-Kevin

P.S. Never been to Mexico :)

Nico .
(NickB) - MLife

Locale: Los Padres National Forest
Closer to home... on 07/29/2011 11:19:11 MDT Print View

Check out some of your local National Forests. I'm partial to the Los Padres National Forest; it stretches from out by Magic Mountain all the way up to Monterey and from the coast (Ventura/SB/SLO/Big Sur) all the way inland to the 5 and/or 101 freeways.

Lots of good hikes with all sorts of terrain and environments. If you want desert enviorments, check out parts of the Sespe and Chumash Wildernesses. If you like pine forest areas, check out the Pine Mtn area of the Sespe or the Mission Pine Ridge area of the San Rafael Wilderness. If you want classic CA chapparal, there's lots all over. Redwood groves and almost temperate rain forest-like settings up in Big Sur. All of these areas have some popular well-maintained trails and usually lots of empty, unmaintained options as well. Winter/Spring is my favorite time of year for these areas. Summer/fall gets too hot for all but higher elevations or areas with reliable water.

I'm not too familiar with the offerings of the Angeles, Cleavland or San Bernadino National Forests but I'm sure there's some good hikes around there.

Santa Monica Mountains have some fun hikes too. Mostly shorter stuff but I think there's a few options for making a longer hike.

Channel Islands National Park is also pretty cool. There's not a ton of backpacking options but there are some as well as walk-in campgrounds and kayak camping (on Santa Rosa Island). It'd be easier for you to consult with a ranger though to get the most up-to-date scoop on backcountry options out on the islands.

joseph peterson
(sparky) - F

Locale: Southern California
trips in the SW on 07/31/2011 01:04:51 MDT Print View

I got some local gems....but too few and far between to share. Cleaveland national forest does offer some beauty and solitude. Lake meade has some real amazing areas.....in winter/spring. No idea why you are going to Zion....the sierra is prime right now!

A very fun car camp and the most intense, brutal, and amazing tube ride you will ever experience can be had at la jolla Indian reservation, just below lake henshaw. Call them up and get info on the flow. Get there as early as possible....its extremely popular.

Mexico....canyon de guadeloupe

Edited by sparky on 07/31/2011 01:11:52 MDT.