Forum Index » General Lightweight Backpacking Discussion » Short Beautiful Northern CA Trails?


Display Avatars Sort By:
Megan P
(meganpetruccelli) - F

Locale: San Francisco
Short Beautiful Northern CA Trails? on 04/03/2012 12:03:06 MDT Print View

Howdy.

I'm new to the bay area, transplant from Colorado and I want to get back outside. I have done a few trips so far in Inyo & Kings Canyon. I did the Sabrina Basin loop outside of Bishop and it was stunningly beautiful. I would love to do something else like that one, Lakes, views, 1-3 day hike. I'm open to anywhere close to SF. What's up around Tahoe? I think Ideally the trip would involve water of some kind, lakes or river.

Thanks for all the tips.

Megan

Charles P
(mediauras) - F

Locale: Terra
welcome on 04/03/2012 12:10:17 MDT Print View

this site has some many good suggestions. there's a lot within 3-4 hours of the bay area.

http://www.backpackthesierra.com/

Paul Wagner
(balzaccom) - F

Locale: Wine Country
backpackthesierra on 04/03/2012 13:13:59 MDT Print View

Thanks charles!

Yes, we've got a lot of trips on there, and many of them are under 20 miles.

Now it's just a question of seeing how long this snow lasts...hmmm.

Charles P
(mediauras) - F

Locale: Terra
hi on 04/03/2012 13:52:18 MDT Print View

ha, you're welcome! love your sight, been looking thru it trying to find a good short introductory trip for my 6 year old son this summer (likely in emigrant). been meaning to email you actually, so you'll probably hear from me soon. but yes, this snow... though i've been enjoying some spring skiing its going to put a wrinkle in early summer backpacking.

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Velmas, Dicks Lake, balance of Desolation Wilderness on 04/03/2012 19:14:22 MDT Print View

Many of the lakes in Desolation Wilderness are very nice. The lakes within a few hours hike of the trailheads get quite a bit of dayhiker use. After 4 or so, things die down. A ton of lakes to explore just south of Aloha. Permit required, may need to reserve a permit in the summer or holidays. No fires.
Duane

Nick Larsen
(stingray4540) - F

Locale: South Bay
Re: Short Beautiful Northern CA Trails? on 04/04/2012 07:34:56 MDT Print View

Look into Mineral King. This was the last trip my wife and I did, and it has probably been my favorite trip so far. Plenty of lakes, and the loop we did was 3days, 2nights. but you could easily do 7 days there, or even an overnight.
You can see pics of that trip here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nlarsen4540/sets/72157627472597969/

Another fun overnight we did was bear twin lakes. This was an out and back, but was a pretty hike.

For really local stuff, look into Big Basin, and Point Reyes.

Paul Wagner
(balzaccom) - F

Locale: Wine Country
Emigrant wilderness on 04/04/2012 19:26:05 MDT Print View

With about 60 trips into the Sierra, I still vote for Emigrant Wilderness for ease of access from the Bay Area. Permits are free and easy to get, and there are a lot of trails that get you into wonderful country very quickly.

Places like Mineral King take ALL DAY just to drive there. I can be at a trailhead on Highway 108 in three hours.

Same is true of Desolation and Mokelumne, but Desolation has a lot more people, and consequently more difficult permits. And Mokelumne just isnt' that big.

Edited by balzaccom on 04/04/2012 19:27:22 MDT.

Megan P
(meganpetruccelli) - F

Locale: San Francisco
Re: Emigrant wilderness on 04/04/2012 19:34:30 MDT Print View

Cool!! Thanks Paul! Do you recommend any specific trails in Emigrant? with lakes by chance :-)

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Not maintained very well on 04/04/2012 21:56:40 MDT Print View

Megan be forewarned, the trails in Emigrant were not maintained too good the last time I was thru, maybe 10 years ago now. Some trails need a good eye to follow and you can also pursue some lakes via faint old trails, keeping an eye peeled more.
Duane

David Hankins
(hankinsohl) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Emigrant Wilderness Area on 04/04/2012 23:44:17 MDT Print View

Megan - I too highly recommend the Emigrant Wilderness Area.

My favorite route is to begin at the Crabtree Camp trailhead and hike into Gem or Jewelry Lake. On day 2, loop around through Whitesides Meadow and thence to Yellow Meadow Lake. Day 3, hike back out to Crabree Camp.

Many alternative routes exist starting at Crabree Camp - both longer and shorter as time permits. The area abounds with lakes which is one of the things I like most about the Emigrant Wilderness.

In my experience, the trail out of Crabtree is fairly well marked - just keep an eye out for trail ducks (small piles of stones) when traversing stretches of granite.

Some of the lesser used trails in the Emigrant are indeed harder to follow as a previous poster noted.

Note that the Crabtree route I propose above is at moderate altitude and will likely be snowbound until sometime in June depending on this year's weather.

Paul Wagner
(balzaccom) - F

Locale: Wine Country
Emigrant on 04/05/2012 08:56:14 MDT Print View

David is right about the snow...and you should also keep in mind that creek crossings can be dangerous early in the year.

His route is a good short trip. You can also go from Crabtree Cabin (not camp, BTW) to Wood Lake, which is lovely, and then up to Deer Lake and back through Gem and Jewelry Lakes...there are a number of trail descriptions and reports on our website at backpackthesierra.com

We've never had any trouble at all following the trails in this area. Take a map and you should be fine.

Other options for earlier in the season include the other side of Highway 108 in the Carson Iceberg Wilderness. Clark FOrk trail, and Sword and Lost Lakes are nice hikes for when the high county is snowed in...

David Hankins
(hankinsohl) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Crabree Camp on 04/05/2012 16:31:29 MDT Print View

Paul, your website (backpackthesierra.com) looks very nice!

FYI...

Crabtree Camp

Crabtree Camp


This area is marked "Crabtree Camp" on all the park maps I have and is signed as such. The trailhead is posted simply as "Crabtree Trailhead."

Crabtree Trailhead

Crabtree Trailhead


I did notice that backpackthesierra.com does refer to this area as "Crabtree Cabin" for some reason - perhaps the nearby "Gianelli Cabin" trailhead is to blame! :-)

At any rate, this is a lovely area and remains my favorite.

Charles P
(mediauras) - F

Locale: Terra
Another vote for Emigrant! on 04/05/2012 17:37:06 MDT Print View

Lots of lakes, as much granite as you can take in, and less people. The crowds veer toward Yosemite and Desolation, and SKC, leaving Emigrant a pretty enjoyable spot (just stay away from the big reservoir areas like Spicer). Except on that note, if you kayak or canoe check out camping on Utica Reservoir. It gets crowded but its fun, and not too hard to find a private spot.

Another destination is Kibbie Lake in north Yosemite. Its pretty well travelled now, and I haven't been in at least 15 years, but its a pretty spot and only about 3.5 (steep) miles in.

Jason G
(JasonG) - F

Locale: iceberg lake
+1 on 04/06/2012 01:04:02 MDT Print View

... on emigrant.

ive done crabtree a few times and it is great. super short drive from bay area. If i went again id prob go to the relief res. trailhead and head up to the mosquito pass/emmigrant meadow lake/snow lake area.


oh yea and if you see a pair of black diamond trail trekking poles at crabtree... they are mine...

Edited by JasonG on 04/06/2012 01:04:55 MDT.

Megan P
(meganpetruccelli) - F

Locale: San Francisco
Shorter Loop? on 06/18/2012 14:22:09 MDT Print View

Hey ALL!

Thanks for all the great comments.

I'm thinking about heading up to Emigrant in 2 weekends. Unfortunately I can't get friday off work but I'm still itching to go. So anyone have a recommendation on a loop that's on the shorter side. Heading out sat and back sunday. Can I get out to gem / jewelry lake and back in 2 days? Then for future reference whats a good 3 day/2 nights hike in that area for whenever I can get fri or monday off?

THANKS IN ADVANCE! I can't wait to get out!