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Major road trip to western parks - mainly Yosemite
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Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Major road trip to western parks - mainly Yosemite on 12/22/2012 20:42:16 MST Print View

Last summer, my son and I drove 5300+ miles in 20 days to Lassen Volcanic, Redwoods, Crater Lake (the main one) and Dinosaur.

This summer, he has chosen Yosemite as the main destination. Since it is so much larger and has much more to see than Crater Lake I'm having trouble deciding what we should do. Our earliest arrival would be June 19 and we need to start our return no later than July 9. It seems I need to put in for our permit on Jan 2 if we do indeed hit Yosemite first, but I am leaning toward doing it at the end of the trip for 2 reasons. 1) he'd be in better condition after whatever other stops we make and 2) our food for our entire trip would be in our trunk and don't want to leave all that in a TH bear box. I guess a third reason would be less chance of snow if we do go up high.

I also understand that if I have a wilderness permit that would route somewhat near Half Dome that we can easily get those permits as well when we pick up our permit. He is not a big hiker (12 miles is his max so far and climbing Lassen Peak was a challenge though that was our first full day) so I'd prefer most days being < 10 miles. I prefer loops unless we can easily access the shuttle to return to our car. I also like to see the cool things that 99% never see or even know about like the pumice slots canyons at Crater Lake.

So as far as Yosemite goes, what routes would you recommend?

As for other sites we may hit, these are on the list of possibilities:
Arches (this was #2 on his list so I know we'll stop here)
Zion
Grand Canyon
Hoover Dam
Death Valley
Sequoia/Kings (anything worthwhile besides Whitney you can do from the east?)
Devil's Postpile

What would be "must see" or what would you leave out?

Anything we should add that's not on the list?

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Major road trip to western parks - mainly Yosemite on 12/22/2012 22:32:04 MST Print View

Where are you starting /ending from?

Sequoia /Kings Canyon from the East is either Whitney or access to the PCT from a few high trailheads. The big trees and caves (more caves than any other CA park after Lava Beds) are accessed from the West. Also, although S/KC look close to Yosemite, there are a lot of twisty road (Hwy 49) or backtracking to Hwy 99 involved.

I'd couple Yosemite with a variety of things to the east, especially if your are approaching from that direction.

The State Historical Park and ghost town of Bodie,
Mono Lake (visitor's center in Lee Vining)
fissures in Black's Point on the north shore of Mono Lake.
Tufa formation on the south shore of Mono Lake.
Devil's Post pile
Bristlecone Pine NF on the east side of Owen's Valley with the world's oldest trees.
Natural hot springs, one developed and many other lesser developed ones east of 395.

All of the above have moderate to high altitude, so if you do those as you approach your Yosemite hike, it will help both of you acclimatize to the higher elevations.

If you are thinking of the Grand Canyon on the way, it is not a good season to go the River and back and it sounds like he hasn't proven himself as a hiker for that level of day hike. Therefore, if not going to the River, you could go to the North Rim which is far less crowded, cooler and more forested. Also, that puts you closer to Zion and Bryce. Leave the impressive, expansive views from the South Rim for another day. Maybe when he's strong enough for a RIm-River-Rim hike (but not in the summer). I did it 2 years ago when my son was 11 in late May. We got lucky and it only go to 89 in the Inner Canyon that day.

If you go to GCNP on the way to Yosemite, you WILL pass by Hoover Dam which is worth a tour. You'll be close to Death Valley, but that's not a good time of year for doing much more than looking out the window. Maybe overnight outside DV and go through in the early morning, a take a short hike shortly after first light, or even before.

I spent 8 days with my son and hiked the Grand Canyon, toured Death Valley, started on the Whitney Trail (too much snow), did some Yosemite hikes (too much snow for Half Dome), Sequoia, Kings Canyon, a few things in the Central Valley, And various LA attractions. But he's quite the hiker for his age and we both road trip together very well (and very quickly). It was a little heavy on the driving because Tioga Pass into Yosemite was closed due to heavy snow until far later than usual. (The next year, it was open quite early.)

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: Re: Major road trip to western parks - mainly Yosemite on 12/23/2012 06:41:43 MST Print View

David,
We're in Indiana so we'll likely take 70 out and 80 back, reverse of what we did last year.

My parents actually drove through DV, SEKI & Yosemite 2 months ago (no hiking, just roadside stops) so I know there's lots of driving, which I don't mind if the stop will add something significant to the trip. Sounds like Kings Canyon is a site to see perhaps but who knows. Thanks for those other suggestions, too.

If we do GC, we'd stay on the north side but the side trip to Hoover Dam may be worth it.

What would you suggest within Yosemite itself?

My youngest son is a decent hiker. This one is not athletic (flat-footed and heavy) but marching band helped him out and I plan to get him to work on the exercise bike a month beforehand. We road trip pretty well - slept in the Civic many times on that trip as cost was (and still is) a factor.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: western road trip on 12/23/2012 10:18:35 MST Print View

In that time frame I'd hit Utah first; the temps will be kinder in June (generally speaking) and give the snow in the Sierras a bit of time to melt off.

Arches first; dayhike Landscape Arch and the Primitive Loop, dayhike to Delicate Arch (crowded, but worth it), and do the ranger walk into the Fiery Furnace.

Drive through Hanksville and Capitol Reef. Do Peak-a-boo/Spooky slot loop in the Escalante. Maybe an overnight backpack out to Neon Canyon and back as well. Hot that time of year, but that makes and water and shade very nice.

North Rim of the GC is worth a stop. Sounds like a backpack into the depths might be a bit much.

Zion next. Dayhike Angels Landing, Hidden Canyon, up the Narrows if the water is low enough. Narrows might be in shape to do it top-down as an overnight, which is awesome.

Sierras next. Dayhiking Telescope Peak in Death Valley is worthwhile and quite pleasant that time of year.

Backpacking Onion Valley to the Portal with a summit of Whitney would be great if you're hitting your stride by that point in the trip. The hitch is easy to do. There will be bugs in late June.

I'd avoid the valley in Yosemite, it'll be a junk show. Tuolumne is gorgeous and has great hiking.

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: re: western road trip on 12/23/2012 14:45:10 MST Print View

Thanks for those suggestions, Dave. I think my little Civic wouldn't be up for the road to Neon Canyon and it may be beyond our present skills (I really liked this comment on Avg Joe - "Highly skilled people can chimney over this pothole with big exposure and penalty points" - made me LOL). Sounds like we could also see Zebra/Tunnel and Devil's Garden in the same day.

I think getting a permit down into the GC would be a major pain anyway. My school group did that overnight 30 years ago when I was his age. I recall leaving Phantom Ranch last and being first back to the rim in something like 3 hours.

Can you get Whitney permits easily at the last minute?

I'll be doing my best to avoid the Yosemite crowds. Can't be helped at Half Dome I suppose unless you leave early in the AM.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: re: western road trip on 12/23/2012 15:04:24 MST Print View

"Sierras next. Dayhiking Telescope Peak in Death Valley is worthwhile and quite pleasant that time of year."

Unfortunately, Telescope Peak is in the Panamint Range, not the Sierra Nevada.

--B.G.--

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: Re: re: western road trip on 12/23/2012 15:19:31 MST Print View

That's OK. I knew what he meant.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: Neon canyon on 12/23/2012 16:48:02 MST Print View

I didn't mean descend the Neon slot, just hike in and camp on the Escalante near the mouth, and hike up and see the Golden Cathedral. Hiking in the Fence Canyon route and then back to the car XC (exit the Esca via the sand dune right across from Neon) is a great loop. The one wash crossing on the Egypt road could be a problem if it flashed recently, but don't let the visitor center staff scare you too much.

I think, but should defer to an expert (BG could actually be helpful..), that going in not via Whitney Portal makes walk-in permits easy to get.

One way to avoid the parking/driving bother of the valley would be to do a 3-4 day trip from Tuolumne into the valley and back. You could reserve one of the tent cabins in Curry Village for one night and enjoy a shower and pizza dinner that night.

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: re: western road trip on 12/24/2012 08:27:37 MST Print View

Dave,
Would you recommend neoprene socks for Zion Narrows or would normal wool suffice to keep the feet warm enough going through all that cold water?

A shower and pizza may be a good way to end our trip. :) I think we could take a free shuttle back to the car in Tuolumne and start the drive home (perhaps seeing some of those sites at Mono Lake David mentioned).

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: Re: re: western road trip on 12/24/2012 09:22:00 MST Print View

here's another vote for southern Utah, don't forget to consider Bryce Canyon while you are passing thru there.

Regarding your Sierra area portion, what length of backpacking trips are you willing to consider, both in miles and days ?

Last minute walk-up permits for Whitney are not hard to get but its hit and miss and varies day to day. you have to enter a daily mini lottery for the available permits. Anyone who is there that day enters the daily lottery for whatever is available.

The suggsestion to do Whitney via Onion Valley is a good one for getting permits but its a 48 mile point to point trip over some very high passes.

a nice Eastside trip is to hike in to the North Palisade area from Big Pine (one hour north of Whitney on 395). The hike in to 3rd lake is 5 miles and gives great views. The Palisades are the most Alpine-like area of the Sierra. Could be done as a day hike or an overnighter.

You sound like you are trying to squeeze a lot in to a 3 week period.
if so, I would skip Devils Postpile, it nice but not spectacular.
I assume this also limits the length of any overnight backpacking.

I assume you plan to visit Tuolumne, the high country part of Yosemite Park.
IF its not on your list, I'd recommend it.
Some of the domes are climbable by non climbers, 3rd class but not much harder than the Half Dome cables. Great views.

Even though Yosemite Valley is horribly over crowded in summer, if you have never been there, it is a must see, at least for a day or two, just to experience the immenseness of the cliffs and the beauty of the waterfalls.

Edited by asandh on 12/24/2012 09:47:17 MST.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: narrows on 12/24/2012 09:23:35 MST Print View

Yes, I would bring neo socks in June. Only time of year I wouldn't is late August.

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: Re: Re: re: western road trip on 12/24/2012 09:48:46 MST Print View

Art,
Yes, we are squeezing in a lot. We also did 2 nights on Lost Coast Trail and a night at Oregon Caves last year so it was packed as well.

I'm trying to find all the cool options worth considering and then we will pare it down to what we can fit in the allotted time and his interests. For example, I'm also considering doing JMT from Mammoth to Happy Isle with Half Dome trip. I figure that 58+ miles would be 7 days at an easy pace and Donahue Pass is just over 11K so shouldn't be an issue for him (assuming it doesn't have snow/ice). Not sure how much food you can fit in the canisters you can rent at Mammoth though.

This trip is harder for me to plan because there are just so many nice options along the route. I just started 2 days ago when I finally got him to chose which parks he wanted to see and have been in front of my PC researching ever since. :)

Dave,
I'll look into picking up a set of socks for us. I recall some articles/posts here discussing better brands before so I'll try to find them. Newbie question though, can you wear them just by themselves or do you need a liner sock? I don't want to have to get new shoes also. Cost is a factor for our trip as well.

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: Re: Re: Re: re: western road trip on 12/24/2012 10:05:14 MST Print View

for backpacking,
Mammoth to Tuolumne via the JMT is one of my favorite Sierra hikes. I've done that trail section 4 times.
I would not leave Reds Meadow via the JMT though as its not the most scenic. instead leave Agnew Meadow via either the River Trail connecting to JMT at Shadow Lake, or the the High Trail straight to Thousand Island Lake connecting to JMT there.
If pressed for time or your son gets tired, you could skip Tuolumne to the Valley by taking the shuttle bus. Its nice but not as nice as the section from Mammoth to Tuolumne. although, doing the entire hike gives you an easy way to see Half Dome.
also if doing this trip, may as well throw Devils Postpile back in for a quick look see.

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: JMT from Mammoth on 12/24/2012 11:03:19 MST Print View

Thanks for those tips. That would save about 5 miles it seems. My intention is indeed to approach Half Dome from the east and camp just up from it's spur trail so we can beat most of the LYV campground crowd.

It appears from the map you can drive to Red's Meadow (assuming road is suitable for our Civic) and have a quick hike to DP if we really wanted.

Do most drive all the way to the TH and then hitch back up from Mammoth after taking bus back or leave car in Mammoth and hitch up to TH? I suppose 6 of one half dozen of another, but I'd prefer the latter so we could get going again quickly after getting back to Mammoth.

Edit: I see you must take a shuttle bus to the RM TH anyway so your car is down below regardless. I assume they'd drop you off at Agnew as well.

Edited by topshot on 12/24/2012 11:59:36 MST.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Mainly Yosemite on 12/24/2012 11:06:40 MST Print View

Within Yosemite itself for day hikes, everyone goes to the Valley which has the issue of only flat hikes within the Valley or pretty steep hikes up out of the Valley. It sounds like this son isn't a candidate for Half Dome as a day hike at this time. Glacier Point is a little less mileage but almost all the vertical. Potentially, you can take a shuttle one way for Glacier Point and avoid the down hike. A more leisurely hike is to the top of Vernal Falls which shares its trailhead with the JMT and HD hike. I'd suggest a very early start - what I always do for HD. The reasons are the heat and sun are far less and the crowds are vastly less. For HD, I'd leave at 5am, no later than 6 am. For top of Vernal, I'd leave at first light, 6 am or so, and you'll have the apron almost to yourself give or take a few competent HD hikers. You avoid the whole baby-stroller, plaid-pants crowd that way.

Another day hike everyone forgets to do is through the Sequoias. Yes, Yosemite had them too. There's one milder walk at the Southern Entrance (Hwy 41) that is more crowded. The one I prefer is off Hwy 120, one of the western entrances because there's some elevation, more trails and fewer people. It's clearly shown on the park maps, but it easy to drive right past it if you're not looking for it.

For a BPing trip in the summer, I'd prefer something out of Tuolumne Meadows for the extra 4-5,000 feet of elevation and therefore the temps being 15-18F cooler. You need to ready for intense sun so a little base tan is good, but even so, you need a good hat and sunscreen (I like Go-lite's Chrome Dome for hikes at 8,000-11,000 feet).

You expressed interest in HD, I think, and if you start in Tuolumne Meadows, you can descend towards the Valley and pass by the trail junction to HD. That makes it much more doable than as a day hike from the Valley and the permits are easier to get that way.

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: Mainly Yosemite on 12/24/2012 11:29:43 MST Print View

> You expressed interest in HD, I think, and if you start in Tuolumne Meadows, you can descend towards the Valley and pass by the trail junction to HD. That makes it much more doable than as a day hike from the Valley and the permits are easier to get that way.

That's my thinking. We always hike in long pants, long sleeves and brimmed hats. I don't even take sunscreen or bug juice, but use SPF 30 chapstick on my hands as needed. I know we'll have bugs early July so will take the Lunar Duo instead of tarps.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: neo socks on 12/24/2012 11:47:40 MST Print View

NRS is the only brand to consider, fit is a cut above (ergo no blisters). I like the 1/2 mil Hydroskins, as they aren't any more bulky than a midweight pair of wool socks. For serious hiking I always use the thinnest liner sock I have. The 2mm socks will be a fair bit warmer, but may require a larger shoe. The Hydroskins should be adequate for Zion in June unless you have especially cold feet.

Sounds an awesome trip with lots of can't-miss options. Good on you for taking your son. Most of my best memories growing up were of hiking and backpacking on big road trips.

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: re: neo socks on 12/24/2012 12:11:34 MST Print View

Thanks, Dave. Thankfully we have an REI only 1.5 hours away now so we'll be able to try some on for size.

He'll be 16 in Sep so this is likely the last major trip I'll be able to do with this son. His younger brother will get spoiled.

Carl Umland
(chumland) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Crest Trail, mostly
Mamoth, Devils Postpile & Reds Meadow on 12/24/2012 12:33:44 MST Print View

Michael,
You'll probably want to park in Mammoth on Minaret road (recomended) and take the shuttle bus or hike to Reds Mdw by trail or on the road. You'll need a National Parks Adventure Pass to display on your cars dash if you leave your car there. You get the shuttle bus ticket ($) at the main lift area. The place will be most likely packed with mountain bikers so parking is hard to find while the lifts are running. The Hiker site at Reds Mdw will have a lot of hikers there where you share in the payment for the night with other hikers there. The hiker site at RM is close to the Hot Springs Bath House and a short hike to the store and cafe. If you hike from there to Yosemite Valley you can take the YARTS transit bus from Yosemite Valley to Mammoth then take local Mammoth transit or hitch to Mineret Rd to your car.
I hope this link helps; http://tinyurl.com/c9gsayn
Merry Christmas

Ken Bennett
(ken_bennett) - F

Locale: southeastern usa
Re: re: western road trip on 12/24/2012 14:45:49 MST Print View

Getting back to the Grand Canyon for a minute, the campground at the north rim is pretty nice, and you can reserve a tent site. You don't have to hike all the way down, just the 5 miles to Roaring Spring makes for an awesome all-day hike. My daughter is not a great hiker, but she enjoyed this one. Just plan to leave very early in the morning, and take your time on the way back up in the heat of the afternoon.

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: re: neo socks on 12/26/2012 08:56:13 MST Print View

Thanks, Dave. Thankfully we have an REI only 1.5 hours away now so we'll be able to try some on for size.

He'll be 16 in Sep so this is likely the last major trip I'll be able to do with this son. His younger brother will get spoiled.

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Half Dome timing & YARTS on 12/26/2012 09:12:53 MST Print View

My initial draft of our schedule has us doing Half Dome on either Sat July 6 or Sun July 7. We'd be coming from the east so would normally beat most people I'd think, but given it's a holiday weekend should I try to hold off until Mon?

Am I interpreting the YARTS schedule correctly in that we'd need to be at the Visitor Center stop before 5 pm for the return trip to Mammoth? It seems you can't make reservations or pre-buy tickets for the 120 East bus (must buy from driver) so how early would we need to get there to secure a seat? That may make Mon a better option as well!

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: Half Dome timing & YARTS on 12/26/2012 09:21:03 MST Print View

I have taken the YARTS bus from Tuolumne back to Mammoth twice.
both times it was less than half full, during peak season.
I would not worry about reservations.
I think you are correct about the 5 pm return time.
just recheck next summer.
Yes, only one trip a day each way.
it is a very large, comfortable bus.

Regarding Half Dome Sunday v.s. Monday, its peak season, I doubt it will matter much.
getting to the cables early will help on the climb, but you will certainly hit the high traffic by the time you descend. the cables are a comic disaster waiting to happen. a conga line with both up and down rubbing shoulders within the narrow double cables. I saw a 300 lb woman make it up the cables, have no idea how she hiked there. if she had slipped, she would have taken out dozens below her.

the cables are a double line of cables roughly 3 ft high and 4 ft apart that ascends a 45* slab of slippery stone. there are cross planks for your feet about every 4-5 ft.

Edited by asandh on 12/26/2012 09:40:40 MST.

Elizabeth Tracy
(mariposa) - M

Locale: Outside
Mammoth-to-Yosemite specifics on 12/26/2012 19:49:40 MST Print View

Terrific idea to hike the JMT from Mammoth area to Yosemite Valley, given your stated priorities.

Some observations to add about that:

Consider driving to Yosemite Valley for a day, seeing the sights (waterfalls, etc.), then leaving your car at the Happy Isles/Curry Village parking lot (standard parking location for Half Dome/JMT exits). Then go to the YARTS bus stop (will require a short walk or valley shuttle ride) and ride it to Mammoth. Spend the night in a Mammoth motel, or take the shuttle from Mammoth to one of the campgrounds in the Reds Meadow valley. There are several including Reds Meadow, Upper Soda Springs, Agnew Meadows (though I'm not sure the latter has been re-opened following the 2011 wind storm), and others.

Hey, if you buy Tom Harrison's Mammoth High Country trail map right now, you'll be able to follow this discussion more easily :)

Next, I fully agree that the JMT immediately out of Reds Meadow is worth skipping (I would even call it tedious). Think twice about doing the side visit to Devils Postpile at all...Better to spend that half-day (if you include the shuttle trips involved) on a side visit to somewhere far more spectacular right off the JMT, such as the legendary Lake Ediza (google-image that one) or Davis Lakes or Lyell Glacier. Anyway, start your backpack trip at Agnew Meadows for sure, and follow the JMT via Shadow/Garnet/Thousand Island Lakes. Far more memorable than the two parallel trails (River Trail or PCT).

I also agree with what someone here said about how the JMT from Tuolumne to Yosemite Valley is not nearly as interesting as the Agnew Meadows - Tuolumne section, but that if Half Dome is in your sights it is totally worth doing it this way, rather than attempting the very difficult Half Dome approach (and the permit lottery!) attendant to starting from Yosemite Valley.

Skip the side trip to the giant Sequoia trees. JMO. I know I may get flak for this as they are not the same as coastal Redwoods you saw last year, but...

While Kings Canyon & Sequoia Nat'l Parks are certainly spectacular from their westside entrances, I would say don't drive down there (westside). The drive there is not very pleasant, and you are already coming so far from Indiana. The eastside Sierra (the whole Highway 395 corridor) is absolutely spectacular and wonderful by contrast. I could spend weeks there! North of Lee Vining, in June, Bodie the ghost town would be terrific for a kid, as would Lundy Canyon, for the wildflowers. South of Lee Vining, there are endless varieties of dayhikes or backpacking trips in the Sierra eastside trailheads.

If your son liked backpacking the JMT and wants to do another BACKPACKING trip, I second the recommendation of taking North Fork Big Pine Creek trail up towards the Palisades. (Trailhead is west of town of Big Pine.) But the landscape there is so extraordinary above Third Lake, so I could never do this trail as a day-hike, I'd do it as a minimum 3-day hike so you can get all the way up to see Palisade Glacier. Sam Mack Meadow, on the way to the glacier, is, to me, the most breathtaking meadow in all the Sierra. Not realistic to get up there on a day-hike all the way from your car, unless you are in superb shape and acclimitized. Permitting via Inyo National Forest (recreation.gov) - it gets snapped up fast.

If you want to try just a dayhike, as a warmup or warmdown to the JMT, consider one of the following: (1) Onion Valley to Kearsarge Pass; take a gander of the breathtaking view from there into Kings Canyon Nat'l Park; return. This is some serious elevation training (pass is at 12k). (2) From Bishop, drive west to either Sabrina Lake or South Lake trailhead and just wander uphill, anywhere, for a day. Spectacular lakes everywhere! (3) Little Lakes Valley (Rock Creek) off the 395 not far south of Mammoth area is another good place for acclimitizing: trailhead is at 10k, although hiking is more flat/more of a stroll. I list these three hikes in downward order of difficulty (and also in south-to-north order).

Note that none of those 4 recommendations fall within any of the national parks. The entirety of the High Sierra crest/eastside trailhead system is identically spectacular whether it happens to fall within a national park, or not.

The 395 is a popular scenic route. There should be a good "highway 395 recreation map" available online that could help with your planning.

In Utah, Zion is probably my favorite of the ones you mention - you could spend many days there. Needles District of Canyonlands is my second-favorite, just the most fantastic fairyland ever, but that could actually be out of your way depending on which driving route you are taking through Moab/Arches. Arches is smaller, and astoundingly varied for its size, and terrific for a day or two of day hikes. Bryce is comparatively tiny, and personally I don't find it as compelling as those first three, but it may be "on your way" anyway, and is 100% worth stopping at to do one of the hiking loops for a couple of hours. (The nice thing about Bryce is that it's at 9000 feet and it may not be as hot as the other places in June!) The fun slot canyons in Escalante (as well as some much lesser-known ones north in Capitol Reef or east towards Canyonlands) are ideal for kids! Same principal applies in Utah as in the Sierra: Some of the very best hikes are not within a national park boundary. If I was taking a kid through Utah I would put Escalante on the top of my list and arrange everything else around that. Ask Dave C. here for even more detailed Utah recommendations, if he is willing to give them, as he seems to know a ton about all of southern Utah.

A little reluctant to recommend the long haul down to Death Valley & Grand Canyon in such a warm month, with so much to occupy you just in the High Sierra and in Utah. And most of the driving hours you would be adding are sort of tedious. But those two parks would be an excellent double-header for Spring Break sometime - fly into Las Vegas and rent a car.

- Elizabeth

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Mammoth-to-Yosemite specifics on 12/27/2012 08:19:05 MST Print View

+1000 on what Elizabeth wrote about The Sierra. Perfectly stated

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: Mammoth-to-Yosemite specifics on 12/30/2012 18:39:43 MST Print View

I decided to just get the entire JMT Map-pack so I should be set. I doubt I'd go anywhere off-trail with him along.

Leaving the car in the valley may be a good idea as well. If we finish early we can leave whenever we want and that would also allow me to drop off a resupply package somewhere in TM so we'd only need one canister (planning to pick up a BV500).

It would seem Davis Lakes would make a good campsite to attempt a 20-mile push into TM if my son wants to attempt that merit badge requirement as it's pretty much all downhill once we're over Donahue.

I'm sure he'll be ready to get back home after Yosemite though as we'll be going to the Smokies the following week.

Michael L
(mpl_35) - MLife

Locale: The Palouse
Re: Re: re: neo socks on 01/02/2013 00:56:50 MST Print View

You can rent socks/shoes in Springdale for the Narrows. I did just fine in May without though. Just trail runners and wool socks. Wife as well. Take trekking poles for this though. The river is slick.

If you or your son gets nervous on angels landing skip half dome. The valley is worth the drive through. Preferably midweek.

If you drive right by Bryce it is worth seeing.

North rim of the Grand Canyon is nice. But if you aren't hiking down it can be done quickly.

I enjoyed kings and sequoia. But as early as you are going much of the high country may have good snow. Just depends. You can see the trees and drive to roads end.

Sure there is dome driving from Yosemite but its not that bad. Especially since you are coming from so far already.

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: neo socks on 01/02/2013 09:15:06 MST Print View

> You can rent socks/shoes in Springdale for the Narrows. I did just fine in May without though. Just trail runners and wool socks. Wife as well. Take trekking poles for this though. The river is slick.

I'm impressed you were fine with just wool socks in May's snowmelt! I figure I'll use the socks again at some point (winter hiking perhaps) so I'd just as soon buy them and be done with it. I've seen many say a portion of the lower section is like walking on slippery bowling balls. My Roclite 315s won't be the greatest for those in my experience but I'll manage fine. I may get something better for my son though. We just picked up some basic New Balance 606 that were on clearance last year but they likely won't fit him now anyway. We always use poles, too.

On a side note, I was just going through my trip journal of 30 years ago (high school trip for credit) and discovered we had done the Observation Pt Trail and a little of the lower Narrows. I noted I wasn't impressed by the Emerald Pools. I was also surprised that I noted Bryce was "boring because everything was the same" (Navajo & Peekaboo trails) and I was disgusted by scat (I'm guessing horses), dust, gnats & PUDs. I had planned for us to do the figure 8 loop which included those plus more but maybe I'll cut it down now. LOL

And a correction - I'd said earlier I had hiked from Phantom Ranch out the North Kaibab in 3.5 hours, but it turns out we hiked all the way down and back to Cottonwood (21 miles?) the first day and I did the remaining 7 miles out in 3.5 hours. We'll just going to Roaring Springs and back.

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: Re: neo socks on 01/02/2013 10:46:15 MST Print View

in case your 30 year old journal doesn't mention it ...
hiking from the north rim of GC down to Roaring Springs will not give you a very good picture of the immensity of the canyon, since you are basicly hiking down a side canyon of the main canyon. the immensity factor is best experienced from the south rim.
but you will get some good exposure in a couple places and a great feel for the rock in general.

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: GC North Rim on 01/02/2013 11:02:39 MST Print View

True, but I figured some in-canyon time is better than none, and I didn't want to deal with the permit. I think I should ask my son if he wants to sleep at Cottonwood as I did. I doubt he'd be up for going to the river though. That was a long day even for me at his age though it was not that hot (I was disappointed). Of course, I was wearing heavy hiking boots.

Randy Nelson
(rlnunix) - F - M

Locale: Rockies
Re: Neo socks on 01/02/2013 11:09:42 MST Print View

I highly recommend renting at least the water shoes for the Narrows. The day before we did the Narrows, we did Mystery Canyon, which ends in a rappel into the Narrows. I was in trail runners and using trekking poles and the short hike out was easy enough. I didn't want to rent the water shoes as I have really wide feet and we were doing the Narrows from the top down. 16 miles in ill fitting shoes seemed like a bad idea. I did buy a walking staff and was glad I did. I thought it was much better than trekking poles for water travel. The beginning and the end weren't too bad but the middle section was extremely slippery and my friends had MUCH better traction than I did. If we do it again, I'd still use my trail runners for the first 6 miles or so but also rent water shoes to use for the rest.


http://www.zionadventures.com/zion-narrows/rental-equipment/

Art ...
(asandh) - F
GC North Rim v.s. South Rim on 01/02/2013 11:42:57 MST Print View

I realize the South Rim is a zoo of tourists and your plan calls for you to pass the North Rim towards Utah beauty, a great plan.

But if there is some way to do the South Rim in your trip rather than the North Rim, a driving tour of the south rim plus a partial descent of the South Kaibab trail would give your son the best picture of the Grand Canyon's awesomeness.

perhaps on the way back home ?

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: GC North Rim v.s. South Rim on 01/02/2013 13:02:53 MST Print View

Won't happen on this trip. We'll be heading home via I-80.

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: Re: GC North Rim v.s. South Rim on 01/02/2013 14:04:54 MST Print View

well you trip is pretty full.
I'm sure you'll have a great time.

Michael L
(mpl_35) - MLife

Locale: The Palouse
Re: Re: neo socks on 01/02/2013 20:39:41 MST Print View

May is usually upper 80s and 90s. The cold water was a relief. Remember its the desert!

But go ahead. Neoprene socks will come in handy in the future.

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: Tuolumne Meadows on 01/04/2013 13:50:18 MST Print View

Where should we leave resupply at TM when we drive through assuming all services are open?

Are there better places to camp there (preferably for free)?

> It would seem Davis Lakes would make a good campsite to attempt a 20-mile push into TM if my son wants to attempt that merit badge requirement as it's pretty much all downhill once we're over Donahue.

Got the map pack today and see the site I had came across with mileage and elevation profile was incorrect. It seems to be only 19.8 to the road at TM from 1000 Island Lake. Not that big a deal but good to know beforehand so can plan to camp sooner so it would count.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Tuolumne Meadows on 01/04/2013 14:02:35 MST Print View

"Where should we leave resupply at TM when we drive through assuming all services are open?"

Lots of southbound JMT hikers start at Happy Isles, get uphill to Tuolumne Meadows, and pick up a resupply there before heading up Lyell Canyon.

However, it doesn't make so much sense for northbound JMT hikers.

Also, trail mileages from Tuolumne Meadows can vary a lot since there is no single spot called Tuolumne Meadows. The JMT trailhead is on the east end, and the Cathedral Lakes trailhead is on the west end, and there are several miles in between.

So, you could easily make a 19.8-mile segment into 22 miles.

--B.G.--

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: Tuolumne Meadows on 01/04/2013 14:21:01 MST Print View

> However, it doesn't make so much sense for northbound JMT hikers.

I can see that, but prefer to use only one canister if possible so my son doesn't need to carry one as well.

Someone suggested Davis Lakes as a good spot to see and it seems camping there is good so we could camp somewhere off the lower Cathedral Lakes trail if necessary to make the 20-mile goal. Just don't know if there are any decent spots near there or if we'd be better staying elsewhere and starting that day further down the trail.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Tuolumne Meadows on 01/04/2013 14:35:43 MST Print View

"I can see that, but prefer to use only one canister if possible so my son doesn't need to carry one as well."

On the other hand, if he did carry a kid-sized canister, it would be good training.

"Someone suggested Davis Lakes as a good spot to see and it seems camping there is good so we could camp somewhere off the lower Cathedral Lakes trail if necessary to make the 20-mile goal. Just don't know if there are any decent spots near there or if we'd be better staying elsewhere and starting that day further down the trail."

There are some rules that NPS enforces around Tuolumne Meadows. You can't camp anywhere within four miles of the road. They have that rule because of great potential for overuse. Well, if you start up the trail toward Cathedral Lakes, four miles will put you within one mile of Lower Cathedral Lake, so you might as well camp there. Or, Upper Cathedral Lake. By mid-season, there may not be too many other sources of water. If you are really going strong, a good spot is a mile south of Cathedral Lakes.

So, as you are northbound in Lyell Canyon, you have to make a decision before you are four miles from the east end road. Then no camping. Then you have to wait until you are four miles from the west end road. That makes a gap of more than ten miles. Your other alternative is to use the small backpackers tent campground that is within the managed Tuolumne Meadows Campground for car campers. There is a fee, and you must have your wilderness permit handy. I don't like that campground since it tends to be noisy with all of the RVs and other vehicles not far away.

--B.G.--

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Major road trip to western parks - tentative schedule on 01/12/2013 11:43:40 MST Print View

This is what I have fleshed out so far and have a couple reservations made for the first 1/3. Anything I should change/drop/add?

June 17 Drive to KS I-70 Exit 132
18 Drive to UT I-70 Exit 190
19 35 min to Arches. Pickup FF tix & BC permit. Devil's Garden. Camp NE of Delicate Arch
20 FF tour. Double Arch. Drive 4+ hours to Escalante. See Hollow Mountain gas station at 24 & 95. Cap Reef - see Capitol Dome, petroglyphs, pick cherries, Panorama Pt & Chimney Rock
21 Zebra then Peak-a-boo/Spooky slot canyons (assuming road is dry and my Civic can make it)
Drive 2 hours to Bryce Canyon - Sunset Cgd
22 Sa Figure 8 loop - Drive 3.5 hours to GC North Rim
23 Su North Kaibab to Cottonwood
24 Hike out. Wave if permit OR rim viewpoints & Parrisawampitts Point
25 Wave if permit OR rim viewpoints. Drive thru Zion to Springdale
26 Angel's Landing & ???
27 Narrows overnight
28 Narrows overnight - drive 3.5 hours to near Lake Mead
29 Sa Hoover Dam tour. Drive toward Death Valley. Get motel room.
30 Su See DV Star Wars sites. Drive as far as Civic can manage to Mahogany Flat and camp on Telescope Peak
July 1 Drive 3.5 hours to Bristlecone Pines
2 Drive to Yosemite Valley; 5 PM bus back to Mammoth
3 Start JMT from Agnew Meadow
4 JMT
5 JMT
6 Sa JMT
7 Su Half Dome
8 See other valley sites, Glacier Point, Sentinel Dome. Drive back to Mono Lake area.
9 Tufa on South shore Mono Lake (if sunrise). Fissures on North shore Mono Lake.
Bodie ghost town. Travertine hot spring
10 Drive home
11 Drive home
12 REST before Smokies trip the 14th!

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: Major road trip to western parks - tentative schedule on 01/12/2013 11:57:27 MST Print View

Telescope Peak. We did that hike on a full moon night. Awesome view.

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: Re: Major road trip to western parks - tentative schedule on 01/12/2013 12:09:23 MST Print View

I bet it would be. Full moon will be while in the Grand Canyon so I may go for a night hike.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Re: Re: Major road trip to western parks - tentative schedule on 01/12/2013 13:05:55 MST Print View

"9 Tufa on South shore Mono Lake (if sunrise). Fissures on North shore Mono Lake.
Bodie ghost town. Travertine hot spring"

When we took the kids to the fissures in Black Point on the north side of Mono Lake, it was the afternoon and it was HOT! While sunrise at the tufa columns would be cool, I'd find out when Bodie opens, be there then, and go to Black Point BEFORE Bodie. Then pass through Lee Vining for the visitor's center, lunch, an ice cream, and then head to the Tufa. I spend less time at the Tufa than at Bodie or hiking to the fissures, so I'd the longer activities earlier in the day.

I've scrambled for lodging in that area when I didn't plan ahead. Trips went much better when I had reservations for the motel nights. Inquire if they have washer/dryer for guest use (self-serve and you pay like at a laundromat) - that lets you pack lighter and smell better.

"Full moon will be while in the Grand Canyon so I may go for a night hike."

I did a full-moon hike down the North Kaibab trail from the North Rim one summer, years ago. The temps were great, the lack of sunburn was great, and I didn't need a headlamp for most all of it. The was plenty of reflected light in the shadows and I remember coming around a corner out of the shadows and into the full moonlight and instinctive shielding my eyes (from the bright ground!) and then mentally chiding myself that full moonlight on the trail is about 1/100,000th of what full sunlight is. It still sticks in my mind as an example of just how versatile human eyes are.

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: Major road trip to western parks - tentative schedule on 01/12/2013 15:50:28 MST Print View

I'm planning to hit those sites in order listed (S to N) starting at sunrise as we head in the general direction of I-80 home.

I haven't figured out what I'll do for sleeping yet:
1. before we start the JMT as the bus gets to Mammoth at 9 PM so not much time to find somewhere to camp for the night. I'll see if they have a hostel nearby or inexpensive motel.
2. When we head back to Mono Lake after we're done. Looks like several campgrounds as you come down 120 to Lee Vining. I assume we'll have found a place in Yosemite Valley to shower.

Last summer we had 1 shower and never washed our clothes in the 20 days. :) We did normally change out of our set of hiking clothes into the set of street clothes we took when we were in the car or in public.

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Mammoth Camping on 01/12/2013 16:34:19 MST Print View

when you take the YART bus back to Mammoth, the first stop (in Mammoth) is right next to a McDonalds (on the left), bus gets there 8:30-9:00.
Right across the street are two campgrounds : Old Shady Rest and New Shady rest.
I have stayed there, they are adequate. I think they are national forest campgrounds. you can make reservations (recommended) or get a walkin if you are lucky. try hard to stay at one of these.

campgrounds

next morning walk out to main road (Main St or 203), turn right and walk up hill for 1 or 1.5 miles to the new fancy shopping complex at the intersection of Minaret Rd (203) and Lake Mary Rd.
at the back of this complex you can catch a free bus up to Mammoth ski area to catch the Fee bus down in to Reds Meadow.
the free bus is actually run by the ski area for those who are downhill mtn biking on the slopes. hikers are allowed to use it for free.
The fee bus is $7-8 each and not run by Mammoth ski area, although you catch it there.
I believe the first stop this bus makes is Agnew Meadows (your stop).

Mammoth map

note : there is also another free bus service in town run by the town but it does not start service till 9:00am so skip it.
I think the first pickup of the free biker bus is 6:00 or 6:30.
I think the first run of the fee bus is 7:00 or 7:30.
you should check on this, I'll look too, used them last summer for a hike on the JMT.

also, the Ranger office is very near the McDonalds and campground entrance but will be closed by the time the bus drops you off.

p.s.
if any of this is not clear just ask me for more details.

Edited by asandh on 01/12/2013 17:13:44 MST.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Re: Major road trip to western parks - tentative schedule on 01/12/2013 17:15:22 MST Print View

I assume we'll have found a place in Yosemite Valley to shower.

If you're coming off the JMT in Happy Isles, skip the bus (it'll be crowded and takes the long way around the loop. Just hike west toward Curry Village 1 mile away. There are several shower houses there in among the tent cabins. Some have a combo-lock on the door but at least one (looks more like a bathroom than a shower house, but has two showers in it), is open all the time.

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: Re: Re: Major road trip to western parks - tentative schedule on 01/12/2013 17:37:45 MST Print View

Great info, Art!

I think the other David had mentioned reserving a cabin at CV when we were done - but I can't justify $136 + tax to stay in a tent. :P Looks like I'll try to reserve a spot in Lower or Upper Pines for that night.

Katy Anderson
(KatyAnderson) - F
Yosemite on 01/13/2013 10:33:05 MST Print View

I'd skip the multiple back and forths to Yosemite. Just hike the JMT from Mammoth to Yosemite and take the bus back.

You'll need a Half Dome pass and they may not be able to give it to you in Mammoth. Here is a link to the Half Dome permit details for backpackers http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/hdwildpermits.htm .
Contact them, maybe they will let you pick up a Half Dome pass in the Wilderness Center in Tuolomne as you pass through there.

Tuolomne Meadows has a backpackers campground you can stay at as you pass through, $5 per person per night. Early July there will be PCT thru hikers, fellow JMTers, Bay Area folks, and even a few UL backpackers in this campground.

There is a store in Tuolomne to buy resupply items as well as beer and ice- cream, a grill for a juicy hamburger and a post-office in case you prefer to mail a resupply.

The backpackers campground in Yosemite Valley is $5 per person, you can use it one night before and one night after your trip with a wilderness permit, no reservations needed or taken.

There is a pool and showers in Curry Village, $5 per person, use of towels included. Same at Yosemite Lodge I believe.

Free shuttle bus runs frequently in a loop to trail heads, store, etc, no need for a car in Yosemite Valley.

There is a bus ($20 fee?) up to Glacier Point. Hike back down or take the bus back.

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: Yosemite on 01/13/2013 11:06:33 MST Print View

Since we're coming from outside the Park, a HD permit isn't required even with their new restrictions for 2013. I verified that with their wilderness office a few days ago. My Inyo permit will allow us to climb it.

Nice to know about the BP camp in the valley. Would save a little from having to make a reservation in Upper Pines for the night. I see it's behind North Pines Campground (and across the footbridge). Where is the closest designated parking area for it?

Edited by topshot on 01/13/2013 11:13:39 MST.

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: Re: Yosemite on 01/13/2013 11:26:33 MST Print View

I think Curry Village parking is the closest major parking lot to BP camping.
there is some parking behind the Ahwanee Hotel that is a bit closer, but Curry Village is much better for when you come off the JMT.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Curry Village parking and sleeping and sometimes dying. on 01/13/2013 14:11:37 MST Print View

Ah, but a tent in CV isn't just a tent. There's Hanta Virus, too. At least in Cabin 922 where we stayed and earlier occupants stayed and died (later of Hanta Virus). They told us, but only after it hit the media that a second round of illnesses was happening.

Also, if you're late by a day (it happens), your cabin and $136 will be gone.

Edited to add: not shown on many maps, there is a BPing parking lot between Curry Village and Happy Isles that (at least early morning) is far easier to find a space in than at CV. It's a 1/2 mile from each.

Edited by DavidinKenai on 01/13/2013 14:14:40 MST.

Katy Anderson
(KatyAnderson) - F
No designated parking for Yosemite backpacker camps on 01/13/2013 16:55:51 MST Print View

The backpacker campgrounds in Yosemite have no designated parking, instead you leave your car at the trail head. In Yosemite Valley the only trail head parking lot is between Curry Village and Happy Isles, about 3/4 mile from the backpackers campground.
If you plan to leave your car in this parking lot for several days check in with the wilderness center about it, they may give you a stub to put on your dash board.

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Yosemite post-JMT on 01/14/2013 10:51:48 MST Print View

2 more questions I thought of:
1. Is there an easy place to recharge camera batteries for a couple hours in Curry Village (or other nearby place)? Wouldn't surprise me if all 4 I'll have are kaput in 5 days. I might try to charge one in TM also to make sure I don't run out so where might I go there for a couple hours?

2. Do they really have enough bear lockers at Happy Isles TH parking lot that I can stash our excess food for the 5 days we're gone (labeled with name and out date I'd guess)? By the time we hit the JMT we'd have a few days food remaining so it will all fit in an OpSak. I could likely even double bag the OpSaks. Any problems with theft or should I just leave it in the trunk against policy?

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: Yosemite post-JMT on 01/14/2013 11:06:00 MST Print View

don't leave food in your car.
bears really do break in to cars.

there are quite a few bear boxes, but quite a few people use them.
as long as you don't have a giant ice chest you should be able to find space.
as always, don't leave valuables. never had food taken, but ... there is a grocery store.

Katy Anderson
(KatyAnderson) - F
post JMT on 01/14/2013 11:34:03 MST Print View

No good answer for the recharging question. I'm sure it is becoming quite the issue at campgrounds all over, as most of us now have electronic devices that need recharging, yet camp sites are blessed free of electricity.

Don't under any circumstances leave food in your car in Yosemite or in fact anywhere in the Sierra.

The bear boxes at the TH parking lot will probably fit your food. The reason I say probably rather than certainly has to do with the hanta virus that sickened and killed several Yosemite visitors this past summer that David referred to further up this thread. Hanta virus is spread by mice and mice can get in to the current bear boxes. In the short term Yosemite recommends that you use mouse proof containers inside the bear boxes, this means hard plastic containers, ice cheasts, coolers and the like, all of which will fill up the bear lockers. The long term solution I suspect will involve new mouse proof bear lockers, but who knows when that will happen.

Arts solution of buying food in the store seems like a good one. You'll be ready for some fresh food after a few days of backpacking.

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: post JMT on 01/14/2013 12:16:19 MST Print View

Good to know about the mice! I'll use my Outsak though that will make it more attractive to 2-legged critters. May take a black trashbag to wrap it in, too. Mice can chew through any plastic container - just slows them down a while.

We will eat a real dinner the day we come out (someone had suggested pizza), but I suspect the store prices for goodies to be pretty high compared to going to a normal market. Though it's also true we wouldn't need a whole lot to finish the last couple days of dayhiking.

I have no choice but to leave some valuables in the trunk. My laptop isn't exactly lightweight. :P

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: Re: post JMT on 01/14/2013 12:29:11 MST Print View

cars rarely get broken in to by humans.

any eatery in The Valley will be very crowded, especially the pizza place.
there is a somewhat ok cafeteria right around the corner.

oh, did I mention the Tuolumne Grill (closes at 5pm) just outside Tuolumne campground ? pretty tasty burgers and shakes, especially when coming off the trail.

and down at the base of the road up to Tuolumne, the Lee Vining area, a classic must eat at place ... The Mobile Gas Station restaurant. atmosphere very casual, food one step below gourmet, and reasonable, the owner is a real chef.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: post JMT on 01/14/2013 16:41:17 MST Print View

"and down at the base of the road up to Tuolumne, the Lee Vining area, a classic must eat at place ... The Mobile Gas Station restaurant. atmosphere very casual, food one step below gourmet, and reasonable, the owner is a real chef."

Mmmmmm hmmmmm! A big +1.!!

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Nankoweap on 01/15/2013 08:36:27 MST Print View

Huh- I just recommended this on another thread, but... Just puttering around the Ken Patrick and rim trails and around the Walhalla Plateau is nice, but if you're looking for dayhikes on the GRCA north rim you could do Nankoweap. There's even a massively cool campsite part-way down at Marion Point if you can do an overnighter (don't rely on the seep near there, though- bring lots of water). It's still relatively high, so the temperatures aren't so extreme. It is very exposed though- compared to North Kaibab and the other corridor trails it is positively terrifying- but your son may like that. And with a kid I'd stick to just an out-and-back to Marion Point, because things get really scary just past there.

See the first day of my trip report:

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=62675

You don't have to use the lower trailhead that we did- there is another on the north rim proper. Where the two trailhead trails meet it can be hard to spot the trail heading down into the canyon- just remember, it switchbacks over the cliff... :)

Edited by acrosome on 01/15/2013 08:38:45 MST.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: Western trip on 01/15/2013 10:46:05 MST Print View

In addition to Angel's Landing Hidden Canyon would make a good day. Overall that looks like an awesome plan. I'm not sure how much the CV tent cabins were 6 years ago, but my recollection is closer to 37 than 137 dollars. Yosemite doesn't really count as a national park anymore. Private vehicles (and the Curry Co.) should have been banned from the valley decades ago.

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: re: Western trip on 01/15/2013 10:59:48 MST Print View

deleted - not really relevant to main purpose of the thread.

Edited by asandh on 01/15/2013 11:09:53 MST.

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
GC permit on 02/11/2013 11:12:47 MST Print View

Grand Canyon permit is secured. :) The only thing left to reserve is Zion Narrows.