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End of April in California... Where do I go?
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Megan P
(meganpetruccelli) - F

Locale: San Francisco
End of April in California... Where do I go? on 04/12/2013 14:15:51 MDT Print View

I'm planning a short weekend trip the last weekend of april. Leave friday back sun, so i wish it wouldn't be a WHOLE lot of driving but i'm also fine making a haul if it's worth it. I presume it's a little early to go up to north from the bay area, but I have never really explored Big Sur or south at all. Where do I go?

I'm meeting a friend that's driving up from santa barbara so I'll go anywhere in the middle. Ventana, Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Enyo, I'll go anywhere... my only stipulation is it has to be by water, whether it be stream, river, ocean, lake. Oh but it needs to be dogs friendly.

Any advice? Specific trails, general areas?

This is now my go-to spot for new trails bc everyone in here is always so friendly and helpful.

Cheers! Happy Friday.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: End of April in California... Where do I go? on 04/12/2013 14:24:17 MDT Print View

The last weekend of April is kind of a tricky time to go. You can't go very high since there is still snow covering trails, but it is hard to get good information on how wet and snowy the trails really are. OTOH, if you head to the desert, you better hurry. It is getting hot in the desert already, and that can get tough on a dog.

You ought to be able to find a place where the wildflowers are blooming. Try the Lake Isabella area (northeast from Bakersfield).


Josh Potter

Locale: Central Coast, CA
southern big sur on 04/12/2013 14:40:29 MDT Print View

Throwing my vote in for the southern area of big sur. Salmon creek trail,Cruikshank trail and that whole area is awesome, dog friendly and right in between you and your friend. Just make sure the dogs are on tick meds and keep them out of the poison oak. Gorgeous area!


Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: End of April in California... Where do I go? on 04/12/2013 15:10:23 MDT Print View

Bob made a good suggestion for Lake Isabella. Should be a lot of Golden Poppies in some areas on your drive there. Don't know your driving route but the hills around the Grapevine are usually fabulous this time of year.

Also I was up near the Golden Trout Wilderness at the beginning of April and there was very little snow, but the roads were all closed with barricades. So you would need to check with the FS on roads. This area is about 1.5 hours from Isabella.

Here is a post about the trip. Sierra Snow Trip (silly me)

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Re: End of April in California... Where do I go? on 04/12/2013 15:30:35 MDT Print View

Lost Coast

Mike Oxford
(moxford) - MLife

Locale: Silicon Valley, CA
Not in the middle on 04/15/2013 03:34:02 MDT Print View

Lost Coast is not between SF and Santa Barbara. :P

Water + dog-friendly really puts a hit on your options. Call ahead because any place you pick may be booked up and whether or not the streams have water is a bit up in the air.

Big Sur is great. Really, anything in the coastal mountains will be nice because it'll normally be cool-ish and often moist/damp this time of year. Good chance of streams being active just about anywhere.

Henry Cowell has few trails which allow dogs and has a few streams.
Mount Madonna may be an option.

If you want "wild camping" you can do
Henry Coe has some lakes and remote-camping but you'll have to hike in to them. Any of the BLM lands but water may be sketchy depending on the tract you pick.

I did Carrizo Plains and had a great time ... Tule elk and pronghorn antelope. It was dry when I was there last Fall, so that may kill it for you.

The Forest of Nisene Marks is very pretty, but does have some dog-restrictions.

G'luck, and let us know what you picked and how it turned out!


Edited by moxford on 04/15/2013 03:37:21 MDT.

Backpack Jack
(jumpbackjack) - F

Locale: Armpit of California
April in California on 04/15/2013 07:53:25 MDT Print View


You're welcome to join us here.

I'm also bringing my dog.


Megan P
(meganpetruccelli) - F

Locale: San Francisco
Thanks! on 04/16/2013 11:05:43 MDT Print View

Mike! Thanks for all that info that is SUPER helpful for the future.

Jack! I would LOVE to come with you guys but I can't take monday off. Been taking WAY too much time off to adventure recently :-)

Backpack Jack
(jumpbackjack) - F

Locale: Armpit of California
April in California on 04/16/2013 22:52:32 MDT Print View


You don't have to take Mon. off, you could just do Sat. and out Sun. back home.

If you decide to go please post on the thread that I linked to.


Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
carrizo on 04/17/2013 18:38:27 MDT Print View

+1 on Carrizo plan - very beautiful this time of year with vast expanses of flowers, and it would split the difference between here and LA. Two main problems: no lake (there is a huge one where a ton of wildlife winters, but it should be dry to almost dry by end of April, and besides even then it s a definite no no for recreation). Carrizo is a national wildlife sanctuary, the camping is totally open in the areas where it is allowed, but pretty sure no dogs. There is a car-camping area as well. The sensitive wildlife, especially migratory birds, all hang out near the lake, so they might allow you to keep you dog west of the road where camping is permitted.

Also, none of the state parks allow dogs at all, except perhaps in special areas that don't qualify as "backpacking".

Also be warned, Golden Eagles nest in Carrizo, and if your dog is smaller than a breadbox it would make a tasty snack.

Edited by millonas on 04/17/2013 18:42:01 MDT.

Nico .
(NickB) - MLife

Locale: Los Padres National Forest
End of April in CA... Where do I go? on 04/17/2013 18:57:19 MDT Print View

Lots of options in Los Padres...

In the Big Sur area, on the coastal side, you've got trails like the Pine Ridge Trail, the trail(s) out of Botchers Gap, trails from Salmon Creek Station, trails from Kirk Creek camp, etc. All should have water and be nice in the spring. All will also have poison oak and ticks though, so be careful with the dog.

You can also hike into the Big Sur mtns from the inland side. Trails leave from around Los Padres dam (Carmel River), Arroyo Seco camp, etc accessed from Hwy 101.

For Big Sur area ideas, check out the website: They've got whole sections of their website dedicated to trails, trail conditions, trip reports, etc.

Farther south into Los Padres, you could leave from Nira Camp behind Santa Ynez and hike up, or down, Manzana Creek to the Sisquoc River in the San Rafael Wilderness. Check out for ideas around here.

Yet farther south, you've got the Sespe Wilderness and could join Jack's group for the BPL hike (nice area).

Carrizo is a neat place with a lot to see, but it's getting hot out there and it's already super dry out there this year. Probably not a good environment for hiking with a dog right now.

Heading inland, you've got the Golden Trout Wilderness entering from the west side of the Sierra (south of SEKI) off Hwy 190.

There's probably other parts of Sequoia NF (not National Park) that are also open for hiking now in the 5-8,000' elevation range that shouldn't have much, if any snow left and would be nice right now.