Snow Mountain Wilderness vs. Ventana Wilderness
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Sean Passanisi
(passanis) - MLife
Snow Mountain Wilderness vs. Ventana Wilderness on 05/08/2013 21:52:37 MDT Print View

Hello. I'm looking for a 2 night backcountry getaway close to San Francisco for a weekend this May. I've read a little about Snow Mountain up in Mendocino and Ventana near Big Sur. I'm looking for a moderate hike in, perhaps 5 to 10 miles, and a place with water but without crowds. I haven't been to the Sierra yet, but would like to avoid bear country until I have more experience. I probably won't arrive until near dark on Friday night, so a close campsite the first night is a bonus. Would love to hear feedback on these two sites or others. Thanks.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Snow Mountain Wilderness vs. Ventana Wilderness on 05/08/2013 21:59:08 MDT Print View

How do you feel about poison oak?

Poison oak seldom grows much above 5000 feet elevation.

--B.G.--

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Snow Mountain Wilderness vs. Ventana Wilderness on 05/08/2013 22:27:52 MDT Print View

If you don't like crowds and end up in the Ventana, stay away from the Pine Ridge trail and Sykes Camp. Stay far away, unless being stuck in a crowded river corridor with 200 other people to see a tiny hot spring sounds fun to you.
I've done some off trail hiking in the Vetana to places where few people ever go and it's amazing. Just watch out for the poison oak, it's everywhere.

Always check the trail conditions first. Some "trails" turn into huge bushwacks.
http://www.ventanawild.org/forums/viewforum.php?f=36

Sean Passanisi
(passanis) - MLife
Re: Re: Snow Mountain Wilderness vs. Ventana Wilderness on 05/08/2013 22:32:22 MDT Print View

Thanks B.G. and G.B. Yes, I would like to avoid poison oak and bushwacking. :)

Would Snow Mountain have less poison oak?

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Re: Re: Snow Mountain Wilderness vs. Ventana Wilderness on 05/08/2013 22:36:45 MDT Print View

Yes, definitely less poison oak. Poison Oak doesn't grow at higher elevations.

Rex Sanders
(Rex) - M

Locale: Central California Coast
Consider Cache Creek on 05/08/2013 23:21:26 MDT Print View

Cache Creek area is beautiful, I've only day-hiked and rafted there. No crowds, no bears, water in Cache Creek, about 2 hours from SF.

http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/ukiah/cachecreek.html
http://www.wilderness.net/NWPS/wildView?WID=684
http://www.yolohiker.org/
http://www.everytrail.com/destination/cache-creek-wilderness

-- Rex

Edited by Rex on 05/08/2013 23:22:15 MDT.

Rex Sanders
(Rex) - M

Locale: Central California Coast
Also Henry Coe State Park on 05/08/2013 23:53:16 MDT Print View

Coe Park is also beautiful, rarely crowded, especially if you start from Hunting Hollow or Dowdy Ranch entrances, no bears, water available but you must plan carefully, less than 2 hours from SF. Coe Park is always steep, and could be hot.

http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=561
http://coepark.net/ See the "Water Resources", and "Backpacking" sections.

-- Rex

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Snow Mountain Wilderness vs. Ventana Wilderness on 05/09/2013 00:11:13 MDT Print View

Another idea: the Ohlone Wilderness past Murietta Fall.

--B.G.--

d k
(dkramalc) - MLife
Re: Consider Cache Creek on 05/09/2013 00:25:28 MDT Print View

>No crowds, no bears, water in Cache Creek<


The site for the area says "You may see mountain lion, black bear, coyote, gray fox, bobcat, badger, raccoon, beaver or river otter during your visit."

But I doubt it is "bear country" in the way that the Sierra area is.

Edited by dkramalc on 05/09/2013 00:26:02 MDT.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Consider Cache Creek on 05/09/2013 00:34:39 MDT Print View

I have been to Cache Creek several times. It's a decent place to backpack.
It can get very hot there. In the summer the grasslands get lots of prickly weeds and stickers that can get in your shoes. Gaiters are pretty much a requirement.

If the amount tracks and scat are any indication of the number of bears, then Cache Creek has a lot of bears. But they are probably all very shy. I had one check out my camp on rocky creek in the middle of the night, but it left me alone.

If you go there in summer after they have increased the water flow, you might not be able to cross Cache Creek which limits where you can go.

Edited by justin_baker on 05/09/2013 00:47:24 MDT.

Alex Wallace
(FeetFirst) - F

Locale: Northern California
Snow Mountain Wilderness on 05/09/2013 16:29:41 MDT Print View

I posted some info HERE about the Snow Mountain Wilderness that you may find useful.

I know you said you're hesitant about the Sierra due to bears, but I think you should really reconsider it. There are plenty of trailheads less than 3 hours away in the Tahoe, Eldorado, and Stanislaus National Forests that just don't seem to have the same type of bear pressure that some of the more popular areas do (e.g. Yosemite, SEKI). Besides, I'm sure most here can attest that bear encounters are rare and most likely go down like this. "Hey, look a bear." "Where?" "Oh man, it just ran off. That was so cool!" I'm actually on higher alert when hiking at lower elevations due to rattlesnakes, poison oak, water quality, raccoons, mice, stinging nettles, mountain lions, etc.

If you'd like some specific trail suggestions, let me know and I can suggest a few.

Joseph Lynch
(rushfan) - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Another option-Ishi Wilderness on 05/11/2013 00:09:54 MDT Print View

Another option is the Ishi Wilderness near Chico.

http://www.summitpost.org/ishi-wilderness/290043

Ishi is located southwest of Mount Lassen in the Lassen National Forest. Elevation is from 1500' to 3500' so it can get warm during the summer. Rivers from Lassen cut deep canyons through the area. To get to Ishi, you drive on dirt roads, with the last couple of miles on a deeply rutted rough road. Take a high clearance 4wd vehicle to get there. Worst road I've ever been on, which helps keep folks away.

When we went two years ago in the late spring, we split entire the Mill Creek Canyon with an old couple at the trailhead campsite. We saw a big rattlesnake, herds of deer, a salamander, and signs of bear with no problems. There was a lot of poison oak and because we were early in the season, the trails along Mill Creek was a little overgrown. We found a great campsite next to Mill Creek about two miles from the trailhead.

Ishi Wilderness Black Rock
Black Rock at the Mill Creek Trailhead

Ishi Wilderness Mill Creek
Mill Creek