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Thanksgiving backpacking ideas?
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Craig Rosler
Thanksgiving backpacking ideas? on 09/21/2013 18:22:17 MDT Print View

We're looking to take advantage of the Thanksgiving holiday by taking a 2-3 night backpacking trip. We recently relocated to the San Francisco bay area (Oakland) and ideally would like to drive no more than two or three hours (but we're pretty flexible and would go farther for something really worthwhile). We'd be looking to do probably around 8-12 miles a day, though we're pretty flexible on that point as well. Not equipped to deal with snow, and solitude is key. Definitely looking to avoid crowds.

Seems like a pretty tall order, I know, but I thought I'd have my best chance for good suggestions here. All ideas are welcome!

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Thanksgiving backpacking ideas? on 09/21/2013 18:25:58 MDT Print View

Lost Coast?

Paul Wagner
(balzaccom) - F

Locale: Wine Country
Or Henry Coe on 09/22/2013 09:50:33 MDT Print View

That's the other option, south of San Jose

The Sierra, by thanksgiving, is going to have a good load of snow on it, with any luck at atll.

d k
(dkramalc) - MLife
Re: Thanksgiving backpacking ideas? on 09/22/2013 10:00:18 MDT Print View

Ventana Wilderness (plenty of poison oak and ticks, though) - check out Jeffrey Schaffer's "Hiking the Big Sur Country")
Henry Coe
Point Reyes, but it will be more crowded
Cache Creek? I'm not sure of driving time there
Ohlone Wilderness
Skyline to the Sea in Big Basin

The Lost coast is a lot more than 3 hours away from Oakland, I think. Lassen is a little over 3 hours as I recall; it should be relatively uncrowded at that time in the backcountry. Desolation wilderness is probably the same distance.

Edited by dkramalc on 09/22/2013 10:22:28 MDT.

Michael Driscoll
(Hillhikerz) - F

Locale: Monterey Bay
Pt. Reyes for T- Day on 09/22/2013 10:03:56 MDT Print View

I would think Pt. Reyes would be nice rain or shine... I like to enter from the south near Bolinas... If you are new to the area there is a lot to see and do from the GG to Mt. Tam & north of the point...

Joe Lynch
(rushfan) - MLife

Locale: Northern California
big basin on 09/23/2013 00:29:17 MDT Print View

Another vote for Big Basin. The Santa Cruz mountains are really nice. Lassen is great but you risk snow. We have reservations for Point Reyes the weekend before thanksgiving so fingers crossed for no rain.

Cache Creek is just up the road from the cache creek casino, so use that for travel calculations. I've hiked there but not stayed overnight. Coastal hills area that is decent in the fall and winter. has trail and route descriptions. Will be less crowded than Point Reyes or Big Basin.

A little farther afield is Snow Mountain in the Mendocino NF. I've not been there but hope to go in the next 6 months. Kevin's hiking page has a description.

Edited by rushfan on 09/23/2013 00:37:51 MDT.

Craig Rosler
Thanks everyone! on 09/24/2013 09:50:13 MDT Print View

These are all great ideas -- thanks so much to everyone who contributed.

I keep hearing about Henry Coe, though I've not been. What is it that makes it so popular among backpackers? Maybe we'll give that a try.

We made the mistake of going to Big Basin during the fourth of July holiday weekend and it was mobbed. Wouldn't mind seeing it again a little less overrun.

Anyway, these are all excellent suggestions! Thanks again, all.

Charles P
(mediauras) - F

Locale: Terra
Re: Thanks everyone! on 09/30/2013 23:17:41 MDT Print View

Welcome to Oakland!

(I have no suggestions to add, bases have been covered.)

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Thanksgiving backpacking ideas? on 09/30/2013 23:59:46 MDT Print View

Craig, Point Reyes is 1.5 hours from Oakland and Coast Camp or Glen Camp are about 6 miles from Bear Valley Visitor Center. If you had permits for each, you could have days of about 6, 4, and 6 miles plus however many day trips and side trips you wanted to take.

I'd expect that unless you head out to the lighthouse (that's sightseeing, not backpacking), any of the backpacking camps ought to be pretty calm as everyone else will be home eating turkey.

We'll be hiking around there that weekend, having flown from Alaska to Oakland and staying with the in-laws in Inverness.