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3-4 day hike in yosemite/kings/sequoia area

PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 3:58 pm
by paulabo
celebrating our 1st anniversary with a hike! Sept 12.
We would like to be out for 3 or 4 days, which for us means not more than 20 to 30 miles. Would love to hike through huge old trees and maybe some high meadows and camp at lakes or at least streams for some bathing. I've heard the Sierra Palisades glacier hike in Kings Canyon is spectacular, but I think it's a bit long for us. Usually 6-8 miles and not more than 3000ft elevation per day is good.
Any suggestions in this general area would be great! (We are driving from Oakland to Santa Cruz and down to Big Sur, as well - so that area is an option for the hike too.)
Much thanks!

some suggestions have been: mineral king area, evolution valley in muir trail area, high sierra trail... any thoughts?

PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 5:44 pm
by mikecain3
Wow, a spouse that likes to backpack. You're lucky.

I have approached the Palisade Glacier from the east (Big Pine or Lone Pine) before. If you don't want to go over high elevation passes and want something easy, I would not try and get here from the west side.

King's Canyon offers several trials that will suit your criteria. I have recently started hikes from Roads End - hway 180 in Kings. A lot of hikers do the Rae Lakes loop but that might exceed your mileage and elevation. Instead I like going north east from Roads end along the Kings River. The main camping area is 6 to 9 miiles out located in Paradise Valley. If you google search there should be some pics out there. You can continue up that trail and eventually hit the JMT. The other hike from Roads End is along Bubbs Creek. That would be the way I would go. There are more options for days 2 and 3. Should have plenty of water even in Sept and lots of HUGE old trees. None of this is near Big Sur though.

Great time of year to go out. Enjoy.

PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 6:01 pm
by AlmostThere
Uh, there are coastal redwoods in Big Sur. It's why a lot of people go there. Partly anyway. Not as awesomely huge as sequoias but certainly very tall indeed. I was nearly nailed when a gust of wind dislodged a tree out of a redwood that was easily ten feet long - broke a landspeed record beating it out of the grove...

There are a lot of trails in Ventana Wilderness (inland from Big Sur) that are backpack-able, but I tend to not head out there until winter. It's quite exposed, low elevation, and hot. Water sources dry up in summer so some extended trip planning is necessary. has a forum with trail reports, many are in varying states of repair following the fires of a couple years back. Make sure you have the most recent map if you try any of the trails, many of the routes on old maps no longer exist.

A backpack out of Mineral King would be the bee's knees - fall colors in the awesome scenery. A climb going out but downhill coming back. Planning to go out there in Sept myself this year.

You could also make a loop out of Alta Meadow, Moose Lake, Pear Lake and back to the car, with a side trip to Alta Peak if you are feeling ambitious. A little easy cross country and some elevation gain (the peak is a two mile one way slog, but worthwhile) and some good scenery.

PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 6:11 pm
by AlmostThere
And then there is the Skyline to Sea Trail.... I just happen to have two spots left on my group permit for Sept 12. Do a google and find some trip reports. I am doing a leisurely three night staying at Waterman, Jay and Twin Redwoods camps. I have friends who live in the area (Santa Cruz) who hopefully will expedite car shuttling to the trailhead and we will do short side trips, among others to Berry Creek Falls.

PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 6:32 pm
by bill-e-g
Lemme throw my 2 cents in before I run to my fav. place in the world again.

I wouldn't backpack Skyline to Sea. (again). I've dayhiked the
whole thing too... it's ok... Just not the freedom you get from the Sierra.
They even had a number of the camps entirely closed early this year.
I'd just dayhike Big Basin and leave it at that.
My wife flat out refuses to backpack Big Basin ever again due to
the car camping feeling you get there. (must camp here... )
(and a good portion of the trail is RIGHT next to a road)

Anyway, from what you mentioned I'd go for High Sierra Trail from
Crescent Meadow. Hamilton Lakes and Precipice are amazing.
You can also go camp among the Sequoias in Redwood Meadow.
Not exactly a loop though.

I'd recommend Bubbs over Paradise by a long shot.... if you can
make it up to Lake Reflection that would be pretty sweet.
But that's an out and back and for some reason people don't like those.
I guess HST is too...

O well... pick any of them ... you can't really go wrong...

PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 6:41 pm
by AlmostThere
Yes, Bill, it's totally tourist city down Skyline to Sea and nothing at all like the Sierra. It's still about 700% less crowd than Half Dome, and there's something about walking into the ocean at the very end that just appeals... plus I'll get to go over to Aptos and have beer at the Britannia Arms with my chums after, or maybe that biker bar where I almost got in a fight with some chick who was twice my size... Or maybe the group will tool up the coast to Pigeon Point lighthouse for a nice quiet night in the hostel, have a shower, kick back and watch the sunset over the beach. And then the next day on the way out we'll visit the Down Works in Santa Cruz, the lightweight backpacker's store - more down clothing and gear than you can possibly mortgage the house for.

It's a hike to check off the list with some other items to do while we're there, is what it is. Just thought I would mention the two spots on my itinerary to see if someone wanted to fill 'em.

Oh, the falls and the views from the trail aren't bad either.

PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 6:54 pm
by AlmostThere
It's not like they will take the two spots anyway. Why would they want to go out with me on their anniversary? :P

PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 7:36 pm
by bill-e-g
My apologies... I shouldn't really diss it.

It has a lot of redeeming qualities. Actually we kinda liked Lane Camp
on account most people don't go that way and you can have it to
yourself (happened twice to us).
Sunrise was a zoo compared to what we are used to.
O... and I insist we hike uphill.


Anyway, enjoy your trip.

High Sierra Trail

PostPosted: Fri Aug 27, 2010 8:43 am
by camerafoundonJMT
I would second Bill-e-g on the HST out of Crescent Meadows. First day to Bearpaw, big views most of the way. Second night at Hamilton, a beautiful alpine setting. Day three leave the pack at Hamilton an day hike to one of a kind Precipice. Bigger views that day one. Forth day is a gradual downhill back home.

PostPosted: Fri Aug 27, 2010 5:00 pm
by hiker97
I'll put in a 3rd vote on the Crescent Meadow to Hamilton Lakes trail, although my personal preference on camp sites would be to stop short of Bearpaw and camp at Buck Creek around 9 miles in. Bearpaw is a bit claustrophobic in the backpacker camping area, but on the other hand totally spectacular near the High Sierra Camp tent cabins. I also thoroughly enjoyed Evolution Valley from Florence Lake as a 4-day out-and-back. There is so much water this year that I'm sure the Evolution Creek cascades will still be a real treat in early September. Either way you can't go wrong on these trips.

PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2011 11:45 am
by guyd
can we pitch a tent before HS Bearpaw Camp and go there for a meal...?

PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2011 1:54 pm
by dan
guyd wrote:can we pitch a tent before HS Bearpaw Camp and go there for a meal...?

You can pitch a tent at the campground near the Bearcamp High Sierra Campground. But, no, they don't sell meals separately.