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Hetch Hetchy Winter backpacking

PostPosted: Tue Dec 31, 2019 1:26 pm
by MikeP
I am considering doing a short weekend backpacking trip in Hetch Hetchy sometime in the next few weeks. My thinking is that the lower elevation gives a better chance in terms of conditions, snow, and temperatures. I have experience in both snow and temps, but would like to stick with boots (maybe spikes) and camp on the ground if possible. I obviously understand that no one can predict the conditions, but in general does anyone have any advice or experience in Hetch Hetchy in Jan/Feb? Am I off base and there is as much snow there as anywhere? I always look at CalTopo Satellite and it looks like the south facing aspects are pretty clear close to the reservoir. I attached a screen shot.

Also, for driving and parking, My info is as follows: must have chains in vehicle even if not required at that time, call 209-372-0200 for updates:
From NPS Website:
Hetch Hetchy Entrance Station
Hetchy Road is open 8 am to 5 pm. Wilderness permits for the Hetch Hetchy area are available at the kiosk (self-registration). Be prepared with your own bear canister. There is no access to Hetch Hetchy beyond road open hours (overnight parking is permitted in the overnight parking lot near the backpackers' campground).

Again, no one can predict 100%, but is there a legit concern with parking overnight and getting snowed in for days??

Re: Hetch Hetchy Winter backpacking

PostPosted: Wed Jan 01, 2020 9:51 am
by balzaccom
We've done a couple of trips there in March...

Lake Eleanor gives you nice access to the area between the dam and Hetch-hetchy....and may or may not have snow, depending on recent weather. Miguel Meadow isn't particularly scenic, but still...

And from Hetch-hetchy to Rancheria Falls is certainly a possibility...again watching the weather. You may not be able to get across the bridge at Wapama Falls, and people have died there, so don't be stupid about it.

You could also hike to Preston Falls, although we did that as a day hike...

Watch the weather and the snow reports.

Re: Hetch Hetchy Winter backpacking

PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2020 12:15 pm
by MikeP
Thanks blaza, I am going to keep and eye on the weather and try the Rancheria Falls hike/camp if I get a good weekend. I'll send a trip report. Looking forward to a good hiking year in 2020!