Recommendations for quick trip in mid-April

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goodnamesalltaken
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Recommendations for quick trip in mid-April

Post by goodnamesalltaken » Fri Apr 06, 2018 4:39 pm

Hello all,

I am looking at possibilities of a 1-2 night backpack trip with the girlfriend. I have have a few trips including cross country in the Sierra's mostly as a group and a couple times solo but all except one during the summer, my girlfriend doesn't have as much experience as me a couple of 1 night trips but did her first 3 night trip with me back in November (spring) in Patagonia, Chile (Torres Del Paine) not much by way of elevation around there. We don't have a 4 season tent, and don't have crampons or even microspikes, so we would like to avoid as much ice and snow as is possible for this time of year. Would like to keep it at max 9 miles a day.

Based on my desires in terms of conditions and equipment/experience limitations is this even feasible this time of year? Or should I stick to the dessert or other parts of CA? Thanks for any input.


What level of backpacking experience do you have?
Would like to keep it at Level 2 because of GF:
Level 2- Some backpacking trips, using trails


What terrain are you comfortable/uncomfortable with?
- Class 1 terrain/trail hiking
- Class 2 terrain/pass/x-country

What is your main interest?
- Lakes
- Forests

How many days/nights is your trip, not including travel to trailhead?
3 days, 2 nights

How many miles did you want to do a day, any layovers?
Max. 9 miles in a day.

Have you hiked at elevation before? Any prior issues with Altitude Sickness?
No issues with elevation.

Do you have a route logistics preference: loop, out and back, point to point (which may require 2 vehicles or hitchhiking)?
Loop, or out and back. No possibility of two vehicles or hitchhiking.

Is there a particular area in the Sierra that your most interested in (Yosemite, SEKI, western sierra start or eastern start ect.)?
Open to suggestions.

Have you hiked in the Sierra Nevada before, if yes, where? Please list a few of your more difficult hikes, so we can then recommend routes based on your experience level.
Mt Silliman
Mt Pickering
Kearsarge, Rae Lakes area

Will you be hiking with a dog?
No








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kpeter
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Re: Recommendations for quick trip in mid-April

Post by kpeter » Fri Apr 06, 2018 5:00 pm

People like WD will have many more suggestions, but you will have to backpack outside of the Sierra if you are going to avoid snow. Yosemite just closed the valley due to flooding this weekend, and the high country will still be full of snow. It is even too early for the Trinity Alps.

Henry Coe State Park or Point Reyes National Seashore come to mind, but even in those cases you will have to watch the weather if you don't want to have a wet and miserable experience. I have been eyeing a hike on the Channel Islands, myself, after an intriguing recommendation from this board. But these places are not going to have the classic lakes and forests you are interested in. Green hills, flowers, some vistas of seascape possibly--an altogether different kind of backpack than the ones you have done.

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AlmostThere
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Re: Recommendations for quick trip in mid-April

Post by AlmostThere » Fri Apr 06, 2018 8:46 pm

In mid April... not too many places where you won't get into snow in the Sierra.

Hite Cove... not in designated wilderness, so no permits. Low enough that there is no snow. Probably trees down on the trail tho, and poison oak, and short - four miles in and the trail ends, or you swim the Merced full of snow melt to the other side. Probably lots of ticks. Plenty of flowers.

Middle Fork of the Kaweah - more miles possible, fewer places to camp - there are a few good spots at Buck Creek. There's a bridge over the Kaweah if you push all the way to Redwood Meadow - take the first junction down to the river to cross. Probably snow if you get much above 7-8k. Permit from the visitor center at the Ash Mountain entrance of Sequoia NP.

In Yosemite, Hetch Hetchy, to Rancheria Falls, if Wapama Falls isn't flowing with deadly force - will be crowded as it's a popular early season trip. As is Chilnualna Falls - people hike up the hill and stop at snowline, or because the creek is uncrossable.

Some of what's limiting choices are road closures.

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wildhiker
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Re: Recommendations for quick trip in mid-April

Post by wildhiker » Fri Apr 06, 2018 11:43 pm

Where are you coming from? If northern California, there are some possibilities in the northern Sierra foothills. From north to south:

1) Ishi Wilderness - attractive rivers and rimrock canyons in the 1000 to 2000 foot elevation range southwest of Mt. Lassen. April is peak time - all green, and not hot yet.
2) Feather Falls east of Oroville, again under 2000 foot elevation. It's about a 5 mile hike to the Falls, which is one of the highest free-falls outside Yosemite (claims to be 600+ feet high). Reputedly some places to camp along the creek above the falls, although I've only gone out to the falls overlook and back on a day hike in April a few years back. Some nice woodland flowers then and a booming waterfall.
3) South Fork Yuba River north of Nevada City, around 2000 foot elevation. From the road out to Malakoff Diggins State Park (North Bloomfield Rd, I believe), there is a trailhead on BLM land just north of the river bridge. 12 miles of trail with modest up and down along the river from there up to the hamlet of Washington, with a camping area midway. Gorgeous river in a forested wild canyon.

But there are better alternatives in the coast ranges, starting with Henry Coe State Park south of San Jose, which is a big enough wilderness to absorb a week long backpack trip. April is its peak time for greenery and wildflowers.

Most of the Ventana Wilderness in Monterey County to the south (Big Sur coast) is still in bad shape from the recent wildfires. One excellent short hike of about 5 miles one-way that was not burned in the latest fires is from Kirk Creek campground (about an hour drive south of Big Sur) up to Vicente Flat. You climb up 2,000 feet with outstanding views up and down the coast and out over the ocean, and then turn into Hare Canyon, which has redwoods! Big ones even at the camping area at Vicente Flat.

To the north of the Bay Area, the Cache Creek wilderness (BLM) just downstream from Clear Lake and accessible via highways 16 & 20 from the Sacramento Valley has a large network of trails that run from highway 20 where it crosses a low divide. This area hosts wintering bald eagles and a herd of tule elk. The northern part (from highway 20) has a lot of open grassy and oak woodland areas; the rest is mostly chapparal.

-Phil

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chulavista
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Re: Recommendations for quick trip in mid-April

Post by chulavista » Sat Apr 07, 2018 4:10 am

Little Yosemite Valley. Merced is clear of snow up to Bunnell avalanche zone at second bridge. JMT is clear of snow until the half dome split.

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Wandering Daisy
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Re: Recommendations for quick trip in mid-April

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sat Apr 07, 2018 8:55 am

I think an overnight up the Merced, camping either at LYV or further up if you cannot get the permit for LYV, with going up Mist Trail and going down JMT and a day just to day-hike from Yosemite Valley would be great.

Second choice would be Hetch Hetchy to Rancheria Falls. There is a backpacker's campground at the parking area.

My preference this time of year would be to skip the backpacking altogether and simply day-hike out of the valley. There should be spots at Camp 4, because it is a bit early for climbers, who normally take up most spots. Great day-hikes are: to the top of Yosemite Falls, loop to top of Nevada Falls up Mist Trail and down JMT, and the entire valley loop. A real gnarly day-hike (for those in great shape) is up Four Mile Trail (if its open) to Glacier Point, over to the top of Nevada Falls on the Panorama Trail and down the Mist or JMT to Happy Isles. The advantage of an overnight permit is that it would allow you to camp at the backpacker's campground (if it is open). But I really feel one can see a lot more day-hiking from the valley than backpacking. Yes, trails are busy and camping in the valley is hardly an wilderness experience. I have actually hiked off-trail down the banks of the Merced in the Valley and have seen very few (although there is some wading of puddles and bushwhacking). The valley is forecast to flood tomorrow, so flood waters may not have receeded by the time you go. In that case, backpacker's campground may be closed.

I have camped above Feather Falls. There are nice spots on grassy flats. There is one short relatively steep and exposed dirt/grass climb from the trail before slope eases. Feather Falls should be flowing good this year at that time. You need to check to see if that trail is still open, given all that has happened at Lake Oroville.

Supposed to rain a bit this coming week too. If you could postpone the trip to early May, many more options open up.

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AlmostThere
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Re: Recommendations for quick trip in mid-April

Post by AlmostThere » Sat Apr 07, 2018 11:01 am

Yosemite valley is currently closed. Flood is about 10.5 feet, two feet below prediction, but it's still raining.

I don't doubt the water will recede in a few days, but if there's damage to sites or roads that will take a bit to repair.

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Re: Recommendations for quick trip in mid-April

Post by hiac » Sat Apr 07, 2018 6:46 pm

I am closely monitoring the flooding in the Yosemite Valley. For 4/20-23, there is no camp site available. I wonder if there is dispersed campsite near the valley? I don't mind sleep in the car, but I am afraid caught by ranger.

Will Lake Tahoe a good alternative (in term of hiking) if Yosemite's flooding cause road damage? How about Sequoia & Kings Canyon? Per NPS website chain may be required (typically until late March).

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Re: Recommendations for quick trip in mid-April

Post by AlmostThere » Sat Apr 07, 2018 7:51 pm

No dispersed car camping in Yosemite. There are campgrounds such as Hogdon Meadow or NF campgrounds outside the park you might consider.

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hiac
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Re: Recommendations for quick trip in mid-April

Post by hiac » Sun Apr 08, 2018 6:46 am

Thank you for recommending Hogdon Meadow

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