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June dayhikes from car camping

Posted: Sun May 05, 2019 7:30 pm
by kpeter
I want to start hiking as soon as I get out of school since my season is limited. I can't backpack after the middle of August due to my academic calendar, and so I hate to waste the month of June. Usually I go backpacking in Emigrant then, but I doubt that much of it will be accessible that early in this 190% snow year.

As an alternative, I'm looking for some car camping destinations with campgrounds that will be open in early June and which are surrounded with dayhiking opportunities. I know it won't be alpine country and that I may have to walk on some snow, and probably keep well under 8000 feet, probably under 7000.

Yosemite Valley is an obvious choice except for lack of reservations at this point. I might spend some time there anyway, coming and going.

Trinity Alps only would have the lower Stuart Fork open by then, if it is like 2016.

Would Lassen be a possibility? There are campgrounds and backcountry lakes under 7000. Anyone been to the Caribou Wilderness to the east of Lassen?

Wondering about Wrights Lake at 6900 and whether I could futz around the outskirts of Desolation.

Any other ideas for promising dayhiking destinations in the lower elevation regions of the Western Sierra?

Re: June dayhikes from car camping

Posted: Sun May 05, 2019 9:49 pm
by maiathebee
kpeter wrote:
Sun May 05, 2019 7:30 pm
Trinity Alps only would have the lower Stuart Fork open by then, if it is like 2016.
I think you would have a lot more options than that in the Trinities in June. In normal snow years, I've made multiple trips in early May. I hiked up the Stuart Fork on May 4-6 in 2018 and didn't encounter snow until above Emerald Lake. I hiked up Canyon Creek on May 10-11 in 2016 and only encountered snow on the last bit of the route up to upper Canyon Creek Lake. I also did some trips in 2014 but that was an exceptionally low snow year, so not a good comparison.

Re: June dayhikes from car camping

Posted: Mon May 06, 2019 9:20 am
by c9h13no3
Almost certainly the Kibbie Lake area will be snow free by June. I've also wanted to hit up the Balloon Dome area in the Sierra NF, which is pretty low elevation and snow free now. Could be crazy hot by June. But the challenge there is getting Minaret road to open.

Personally, I'm just embracing the snow and getting out on skis more.

Re: June dayhikes from car camping

Posted: Mon May 06, 2019 9:58 am
by SSSdave
SFSJ-WV5519.jpg
EOSDIS Worldview May 5, 2019 for SF San Joaquin River. Even now Edison and Florence reservoirs can be seen as melted out with ground warming so further May snows will likely just melt quickly. Tentative opening date for Kaiser Pass was forecast to be about June 7. There are commercial reasons to open early due to the 4 resorts. The image shows the snowline on the canyon bottom is already at the confluence of the South Fork and Piute Creek or about 8000 feet. Three reasons why that canyon bottom tends to melt out sooner than other 8000 foot elevation location is because (1) there are significant bedrock areas without trees or vegetation that more readily absorb sunshine heat, (2) each day warm winds blow up the canyon from the San Joaquin Valley, and (3) at that confluence there is considerable heat radiation from the dominant rock walls like Pavilion Dome.

https://caltopo.com/map.html#ll=37.2249 ... 35&z=15&b=t

In June one would need to hike around the reservoir thus to reach the confluence is a 2 day effort. The river rapids in peak snow melt would be spectacular up both canyons as gradients increase at that point that could make for some terrific short videos. Also there are many spectacular Sierra juniper trees on the canyon walls and early wildflowers like gilia and pu$$y paws would be out in bedrock areas. (hot link) View from down canyon near the Muir Trail Ranch:


Image

Re: June dayhikes from car camping

Posted: Mon May 06, 2019 2:12 pm
by sparky
Dont sleep on foothill hikes in SEKI and of course kings canyon proper. Also plenty of sequoia groves to explore.

Re: June dayhikes from car camping

Posted: Mon May 06, 2019 2:55 pm
by maverick
Hetch Hetchy, Eleanor, and Cherry Lake too.

Re: June dayhikes from car camping

Posted: Mon May 06, 2019 9:53 pm
by c9h13no3
maverick wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 2:55 pm
Hetch Hetchy, Eleanor, and Cherry Lake too.
Kpeter's been to all these places, Kibbie Ridge off the top of my head. We'll probably have to go DEEPER.
a88.jpg

Re: June dayhikes from car camping

Posted: Sun May 12, 2019 4:34 pm
by paul
My take would be this - if you are comfortable walking on firm snow, have traction devices (microspikes, etc) and are comfortable navigating without trail signs or trails that may be buried, then your only limitation is whether the campgrounds are open. Get up crack of dawn or earlier and head out while the snow is crusty and you can go almost anywhere pretty easily if it's not steep terrain. Back to camp in the early afternoon before things get too soft. Southern end of the range will have the most snow-free areas I think.

Re: June dayhikes from car camping

Posted: Sun May 12, 2019 8:19 pm
by Wandering Daisy
Southern Sierra is a good choice, but for those of us who live up north, that means almost an entire day to reach a site for car camping. Then next day to day-hike. If one is short on time so as not to be able to do a longer backpack, I think something within 4 hours maximum drive is a better choice. Plus the cost of gas for repeated trips to the southern Sierra is a bit expensive.

We have done June trips into Green Lake (Hoover Wilderness) that were nice. There is a campground at the trailhead as well as dispersed camping along Green Creek a bit below the campground. You can easily walk into Green Lake, West Lake and East Lake as day-hikes. Good fishing too.

Twin Lakes is good. There are a couple of FS campgrounds or the commercial campground at the end of the road.

Once Beasore or Minaret Roads open, you can do a long day hike up to Vanderberg or Lady Lake once Fernandez TH is open. If you can get into Jackass Meadow you can wander around "The Balls", a set of granite domes. We used to rock climb there. Or from Minaret Road, you can climb Jackass Rock, Fuller Buttes or Squaw Dome which as a nice view of Balloon Dome.

Another good camp/day-hike area is Salt Springs Reservoir, off Hwy 88. Or Fourth of July Lake from Carson Pass.

Desolation is good for day-hikes if you do not mind walking on some snow. I am not sure when Loon Lake campground opens, but it is a nice campground. Ice House Reservoir campground opens early. From the Tahoe side, there are tons of day-hikes; open campgrounds do fill up early.

Not sure where you would camp, but Feather Falls will be quite impressive this year.

Re: June dayhikes from car camping

Posted: Mon May 13, 2019 8:46 pm
by kpeter
Thank you all! You've given me a lot of very useful choices and I will definitely be taking up a few of them while watching the snow melt!