Nov 22, 2010 at 12:39 pm #1265777
The purpose of this thread is to learn about some fantastic backpacking/hiking in your area, that might be off the radar.
Fill in the blanks:
I live/backpack in _________________ (fill in a city, state/province, mountain range or other regional indicator)
All the backpackers seem to flock to ______________________
But I think ____________________ is better, because ________________.
Go!Nov 22, 2010 at 2:18 pm #1666999
@foundLocale: Sacramento, CA
I live in southern utah. Hike anywhere within hundreds of miles and it's some of the best stuff on earth. Outsiders flock to the national parks.Nov 22, 2010 at 2:30 pm #1667010
But… if I tell everyone where my favorite spots are… then they won't be my favorite spots anymore.
Most of them are places where I can hike literally all day and not see another human being. And that's usually how I like it.
But it's pretty hard not to find a good spot in Sweden (where I live). If you like woods, that is.Nov 22, 2010 at 3:33 pm #1667035
@hikin_jimLocale: Orange County, CA, USA
In Southern California, the two best places (IMHO) to BP are the San Gorgonio Wilderness and the San Jacinto Wilderness.
In the San Gorgonio Wilderness, everybody wants to go to San Gorgonio Mountain via either the Vivian Creek Trail or the South Fork Trail. The overlooked spot is Big Tree Camp. You can also go to the area just east of the Wilderness, and the people count will drop by two-thirds.
In the San Jacinto Wilderness, everybody wants to go to the peak via Round Valley or Tamarack from the tram or to the greater Skunk Cabbage/Tahquitz Meadow area from Humber Park. The overlooked spot is Caramba Camp. The area south of the SJ Wilderness is also greatly under appreciated. The wilderness area itself is pretty darn popular though.
Southern California in general is under appreciated in terms of backpacking. So many more people go to the Sierra Nevada. Not without reason, the Sierra Nevada are beautiful, but I've gone on backpacks here in some pretty nice spots in So Cal where I've seen not a soul for several days at a time.
HJNov 22, 2010 at 4:11 pm #1667056
@davecLocale: Crown of the Continent
I live in Kalispell, Montana. All the backpackers seem to flock to Glacier NP in July and August, but I think that the same hikes are better in September and October because the autumn weather best enhances the parks ambiance. Plus, there are essentially no people backpacking in the fall.Nov 22, 2010 at 8:58 pm #1667148
I'm in Idaho and all the backpacers hike the Toxaway Loop in the Sawtooths. I think pretty much any other trail in the Sawtooths is better! LOL But that just means I rarely ever see any other people in the cool spots!Nov 22, 2010 at 9:13 pm #1667153
@dirk9827Locale: Pacific Northwest
I live near Mt. Rainier in Washington. If I had to pick some of the best backpacking spots in the state, I'd tell you to hike north from Stevens Pass and through the Glacier Peak Wilderness and into the North Cascades and Pasayten Wilderness via the Pacific Crest Trail.
If you can do it in late summer or early fall, all the better as the larch is turning. There are a number of loops you can hike in these regions that would be well worth a visit to Washington state. I'd also recommend visiting Steheiken, a trail town only reachable via the trail or by boat. Terrific bakery.
You will run into many day hikers at Rainy Pass, but don't be discouraged, for most of the time the trail is sparingly traveled.
DirkNov 24, 2010 at 2:17 pm #1667672
@nickbLocale: Los Padres National Forest
I live up against the Los Padres National Forest in southern CA.
We don't see too many backpackers in our local national forest, but of the ones we do see, I'd say most are hiking along the Sespe River Trail or Manzanna Creek. Both are really nice still and it's possible to hike them and not see others out there in the dead of winter.
But I prefer the deeper los padres backcountry along the Sisquoc River and the Sierra Madres because it's less visited, the porteros are really beautiful (think the chapparal version of the high country Sierra meadows), and there's a lot of neat places to explore (indian rock art sites, big waterfalls (by southern CA standards), see CA condors in the wild, etc.).Nov 24, 2010 at 3:20 pm #1667697
@paulmagsLocale: People's Republic of Boulder
I live in Boulder, CO.
Where NOT to hike within 2-3 hrs away? :)
Most people seem to flock to Rocky Mtn NP or the nearby Indians Peaks Wilderness..but even in those areas you can find solitude if you can read a map and go off trail. RMNP is esp nice for off trail jaunts.Nov 25, 2010 at 6:35 am #1667860
@brooklynkayakLocale: Atlantic North East
Lots of great hiking within 30 miles of NYC, but you will see lot's of people on the trail. Go a little further and you can hike for days without seeing a sole.
Northern Harriman Park on "The Long Path" along the border with West Point Military Academy. People don't hike it much as it is more strenuous than other area hikes. Lots of nice views.
Shawangunk Ridge Trail north of Wurtsboro, NY. 3 days on a normally busy 3 day weekend and we never saw a single person.
A little further away, but lots of great areas in the Catskills where you will see very few people and even further, the Adirondacks.Dec 3, 2010 at 10:14 am #1670476
@asciibaronLocale: Mid Atlantic
i live near Baltimore, Maryland, USA.
all the backpackers seem to flock to the AT or Shenandoah National Park.
but i think Dolly Sods is better because it's so varied. the northern tract is open and windswept – like a high plains plateau. the southern tract is very rugged and has plenty of vistas, water frolicking, and hidden camping locations.
it's also awesome because it's just far enough away that most of the weekend warriors won't make the 4+ hour drive from Baltimore/DC. i typically go in on a Saturday of a 3 day weekend and will not see another soul after 10am Sunday morning as most people trek back to their cars. my car is usually all alone come Monday afternoon when i hike out to head home.Dec 11, 2010 at 6:30 pm #1673364
@babymattyLocale: Western/Central PA, Adirondacks
I'm in Niagara Falls, NY. The closest places to backpack are in Western Pa. The crowds flock to Allegany State Park, close to the PA/NY border.
My favorite spots are Minister Creek Trail (many fond memories there), and the Black Forest Trail.
When I have the time, the Adirondacks are a great place to hike and paddle. The Whitney Loop is an amazing 90-mile paddling trip worth checking out, the highlight being island camping on Lake Lila.Dec 11, 2010 at 7:06 pm #1673371
"If I had to pick some of the best backpacking spots in the state, I'd tell you to hike north from Stevens Pass and through the Glacier Peak Wilderness and into the North Cascades and Pasayten Wilderness via the Pacific Crest Trail."
A big +1 To which I'd add: If you're comfortable with off trail or sketchy trail hiking, there are some spectacularly beautiful routes in the area. To mention a few: The Bath Lakes High Route; The Buckindy-Snowking Traverse; Easy Ridge-Perfect Impasse-Perfect Pass out and back from the Hannegan Pass TH. This last one has a short stretch of Class IV going up to Perfect Pass, but even if you stop before that, the views are mind blowing. In the Pasayten, the sky's the limit for cross country rambling. For anyone interested in this kind of hiking in the Glacier Peak Wilderness, THE source is Routes and Rocks: Hiker's Guide to the North Cascades From Glacier Peak to Lake Chelan: DF And RW Tabor Crowder. The book is out of print, but used copies are floating around; check with Amazon.com for openers. The book is a compendium of route descriptions, geological information, and a beautiful set of topo maps with the routes overlaid on them. Priceless.Dec 11, 2010 at 9:19 pm #1673412
@dirk9827Locale: Pacific Northwest
Hey, thanks for posting those routes – that's a fantastic tip!I am not super confident in my off-trail abilities, but since you post a book with good maps, I now know I must try. I am going to find that book online. Thanks for the excellent information.
The Sierras rightfully get a lot of praise on backpackinglight. But for a rugged beauty and like you said, "mind blowing" views, I'd put the north section of our fine state up there with anything in the west. I was grateful to have the opportunity to travel through this country in early fall.
DirkDec 12, 2010 at 2:00 pm #1673586
"But for a rugged beauty and like you said, "mind blowing" views, I'd put the north section of our fine state up there with anything in the west."
Yeah, I'd have to agree, and I'm pretty familiar with both ranges. They offer very different kinds of beauty and I must confess I'm heads over heels in love with both. Who says a man can't love two women? ;)
If you're not real confident off trail, the Easy Ridge hike would be a good place to start. The other two are not one's I'd be comfy doing solo either, but Easy Ridge is almost completely on trail, sketchy at times, up to the point where you drop down around Perfect Impasse and by then you will have gotten most of the magnificent views. The only real obstacle is fording the Upper Chiliwack River, which is easy if done late season. Early in the year is another matter. The Buckindy Snowking Traverse isn't in Rock and Routes book, nor is Easy Ridge, but there are many other worth while hikes there, in addition to Bath Lakes, which is a real gem. Very strenuous, very beautiful, with a couple of interesting route finding problems.
Here are a couple of links to Easy Ridge and The Buckindy Snowking Traverse:
Buckindy Snowking Traverse
Best of luck and I hope you have a great time!Dec 12, 2010 at 2:16 pm #1673593
Which of those backpacking areas would be best for finding medium-size furbearing animals, say pine marten, weasel, fox, fisher, etc.?
–B.G.–Dec 12, 2010 at 7:16 pm #1673678
I did a quick overnight trip into Olympic National Park up the Quinault River (towards the Enchanted Valley) back in late May. Ran into a bobcat on the way in. Watched it from about 5 meters away for about 15 minutes. On the way back out, had a fisher run up the trail towards me. It finally stopped when it saw me and then bolted off pretty quick.Dec 12, 2010 at 7:40 pm #1673686
Thanks, Kevin. I value the firsthand observation.
The large furbearing animals can become dangerous, but the medium-size ones are no threat. I just want to head to somewhere that is a target-rich environment for my camera. The first place on my list is the North Cascades. Olympic and others may be on the list. I'm thinking about late May or early June.
I can find bobcats here in California, but the other furry critters are more common in the north woods. I had to go to Montana to get a perfect photo of a fisher. Apparently fishers exist in California, but in only a few places.
–B.G.–Dec 12, 2010 at 7:53 pm #1673693
"I'm thinking about late May or early June."
Potentially LOTS of snow and very hazardous stream crossings that time of year. Check ahead with the Marblemount Ranger Station if going into North Cascades NP, and then plan your routes carefully. The folks at that ranger station are a pretty savvy bunch who can help you a lot.Dec 12, 2010 at 7:53 pm #1673694
Yeah i've done some work on a couple of fisher studies in California. They are around, but very tough to see. Martens seem to be a little easier to find. I saw 4 this year. one in the UP of Michigan, two in Grand Teton NP, and one up on Mount Shasta.Dec 12, 2010 at 7:55 pm #1673696
@dan_quixoteLocale: below the mountains (AK)
and the most scenic area I've ever seen is the Lost Lake Trail by Seward, AK. that trail is only 15 miles, but there's something about the trail construction and standing water that enchants me. Also, there's tons of room to go exploring back there, though I haven't yet.
It's pretty popular, but that's all the more reason to HYOR (Hike Your Own Route).Dec 12, 2010 at 8:03 pm #1673699
One marten up on Mount Shasta? Approximately where on the mountain? Martens are tough. They are pretty quick. You sure it wasn't a super skinny marmot?
I was thinking of heading to Yellowstone for early season, May-June, and I was thinking of places to photograph wildlife on the way coming or going.
–B.G.–Dec 12, 2010 at 8:11 pm #1673700
"Check ahead with the Marblemount Ranger Station if going into North Cascades NP, and then plan your routes carefully."
I was thinking the east side of the crest rather than the west side.
–B.G.–Dec 12, 2010 at 8:22 pm #1673703
Positive it was a marten. It didn't seem to be very scared of me, so i got some pretty good looks at it. On the southwest side, up between 7-8k feet.Dec 12, 2010 at 8:36 pm #1673707
Kevin, that sounds like between Bunny Flat and Horse Camp.
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