Jun 11, 2012 at 5:14 am #1290903
I'm planning a trip in late august. I feel like I should do an obligatory North Rim trip, but it'd probably be too crowded for my liking, but I feel this is something everyone should do especially if I call California my home.
Or should I do something else? Can anyone suggest an alternative that's just as beautiful but pretty much no human interaction?Jun 11, 2012 at 9:13 am #1885887
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
The North Rim will be awfully dry by late August. This year the prime season will be about July 1-15.
–B.G.–Jun 11, 2012 at 1:08 pm #1885936
@balzaccomLocale: Wine Country
If this is your first backpacking trip, then there are lots that are better. Why do this one? But if you could tell us where you've been, and what you like, we could do a much better job of giving you advice!
We have a ton of suggested pack trips in the destinaton section of our website:
backpackthesierra.comJun 11, 2012 at 4:11 pm #1885995
I've only really been to Point Reyes. I'm looking for something physically demanding and visually beautiful with little human contact somewhere in California. I'll probably decide on Emigrant Wilderness as I've heard some great things about it.Jun 11, 2012 at 5:02 pm #1886007
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
"I'm looking for something physically demanding and visually beautiful with little human contact somewhere in California."
Yosemite: the Clark Range: Red Peak Pass.
–B.G.–Jun 11, 2012 at 7:09 pm #1886042
Sweet find. Looking into it.Jun 11, 2012 at 10:38 pm #1886120
1. How many days do you have?
2. Where are you driving from?
3. Which are you more inclined towards: Gentle, undulating, and charming; or vertical, challenging, and spectacular?
– ElizabethJun 12, 2012 at 2:05 pm #1886301
Hi Elizabeth. I'im looking for around 3-5 days. Driving from the Bay Area, California. Looking for something challenging and spectacular, but mostly spectacular and isolated.Jun 13, 2012 at 10:55 am #1886561
Rea Lakes loop is spectacular and physical challenging( 5-12 thousand ft), Its a little crowned.
If you want a short trip then the loop start at onion valley.I did that in August last year.Jun 15, 2012 at 3:08 pm #1887327
Do you have off-trail experience? Or are you looking for something on trail?
The "no human interaction" part is a big challenge to find in the Sierra unless you plan to go off-trail the whole time.
I can think of so many places in the Sierra that I'd put onto the "Must Do Sometime" list before North Rim in Yosemite. Anything in proximity to Yosemite Valley is best done as a long day-hike, with no illusions that you will get solitude. It's a good early-season project (late June or early July some year), when the waterfalls are all roaring.
The Red Peak Pass suggestion is a great one, much fewer people than is typical for Yosemite trails. However, you WILL have "human interaction."
I think of the northern Sierra (Yosemite and north) as gentle and charming, with slabby granite campsites abutting nice swimming lakes. If you prefer dramatic and vertical, the southern "high" Sierra might be more your style. Nothing beats the backcountry in Sequoia/Kings Canyon Nat'l Parks (SEKI). However, the SEKI does not provide all that much more solitude than Yosemite if you are sticking to trails.
For your combo of "spectacular" and "solitude" and "late August," your best bet is probably a high-elevation area (10,000+ feet) of the High Sierra, either off-trail in SEKI or on-trail in the John Muir or Ansel Adams Wilderness (between Yosemite and SEKI). Be willing to do a longer drive than you might have wished. Desolation Wilderness in Tahoe is only 3.5 hours from the Bay Area, but in late August I can't stand to go there or to the other "short drive" destinations because the higher elevation areas of the Southern Sierra have opened up and there is simply no compare. It is worth the 5-7 hour drive.
I'd suggest investing in the book, "Trekking California." That author has TERRIFIC taste for choosing what are really the most spectacular trips in the Sierra. His trips will kick your butt, though.
Meanwhile, the above-mentioned Desolation Wilderness, as well as other northern Sierra destinations on backpackthesierra.com, are great RIGHT NOW. Get up there even if all you have time for is a short weekender!
– ElizabethJun 15, 2012 at 9:24 pm #1887420
Greg I just completed a hike in South West Yosemite. i started from Glacier Point road Ostrander lake trail head. I hiked south past Ostrander, and deek camp, and Grouse lake and camped at Crescent lake, then continued on to Royal Arch lake, Buena Vsta lake and then returned to my car. I saw only about 5 people on the trail. Altitude varied from 7000ft to 9000ft. The only problem I had were quiet a few downed tress across the trail at altitudes between 7000 and 9000ft.
If you want solitude in Yosemite south of the valley is a good place. I didn't reserve a permit. Just asked for one at the park entrance (they typically have some available for this area). There are multiple routes in and out possible in this area.
One good book with information on hiking in Yosemite is "yosemite National Park, A Natural-History Guide anto Yosemite and its trails" by Jeffery P. Schaffer.
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